Bells and Robes

Zen Master Unmon said: "The world is vast and wide. Why do you put on your robes at the sound of a bell?"

In a Zen temple the lives of the monks are well regulated. When the bell sounds, each puts on his robe and goes to the meditation hall. But Unmon asks: Why? There is an old saying that whatever comes in throught the gates is foreign. The gates are the senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. If we decide, move, and act by the sense, we obey foreign commands. In response to our environment we feel pressures, are easily upset, become nervous. This is one of the characteristics of modern life. But if one settles down firmly in one's inner life, all actions, feelings, and deeds come from deep within. The unenlightened one does things because he must do them; the enlightened one acts because he wants to. Freedom lies in the centre of life. Unmon points to the centre.


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