“The sun in the sky shines everywhere, why does a cloud obscure it?”
Kong-ans (koans) are word puzzles which are used in the Zen tradition of which I am a part to help us deal with the conundrums of life. If you can penetrate the conundrums presented to you by your teacher, then maybe you can also penetrate the conundrums presented to you by life.
In this kong-an, you can think, if you like, of the sun, as the pure spirit of life and love and compassion. You can think, too, of the cloud as fear or greed which obscures that spirit and love and compassion. If life and love and compassion truly exist, why are they ever obscured?
If humans are good, how can they let the Amazon burn? This is a real-life kong-an. Someone grappling with religion might ask, if God or Goodness or Universal Wisdom exist, how can this bad thing be allowed to happen?
If I can truly penetrate the first kong-an about the cloud, then perhaps I can penetrate this second. And then I won’t be stuck or flummoxed. The trick for me is to sit with the not knowing. To trust the fear and anger and sadness that arise and to not know about them.
To just let them be. To not try to push them away. To not cling to them.
Then, maybe, the life spirit and love and compassion can shine everywhere… How can I help?