One night, a Zen Master and a student were sitting in the house of literature, the student was reading writings from an ancient wise man. The student poised the book toward the candle’s glow to see better and read; ‘As the dark became light, the sun lit the world and I could see. It was then that I became enlightened.’ The student laid the book down slightly.
“So, enlightenment is like the sun lighting the world?” The student asked.
“Yes and No,” the Zen Master replied.
“I’m confused,” the student stated. “It is or it is not?” The Zen Master then leaned over, blew out the candle and there was darkness.
“Can you see?” Asked the Zen Master.
“No,” replied the student.
“Can you be enlightened by the dark?” The Zen Master asked.
There was silence for a moment as the student thought about the question. “No,” the student replied. The Zen Master then struck a match and lit the candle.
“Now, can you be enlightened?” The Zen Master asked.
“Yes,” the student said.
“So, you base your enlightenment on being able to see!” The Zen Master then blew the candle out again and again it was dark. “You are saying that a blind man can not be enlightened. Everything here is the same except for the flame on the candle, correct?” The Zen Master stated.
The student thought for a moment then answered, “Correct, everything here is the same except for the flame on the candle. I am liken to a blind man.”
“So, in the darkness you have become enlightened?” The Zen Master asked. “For enlightenment is not a physical light and dark. Enlightenment is when mentally you become bright, understand?” The Zen Master asked.
The student replied, “Yes, I was blind, but now I see.”
(moral; it is not the light that enlightens us, it is becoming bright within the darkness of our minds)
I have a co-worker who is from Germany. It was rather difficult to explain to him about enlightenment. More so due to the language barrier than anything, but that conversation spawned this story. He was telling me that I was intrusive, (in a good way) I had to come home and look this word up for an in depth definition to understand what or why he felt I was intrusive. I was told it is because I am head strong (grinin’) like a rock that penetrates granite. Some how I see a story in that. (You also have to take into consideration, where I work)
food for thought
- The action of enlightening or the state of being enlightened.
- The attainment of spiritual knowledge or insight, esp. (in Buddhism) that which frees a person from the cycle of rebirth.
have an enlightened day