By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times
The ceremonial of tea
In Japan, I took part in the “tea ceremony.”
We entered a small room. We admired the teapot. The tea was served, and that was it. However, everything was done in a unique ceremonial fashion, in which a quotidian practice became a moment of communion with the Universe.
Okakusa Kasuko explains:
“The ceremony is about adoring the beautiful and the simple. All its effort is concentrated on trying to reach the perfect through the imperfect gestures of our daily life.”
If a mere meeting to drink tea can take us to God, it is wise to be alert to the many other opportunities life offers us to get there.
Begging for alms
It is part of the Zen Buddhist monks’ training to carry out something known as takuhatsu – a pilgrimage begging for alms. In addition to helping monasteries that survive on donations and compel disciples to become humble, this practice has another meaning: purifying the city in which the monks are.
That is because – according to the Zen philosophy – donor, beggar and alms are part of an important chain of balance.
The one who begs does so because he is needy. The one who gives acts that way because he is needy as well.
Alms serve as a connection between two needs, whereas the city’s environment improves as soon as everyone takes the actions that need to be taken.
All of us have already heard our mother saying about us: “My son did that because he lost his mind, but deep down, he is a very good person.”
One thing is blaming ourselves for our own thoughtless actions. Blaming ourselves does not take us anywhere. Another thing, however, is to forgive ourselves for everything we do. Acting that way, we will never be capable of correcting our path. There is something called common sense, and we should judge the result of our attitudes and not the intentions we had. Deep down, everybody is good, but that does not matter.
Jesus said: “Every tree is known by its fruit.”
An old Arab proverb says: “God judges the tree for its fruits, not for its roots.”
The power of the word
Of all the powerfully destructive weapons Man has been able to invent, the most terrible – and most cowardly one – is the word.
Daggers and firearms leave blood vestiges. Bombs shake buildings and streets. Poisons end up being detected.
But destructive words awaken the Evil, leaving no clues. Children are conditioned during years by their parents; artists are mercilessly criticized; women are systematically massacred by the commentaries of their husbands; and the faithful are kept away from religion by those who judge themselves capable of interpreting the voice of God.
Question whether you are using this weapon and watch out if it is being used against you. And do not allow it.