A zen story

From Quev at Mobtown Blues:

A man was arrested and falsely charged with murder.  Despite his
protestations of innocence, he was condemned to be executed at dawn.
Resigned to his fate, he called for a Buddhist priest to give him
comfort him in his last hours.  The priest told him that if he recited
the prayer to the Bodhisattva of Compassion
12,000 times before dawn, he would be released.  The condemned man
stared at the priest in confusion and terror, since the night was
already half gone and there was no way that he would be able to get
through that many repetitions of the Enmei before the sun rose on the
day of his execution.  Nevertheless, he bowed to the priest and began
chanting.  He had only gotten to the 4,000th repitition when the cold
light of dawn broke into his cell and he heard the jailer’s key turning
in the iron door.  With one final prostration on the cold stone floor,
he rose and turned to meet his fate, only to find that the door was
open and he was free to go.

Or, as is said in Pirkei Avot, "Lo alecha ha-m’lacha ligmor, v’lo atah ben chorin l’hibateyl mimenah." (It is not up to you to complete the work, but neither are you free to refrain from doing it.)

3 Responses to “A zen story”

  1. Andrea Says:

    I do like that story–I never would have connected it with NY resolutions, though. It seems more social justice-y.

  2. merseydotes Says:

    I really like the story, too. The last sentence is a good mantra for life.

  3. CJ Says:

    Reminds me of the saying: “If asked to move a mountain, begin with the first rock.”
    In other words, don’t worry about how daunting it is, just start doing it.

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