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  • Rosie Iles-Jonas

A Zen Story: The Bowl

I love zen stories, small and insightful little nudges in the right direction... But I've also pondered if they're also about getting me to wash up. Read this story, and let me know what you think!?

A student has arrived at the monastery and they're excited to start training.

The monk asks the student 'have you eaten your rice porridge'?

The student (a little surprised by the uninspiring start to his training) replied: 'I have eaten'.

The monk replied 'then you had better wash your bowl'.

At that moment the student was enlightened.

There is something profound and yet minimalist about this advice. It's an invitation to avoid getting your head caught up in all this thinking about the meaning of life … instead, just do. Just wash your bowl. And in the washing, you’ll find all you need.

...Or it is just a ploy to get us to wash up. Either way, I feel a little more content thinking a bit less, and seeing my dirty dishes as an activity towards enlightenment!!

Rosie Iles-Jonas

Yoga Teacher

Postgraduate at SOAS University

Yoga and Somatics for Healing with Charlotte Watts