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Finding our own Way…

Published on 22 Mar, 2012

tao-of-poohTakeda Shihan asks each of his students to ‘find their own way’, to discover their own path rather than imitating or emulating him. This means having the wisdom and courage to accept ourselves for who we are, and to be exactly that. We each have strengths and gifts, and need only to recognise and nurture them. As O-Sensei said, “Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. We are here for no other purpose than to realise our inner divinity and manifest our innate enlightenment.”

Benjamin Hoff, in his delightful, light-hearted look at Taoism – “The Tao of Pooh” – illustrates this principle of seeing and accepting things as they are quite beautifully:

“Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, ‘I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same – useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them.’

‘As you know,’ Chuang-tse replied, ‘a cat is very skilled at capturing its prey. Crouching low, it can leap in any direction, pursuing whatever it is after. But when its attention is focused on such things, it can be easily caught with a net. On the other hand, a huge yak is not easily caught or overcome. It stands like a stone, or a cloud in the sky. But for all its strength, it cannot catch a mouse. You complain that your tree in not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.'”

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