Out of nowhere, the mind comes forth. The Diamond Sutra
Working with this koan alters how I might meet the world in two ways. In one twist, it opens life up in a way where I can’t expect anything to happen outside of the now, and in another, the koan takes my attention to my thoughts and opinions about what I come into contact with each moment. …
The fact that I take mundane shrubs, trees, stray cats, and rain squalls for granted or even consider them to be inconvenient nuisances is something the koan quietly forces me to examine more closely. What would life be like without these images, moments, and experiences? Do I create an inner world in which only some of what is present makes it through my ingrained mental filters? If yes, what would happen if I deconstructed these borders and removed them? Maybe everything that graces my life has a subtle extraordinariness and that allowing this connection to blossom on its own is a practice that takes place naturally when I just begin to notice.
Don Dianda, commentary on Zen koans in the Huffington Post
Zen is the opposite of withdrawal from the world. It’s a radical acceptance of life, the pain and suffering no less than the beauty of the dawn skies, of the sea in rain, the mountain dark under morning clouds, and the shopping list. Unless a path leads us back into the world — reincarnates us, as it were — it’s not a complete path. For Zen, this life, this world, is the very absolute. Making a cup of tea, fetching milk from the fridge, standing outside on the front step, watching the remains of a storm drift across the dawn sky, and hearing the drip-drip of rainwater into a puddle from a roof are miracles. The miraculous, in the end, is the fact of anything existing at all.
Henry Shukman, One Blade of Grass: Finding the Old Road of the Heart, a Zen Memoir