What’s Up Doc

One time Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a hearty meal and a bottle of wine, they crawled into their tent and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes woke up and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up and tell me what you see.”

“I see millions and millions of stars.”

“And what does that tell you, my dear Watson?”

Watson pondered for a moment, knowing that once again he was being tested. Finally he was ready. “From the point of view of astrophysics, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies with potentially billions of planets. We circle a small sun on the edge of a medium-sized galaxy. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo, so we should be careful tomorrow. Chronologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Theologically, I can see that God is all-powerful and that we are small and insignificant. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful sunny day tomorrow.” Satisfied, he relaxed back into his sleeping bag. But soon, knowing Holmes, some doubt crossed his mind. Finally, he turned to his friend and asked, “What do you see?”

“Watson, you missed the point… someone has stolen our tent!”

Sometimes our minds are like this. In fact, there is a saying in Buddhism that it’s easy to see a flea on the nose of a person one mile away, but very difficult to see an elephant standing on your own nose. But even at that time, our original nature is perfectly clear. Recently in a talk given in Korea at the end of the three-month winter retreat, Zen Master Seung Sahn said, “What is different from your original nature? The only thing that is different is your opinions and thinking. If you cut off all thinking, then your nature and Buddha’s nature become one… without cultivation, without practice.” What a deal!

One day Officer Yu Kan said to Zen Master Nam Cheon, “Gae Poep Sa once said, ‘Heaven, earth and I have the same root; the ten thousand things and I are one body.’ This is outrageous!”

Nam Cheon pointed to a tree in the garden and said, “People these days see this flowering tree as in a dream.” What does this mean? If you attain that, even Sherlock Holmes would be surprised.

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