Zen you can count on

Among Western laymen, few realize the full breadth of knowledge commanded by an accomplished Zen master. We may appreciate their expertise in the subtleties of the medical, the physical and the metaphysical, yet much of their insight in matters more mundane gets overlooked.

Consider the lesson of one Zen master on the basic subject of arithmetic. He presents his students with this simple story.

“In our village, there once lived this man,” the teacher begins. “He had five hundred dollars, and over the course of his life he gave away four hundred dollars. How much money did the man have when he died?”

Quickly and confidently, the students reply, “One hundred dollars!”

“No,” says the teacher, “you are mistaken. It might look that way, but the deeper truth is that if he had five hundred dollars here on Earth and gave away four hundred, then at his death he would have had four hundred dollars. Because in the end, all you have is what you have given.”

Song of the Day: “The End” by The Beatles.

1 comment

  1. lemon says: August 17, 2010

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