Zen Proverb on Bicycling

Lahaini, Island of Maui, Hawaii 2009. Photo by J. Chong
Scene while cycling on edge of town, Lahaini. Island of Maui, Hawaii 2009. Photo by J. Chong

A Zen teacher saw five of his students returning from the market, riding their bicycles. When they arrived at the monastery and had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!” The teacher praised the first student. “You are a smart boy! When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over like I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path!” The teacher commended the second student, “Your eyes are open, and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave his praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

Toronto, ON 2008. Accompanying Jack to train station for one of his solo trips in Quebec.
Toronto, ON 2008. Accompanying Jack to train station for one of his solo trips in Quebec.

The fourth student replied, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all sentient beings.” The teacher was pleased and said to the fourth student, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher sat at the feet of the fifth student and said, “I am your student.”

Cycling on new CP rail converted bike path by Edwards Gardens. Toronto, ON 2011
Cycling on new CP rail converted bike path by Edwards Gardens. Toronto, ON 2011.

N.B.: My thanks to Barb, another cycling ethusiast in Washington state, where I first saw this proverb. Her blog offers a wonderful list of blogs written by women cyclists worldwide.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Ann says:

    Okay – that was AWESOME! Wisdom and wit – a lovely combination!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Happy New Year Ann!

      Like

      1. Ann says:

        Love, love, LOVE your challenge! I’m off to Disney World this week and then – with luck – I’ll be heading to England soon for a quick trip. As soon as I get back, I do believe I am going to cook something entirely new! Thank you! What GREAT fun!

        Like

  2. Anita Mac says:

    That is great! There are times to ride your bike, just for the sake of it! Love those days!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Don’t know about you Anita, but sometimes my body becomes so accustomed to cycling daily that I get impatient walking for half an hr. to a store. I’ve been known to just cycle 3 blocks or less because it just feels better to me to bike to the neighbourhood destination. Glad you enjoyed the proverb!

      Like

  3. timethief says:

    Hi Jean,
    All your posts are so engaging and this one caught me by surprise. I can’t wait to see what you publish next. Ride on!

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      An upcoming post will be about an area you might be familiar with. Might take a few wks. before it gets published. Appreciate you dropping by!

      Like

  4. Maxim says:

    Very cool proverb. I wonder if whoever posted it took an old proverb, replaced whatever they were originally doing with “bicycle” and took credit… haha. Riding a bike is fun🙂

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      Don’t know if the original “author” did it, but I like the succinct meanings in the proverb since it nicely tells very simply to non-cyclists why cycling is a good thing.

      Like

  5. Man, that’s an even better one than the proverb I used in my New Years resolution post about living in the moment. I may swipe that at some point because it’s so true. There are so many reasons to ride a bike and they’re all wrapped up together in beautiful synchronicity.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      That proverb just rings right for any cyclist by saying it so simply about all the right reasons for cycling. The proverb has been floating around in the cycling world for past few years but I only recently came upon it!

      Like

  6. Maybe you’ll let me be your student. Lovely.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      It’s a very popular aphorism on cycling. Ah, might be awhile before I get back on bike: I had a head injury after another cyclist crashed into me at the beginning of 2015, jbw.

      Like

      1. Oh no! Get well soon!!!

        Like

Chime in with your thoughts here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s