Dharma Steps


A newly ordained monk heard that a Chan Master lives the Dharma with every word he speaks and every action he takes. Considering this, he decided to pay particular attention to how the Grand Master put on his shoes.

The first time he observed him leaving the Grand Hall, the Master sat down to put on his shoes. The second time, leaving the office, the Master placed one hand against the wall and put on his shoes with the other hand. On the third occasion, leaving the Chan Hall, the Master slipped into his shoes by walking in them.

One day, shortly after making these observations, the novice monk read this passage from the Diamond Sutra: “The World Honored One put on his robe, took his alms-bowl, and went into the great city of Shravasti, going from house to house to beg for food.” The monk came to a sudden realization: What is important is his state of mind, not how he puts on his shoes.