Before Enlightenment, After Enlightenment

#1
"Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water."

~ Zen Proverb

I have my own opinions of what this quote means but was after everybody else's opinions,
From my point of view it means that enlightenment changes very little, if anything at all, concerning life's daily chores. This means you can have an epiphany or a sudden revelation that makes your understanding of life's mysteries seem almost crystal clear. Thus we call this enlightenment, But does it change anything?.


That is the question.
 
#2
I would agree that it wouldn't change the daily mundane tasks everyone has to engage in, but then I don't think people are looking for ultimate universal answers about doing chores. That isn't the sort of thing people are looking for in what we call enlightenment.
 
#3
I would agree that it wouldn't change the daily mundane tasks everyone has to engage in, but then I don't think people are looking for ultimate universal answers about doing chores. That isn't the sort of thing people are looking for in what we call enlightenment.
I am just wondering if the quote is an order or an axiom.
 
#4
I haven't looked it up at all, so just spitballing here: I can see it on a few levels:

  • becoming enlightened doesn't make someone more or less, better or worse, more valuable or less valuable than anyone else. Encourages humility in those who consider themselves enlighted but also that those who do not consider themselves so should not feel inferior, or bad about themselves for not being enlightened
  • becoming enlightened does not transform one physically: you still need to meet your basic needs.
  • discouragement of suicide (or letting oneself die through inaction) once the person believes themselves to be enlightened: if someone believes they are enlightened they may believe they have accomplished what they need to in this, and previous, lives, some may think that they should speed up the ending of the cycle that they presume comes along with enlightenment and if not actively kill themselves, then stop performing the basic tasks needed to stay alive (food, water, shelter, etc.)
 
#5
I haven't looked it up at all, so just spitballing here: I can see it on a few levels:

  • becoming enlightened doesn't make someone more or less, better or worse, more valuable or less valuable than anyone else. Encourages humility in those who consider themselves enlighted but also that those who do not consider themselves so should not feel inferior, or bad about themselves for not being enlightened
  • becoming enlightened does not transform one physically: you still need to meet your basic needs.
  • discouragement of suicide (or letting oneself die through inaction) once the person believes themselves to be enlightened: if someone believes they are enlightened they may believe they have accomplished what they need to in this, and previous, lives, some may think that they should speed up the ending of the cycle that they presume comes along with enlightenment and if not actively kill themselves, then stop performing the basic tasks needed to stay alive (food, water, shelter, etc.)

Thanks Arouet,

Fantastic points of view. :)
 
Top