“The mind is like the water of a pool,
tranquil without wind;
Sitting silently for thousands of breaths;
Midnight, but don’t be surprised to see
whales making huge waves
to welcome the sun at dawn.”
~ Lu You
This is a poem I came across years ago in my first reading of Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit’s “The Complete Book of Zen” – one of the most amazing pieces of literature I have ever come across.
I’ve read this book many times over the years and am currently giving it my fifth read.
There are endless koans, poems, and other stories throughout the text which help to test one’s understanding of higher wisdom, all the while providing deep and thorough explanations of various concepts that many struggle to understand.
Every time you read the book, you begin to understand everything in new ways, and certain koans and poems that once left you at a complete loss for understanding suddenly light up your mind in a flash of awareness!
Today I share this poem with you; after meditating on it from time to time over the years, I have finally come to understand its deeper meaning.
I was using thought and intellect far too much; I felt I was close but not quite there. Realizing I was not confident enough in my understanding of the symbolism of ‘midnight’, ‘whales’, and ‘dawn’, I approached a friend who has studied meditation and Buddhism for many years longer than I and asked if he would share some insight. In his wisdom, he asked me a question instead of giving a response (this is a popular technique Masters use to help break through the intellectualization process so that the aspirant can see and experience his true face directly and spontaneously). His question was, “When you stub your toe really hard, does it hurt?” This may make no sense to others, but it was just what I needed to break through my over-thinking and intellectualizing. The understanding shined bright and clear from within, and I spontaneously experienced the cosmic truth of both the poem and my wise friend’s question.
Do you understand the deeper significance of Lu You’s poem?
Have a lovely Wednesday! xo