Zen Wisdom 75



Practice requires a lot of time and effort, and most people who practice are lay people. It seems there would be more time and fewer obstacles if our lives had a minimum of responsibilities. Could Shih-fu address this issue of freedom and responsibility, using marriage and children as examples?


For a Ch'an practitioner, accepting responsibility is part of practice. If you are a householder, you have to accept the responsibilities that go with that. If you are married, whether your spouse is Buddhist or not, you have to fulfill the responsibility of being a wife or husband.

In married life there is the aspect of practice and the aspect of family life. For a practitioner, family life should also be part of practice. If your spouse or partner is not Buddhist, and does not understand why you spend so much time and effort practicing, then you should see your spouse as a bodhisattva who is helping you to cultivate patience and tolerance.