“There is only the direct path,” Zen Master Toshiba exhorted to the lay community that had gathered for her Thursday talk. “You can go around in circles and try many paths, but the one which leads to the source is straight and narrow. It isn’t easy. It involves hardship, determination, and will power.” Many heads nodded in agreement. “We must not take this lightly,” The Master said sternly. “With the direct path, we can focus on what arises.” She paused, sighed, and then finished the session with the admonition, “Like a horse being led to water, we must not look to the left or the right, but keep our eyes on the road, trail or meadow . . . whatever it is the horse is walking on, and keep moving. Sitting still is a waste of time.”
At the next week’s meeting, one of the men who had attended previously came in late and tripped over several people as he made his way to the front of the line. There he stood in front of The Master. His face was a mass of bruises and it looked as if his nose and arm had been broken. He gingerly prostrated, bowed, and stood again, with the help of his neighbor.
“Why are you standing before me?” Master Toshiba inquired.
“You said sitting was a waste of time Master.”
“And what has happened to your body?”
“I have taken your words to heart and made every attempt to go straight and not detour from my destination, as you instructed. It has been a very hard road.”
“You have taken my words to heart and been thus rewarded. Has it knocked any sense into you yet?”
“It has knocked me senseless several times, but I don’t think I have any greater understanding.”
“Perhaps not, but you have provided a wonderful example for others.”
“Yes, please sit, if you can,” Master Toshiba advised. The man did so painfully.
“This gentleman has shown us all the power of faith and determination. He tried my words on for size and found that they are not to be taken literally, but as metaphors, stories, parables, fairy tales, and the gospel truth. Of course truth is subjective and your experience of what it is may be different than mine, but THE truth is formed upon solid rock and is true in all circumstances, situations, and times. And that’s the truth.”
More unbelievable words of enlightenment: Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire.