The Zen Master Hakuin (1686-1769) travelled extensively to learn from other masters. When he was 32 years old, he returned to the Shoin-ji, the temple in his home town of Hara, in present-day Shizuoka Prefecture. Here he devoted himself to teaching a growing number of disciples. Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as a teacher living an exemplary life.
A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. One day without warning, her parents discovered that she was pregnant.
This made her parents angry. The girl would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment, she named Hakuin as the father.
In great anger the parents went to the Zen Master and scolded him in front of all his students. All Hakuin would say was “Is that so?”
After the baby boy was born, it was entrusted to Hakuin’s care. By this time he had lost his reputation. His disciples have left him. However Hakuin was not disturbed, and enjoyed taking care of the little boy. He obtained milk and other essentials the boy needed from his neighbors.
A year later, the girl-mother couldn’t stand it any longer. She confessed the truth to her parents— that the real father of the boy was not Hakuin but a young man working in the local fishmarket.
The father and mother of the girl went to Hakuin at once. They asked his forgiveness and apologized profusely to get the boy back.
Although Hakuin loved the child as his own, he was willing. In giving up the boy, all he said was: “Is that so?”
— Edited from Paul Reps, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones (1957), p. 22
“The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: “Is that so?” He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness or unhappiness. ” – A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle
This is I believe to be my whole entire purpose on this planet. To find peace in each moment no matter the outer circumstances. Peace, happiness, and contentment are all within me. It doesn’t matter what life is serving up for me I can still choose happiness and peace. Also when I am at peace with each moment life begins to be a teacher and an opportunity to grow and learn. I don’t have to resist. I get to be present and see what is in each moment to help me evolve.
Life is truly what you make it. Try on just being with whatever is happening in each moment of your day. Without judgment. Without reaction. Without resistance. Whether someone at work is complaining to you. Whether someone is offering to buy you a coffee. Whether you rear-end someone. Whether you see an old, dear friend. They all can happen with ease, peace, and acceptance. Imagine the difference of experience if you rear-end someone — there are two ways one could show up — you get pissed and start yelling, crying, and screaming. Blaming the other person for slamming on their breaks. Feeling like your life sucks and this always happens to you. OR you get out of your car, take a few breathes, walk over to make sure the other person is okay. Check out the damage. Call the insurance company and the police. Calmly explain what happened to both. Apologize and hug the person you hit and leave the minor accident with the rest of your day fully ahead of you. Feels different right? You have choice. How you act affects others. How you show up changes everything. Even if the other person is freaking out you can be the calm in the storm. We can’t change anybody. We can’t change how they act, how they show up, what they do with themselves and their lives… what we can change is how we act, how we show up, what we are modeling in our lives and in the world.
This is taking responsibility. This is making a difference. This is how you can impact people and the Earth.
Choosing love. Choosing presence. Choosing consciousness.
I love stories. This one always speaks to me. This is what I want to model. Love. Acceptance. Peace. Freedom.
I love you all, thank you for coming here, thank you for reading my words, thank you!