Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Zen in Las Vegas

Dharma Moon
Fantastic picture "Dharma Moon" kindly provided by h.koppdelaney
I have been on a technology related conference all last week in Las Vegas, learning about social, mobile, cloud, “gamification”, “management hacks”….there is a lot of change happening in this space.  The technology landscape is changing quite quickly, and will impact the way work is done in the future.  There is even a government in a box being developed which looks quite interesting.

Using the Zen principle of “beginner mind”, one needs to hold a natural curiosity of things in awareness that is related to one’s profession and just let this natural curiosity drive the learning. If you see a child, curiosity and awareness goes hand in hand, a child can go for hours experimenting and learning….

I was talking to an intelligent and eloquent friend, he expressing some frustration at not doing something about his great ideas.  This is something I can relate to, however I always found this made me more distant to what I had to do every day…I said the key is to hold the intent, with a certain amount of detachment…He did not quite understand that, and my other work buddy next to me broke in with a great Zen story.   I had heard this story before, I wanted to share it with you with some of my own adaptations Smile

A monk was travelling with his student, both had vowed a oath of celibacy, until they came to a river, there was a beautiful woman at the edge, who was lavishly dressed to go to a wedding, however the bridge between the shallow river had been broken, the young student monk, being the stronger and faster one, walking ahead got to the river first, and asked what was the problem.

The young woman, asked “I need to go to a wedding, but I cannot ruin my dress, could you  kindly lift here across the shallow water, I will give you some money for that”,  The young monk said “Oh no, I cannot do that, we as monks are not supposed to touch a woman, and my master will be very upset”

The master arrived and asked what was the problem, the young monk exclaimed righteously how the young woman was trying to “corrupt” him by asking him to taking him across the river.  The old master upon hearing this gestured to the woman “may I”, and lifted her up with a clean swoop, the woman wrapped her arms around him in the fear off being dropped.  On reaching the other side, the women took out some coins, and gave it to the master, the master said “kindness is not kindness if it demands a price”, departing the woman gave him a affectionate hug, and made her way.

They walked to the monastery, and the young man was upset for various reasons, one how could the master be such a hypocrite, secretly he also wished he got the same attention from the woman, as she was very beautiful.

He could not take it any more, and he demanded an explanation “Master, how can you touch a woman? we are taught not to give attention to such things, how could you carry her” The master paused thoughtfully and then replied “Well, I left her at the river, you on the other hand still seem to be carrying her”

The Master was able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the mountain on the way, he was singing a folk song, he remembered as a child, and the joy of the breeze hitting his bald head, while the young student was roasting in the fire of his emotions…

Applying the moral of this story, what needs to be done, needs to be done, however one need not be attached to the results of the action, the young monk was attached to anger, while the master was not attached to even joy, yet he acted without hesitation and with clarity.  Too often we get tied up with attachment to whatever happened good or bad, this traps valuable energy in us, that could be used to get to our goal or make progress towards it…

I said to my friend, there is a lot of Zen that can be applied in every day life including work, at which he was interested in borrowing a book from me.

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