The True Way

The True Way

One morning, during Yong Maeng Jong Jin at the Providence Zen Center, a student
walked into the interview room and bowed to Seung Sahn Soen-sa.

Soen-sa said, “What is the true way?”
The student shouted “KATZAAHH !!!”
Soen-sa said, “That answer is neither good nor bad. It has cut off all thinking, so there is
no speech, no Buddha, no mind, no way. Tell me then: what is the true way?”
The student said, “The sky is blue.”
Soen-sa said, “That’s true enough, but it is not the way.” Then, holding up his Zen stick,
“What color is this?”
“Yes. When I ask you what color is the stick, you don’t answer, “The bell is yellow,”
even though that’s perfectly true. It would be scratching your left foot when your right
one itches. It’s the same when I ask you what is the true way and you answer, “The sky
is blue.”
“Go ask a child about the true way. A child will give you a good answer. Zen mind is
children’s mind. Children have no past or future, they are always living in the truth,
which is just like this. When they are hungry, they eat; when they are tired, they rest.
Children understand everything. So let me ask you again: what is the true way?”
The student stood up and bowed.
Soen-sa said, “This is the Great Way, the Buddha Way, the Tao. It is not the true way.
Do you hear the sounds outside the window?”
“What are they?”
“Where are these cars driving?”
“Over there.”
“What is the name over there?”
The student was confused and said nothing.
Soen-sa said, “It is Route 95. That is the true way. Hope Street is the true way. Doyle
Avenue is the true way. The way is only the way. There is nothing beyond.”
The student bowed and said, “I understand. Thank you.”
Soen-sa said, “You’re welcome. Now what is the true way?”
The student said, “Route 95 goes from Providence to Boston.”
Soen-sa closed his eyes.

After he had returned to Cambridge, the student went up to two children – a six year old
girl and a four year old boy – who were playing in the driveway by the Cambridge Zen
Center. He asked the girl, “What is the true way?”
The girl pointed down the street towards Main.
He then asked the boy, “What is the true way?”
The boy gave him a fierce look, turned around, and walked away.
LOL! Life is a perfect circle. We are all born Zen, acquire logical mind and grow out of
Zen, only to mature and realize we are already/ always were “Ahh, this.”
Just look: every grandmother sees the wisdom of children, so fresh and innocent.

What is your true way?

19 thoughts on “The True Way

  1. I believe children always know their true way – what they feel like doing they manifest through games and play, because their minds and feelings are not conditioned yet. And as we grow, because of all the conditioning and programming, we lose the connection with what we really feel like doing or what we’d like to be – we lose and forget out true way and follow the ways others expect us to follow.
    It’s a popular practice right now to “nurture” or “love” your inner child. Because once you can get back in touch with your true feelings you had as a child, you may miraculously rediscover your potential and get back on your true way!


    • I agree Sofia! The true way is simple, through child-like eyes we see exactly as things are, which is before our developed minds. For the rest of our lives, we consciously de-programme all our thoughts and perceptions to attain what we effortlessly had at birth. Innocence realized is enlightenment. We love one another to remember our true origins before the mind. I love you Sofia, thanks for your precious contribution and energy to our blogosphere. Welcome back! ♥


  2. Hahahaha!!!!!! Sorry. I could only laugh when Soen-sa bowed his head -in frustration, I imagined -at the student’s response.

    Truth does appear elusive at times.
    Heyyow Maddyline!


  3. The true way is the child’s way. Keep a beginner mind. We are always already on the Tao. You are so wise, Maddy. Thank you again for another lesson.
    Happy late Valentine’s Day. May your day after V-day be full of love, tenderness, and light. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo


  4. Great post 🙂 All the wise people, the Buddha, Christ, Socrates and so on, recognize the importance of the child consciousness. I’m amazed how much of a hurry people are in to “grow up”, “learn things”, and “mature”. Silly people, we had wisdom and happiness when we were young, and we can still access it if we choose and if we practice 🙂

    It is possible to have maturity and intellectual intelligence, but retain our childlike sense of contentment and wisdom.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂



♥Thanks for sharing♥

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