Thursday, September 28, 2006

The sound of one hand clapping: Zen Pen

Hey, hey, hey! I finally got my long-awaited Dalai Lama souvenir pen! I was so excited to see it at last. It is so cool. Shaped like a little Dalai Lama, with those saffron and burgundy robes and a bald head and glasses, the pen’s smiling face looks so peaceful. Just like his Holiness!

I want to thank Jim Milles for hosting the Dalai Lama at SUNY Buffalo law school library. I would never have gotten my awesome pen otherwise. And it is so much more than just a little monk-shaped pen. It’s a Zen-like meditation, a souvenir and a writing utensil all wrapped up in one.

When I first pressed the little Lama’s smiling head, a pen point popped out from his little sandaled feet. Aww, I thought, isn’t that cute!? But then, I went to write a note with the pen. Nothing came out. No ink, I thought. I shook the pen. I tapped the pen. Nothing happened: the little Lama went on smiling his enigmatic smile.

After I put it away in disgust, I couldn’t stop thinking about that pen. It finally came to me: “The sound of one hand clapping.” Right? Well this is a Buddhist paradox like that: the pen that writes in air. It’s my Zen Pen. Here is a meditation from the official web page of the Dalai Lama (link)

The Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life says that the Buddha reflected long and hard on what would be the best way to benefit sentient beings. He concluded that it was to develop the awakening mind of bodhichitta. He then strove to develop it and worked relentlessly for the welfare of sentient beings. Whether we follow the Pali or Sanskrit traditions of Buddhism our task is to develop the awakening mind. When we do so, we will find greater peace in our lives. Why is this? Because the stronger our sense of self-centredness the greater is our unease, whereas the more we are concerned about others, the more secure we feel. Self-centredness is the source of all downfalls; cherishing others is the source of all happiness and success.

Date : 17-August-2006 (Day 4)


I drew a picture of my Zen Pen to illustrate for you.

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