Doing Wrong Right
One day a teacher saw a student walking in the distance and called out his name. The student lifted his head, and the teacher said, ‘Wrong!’ The student took two or three steps, and the teacher again said, ‘Wrong!’. The student came closer and the teacher said, “These two wrongs, were they your wrongs or my wrongs?’ The student said, ’My wrongs’. The teacher replied, ‘Wrong!’
~ Blue Cliff Record, Case 98
Wrong. Fault. Blame. There may be a couple of ways to approach this life-koan we are all so familiar with. One is to plunge directly into ‘Wrong!’, and as with the koan No, when everything becomes Wrong, there is no-thing to find fault with.
Another way might be to stop believing in our Wrong thoughts and stop using our Wrong words. With that, in a very simple way, perhaps some greater intimacy can come into our lives.
A friend, after some consideration, asked her partner of several decades to stop continually pointing out her apparent faults: poor driving, compulsive worry and crazy eating habits. He agreed: no more Wrong! She dropped her blame game, as well.
What happened next surprised her: she began to notice and enjoy the simplest of things about him that she had little appreciated before, like his good posture and how good he was with the dog. And he, in turn, brought her into a previously secret part of his world, like showing her during evening walks where the hawk often perches on the light post and where the school caretaker lives with his dog in an apartment behind the school.
Changes do not have to be dramatic to make a difference. At PZI, we say that turning the horse’s head just a bit allows it to find its way home to the barn. It already knows the path that is right. Why make it wrong?