"Wash Your Bowl": Insight on Procrastination From a Koan

“Wash Your Bowl”: Perception on Procrastination From a Koan


Persevering with with my deal with mindfulness and what it has to show us about procrastination, immediately I flip to the Zen custom of the koan. Koans are enigmatic and paradoxical tales that defy answer via logical reasoning. They’re used to impress perception into truths concerning the world. Satirically, when it comes to writing a weblog publish, they don’t seem to be one thing we are able to or ought to even attempt to clarify to a different. It’s a matter of realization with one’s complete being. In different phrases, the reality inherent within the story turns into actual for the one that encounters the koan.

There are lots of well-known koans equivalent to “What’s the sound of 1 hand clapping?” Collections of koans with commentary can be found.

I encountered koans for the primary time in my late teenagers with Radical Zen: The Sayings of Joshu, and I spent the years since reflecting on them, in addition to the custom from which they emerged. Many have influenced me over time, however none a lot because the one I need to share immediately.

An Influential Koan

This koan, like many, is recorded as an alternate between a Zen grasp and a monk. On this case, the grasp is Joshu (Japanese) or in Chinese language, Zhaozhou (generally known as Chao-chou Ts’ung-shen, 778–897). I’ve learn completely different variations of this alternate, however all have the identical important construction:

A monk spoke to Joshu, “I’ve simply entered the monastery: please give me some steering.”

Joshu requested, “Have you ever had breakfast but?”

The monk answered, “Sure I’ve eaten.”

Joshu replied, Then go wash your bowl.”

In some variations of this koan, there’s a last line that notes one thing like, “At this, the monk was enlightened,” or “The monk understood.”

No Reactive Stance

Of the numerous commentaries on this koan, it’s not stunning that almost all deal with being within the current second, doing the best subsequent applicable motion. Though I agree, and this appears apparent, what I need to convey your focus to is what isn’t there. What isn’t there’s a reactive stance.

Take into consideration the duty of washing the dishes, and even simply this one bowl and spoon. Frequent reactions embody the next:

  • I don’t really feel prefer it.
  • I don’t need to.
  • Why do I’ve to do that?
  • I’ll really feel prefer it later.

These reactive ideas are the obstacles to our motion.

The fantastic factor is that we are able to have ideas with out being these ideas. Ideas assume themselves. The mind is all the time busy pondering and feeling. We don’t should determine with these ideas. These ideas aren’t us. We will observe these ideas, these reactions, our conditioned responses, however nothing extra. We don’t should get caught up in them, the tales which might be usually related and the feelings which might be equally conditioned with them equivalent to resentment, frustration, even anger.

Mindfulness meditation may help us. A day by day apply may help us have ideas with out being ideas. This creates large freedom.

Wash your bowl. The top of procrastination is so simple as this.


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