I remember everything about the moment when it came to me that we don’t train in order to become enlightened, more we train because it is enlightenment. Of course Zen Master Dogen makes this point over and over again in his writings. It is one thing to read something and quite another to make it ones own, so to speak. When a line of scripture suddenly becomes clear it is all too easy to jump to the conclusion that you now understand what it’s meaning is. In one sense you do and in another you’re no closer.
When the penny drops, as it did for the chap whose words I published the other day, great confidence can arise and that is good. There can indeed be times when streams of insights follow one another. Yet other times when you wonder if taking up tennis instead might be a good plan! The point is to carry on and not take what comes so personally, i.e. I’m great because I now know, or I’m a looser for even thinking about giving up meditation. Sometimes the wind blows and sometimes the sun shines. Where in this is the concept of progress on the path?
BTW, I didn’t realize that ‘the penny dropped’ was a British term. If you see something here you don’t understand please say so.
4 thoughts on “Cracks in the Curtain”
“Sometimes the wind blows and sometimes the sun shines. Where in this is the concept of progress on the path?”
Wow – that really struck me. I’m going to be pondering that.
I enjoyed reading the discussion about what “the penny drops” might mean. Reminded me how easy it is to misunderstand or not communicate because we assume the other person is on the same wavelength. And I don’t know the origin of the phrase except I personally imagine a slot machine like the ones that used to be in amusement arcades – but I don’t know why.
I guess the term almost certainly comes from the days when you had to put a big old fashioned penny into the slot in the old ‘loo’ cubicles to open the door and gain access. When the ‘penny dropped’ the door opened for you.
Hence also the origin of the term ‘spend a penny’ of course.
And the light came on. I was sitting in a hospital ward yesterday & someone walked past saying to his companion – has the penny dropped then? I thought again about how it means the light goes on (the light of understanding when all becomes clear) – it must be originate from putting pennies into the electricity meter in the “old” days.