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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Something in the training, by Trevor Leggett

Hurricane Katrina 2005. Photo © Mike Hollingshead @thestormandsky A teacher once pointed out that there is an instruction in Buddhist training about going on one straight line, about keeping to one thing, and yet at the same time: ‘You’ve got to accept things; you’ve got to be flexible.’ The example he gave was of a spinning top or gyroscope. If you have ever played with a gyroscope as a child or seen one spinning, you will know that its balance is so good that when it is revolving, it can travel down a string on the little notch at its base whilst keeping a bal­ance on that string. It couldn’t do that unless it was spinning. But because it is revolving about its centre, it can keep a perfect balance. And if you blow the gyroscope it will bow, but come back to its balance again; it will give way to passing things, but will come back very strongly to its point of bal­ance and settle itself.

Then the teacher said, ‘In the same way, there is something in the training which keeps on the same line and keeps perfectly balanced, but at the same time it can adapt quite freely and softly to the impulses ― the momentary impulses from outside ― and adjust to the circumstances. Then it will resume its balance and go forward.’

Another teacher said, ‘The gyroscope adapts gently but comes back firmly,’ and he added, ‘It does not react forcefully.’ Then he gave the example of a man trying to calm a lake, or perhaps the waves in his bath. The man wants the bath water to be calm so he smacks down the waves as they come up. The teacher said, ‘That’s like trying to smack down your thoughts as they arise. But that will just create new ones! If, instead, you simply keep still and watch the waves, they will die down of themselves.’

From Fingers and Moons

Other posts by Trevor Leggett

Books by Trevor Leggett from
Buddhist Publishing Group.

Old Zen MasterFingers & Moons, by Trevor Leggett


3 Responses

  1. This is a lesson I am learning right now.

  2. Oh dear – just what I need to learn, thank you for reminding me. Just how many reminders do I need?

  3. Wow!! ….I was thinking along the same line today…..The article help me put things into perspective

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