Do Not Paint Legs On A Snake

by on Jun 17, 2011Zen Master Su Bong

When you see the sky, only blue. When you see the tree, just green. When you see the wall, only white. When you see the floor during meditation time, eyes half open and only meditating, only brown. That name is “seeing something, mind is clear.”
Zen means “don’t make anything.” Don’t make “behind” meaning. If you make “behind” meaning, then you are checking, checking, checking… your whole life. So even if you attain something, you cannot believe it.
We have in Zen one saying, “Don’t paint legs on a snake”. That’s No.1 important speech. Trust that the snake is enough. Why do we need to put our idea on the snake? “Snake you don’t have legs, so I put on you legs because you should walk. Now you have legs, so of course you need socks and shoes.” So you make a snake with legs and socks and shoes.
If you cannot believe that the snake is enough, that means, we cannot believe in ourselves. We cannot believe our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind, so we cannot believe anything. And we always think about great love, great compassion, great bodhisattvas’ way – only help somebody.
Our intention is good, we want to help this snake, we want to make it have feet and socks and shoes and give it some style. But our good intention only hinders everything around us. Because the basis of all human relationships is trust. If you trust something and trust someone and they make a mistake, that is no problem. Because you trust them, soon they will begin to trust themselves. They will slowly, slowly, slowly… everything becomes independent.
We also have one saying: “Great love and great compassion are wonderful but sometimes too much compassion turns to shit.” So our practicing means put it all down, “my idea, my condition, my situation.” Somebody said: “You never listen to me, you never listen, you never listen to me.” The meaning is – you’re following “my” idea. Put it all down, that’s our teaching.

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