Koan: How to Prepare for an Unknown Event

Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet
First time I saw the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet. He was left behind on this stack of towels in my room at the Fairfield Inn. I never would have thought that this is how I would meet my teacher.

Mrs. Hanamoku points out that shit is a beautiful thing. Caring for our beloved pets, being around babies, caring for elderly loved ones, it’s a sign of things still working well inside. So we cannot even judge shit negatively.

With the secular Bodhi Day (Dec 8) past, we now await the “real” Bodhi Day, the 8th Day of the 12th Moon (not Month – as is the Secular Bodhi Day), which falls on Christmas this year; the 12th New Moon of 2017 is December 18:


Of course Christmas and the Lunar Bodhi Day coincides regularly, like at least once in every 28 or so years I suppose. But at least for me, there were many other calendar events this year as well as huge changes in my career, interests, and new friends. I’ll just say, in aggregate there are so many of these coincidences that it surpasses statistical significance, biases, wishful thinking, brain-washing … insanity too because “numbers don’t lie” … or maybe not.

I have no idea what it could mean and I know to not have expectations. Perhaps nothing, just another Christmas. But my birthday two days ago wasn’t just another birthday.

What I do know is that the life of a Zen practitioner is to continuously polish your full awareness such that when a “moment of fate” arrives, anywhere between the next instant and never, you are ready. The difference here is that I know the time but not the event.

Here is a koan: How does one prepare for an unknown event?

When the full focus of your attention is on now, 100% awareness of the One becomes 2nd Nature to you, you are in eternal meditation. That is, you are free of Dukkha and One with the Universe. In terms of your daily life, you meet each moment with no expectations and with a “purely sensitive brush stroke”.

The answer to the koan is that all events are unknown. Therefore, we prepare for everything by honing our non-sensitivity to the things conjured up by our brains – to no single thing – the reality of the unfragmented One. We practice supreme non-resistance to our thoughts and beliefs – supreme flexibility equals being One with the Universe.

I can hear my Project Manager friends saying, “Bull Shit! I’ve been part of many projects that have gone as planned!!” Really? Empty your cup and think deeply about it. As the Zen Master, Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until he gets punched in the face.” Achieving your goal and achieving it as planned are two different things. We can achieve our goal with tenacity, but in the light of success, we forget the tons of Dukkha, the stress, the anger, the fear. More importantly, we usually don’t fully succeed.

In daily life terms, this means we first stop judging as something fun/tedious, important/unimportant, yummy/yucky, right/wrong. We are 100% accepting of now. Everything is of equal consequence – every single butterfly flap in the past is integral to what we see now. Remove even one of them and this Reality disintegrates. And not in the “Back to the Future” way where Marty McFly’s life is just different. The “past” and the “future” are the One.

By the way, notice that I just mentioned the Past and the Future? Well, there is no Now. So insert your rant here, then I will continue:

“WTF!??!?!? That’s the exact opposite of the shit you’ve been spewing! What about all that shit about there is only now?!?! You said the past are artifacts of our calculating brains and the future are delusions based on that past that no longer exists. So WTF!?”

“Now” is something conjured up by our brains. It is the wave turning into a particle when we look at it. It is the picture of General Sherman, the giant sequoia at Sequoia National Park, stripped of its 4D magnificence to a lame 2D snapshot. “Now” is just a snapshot of the electricity in your brain, what to us is a computation. That works great if you’re not sentient, but when you are sentient, aware of that computation … ugh! You now live under a delusion of permanence in supreme impermanence. The past and future are just another duality of judgement that are products of our computing brains – there is only a One.

For our brains, most things move slowly enough where our brains slowly adjust to the change. But our memories and “knowledge” stay the same, whoops, there is a growing disconnect between our brain and Reality. We have Acute Boiling Frog Syndrome, where we usually forget that change is constant, we never stand in the same river twice. And curing that disease is where you start preparing for an unknown event.

For this special Bodhi Day that falls on Christmas, you can make it a new world, even one where nothing has changed but everything changed. Empty your cup, all of your resentment, regrets, addictions, even hopes, wishes, expectations, and most difficult of all, all of your beliefs. Just throw yourself into 100% acceptance of what Is, from now, and on Christmas/Bodhi Day, touch the Earth to say you see Reality and not the delusions of your brain.

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