25 Jun The Woodcutter – A Zen Parable
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. ~ Buddha
A woodcutter used to go into the woods every day. Sometimes he had to remain hungry because it was raining. Sometimes it was too hot, sometimes it was too cold.
A mystic lived in the woods. He watched the woodcutter growing old, sick and hungry while working hard the whole day. He said, “Listen, why don’t you go a little further?”
The woodcutter said, “What am I going to get if I go a little further? More wood? Unnecessarily carrying that wood for miles?”
The mystic said, “No. If you go a little further, you will find a copper mine. You can take the copper into the city, and that will be enough for seven days. You need not come every day to cut the wood.”
The man thought to himself, “Why not give it a try?”
He went in and found the mine and he was so happy. He came back and fell at the feet of the mystic.
The mystic said, “Don’t rejoice too much right now. You have to go a little deeper into the woods.”
“But what is the point?,” said the woodcutter. “Now I have seven days’ food. I will lose the copper mine if I go further.”
The mystic replied, “You go. You will certainly lose the copper mine, but there is a silver mine. And whatsoever you can bring will be enough for three months.”
“The mystic has proven right about the copper mine,” the woodcutter thought. “Perhaps he is also right about the silver mine.” And so he went in further and found the silver mine.
And he returned to the mystic dancing and said, “How can I pay you? My gratitude knows no bounds.”
The mystic said, “Wait…there is a gold mine just a few steps deeper.”
The woodcutter was hesitant. In fact, he was such a poor man, that having a silver mine was something he had never even dreamed of. But if the mystic is saying it, who knows? He may still be right.
And so the woodcutter ventured even further and the gold mine. Now he had enough to come only once a year.
And the mystic said, “One year from now will be a long time. I am getting old. If you do not return for one year I may not be here, I may be gone. So I must tell you now, do not stop at the gold mine. Just a little further…”
But the man objected, saying, “Why? What is the point? You show me one thing and the moment I get it, you immediately tell me to drop that and go futher! Now I have found the gold mine!”
The mystic replied, “But there is a diamond mind just a few feet deeper in the forest.”
So the woodcutter went that very day and he found the diamond mine. He brought back many diamonds and he said tot eh mystic, “This will be enough for the rest of my life.”
Then mystic said, “Now perhaps we may not meet again, so my last message is this: now that you have enough for your whole life, GO IN! Forget the forest, the copper mine, the silver mine, the gold mine, the diamond mine. Now I have given you the ultimate secret, the ultimate treasure that is within you. Your outer needs are fulfilled. Sit the way I am sitting here.”
And the woodcutter said, “Yes, I have been wondering…why do you go on sitting here when you know all of these things are available? This question has arisen again and again…and I was just going to ask you why you do not gather all of those diamonds lying there for yourself? Only you know about them. Why do you go on sitting under this tree?”
The mystic said, “After finding the diamonds, my master told me: ‘Now sit under this tree and GO IN.’”
The man dropped all the diamonds he had gathered and said, “Perhaps we may not meet again. I do not want to go home. I will sit here by your side. Please teach me how to GO IN, because I am only a simple woodcutter. I know how to go deeper into the woods, but I do not know how to GO IN.”
The mystic said, “But all of your diamonds, gold, copper, silver – it will all be lost, because all these things are valueless for one who GOES IN.”
And the woodcutter replied, “Don’t be bothered about that. You have been right about everything else. I trust that you will be right in this last stage, too.”
To live from the intrinsic means that the only effort in your inner work is to reach the ultimate treasure within - Love
Allow Love to engulf you with its energy that will liberate you from living in the day-to-day instinct for survival
The Love of the Heart calls forth the Soul, which brings you back into the oneness of this Life