One day a poet was visiting a teacher, and the teacher said, “You know the passage in the poem, ‘My friends, do you think I’m hiding something from you? In fact, I am hiding nothing from you.’ Zen is like that. Do you understand?”

“No, I don’t understand,” the poet replied.

Later, they were walking in the mountains where the air was filled with the scent of the sweet-olive blossoms. The teacher asked, “Do you smell the fragrance of the blossoms?”

The poet replied “I do.”

The teacher said, “You see, I’m hiding nothing from you.”

~ Entangling Vines, Case 18


What a wonderful story of discovery! I was in my garden last evening picking bush beans. Many of the beans I could not easily see, so I plunged my hands deep into the plant and I could feel the bean clusters dangling from their stalks. By stroking the bunches I could feel, though not see, if they were small and fresh or large and tough. The beans were hiding nothing from me: they were most anxious to show me their ‘bean-ness!

Isn’t it thus with so much of the world? And what did the poet learn when she smelled the sweet olive blossoms? That she and the blossoms and all things are not different from, well, you and I.