There are a lot of people who ask me what Zen is about. This morning my understanding is that everyone practices the Way of Unification, if by no other path than the “Ethical Dilemma.” They are like formal Zen koans… Pointers to where an opening to where the “Truth” lives.
Ethical Dilemma’s are those moments when we have to make a choice between two equally undesirable alternatives, and our values or morals are involved and there seems to be no so-called “Right” answer. One example would be, I’m in the store and there’s a twenty dollar bill on the floor. There’s no one around. I pick it up. Do I keep it or do we try to find the person? Another one is that maybe we know or find something out, that's involving another person. If we tell them, they are going to hurt, and if we don’t tell them they are going to hurt, so we have an opportunity to potentially influence how they are experience something that’s going to bring unhappiness.
This is no different that the Zen koan that asks, “You’re hanging in the tree by your mouth, that is 200 feet high. You can’t reach for any tree limb, with your hands or your feet. Someone comes to the base of the tree and shouts, my brother is dying, and bleeding to death, which way to the hospital?” If you answer you may die, if you do, you get to live, but someone else may die. How do we reconcile that, as a human being? Difficult choices is the nature of our life. How will we respond?
In those moments, we are left to watch our own heart and mind. We have to make a choice about what is and is not important to us. We have to decide and chose the type of person we would like to be. We have to choose between our biggest fears and our greatest dreams.
Today you and I may face an ethical dilemma? With what mind and heart will we attempt to answer? Will that mind and heart be fear based or love based? Will it be the mind and heart that lives through a policy or caring or uncaring? Lets get real. That’s up to us on an individual basis. In the difficult and not so difficult circumstances we face, I wish us both courage and great skill, as we face our choices. Welcome to our life. Welcome to our koan. Welcome to our moment to find out precisely who we are.
May We Practice Our Life Well,
Jaye Seiho Morris 淸峰, Curator