I've meet lots of these types of people. Many of them were the presidents of huge companies that dealt with hundreds, if not thousands, of employees. They handled hundreds of millions of dollars in their corporate daily affairs...
And, almost every one of them, has been a very calm, patient, wise and polite gentleman. I've know and worked with some of them almost everyday for a few years and never seen them get bent out of shape or too worried about the little things that seem to drive most of us crazy.
I know one of them very well and he retired at 48-years-old, is a multi-millionaire, and he never gets upset about anything.
When I grow up, I want to be like him.
In my life, I've always wanted to become more patient and understanding of people. I always get so frustrated at myself when I get mad at people for silly things or when the brat child that lives inside of me comes out and lashes back at people who irritate me.
See? These people irritate me! Just the fact that someone can irritate me for anything shows just how very far from enlightenment and happiness I really am.
I've been studying Za-zen Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation on and off for at least 20 years. I am a bad student.
In my search for enlightenment, I've met many priests and become friends, very good friends, with several. In fact, a few Buddhist priests and I have been drinking buddies. I've often asked these good gentlemen to help me in my search for enlightenment.
I know a world famous Za-zen priest named Hakuginryu. I don't know his real name. Everyone just calls him "Hakuginryu." When the Afghanistan war had just started, he and several of his priest friends walked across Afghanistan to bring world attention to the troubles of that country. They walked from the border on east Afghanistan, from Kandud to the western border town of Kamml Khan... That's a walk of about 1,400 kilometers (about 900 miles)... Barefoot!
No kidding. These priests all walked from east Afghanistan to west Afghanistan barefoot and without any military protection at all. Many people would think they were just plain nuts.
My mom would have agreed. When I was 16 or so, I told my mom that I wanted to go to Japan to learn how to be a Zen priest and my mom got very upset. She said,
"You are not going to Japan to go live on some mountain like a hermit like those crazy priests!" I think that was the most adamant she ever was against something I told her that I was thinking about doing excepting joining the US marines or getting married to my first wife.
But I digress...
I've asked Hakuginryu how it is that I can achieve enlightenment and he (and the others) have always told me the same thing: If you want to achieve enlightenment, stop reading books and pick up a broom.
There is an ancient Zen saying:
To achieve enlightenment; clean up your area.
After enlightenment; clean up your area.
Every time I take out the trash, I remember this saying. Every time I wash the dishes or sweep the floor or trim the hedges, or vacuum or clean in general, I remember this saying. Doing so, helps you to get closer to where you want to go. With every dish I wash and every speck of dust I collect, I pick up one speck of therapy for my soul.
Consider the future. When I turned 35...I told a friend, "15 years ago I was 20. 15 years from now, I will be 50."
Now, I think about my life. Someday, very soon, I will be 80.
Everyday I think about my life... Everyday I think about achieving enlightenment and becoming happy.
Everyday I think about my children. Everyday I remember: "Great things and ideas are not borne from filth."
In 35 years I will be a very old man and probably very sick. I want my children to be happy. I want to be contented and happy.
I must achieve enlightenment... I must:
Take out the trash.....
Wash the dishes....
Work at a job and earn money....
Everyday, I must clean.... And, after I finish cleaning, I must clean some more.
My daily activities are not unusual,
I'm just naturally in harmony with them.
Grasping nothing, discarding nothing...
Supernatural power and marvelous activity -
Drawing water and carrying firewood. - Layman Pang-yun (740-808)