In a Mustard Seed – A Zen Story
This Zen story from the Tang dynasty is about Li Bo who was a learned scholar. Find out what happens when he meets the Zen master Zizank and asks him a scholarly question.
Zen Story: During the Tang dynasty there was a man named Li Bo who loved to study. Because he had read over 10,000 volumes, people called him “Li of 10,000 volumes.”
Once, he asked the monk Zizank, “There is a passage in the Vimalakeerth Nirdesha Sutra which says, ‘Mount Sumeru can be inserted into a mustard seed.’ How could such a big mountain fit into a tiny mustard seed?’”
The master answered, “You are called Li of 10,000 volumes. How could those 10,000 volumes fit into a tiny skull?”Sadhguru: This mustard seed analogy is essentially coming from the Yoga Sutras where this example is always used that you can fit the cosmos into a mustard seed. A mustard seed is something that we use on a daily basis, and it is the one of the smallest things. The whole cosmos can go into it because time and space is just a creation of our mind. This may be difficult for a logical mind to understand but today science is proving that to you in so many ways which is beyond the present level of human logic. Modern science is clearly saying that both time and space are stretchable and contractible. Experientially this is always true that when a person is in a certain state of experience, time suddenly gets compressed. Even in ordinary states of experience, people might have experienced that when someone is very joyful, twenty-four hours pass off like a moment; when someone is unhappy or depressed, twenty-four hours feel like a year.
Time is a very relative experience and so is space. In my own experience it has been so that when I am in certain states, a day feels like a moment for me. Or if I sit in one place, what I feel is like two minutes is seven to eight hours. Sometimes, I have just sat like that for many days, not knowing. People think that I am performing a great feat by sitting there for four days or six days or thirteen days at a stretch, but in my experience it is only for 25-30 minutes. There is no difficulty or any kind of struggle about sitting there. It is not a feat because once you transcend the limitations of your mind, there is no time and space. Time and space is the making of the mind. It is that meditative dimension that they are trying to convey through this story, that when you are truly meditative, there is no time and space for you.