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I Am not Too Busy for You

One day, Zen Master Foguang saw the Zen monk Keqi and asked him: “It has already been twelve years since you came here to study Zen. Why didn’t you ask me any questions?”

“Master, you are very busy every day. I dare not disturb you.” replied Keqi.

Days flew by and three years passed. One day, Zen Master Foguang met Keqi again and asked him: “Do you have any questions about Zen? Why not ask me?”

“Master, you are too busy. I dare not talk to you at will.” said Keqi.

Another year again passed. When Zen Master Foguang saw Keqi passing by his meditation room, he said to Keqi: “Come here! I have time today. Please come in and talk about Zen with me.”

Keqi put his palms together quickly and said: “Master, you are too busy. How can I waste your time?”

Zen Master Foguang knew that Keqi was too modest to take responsibility, so no matter how hard he studied Zen, he could not get enlightened.

Zen Master Foguang knew that he must take the initiative, so when he saw Keqi once again, he said: “When you practice meditation, you need to keep asking questions. Why didn’t you come to ask me?”

Keqi still insisted: “Master, you are too busy. I should not disturb you.”

Zen Master Foguang gave him a loud shout at once: “Busy! Busy! Whom am I busy with? I can get busy with you!”

Zen Master Foguang’s words – “I can get busy with you” – deeply touched Keqi, and he was immediately enlightened.

Some people are too concerned about themselves but pay little attention to others. They pester others with trifles. Some other people are too concerned about others but ignore themselves so much so that they lose lots of opportunities. The nature of Zen is to take responsibility readily. You should eat when it is time to eat, should meditate when it is time to meditate, should ask thoroughly when it is time to ask, and should answer properly when it is time to answer. Do not just sway uncertainly.

I can help, so why don’t you ask me for help? Why can’t I get busy with you? Do not draw a clear line between you and me.

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