Attention, Attention, Attention

 2nd January 2023 at 5:50am

Guy Claxton's The Heart of Buddhism, Chapter 6, begins with a classic story quoted from Philip Kapleau's The Three Pillars of Zen:

One day a man of the people said to Zen Master Ikkyu: 'Master, will you please write for me some maxims of the highest wisdom?'

Ikkyu immediately took his brush and wrote the word 'Attention.'

'Is that all?' asked the man. 'Will you not add something more?'

Ikkyu then wrote twice running: 'Attention. Attention.'

'Well,' remarked the man rather irritably, 'I really don't see much depth or subtlety in what you have just written.'

Then Ikkyu wrote the same word three times running: 'Attention. Attention. Attention.'

Half-angered, the man demanded: 'What does that word "attention" mean anyway?'

And Ikkyu answered gently: 'Attention means attention.'

^z - 2015-03-03