After reading a book of correspondence between a Zen Master and his followers, I knew I had to meet him. His message was so pure and inviting….and his smile was beaming like a searchlight looking for me.
I found out he would be visiting a Zen center in Chicago and the next day I was on my way to the Zen Center. His magnetism drew me to him.
My mission was to meet this real life Zen Master. He seemed so accessible to the average person. And it was only a 4 hour drive. Why not?
Arriving at the Zen center, I parked out front and waited.
His car arrived right on schedule and I was there waiting for him.
It’s him! He was wearing a grey zen robe with a sash and was carrying a beautiful wooden walking staff and beaming that smile I was so attracted to in his picture. Never had I felt such pure joy emanating from anyone.
To see him in person was to feel his magnetism. This was no charlatan. This was a true Zen Master! He walked directly over to me and shook my hand. His presence was undistracted. He was all there. 100% in the moment.
I didn’t know what to say. “Hello, I drove here to meet you.” Clever. Silver tongued.
He said he would meet with me after he went inside to change clothes. His students that were with him didn’t quite know what to make of this scene. But they were enjoying it.
He turned and went into the center and went upstairs. 2 of his students asked me to wait downstairs while he changed clothes.
When I was told I could go upstairs, I went up and found him sitting on the floor in sweatpants and a white t-shirt reading the comics section of the newspaper.
He looked up with his beaming smile again and asked me if I had any questions.
All that came out of my mouth was to ask what what I needed to do to wake up.
Instantly, he said in his strong voice, “Don’t Know. Keep Don’t Know mind. Try, try, try 10,000 years, get enlightenment and save all people from suffering.”
With that, the meeting was over. “Just go straight keep “Don’t Know Mind”, okay?”
I thanked him and turned and left the room.
For several years after that meeting, I corresponded with him by letters.
His 100% presence that day and in his letters was enough for me to finally know what a truly awake person felt like.
He told me in his first letter that I had “understanding sickness” and that I needed to attain my understanding. Still trying.