Time for Enlightenment

zen_as_a_frog

Natalie Goldberg’s book The True Secret of Writing, like many of her other books, talks about the relationship of Zen meditation practice to writing. Reading it recently reminded me of a favorite Zen story not in the book, this:

The eager student seeks out the Zen Master and at last is able to get a meeting with him. “Master, please, tell me how long it will take to achieve enlightenment.”

The teacher replies, “Twenty years.”

“Twenty years? No, no, you don’t understand. I am going to follow your instructions to the letter, I have a will of iron, I will meditate every day for as long as necessary, twice as long, I will not stray nor will I rest until I achieve enlightenment.”

“In that case,” says the teacher, “Forty years.”

2 thoughts on “Time for Enlightenment

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