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Every Day is a Good Day

March 30, 2012

by Stephen Damon

Yesterday was my birthday and I found myself thinking of a couple of lines spoken by the 10th century Chan Master, Yun Men. He said: “I don’t ask you about before the fifteenth of the month, try to say something about after the fifteenth.” Yun Men himself answered for everybody: “Every day is a good day.”

Is this really true?  And if it is true, what does it mean?  First, you should know that the fifteenth of the month is the full moon and the full moon refers to awakened mind. So Yun Man is asking about what happens after you are enlightened. He is asking about how we experience each moment of our life, when we experience it just as it is without adding any extra to it. How do we experience our life without being attached to emotional reactions to what is happening?  Do we like this one experience and dislike that one? Do we prefer rain to sun, warm to cold? Do we remember other days when we felt better or imagine future days when we will have more friends or more money?

Is there a way for us to appreciate each moment, each day, as a full expression of the “isness” or “suchness” of reality? Can we approach everything in our life equally, fully, and wholeheartedly—whether we’re healthy or have a cold; whether we are in love or if we’re alone?  Can we experience our life without judgments or discrimination of any kind? Can we just say YES!

Of course this doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to help the suffering and cure the common cold. We have to always do good with each breath you take—but we have to experience each breath as life itself.

So for me, when I ask myself, if today is a good day, I have to ask how am I living right now—am I living as fully and wholeheartedly as I can? If it’s raining do I put on my boots and go outside and smell the wet plants or do I complain about being uncomfortable? Can I treat friends and strangers with the same degree of kindness and interest? Can I go up to a stranger and ask if she needs help?

Life is constantly revealing itself as it is.  Each day, each moment, is a good opportunity to experience this.  Everything else is beside the point.



From → Zen Buddhism

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