Is Your Mind Ready?
Renunciation is not that easy. It is not just a matter of saying this is what you intend to do, but needs full readiness of mind. There are some people who say, "I want to renounce the world", but are not really ready for this and are just saying it. ‘Readiness’ is the key word that is needed to inspire human beings to renounce the world. There is a Zen story, which gives a good example of this. Here is the story:
There was once a General who was tired with war. For this reason he wanted to become a Zen monk. Amongst other things, he wanted to possess peace, tranquility and calmness. So he approached the Zen Master and asked him to grant him full ordination. He said to the Master, "Master, I am fed up with war. Now I want to put down all my duties and burdens and become a Buddhist monk. Can you please ordain me?" The Master replied, "General you have made war for years. Your mind and body still smell of blood and you have family duties which cause you anxiety. You are not ready for full ordination yet. Please wait awhile until you are ready." He argued with the Master, saying, "Master, I am ready now. I can put aside all my duties and burdens, even those for my own family, wife and children. Please ordain me."
When the Master was pleaded with like this, he said, "Alright, I will ordain you tomorrow. Now go back home and come back tomorrow morning." The General had to go back home and the next morning he came back to the temple. When he arrived at the temple, the Master greeted him. "Well! General you come early." The General replied to the Master, "Yes, Master. I have come early to be ordained a Buddhist monk." The Master wanted to test him out, so he said, "Well! You left home early! Are you not afraid that your wife will have an affair with another man?" The General was so angry that he retorted to the Master, "Watch your mouth, old monk or I will cut out your tongue!" The Master just smiled at him with living kindness and compassion and said to him, "You see! Even when just a little wind blows, the fire of anger, aggressiveness, and undesirable behaviour blurts out". The General realised that he had not been as ready to become a Buddhist monk as he thought he was. He then apologised to the Master for his bad behaviour, and said, "Sorry, Master. Please forgive me for my bad behaviour. Now that I know I am not ready for full ordination, I will wait until my mind is ready."
The moral of this story: when we want to do something, we must be sure that our mind is ready for it. We should take time to train our mind, to see it if it is ready for renunciation,or not. If it is not, we should wait until the appropriate time arises.
Concerning problems in our life, we should deal with them with wisdom; and regarding our life, we should only introduce changes with wholeheartedness.