Sunday, July 31, 2005

By their fruits ye shall know them

Signs of Good Government

When Master Xuetang was leading the community at Qianfu, one day he asked a recent arrival where he had come from. The student said he had come from Fujian. Xuetang said, "Did you see any good leaders along the way?"

The student said, "Recently I passed through such-and-such a province, and although I have never met him, I know Master Ben of Poshan there to be a good leader."

Xuetang said, "How do you know he is good?"

The monk said, "When you go into the monastery there, the paths are clear, the halls are in good repair, there are always incense and lamps burning in the shrines, morning and night the bell and drum are sounded precisely and clearly, the morning and noon gruel and rice are clean and wholesome, and the monks are polite when they see people as they go about their activities. This is how I know Ben is a good leader."

Xuetang smiled and said, "Ben is surely wise, and you have eyes too." He then reported these words to the governor of the prefecture and added, "I am getting old, and I ask you to invite Ben to be leader here at Qianfu, in hopes of the prosperity of the work of the Chan community."
-Annals of the East Lake taken from Zen Lessons - The Art of Leadership by Thomas Cleary

Matthew 7:1-5
1Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured unto you.
3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye?
5Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

Inner Mastery, Outer Rectitude
Xuetang said to Master Huaian Guang:

When I was young I heard these words from my father:
"'Without inner mastery one cannot stand, without outward rectitude one cannot act.' This saying is worth practicing all your life; in it is summed up the work of sages and saints."

I remembered these words and cultivated myself while living at home. Even now, when I am leader of a group, these words are like the balance stone weighing heavy and light, the compass and rule determining square and round. Without this everything loses its order.
- Extensive Record taken from Zen Lessons - The Art of Leadership by Thomas Cleary

Xuetang said to Master Qiean:

In managing affairs one must weigh the heavy and the light; when speaking out one must first think and reflect. Strive to accord with the middle way, do not allow bias.

Hasty and careless actions seldom bring success. Even if you can get done in this way, after all you cannot complete anything totally.

When I was in the community of students, I fully witnessed benefit and harm. Only those of virtue moved people by their magnanimity. I hope those in the future who have willpower will practice this carefully. Only this will be of sublime benefit.

Lingyuan used to say, "Usually when people always dwell in inner reflection, they are able to clearly understand much, but when they get involved in things, running outside, then they oppose integration and lose the body of reality."

If you really want to think of inheriting the responsibility of the enlightened teachers, I direct you future descendants to always examine and criticize yourselves.
- Extensive Record taken from Zen Lessons - The Art of Leadership by Thomas Cleary

Matthew 7:6

6Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them under their feet, and turn and rend you.

Someone of Perception
Xuetang said:

When Gaoan addressed the assembly, he would always say, "In a group you must know when there is someone with perception." I asked him the reason for this, and Gaoan said, "Have you not read the words of Guishan, 'In your actions, take your examples from the superior, do not lazily follow the mediocre and the vulgar'? Those who while daily in the midst of the crowd do not sink into low folly all utter such words.

"In a multitude of people, the vulgar are many, the knowers are few. The vulgar are easy to get used to, the knowers are hard to get near to.

"If you can develop your will so that you are like one man facing a thousand enemies until the power of vulgar habits are ended, you will truly be transcendent, beyond measure."
- Extensive Record taken from Zen Lessons - The Art of Leadership by Thomas Cleary

Matthew 7:13-23
13Enter ye in by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are they that enter in thereby.
14For narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are they that find it.
15Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
16By their fruits ye shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works?
23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

"By their fruits ye shall know them."

"Narrow is the gate... and few are they that find it."

"I never knew you"

Or perhaps, more to the point he should have said... you never knew me.

Wide is the way to destruction and many are they on that path, the vulgar and the mediocre, the one's that see the mote in their neighbors eye but not the beam in their own. Too often I fall into that company. Perhaps we all do. Inner reflection allows me to find these faults in myself. Sometimes right away, sometimes after much work, sometimes only after battling much denial and self-justification. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly... doesn't matter... as long as we are practicing inward reflection, practicing inwardly what we profess outwardly... searching for these answers the timeframe is of little consequence. The fruits will always materialize if we work for them and if we have eyes to see and ears to listen we can always see those that are striving on that narrow, inward path. The difference between they and those on the wide path are glaringly obvious once the mist is lifted from our eyes.


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