The Holy Shadow - A Zen Parable

The Holy Shadow – A Zen Parable

The mind of a perfect man is like a mirror. It grasps nothing; it expects nothing. It reflects, but does not hold. ~ Chuang Tzu

The Goodness of our being is profound. It is so very important and pertinent to living in an authentic spiritual practice. When we establish ourselves in the Way that allows for mercy, Goodness emerges through everything we are involved with.

No story embodies this more than one my Master offered in a Discourse many, many years ago. You may recognize it, as I have shared it many times. I am always looking for reasons to tell this story once again. Some Zen stories must be shared over and over again to help readers gain different points of view about themselves.

When a person is authentic...stories such as this are fresh and new once again. ~ Siraj
The Holy Shadow Zen Parable

*Original artwork by Gloria Shaw

There once lived a saint so good that the angels came from heaven to see how a man could be so godly. This saint went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. His day could be summed up by two words — he gave, he forgave — yet these words never passed his lips. They were expressed in his ready smile, his kindness, forbearance, and charity.

The angels said to God, “Lord, grant him the gift of miracles.”

God replied, “Ask what it is that he wishes.”

They said to the saint, “Would you like the touch of your hands to heal the sick?”

“No,” answered the saint. “I would rather God do that.”

“Would you like to convert guilty souls and bring back wandering hearts to the right path?”

“No, that is the angels’ mission. It is not for me to convert.”

“Would you like to become a model of patience, attracting men by the luster of your virtues, and thus glorifying God?”

“No,” replied the saint. “If men should be attracted to me, they would become estranged from God.” “What is it that you desire, then?” asked the angels.

“What can I wish for?” asked the saint smiling. “That God gives me his grace; with that would I not have everything?”

The angels said, “You must ask for a miracle, or one will be forced upon you.”

“Very well,” said the saint. “That I may do a great deal of good without ever knowing it.”

The angels were perplexed. They took counsel and resolved upon the following plan: every time the saint’s shadow fell behind him or to either side, so that he could not see it, it would have the power to cure disease, soothe pain, and comfort sorrow.

When the saint walked along, his shadow, thrown on the ground on either side or behind him, made arid paths green, caused withered plants to bloom, gave clear water to dried-up brooks, fresh color to pale children, and joy to unhappy men and women.

The saint simply went about his daily life diffusing virtue as the stars diffuse light and the flowers scent, without being aware of it. The people, respecting his humility, followed him silently, never speaking to him about his miracles. Soon they even forgot his name, and called him “The Holy Shadow.”

Humility brings forth generosity, mercy and the Goodness of our Being. ~ Siraj

Through his Goodness, this man was transformed, transcended – he was humble and absolute in his Goodness. He did not need to bring his ego into the picture to sustain his emotional human nature.

The question is: How far will we go?
How deep would each of us go to bring forth the humility that cultivates and sustains our Goodness? What seeming sacrifices would we make in order to make Goodness possible?

Understanding that this humility would necessitate authentic and endless generosity, it becomes obvious that few have the horsepower or inclination for such mercy die to their tainted values system. Most people want this mercy and goodness given to them, but are very reluctant to give it to others due to the fear of survival embedded their DNA.

We have lost the savor of our Goodness in this world. ~ Siraj

Meditation is the method of the Way that disrupts the ego enough to bring forth transformational Love. It is only through the tones of Silence that we find the Way of the Heart.

Until we are done with all of our human emotional mischief…true Goodness will be illusive.

Seek beyond your wants and desires

Do not allow yourself to become controlled by an emotional pattern that is going to set you up for failure in your life and practice

Live in moderation toward anything that creates the idea of feeling “good”

Never succumb to the guilt and fear of the emotionality of your genetic nature

Sustain a deep silence within you that chooses the Neti Neti modality: neither this, neither that

  • Mary Roos
    Posted at 06:14h, 31 May Reply

    Letting go go of the ties that bind….
    To Live in The Middle Way
    Thank you for the tap, dear Siraj

  • sangit
    Posted at 08:40h, 01 June Reply

    love you.Namaste.

  • Michael Eidsmoe
    Posted at 17:15h, 10 June Reply

    Just help without helping.
    Just care without caring.
    Just LOVE.

    Thank you

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