Q127. Can I reach the final goal in a year if I focus all my attention to practising Zen?

A. Who could say, “No”? However, the fact is that no one knows how long it will take. Be determined but don’t be impatient. Impatience can cause attachment, which can raise side effects. The harder you try to reach it, when you are impatient, the farther you can get away from it. Watering a flowering plant twice as much as usual doesn’t make it grow and bloom twice as fast as usual; rather it can damage its root. Likewise, a hen, however hard it incubates its eggs, can’t shorten the period of incubation and move the hatching time a few days forward. You should be patient enough to wait for the time to grow ripe. If you get lost in your practice, you will reach the stage where you become indifferent even to the final goal. That is a sign of your being close to the final goal.

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If you tune the string of a violin too loosely, it doesn’t make a sound.
If you tune it too tightly, it breaks.
Only when you tune it properly does it make a beautiful sound.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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