(This is the first Zen story I heard from a Master that, upon hearing it, I was free…I just read something someone wrote and I thought it would be good to share…)
Once, there was wealthy merchant who supported his entire family. He was very generous and was the benefactor of a number of charitable organizations. In fact, the entire village relied on the merchant’s business as its primary source of livelihood. Everyone loved the merchant. He lived a life of generosity, hospitality and love.
Many years passed and the merchant started getting old. The merchant realized he was very tired. The merchant kept giving, and giving, and giving, and he wasn’t getting anything in return. The merchant felt depleted. He felt that people only loved him because of what he gave them, and so many people were dependent on him. He became stressed-out, developed a form of depression and was disappointed with life. He didn’t know where to turn. He began searching for a doctor, for a healer, for anyone who could help him. The merchant couldn’t find anyone.
One day, the merchant’s wanderings took him to a remote village. The merchant learned that a holy man called “the Buddha” was in the village. Someone suggested that the Buddha could help him. The merchant sought out the Buddha. Many hundreds of people had come to receive the Buddha’s Darshan. Darshan is a face-to-face personal audience with a Spiritual Master.
The Buddha noticed the merchant as he approached in the Darshan line. The merchant was so completely broken in spirit, that the heart of the Buddha was broken in two. As the merchant stepped forward, Lord Buddha looked directly into the merchant’s eyes and gave him Darshanat. Darshanat is a handing down of teachings through the gaze and one of the ways that Spiritual Masters give teachings in silence to their students.
“Drop it!” the Buddha commanded in a loud yet compassionate voice. The merchant didn’t know what to do. He adjusted his posture and his clothes. The Buddha continued to gaze at him intensely. “Drop it!” commanded the Buddha again. The merchant still didn’t know what to do. The merchant began getting more and more tense, as he felt tension build up in his entire body. The merchant’s fists began to clinch tighter, and tighter, and tighter, and his arms began to straighten. The Buddha commanded, “Drop it!” And suddenly, all at once, the merchant’s fists opened, and all his stress, his disappointment, and his sorrow fell to the ground. Finally, he was freed from his malady.