Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monkey Story for Monkey Year

This is a very good teaching story by Zen Master Dae Kwan. Read on.

"Monkey Story for Monkey Year" -- Zen Master Dae Kwan
A monk from Malaysia shared a story from his retreat centre in Ipoh.
One day, many monkeys came to the centre when they were preparing for a retreat. In a very short time, these wild monkeys turned the whole centre upside down, especially in the kitchen. They became frequent visitors to the centre, and they came just to disturb and mess up everything.
All the volunteers and the monk were frustrated. The retreat centre is a place for quietude and practice. It is not for the hostile monkeys to come and turn it into their playground and war zone. Finally the volunteers called for a meeting. Many suggestions were proposed: poison them, cage them, put up electrical barb wires, call the government department to shoot them, etc.

After this meeting and before any action was taken, the monkeys became more hostile and fierce. They even wanted to attack the monk. The leader of the monkeys came to him with an angry face showing its teeth as if it wanted to take revenge. The monk was astounded. At the same time he understood his own mistake. How could I just think of helping the retreat students and not think of the monkeys as well. They are also sentient beings that we vow to save... With this realisation and remorse, he repented deeply to the monkeys. But only repentance is not enough, I must take a few more steps, he thought to himself. So he brought all the things that the monkeys liked to eat and put them in the open area of the kitchen. Interestingly, the monkeys did not respond to this good will. They did not take anything that was offered to them; instead, they continued their hostile actions towards the centre. The monk continued to repent and make offerings to the monkeys. After a week the monkeys calmed down a bit. They started to look at the food offered to them, but they still wouldn't eat the food. They just came and checked on the food. After a few more days they at last grabbed the food and ran away quickly. Then slowly they came and sat next to the monk, checking on the food. Finally they sat down to eat the offering. After some time, the monkeys stopped coming to the temple, and the temple is now free from the monkeys disturbing them.

This is a good story about how our thinking creates our world. Thinking bad, attract revenge. Change our attitude with correct action, the whole situation can be transformed. This world has more and more conflicts. Out of ignorance more and more people want to kill each other. With our sincere action of helping each other, we can heal the wounds that we once created.
2016 is the year of the monkey. Monkeys are very active, mischievous and clever. The good thing about them is that you can train and tame them. When they are disciplined, and once they've mastered their skills, they can do many tricks and help their master. This is true to our monkey mind. It is restless with no direction. Once we train this monkey mind, this mind can help this world and bring happiness and peace to the whole universe.

Su Bong Zen Monastery wishes you all a happy new year filled with good training that will tame this monkey mind and fruitful experiences that will bring happiness and harmony to you and this world!

Read more of Zen Master Dae Kwan’s teachings here: SUBONG ZEN MONASTERY

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