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On Riding a Bicycle

April 12, 2014

gearsA Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles.  When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes.  I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!”  The teacher praised the first student.  “You are a smart boy!  When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!”  The teacher commended the second student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo.”  The teacher gave his praise to the third student.  “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student replied, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings.”  The teacher was pleased and said to the fourth student, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.”  The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, “I am your student.”

from The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, Bantam Books, 1992, p. 36

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sonia permalink
    April 12, 2014 2:12 pm

    Profound and perfect for this beautiful Spring morning. Thanks for sharing!

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