Experience always remains open – that means unfinished…..Belief is always complete and finished.

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A king went to a Zen master to learn gardening. The master taught him for three years, and the king had a beautiful, big garden – thousands of gardeners were employed there – and whatsoever the master would say, the king would go and experiment in his garden. After three years the garden was absolutely ready, and the king invited the master to come and see the garden. The king was very nervous because the master was strict: “Will he appreciate?” This was going to be a kind of examination: “Will he say, ‘Yes, you have understood me’?” Every care was taken. The garden was so beautifully complete; nothing was missing. Only then did the king bring the master to see it. But the master was sad from the very beginning. He looked around, he moved in the garden from this side to that, he became more and more serious. The king became very frightened. He had never seen him so serious: “Why does he look so sad? Is there something so wrong?” Again and again the master was shaking his head, and saying inside “No.” The king asked, “What is the matter, sir? What is wrong? Why don’t you say? You are becoming so serious and sad, and you shake your head in negation. Why? What is wrong? I don’t see anything wrong? This is what you have been telling me, and I have practiced it in this garden.” The master said, “It is so finished that it is dead. It is so complete; that’s why I am nodding my head and I am saying no. It has to remain unfinished. Where are the dead leaves? Where are the dry leaves? I don’t see a single dry leaf!” All the dry leaves were removed – on the paths there were no dry leaves; in the trees there were no dry leaves, no old leaves which had become yellow. “Where are those leaves?” The king said, “I have told my gardeners to remove everything. Make it as absolute as possible.” And the master said, “That’s why it looks so dull, so manmade. God’s things are never finished.” And the master rushed out, outside the garden. All the dry leaves were heaped: he brought a few dry leaves in a bucket, threw them to the winds, and the wind took them and started playing with the dry leaves, and they started moving on the paths. He was delighted, and he said, “Look, how alive it looks!” Sound had entered with the dry leaves – the music of the dry leaves, the wind playing with the dry leaves. Now the garden had a whisper; otherwise it was dull and dead like a cemetery. That silence was not alive. I love this story. The master said, “It is so complete, that’s why it is wrong.”…..

…….Experience always remains open – that means unfinished. Belief is always complete and finished.

The Heart Sutra: Becoming a Buddha through Meditation


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