This piece comes from my Zen school's newsletter and I just thought it was perfect in the face of all we're dealing with in environment. It's a gift for all of you who are working to save the world for the rest of us.
The first part is a letter from a student to Zen Master Seung Sahn, who founded the Kwan Um School. The second part is ZMSS's response:
Dear Zen Master Seung Sahn,
I feel like I’m going crazy. I’m working for the Legal Aid Society, and the maximum caseload at any one time is supposed to be 75. I have more than 75 cases right now. Starting this Friday, one of the attorneys is going on vacation, which will mean even more new cases for each person (there are three other lawyers.)
I am quite new to the job and feeling totally overwhelmed. As the number of cases increases, I can do less and less for each person. Weeks go by in which there is no time to devote to some of the cases I already have.
I am very worried about this because I’m forced to keep doing a more and more sloppy job. I want to help people, and I like to do a beautiful job.
I fear what this will do to my health (pains, ulcers, etc.) I try to have a good attitude, but I am being completely overwhelmed by all this. I am feeling very desperate.
Habjang [putting hands together in prayer position] with love,
Thank you for your letter. How are you? You are very busy and are helping many people–that is wonderful!
If your mind is busy then the whole world is busy. If your mind is complicated, the
whole world is complicated. If your mind is quiet, then the whole world is quiet. So, an
eminent teacher said, “Everything is created by the mind.”
Do you know an elevator’s job? Many people can push the button wanting the elevator, but the elevator only comes when the proper floor and direction appears. When the elevator is going up, it only stops for up-buttons and coming down it only stops for down-buttons. The elevator understands its correct action sequence. That is only going straight. If you put your mind in order, then it works the same as a computer. Then you will understand your correct action sequence. That is correct opinion, correct condition, and correct situation—Zen mind. Also, that is great love and great compassion mind. If you want that mind you must make your “I, My, Me” disappear. If you don’t hold your opinion, your condition or your situation, then your original high-class computer will work correctly. So, you must practice every day.
I ask you: What are you? If you don’t understand, only go straight don’t know. This don’t know broom will sweep your consciousness computer clear of I, my, me dust. Then clear moment-to-moment working is possible. That is the correct way and the great bodhisattva way.
I hope you only go straight don’t know, which is clear like space, don’t make complicated, don’t make busy, soon get Enlightenment and save all people from suffering.
Yours in the dharma
Zen Master Seung Sahn
May we all be blessed with elevator minds!
The letters are copyright the Kwan Um School of Zen, who kindly gave me permission to reprint them.