Seung Sahn would say, “When you eat, just eat. When you read the newspaper, just read the newspaper. Don’t do anything other than what you are doing.”

One day a student saw him reading the newspaper while he was eating. The student asked if this did not contradict his teachings.

Seung Sahn said, “When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper.”

Be Thirsty

Seung Sahn was saying that you witness everything. A student took it logically. This is how we also hear. We are not hearing either.

You have only heard the word, you don’t know what it means. Love is one of those words everybody uses and nobody knows what it means.

There are a few words, like “prayer”, “love”, “God”, “meditation”: these words you can use, but you don’t know what their meaning is because their meaning is not in the dictionary. Otherwise, you can consult a dictionary; that is not difficult. Their meaning is in a certain way of life. Their meaning is in a certain transformation within you. Their meaning is not linguistic; their meaning is existential. Unless you know by experience, you don’t know – and there is no other way to know it.

Don’t be in a hurry. So often, hurrying causes delay. As you thirst, wait patiently – the deeper the waiting, the sooner it comes.

You have sown the seed, now sit in the shade and watch what happens. The seed will break, it will blossom, but you cannot speed up the process. Doesn’t everything need time? Work you must, but leave the results to God. Nothing in life is ever wasted, especially steps taken towards truth.

But at times impatience comes, impatience comes with thirst, but this is an obstacle. Keep the thirst and throw the impatience.

Do not confuse impatience with thirst. With thirst there is yearning but no struggle. With impatience there is struggle but no yearning. With longing there is waiting but no demand. With impatience there is demand but no waiting. With thirst there are silent tears. With impatience there is restless struggle. Truth cannot be attacked; it is attained through surrender not through struggle. It is conquered through total surrender.

When you surrender on your own, unconditionally… because if there is any condition it is not a surrender at all; then it is a bargain. Even if this condition is there, that “I will surrender to you if you surrender to me,” then too it is not a surrender. It may be business, bargain, but not surrender.

Surrender doesn’t belong to the market. It is not part of economics at all. Surrender means unconditional: “I surrender because I enjoy; I surrender because it is so beautiful, I surrender because in surrendering, suddenly my misery disappears.” When you surrender, the misery disappears because the misery is the shadow of the ego. When you surrender, the ego is not there. How can misery exist? That’s why love is so happy.

Learning from the story Mind In A Hurry: Be Thirsty

Experience Learning

How can the thirst arise? Though the thirst does not arise, though it is not even known, still a kind of inner restlessness, an undercurrent of agony pursues us throughout our lives. A person achieves fame, and yet he feels an emptiness inside. A person amasses wealth, and yet he is missing something, something still remains unattained. A person finds love, and yet it seems that something still remains to be found, he remains unfulfilled. What is that something which seems to be missing every time you attain success in life?

It is an inner thirst which we have suppressed, which we have not allowed to arise, to grow and to be satiated. That thirst raises its head every now and then; it turns into a question mark on every path we tread. And it says to us, “You achieved so much fame, and yet you achieved nothing; you achieved everything and yet you are empty.” That thirst aches and hurts us; that thirst disturbs and torments us from every vantage point in our lives. But we deny it, and busy ourselves in our work with greater vigor, so that its still small voice is not heard. That is why a person who is engaged in making money goes for it headlong, and someone running after fame runs at a gallop. They close their ears so they don’t have to hear that they have found nothing in the pursuit of their ambitions.

We do everything in our power to prevent this thirst from arising. Otherwise a day will come when children will be born with the thirst for godliness just as they are born with hunger, thirst and sex. Such a world can be created, and it is worth creating. But who is going to do it?

Only a number of people who are seeking truth, godliness can create such a world. But to do so, it is necessary that the whole conspiracy against godliness, as evident up to now, is foiled and defeated.

There is indeed thirst, but man can devise artificial means to suppress it.

Never suppress. Keep your inner thirst alive.

What is required for inner thirst – Hurry Slowly.

Jesus said:  Two will rest on a bed: The one will die, the one will live.

Exactly the same words are in the Upanishads. They say that there are two birds on a tree, one sitting on a lower branch, another sitting on a higher branch. The bird on the lower branch thinks, gets worried, desires, demands, accumulates, fights, competes; it remains in anguish, tension, jumps from this branch to that, always moving, never in repose. The other bird, who is sitting on a higher branch, is in repose. He is so silent, as if he is not. He has no desires, no dreams happen to him. He has no needs to fulfill, as if everything is fulfilled, as if he has attained nowhere to go. He simply sits, enjoying himself, and he watches the bird who is on the lower branch.

These are the two dimensions in you. You are the tree and the lower is always disturbed. The lower is your body and the bodily needs and the bodily desires, and if you forget yourself completely into it then you become one with it. On the higher branch, at the top of the tree, sits the other bird who is a witness, who simply looks down at this foolish bird jumping, moving in anguish, anxiety, anger, sex. Everything happens to it; this other bird is simply a witness, he simply looks on and on, he is just a spectator. You are the tree.


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