BluesAintNothingBookCoverZen Buddhism instructs that reflection about life must not be confused with life itself. Life is to live. So it is said, if one points his finger at the moon, it would be a great mistake for another to stare at the finger and believe he knows the moon.

Zen masters sometimes teach by using puzzling problems called koans. For example, “What is the sound of one hand clapping,” or “Show me your original face before you were born.” A disciple may spend months or years trying to solve the problem until it occurs to him that the only “solution” is to give up trying to understand because there is nothing to be understood. In that instant of awakening, there is no problem and so he can respond spontaneously.

The disciple already knows all there is to know, but he does not trust his spontaneous perception of the world. By insisting there must be more to it, some secret to be discovered, he creates a problem much like the survival problem of a man who has his hands clutched tightly around his own throat.

We create some problems by seeking their solution.