In a Zen ⃰ Buddhist monastery, the monks were frantically running all around; they were trying to find their senior, Tara, who they thought only could help them. She was finally located sitting by the river, enjoying the late afternoon sun.
"What's this entire ruckus about?" she asked, rather alarmed at seeing a gang of anxious monks approaching her. "And why is one side of each of your faces red?" she continued, noticing the glowing redness on the left cheek of every monk.
"Master Blumise has lost his marbles," replied Chin. "He is running around the monastery asking everyone what time is it? As soon as you tell him the time, he gives you one tight slap and moves on to the next victim. In fact, he has already slapped monk Gzan twice today; see both his cheeks are red!" Chin exclaimed.
"The old bugger is still pretty strong," muttered Gzan. Just then Master Blumise burst onto the scene.
"Tara!" he yelled, "What time is it?"
Tara looked up calmly, smiled and said, "The time is now, Master," and that was the end of that. Master Blumise bowed deeply to his beloved student and left the now awakened congregation of monks to reflect on this right answer.
Were the true to the present answers the disciple monks gave worth tight slaps? I would say that they deserved much more, because they should have understood the time they live in. Almost the whole of humanity can be accused to be living either in the past or in the future. Both are unreal, they do not exist at all. Past is gone and tomorrow can appear only as the reality of ‘now’, i.e. the ‘present’ - a valuable gift of the Universe. Everybody intend this and that but nobody is available in the present to receive them. Albert Einstein stated that time and matter does not exist; instead of scientifically understanding the concept, we handle time as real and eternity as mystery. Only a man in absolute awareness exists in the present.
The main allegation against the ‘present’ is that it too is not fully real - just half real at the maximum, because the moment we identify the present it becomes past. Also it is not at all sensible to think of living without any experience of the past for support. However, the more we are in the present the more we get control over our own selves. Unless we learn to manage our own selves, how can we dream of shaping our spirit power? Without experiencing the basic blocks of ‘now’, how can we be ‘here’?
⃰Buddhism grew into two major Schools, the Mahayana and Thervada. Zen belongs to the Mahayana tradition. The word ‘Zen’ actually comes from the Chinese word ‘Chan’ which in turn derived from the Sanskirit word ‘Dhyan’, which roughly means meditation. Zen system of thought means enlightenment through introspection and insight. Zen puzzles served the purpose. Each Zen monk gets a ‘koan’ (problem without solution) to contemplate.