Temple of Peace

Grades in ethics

Sawaki Rôshi:

Someone asked a mathematician if the number "1" really exists in mathematics. The answer was that mathematicians "suppose" that the number "1" exists, and then continue further basing their work on that initial supposition. In Buddhism it is different: There is no "1". In the sutras it says: "The 2 exists only because of the 1, and the 1 does not exist independently either." Or: "1 is all, all is 1."

Uchiyama Rôshi:

Calculators help us to calculate accurately, but when I got the bill for my health insurance last year, the numbers were surprisingly high. When I asked the people in the office to check once more, they found out that they had input one or two zeros too much at the end of the numbers. Thus the caluculator calculated pretty accurately - just how absent minded these office workers can be.
The other day a junior high school teacher paid me a visit and told me: "We have to give our students grades for their ethic views and sense of responsibilty. I do not feel so good about this, what do you think?" Knowing nothing about the schools of today, I was very surprised to hear this. I understand that the natural sciences can be expressed in numbers, but can you express the worth of a human being's life in that way? We should rather give grades to those in the Ministry of Education for their ethic views and sense of responsibility. I think their grades could not be worse.
Anyway, I told the teacher, who had no choice but follow the instructions of the ministry: "I would give all of my students 90 points (out of 100, because in Zen it is said that 80 or 90 percent should be preferred to 100). And apart from that, I would try to teach my students what responsibility really means, encouraging them as well as myself to develop as much sense of responsibility as we can".

Sawaki Rôshi:

It has to be this way, but it can be anyway. It does not have to be any special way, but it has to be the best way possible.

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