Making Tea – A Zen Story
Summary: Sadhguru narrates a short Zen parable, and elaborates on how one should strive to find full expression to one's capabilities. Is it better to approach life thinking "I can do this, I can not do this", or thinking "I have to do this, and I should not do this"?
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
Making Tea For a Lazy Disciple – A Zen Story
In a monastery, a Zen master gathered firewood and started a fire for a stove. He was preparing tea. A disciple asked him, “For whom are you preparing tea?”
The master replied, “You see that lazy guy sitting over there? It is for him.”
He was referring to one particularly lazy disciple who kept dodging work and just sat around, while all the other disciples were active in work.
The disciple said, “Why do you have to prepare tea for him? He has grown up now. Let him prepare it on his own.”
The Master smiled and said, “I am here and now.”
What’s the most important teaching in life? You do what you can do. It is far better to see that “I can do this and I cannot do this” rather than thinking “I have to do this and I should not do this.”
When you identify yourself with something and think, “This is my family. This is my wife. This is my mother. This is my house. This is my street,” you conclude that “I will do this. I will not do that.” You will start thinking “If my child gets injured I have to run and save him, but if some other child is getting injured why should I bother?”
Nobody belongs to you in this world. They ended up coming into this world just the way you came in, that is all. If you get married, you say, “This is my wife.” If you get divorced, you say “This is not my wife!” Both are relationships fixed by you. When you get married and feel that your spouse is a part of you, you accordingly develop love and pleasant thoughts towards them. Once you deny the relationship, these emotions change and you start feeling frustrated, angry and hateful.
So when you think something belongs to you, the emotions that come with it are hugely discriminatory. This will never bring out your capabilities to the fullest.
Raju and Malathi were lovers. As they belonged to different castes, their families and their communities were not ready to accept their marriage.
Raju said, “When we can’t live together, what is the point of this life? Come, let us die together.”
Both of them climbed up to a cliff. They stood there hand in hand at the edge. When they were just about to jump, Malathi said, “Raju, I am terrified. You jump first! I will get the courage to jump after seeing you go!”
Raju said, “I love you, Malathi!” and jumped from the edge in a moment.
Malathi saw him fall into a deep trench below where nobody could get to. She also got ready to jump. At that moment she thought, “Now Raju is no more. If Raju is not there, my love is no more. If there is no love anymore, no family problem, no social problem. When there is no problem at all, why should I give up my life?”
She looked down at the trench below and shouted, “Raju, I love you!” and started walking back home.
When you think “this is mine” or “she is mine,” the actions that come out of that will be just like this.
Those who walk on the spiritual path do not shrink themselves like that. They don’t say, “I will do something for this person, I will not do something for that person.” They will only think, “At this moment I can do this. If there is an opportunity to do it, I will do it,” and they will act accordingly.
If you want to realize your life to the fullest, first and foremost is you should never shrink yourself into thinking “This is mine and this is not mine.” If you expand within yourself to include the whole world, then everything is yours.