No Water, No Moon

Chiyono, a nun, studied many years under Zen Master Bukko at the Engakuji Temple in Kamakura. Still, she could not attain the fruits of meditation. One moonlight night she was carrying water carefully in an old wooden paid girded by bamboo. The bamboo broke, and the bottom fell out of the pail. At that moment she was set free. Chiyono said, "No more water in the pail, no more moon in the water."

The old pail is Chiyono; it is also you and I. The greatest attachment is attachment to one's self. The harder Chiyono tried to attain enlightenment, the more self-conscious she became. She was so careful to try and save the pail from breaking. In life we take endless pains to preserve our ego self. We rarely put our whole life into anything. Afraid of failure, timid, we go half way, seldom all out. Nothing is really accomplished unless one's whole life is invested in it - 100% - until you are broken. When the ego self is broken, the real self begins. That is why, in Zen, it is said, "You die!" 


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