Q334. How should I, as a businessman, accept the teaching that we should make no discrimination by seeing everything as empty?

A. It is very natural for you to expect something in return as a businessman. You should consider the ratio of reward to cost and calculate whether, when and how you will attain return for your goods or services, which is business. Not only a businessman but also even a housewife has to make discrimination in order to run her family budget efficiently and to bring up her children well. Whatever you are, a businessman or a housewife, you should do your best to make the best discrimination in your job. What would happen if a neurosurgeon should not make careful and delicate discrimination during his operation on his patient while thinking of it as empty?

 

Saying that everything is empty doesn’t mean that you should belittle the realities of life but that you should see the other side of the realities of life that you have neglected and not recognised so far, as well as the side that you have been accustomed to seeing. Then you can realise that there is unlimited possibility that can’t be confined by the labels attached to them.

 

Making discrimination in Zen means making discrimination without knowing that everything is empty. Discrimination you make while aware that everything is empty is not discrimination any longer. So, once you have realised that everything is empty, whatever discrimination you may make, you are free from making discrimination. He who knows that everything is empty and neutral is not so indulged in the pleasure of success as to overestimate his situation when everything comes up roses, because he knows that his success is also empty and neutral. Also, he is never so frustrated as to lose his composure even though he encounters a so-called failure. Rather, he can think of the failure as a steppingstone for his future success.

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To conclude, the phrase ‘you should not discriminate knowing that everything is empty’ doesn’t mean that you should make light of the realities of life but that you should not be a servant controlled by such illusions as success and failure but a master who can take advantage of them.

 

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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