Perfect… With Room for Improvement

the Zen master Ummon.

Image via Wikipedia

Zen Master Suzuki Roshi is reported to have looked out at his gathered students and said, “All of you are perfect just as you are and you could use a little improvement.”

That’s how it is.

I don’t understand how someone can start from a point of view that says,  “I’m fundamentally messed up, worthless and bad… therefore I have to get myself into shape.”

What would happen if we embraced a “starting point” that said, instead:

The basic situation is pretty good.  It’s sound and healthy and noble… and there’s work that we need to do.

There’s work to be done not because we are wrong or bad or worthless but because we have ancient habits which we’ve been feeding and strengthening for a long, long time.

It’s going to take a while to unwind them.


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