Early this morning, Sensei and the monks left the Monastery for a pre-dawn walk. They walked around a large circular field that was shrouded in a deep, misty fog.
Sensei asked the monks to observe what they saw in the field as they walked around it.
The monks tried to carefully look inside the field. It seemed as if there were a few men near the center.
An hour later, Sensei and the monks sat in silence meditation in a covered hall next to the field.
After the meditation was over, Sensei asked the monks to share what they had seen in the field.
The first to share was Clever Monk. He said, “There were a few men in a circle, standing in the middle of the field. I don’t know what they were doing there, standing still…”
Sensei smiled when he heard the observation.
Military Monk spoke next and said, “The men were actually practicing standing still. That is a standard military training technique, involving standing in attention in extreme circumstances.”
Argument Monk jumped up and interrupted the conversation. He said, “Military Monk, how can you say they were practicing a routine? How do you know they were not punished?”
Almost immediately, a loud and vocal argument broke out between Military Monk and Argument Monk.
Sensei tried his best to intervene and managed to quieten them a few minutes later.
Sensei then asked Head Monk to speak and share what he had seen.
Head Monk bowed to Sensei, to the monks and then said, “I did not see anything clearly in the field except a misty fog. There were some silhouettes in the field but I could not make them out. It was confusing and unclear…”
Head Monk then bowed to everyone and went back to his seat. The monks chuckled at Head Monk’s observation.
Sensei closed his eyes, clapped thrice and said, “Sometimes, it is better to be clear about your confusion rather than to make sense of it. Realizing you are confused is a great realization in itself…”
The monks packed up and emerged from the room. The sun had broken out and was shining brightly all around. The mist in the field had cleared.
The monks were surprised to see many scarecrows, assembled in a circle, in the middle of the field.
There was no one else visible.