There’s a story about the childhood of a Japanese Zen monk Ikkyu. One day the old master went out, another child monk broke the vase which the old master cherished most. He worried very much about being punished by the old master, and asked help from the clever Ikkyu. Ikkyu looked at his worrying face with mercy and thought a while, said: “don’t worry, my brother. I can help you.” After the old master came back, he went to visit him and said: “Master, I have a question.” The old master said: ”Mm.” “You always taught us that everything is like this body, when the time arrives, there’s no way to keep it. Is there exception?” Ikkyu asked. “Of course not. Do you doubt it? ” The old master replied. “Yes, master. I used to doubt, but now I don’t!” With saying this, Ikkyu opened the cloth which wrapped the broken vase. “Look, master. The time has arrived for this vase.” The old master stared at the pieces, and looked at Ikkyu, and laughed.
I want to ask a similar question: “is there any exception beyond the impermanent cause-condition-effect?” Maybe if the vase was broken by a mouse or wind, then it should be an accident. But remember, there’s no such effect either without cause or no condition. Even it was broken by wind; there must be a cause from you. There’s no accident – which is one of the “secrets of the universe”, including the secret of you. So, no matter what happens to you, how it happens to you, we should accept it at the first moment, and then keep it or transform it.
When you win a prize, don’t be surprised. When you survive the disaster, don’t be surprised. When you meet an old classmate in a remote place, don’t be surprised. When you find your lost bike back, don’t be surprised. When your enemy becomes your good partner, don’t be surprised. When a bird defecates onto your head, don’t be surprised. When your lover fails to keep an appointment, don’t be surprised. When you are on a sinking boat, don’t be surprised. When you catch H1N1, don’t be surprised…
I don’t want you to be heartless, but face everything more equally and peacefully with the view of impermanent cause-condition-effect. So that we can maintain “gift” or transform “crisis” into a better way.