Page 23 - The Way of Beauty - Meidao

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11

even though the cup was long since full. At a certain point the professor could no longer restrain himself and cried, 'The cup is overflowing. No more will go in!' 'Like this cup', said Nan-In, 'your head is also full of opinions and illusions. How I can I show you Zen if you do not empty your head first?’"

"Yes, Murphy-san, the western professor tried with his knowledge to catch Zen in his head in an intellectual manner. The Zen master wanted him to open his heart, to be open-minded and without prejudices, because spiritual wealth can never be obtained solely through the head.

"As a young adult, I used to think that you had to be very learned to be able to understand philosophy. I thought over the long run one would become a good philosopher by studying heavy books, particularly thick ones. I was a quick study and my father sent me to England where I studied western philosophy. When I returned to Japan with my degree and thought I knew a lot, my father sent me to China to learn Chan-Buddhism. In the beginning, I couldn't really follow why my father did this, but later I understood the true meaning of his advice. I realized that there are two kinds of philosophers. There are the 'Know Philosophers' and there are the 'Do Philosophers'.

Murphy looks at Yamada in surprise at the coincidence. It sounds like...

"The Know Philosopher is the one who obtains knowledge through study and at university about how other people think about life. This person strives primarily to obtain knowledge. These 'Knowers' store knowledge and after the passage of time, they get a degree or a diploma. Once they have obtained their degree, they are sure of a title for the rest of their lives. Because a degree or diploma cannot easily be taken away. Oh no, for them the following saying applies: 'Once smart, forever smart!'

"On the other hand, the Do Philosopher has a harder time. He is learning for himself first and is never finished learning. Difficult everyday situations, 'the daily hassles' as you say in English, are the test of how good his philosophy is at that moment. The right solution for today may not be the right one tomorrow. The 'Doer' doesn't necessarily occupy himself with human knowledge, but with life itself. He strives for wisdom and happiness in order to live life and experience it fully. The Zen anecdote shows that wisdom has nothing to do with scholarship.

"Wisdom is not something that can be learned with just the brain. Rather it is a virtue that must ripen slowly within us. Another word for wisdom could be 'life insight'. As I told you and your students in Rotterdam, I teach 'lifestyle

management' here at the university on a small scale, to a small group of students and

Page 23 - The Way of Beauty - Meidao

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