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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wash the Dishes

A novice monk approached the teacher and said, "Please teach me the way of Tao." The teacher asked, ”Have you eaten?"
The novice replied, 'Yes."
The teacher said, "Then, wash the dishes.”
This is a famous dialogue. After eating, it is only natural to wash the dishes and clean up. This way of naturalness is in accord with the way of Tai Chi. My Grand Master always encouraged us to selflessly serve.  When help is needed, go and help naturally - without a sense of obligation or duty. Giver and receiver are both forgotten.
Clouds appear and disappear in the sky according to causes and conditions. Water flows from higher to lower. Man is part of nature. Why don’t we live naturally?  When our ego appears, there is so much artificiality and pretension.
Life is sometimes hard - very hard. But life must be lived. It cannot be escaped. We get sick. We become helpless. That is life. We can choose to face reality squarely and not be defeated or become arrogant. When it is hard, endure. Help others and allow yourself to Be Helped. This is the natural way.
When we do things, however small, we should do it with our whole attention.  We do not make many mistakes in the big things of life. We make mistakes in the little things.
Life, after all, is "little things” strung together, like a tai chi form. “Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.” ~Hermann Hesse. Living in this way, one’s life will become a life without regret.
To wash your dishes after you have eaten is a common, natural thing. Live like the water – that flows like the rivers, strong yet soft and yielding, and merges into the ocean.
Doing everything sincerely and completely - our life becomes balanced and harmonious. Without any comparisons, each one begins to live their own true life. This is what the teacher meant when he said,
“After eating, wash the dishes." _ transcribed and edited by Marilyn Allysum