Just Be Ordinary

Thich Nhat Hanh Vancouver 2011

Thich Nhat Hanh Vancouver 2011 ~ photo Jerome Freedman

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is simple monk in the long line of teachers in the lineage of Chinese Zen teacher Master Linji, founder of the Rinzai school of Zen.

Linji’s teaching were quite simple. He said,

“As I see it, there isn’t so much to do. Just be ordinary—put on your robes, eat your food, and pass the time doing nothing.” —Master Linji, Teaching 18

Thay, as Thich Nhat Hanh is known by his followers, often speaks about Linji and the tradition of his spiritual ancestors. Some of us in the Order of Interbeing cherish these moments of history.

In this article from the Tricycle Daily Dharma for February 27, 2013, Thay talks about Linji. He invented the word, “businesslessman!”

…the person who has nowhere to go and nothing to do. This was his ideal example of what a person could be. In Theravada Buddhism, the ideal person was the arhat, someone who practiced to attain his own enlightenment. In Mahayana Buddhism, the ideal person was the bodhisattva, a compassionate being who, on the path of enlightenment, helped others.

According to Master Linji, the businessless person is someone who doesn’t run after enlightenment or grasp at anything, even if that thing is the Buddha. This person has simply stopped. She is no longer caught by anything, even theories or teachings. The businessless person is the true person inside each one of us. This is the essential teaching of Master Linji.

When we learn to stop and be truly alive in the present moment, we are in touch with what’s going on within and around us. We aren’t carried away by the past, the future, our thinking, ideas, emotions, and projects. Often we think that our ideas about things are the reality of that thing.

Are you on the path to become a “businesslessman?” I sure hope I am! Please share!

This article was actually an excerpt from Thay’s book, “Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go: Waking Up To Who You Are“. As with all of Thay’s 100+ books, there is much benefit from reading and listening to what he has to say.

Buy This Book!
Nothing To Do, Nowhere To Go: Waking Up To Who You Are
Old Price: $14.95
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