Words of Wisdom


11/05/2024 | Words of Wisdom    
< Words of Wisdom    


Master Jun Hong Lu: In the mountains, there was a small temple, inhabited only by a Zen master and his young novice monk.

One day, the novice monk asked the Zen master, “Master, you always say that circumstances arise from the mind and that everything is created by the mind alone, with the mind being the essence of a person. So, how big is a person’s mind, really?”

Instead of giving a direct answer, the Zen master said, “Close your eyes and, in your mind, build a great mountain”.

Obliged, the young monk shut his eyes and not long after, he reopened them and said, “Master, I am done with creating the mountain in my mind”.

The Zen Master said, “Please continue to create a stalk of grass with your mind”.

With his eyes shut, he pondered for a few brief seconds before telling his Master, “I’m done with it too”.

The Zen Master pressed on, “Alright, use your mind to bring yourself to the entrance of the temple”.

Immediately, the young monk replied, “Master, I’ve reached the entrance”.

The Zen Master carried on, “Now, bring yourself to the horizon”.

Straight away, the young monk answered, “Master, I’m there already”.

By now, the Zen Master probed, “When creating the huge mountain and the stalk of grass, did you do so solely with your mind or together with someone else’s mind?”

Without thinking, the young man promptly responded, “It was solely my mind that I was using”.

The Zen Master queried, “If that’s the case, did it take longer for you to reach the entrance of the temple or the horizon?”

Without any hesitation, the young monk replied, “Equally long, Master”.

The Zen Master probed the third time around, “In terms of size, the huge mountain is enormous, while the stalk of grass is tiny. Besides, let’s not forget about the inestimable number of small grass that grows in the mountain. So, when visualising the huge mountain, am I right to say that you were doing so with all your heart, while you only tapped into a fraction of it to create the stalk of grass?”

Shaking his head, the young monk replied, “Be it creating a huge mountain overgrown by vegetation, or creating a single stalk of grass, I did so with all my heart”.

Upon hearing the reply, the Zen Master burst out laughing before saying, “Be it bringing ourselves to the horizon or to the entrance of the temple using our mind, an equal amount of time is used. This shows that our mind is neither quick nor slow. It takes a heart to conjure up a huge mountain and with the same heart, you can create a stalk of grass. Clearly, our heart can either be large or small, allowing us to have an immense tolerance towards all things in life”.

As a Buddhist practitioner, we must understand that the ocean is vast and yet it is dwarfed by the expanse of the sky. That said, the vastness of the sky is incomparable to the magnanimity of one’s heart. Regardless of how vast the ocean or sky is, there is a limit to it.

On the contrary, our heart is boundless. In this world of no limits, we can leverage our heart to create infinite compassion, because only through an immeasurable heart can we transform ourselves and others.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s World Buddhist Fellowship Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 11 September 2019

< Words of Wisdom