HOW TO GROW A LOTUS BLOSSOM: Reflections in a Disciple's Life

by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Section XXVII
The Begging Bowl

There is nothing to give or to be given;
This is called the Right Law.

--Great Master Keizan
Denkoroku (The Transmission of the Light)


Giving and Receiving

Precisely because there is, in the deepest and truest sense, nothing to give and nothing to receive, no giver and no receiver, we can give and receive for the joy of the giving and receiving.

Forget self; forget other. There is a Flow through self, through other, through all existence, through all beings. When we do not hold back because of greed or fear, we are one with that Flow. Then if it is good to receive, we receive with bows; and if it is good to give, we give with bows.

"Giving" and "receiving" are names we give to positions in the Flow. We fall out of harmony with the Flow when we get stuck with being "giver" or "receiver." It is enough to do that which needs to be done.

A Monk's Privilege

To be a monk in one's innermost heart is to know that one has nothing and that that "nothing" embraces the whole of life, the whole of reality, a world of infinite possibilities. The Goodness of the Eternal flows forever through all worlds, all realms of rebirth, all states of existence. When we see this, our heart fills with a longing to offer everything we have, everything we are, in gratitude.

A monk is privileged to have a begging bowl--not just the physical begging bowl, but THE Begging Bowl of the heart. It is the bowl of all-acceptance; and it is also the bowl which, when filled to overflowing, gives freely for the benefit of all living beings.

There was (perhaps there still is) a company in the San Francisco Bay Area that sells concrete. The motto on its trucks reads, "Find a hole and fill it." Rev. Master changed that to "Find a need and fill it." Human life offers a continual stream of opportunities to fill a need. We do not need to discriminate between "big" and "little" needs. It is enough to fill a need and go on. It is enough to fill a need and let go. It all happens within that wondrous Flow of the Life of Buddha.


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