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No Complaint Whatsoever

"Be content with what you have.

Rejoice in the way things are.

When you realize that nothings lacking,

The whole world belongs to you."

Tao Te Ching

One of my very favorite teaching stories from the Zen Buddhist tradtion has to do with a Japanese woman named Sono, a Zen Master who lived 200 years ago, and known for giving the same simple teaching to everyone who came to see her, no matter what their problem was. The story goes that...

'One day Sono was visited by a very prominent public official who was living in a constant state of agitation and anger, and could find no peace of mind. Having heard about her ability to guide people to harmony and enlightenment, the man traveled very far to see her; hoping to finally find the peace that had alluded him his whole life. "What can I do to put my heart at rest?" he asked her sincerely. She replied with the same advice that she had given hundreds of others looking for relief from their restless minds. "For the next year; every morning and every evening - no matter what happens to you -keep on saying, 'thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever.' The man went home and did what he was instructed to do, only to find that, after the year had passed, he was just as unhappy as he had always been. Feeling great despair, he went back to see Sono, telling her, "I've said your prayer as you instructed, and nothing in my life has changed. I'm still the same selfish and miserable person as before. What should I do now?" Sono looked at him deeply, and immediately said, "Thank you very much. I have no complaint whatsoever." This time, upon hearing these words, the man was enlightened, and returned home filled with a great joy.'

Rather than explain or give my interpretation of the above story, I will simply suggest to everyone reading this to give Sono's teaching a try in your own day-to-day life for the next week (if your feeling really courageous, try it for a month). No matter what happens, or doesn't happen; no matter what you feel or think, keep looking at EVERYTHING that unfolds in your Life with gratitude and appreciation, knowing that it is happening exactly as it is suppose to happen, for your complete benefit. Keep repeating, 'Thank you very much. I have no complaint whatsoever', towards whatever shows up (including your thoughts), and see what happens. Drop your story about what you think should be happening, including any resistance or negativity that may come up toward repeating the phrases! And if, after practicing the teaching for a week or three, nothing seems to shift in your Awareness, then immediately say to yourself, 'Thank you for everything. I have no complaint whatsoever'.

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