Gregory Russell Benedikt

How to Live This Week Like Zen Master Chao-Chou

Published 4 months ago • 2 min read

Hi Reader,

Welcome to another week of extraordinary opportunity.

This could be the week that changes your life.

It could be the start of something new.

Or, it could be just another week.

One that you slog your way through, praying for the weekend.

The choice is yours.

It's your life.

And you're the one who decides how to live it.

What I'm learning & thinking about 🧠

Zen and Master Chao-Chou.

For as long as I can remember, I've been fascinated by Zen.

I'm quite certain I was an old Japanese monk in a past life, which explains why I'm such an old soul trapped in a young man's body.

The most interesting thing about Zen is that it never seems to make any sense.

And there's a deep mystery in this.

One that beckons me to come closer while endlessly frustrating my logical brain.

Here are some examples to show you what I mean.

A disciple came to Master Chao-Chou and asked for instruction.

The master replied, "Have you eaten your breakfast yet?"

"Yes, I have sir."

"Then wash your dishes."

It is said that as a result of this remark, the disciple was suddenly enlightened.

At that moment, he understood the meaning of Zen.


Here's an even stranger example.

A master set a pitcher before two disciples.

"Do not call it a pitcher," he said, "but tell me what it is."

The first disciple replied, "It cannot be called a piece of wood."

No shit, Sherlock...

This answer did not satisfy the master so he turned to the other disciple.

This disciple simply knocked the pitcher over and walked away.

This action had the master's full approval.

[Insert extremely confused face here...]


But fear not my dear reader, here come some clarity!

Alan Watts, my favorite modern philosopher explains what's going on.

The Zen master is not trying to give you ideas about life;

He is trying to give you life itself.

To make you realize that life is all around you.

To make you live it instead of being a mere spectator.

This is GOLD.

And the purpose of practically everything I do.

So once you've finished reflecting on how incredible and insightful this newsletter was...

Get out there this week and truly LIVE your life!

Find beauty in it all.

Wash some dishes.

Carry some water.

Chop some wood.

Laugh at yourself and try to enjoy the exact moment you're in.

It's perfect if you'll let it be :)

What I'm reading 📖

Become What You Are by Alan Watts.

He provided the lovely Zen examples above and is making me think deeply about life.

This book is a collection of his essays and an excellent way to start each day.

Quote of the week 📜

“To do the useful thing, to say the courageous thing, to contemplate the beautiful thing: that is enough for one man’s life.” - T.S. Eliot

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Sent with love,

Gregory Russell Benedikt

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Gregory Russell Benedikt

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