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It is not so much
of what you see
but more of how you see
that decides what is seen.

Stonepeace | Books

A Zen master asked his disciples: ‘How should you confront feminine [or masculine] attraction?’ The first disciple replied: ‘I would live as a hermit in the mountains, and where in that life would I meet a woman?’ The master replied: ‘Though your eyes may not behold attraction, there would be attraction in your mind, and even if you hid, beyond distance, higher than the moon, would that solve your problem?’

The second disciple replied: ‘If I saw it, I would treat feminine [or masculine] charm as if it were a skeleton of dirty, frightening white bones. In that way, I could not become attached to it in my mind.’ The master replied: ‘If the desire in your mind has not been extinguished, even if you see a skeleton, you will feel it is prettier than a peach. How can you not cling to it then?’

The third disciple replied: ‘With no attraction in the eye, seeing is not seeing.’ The master replied: ‘When clearly there is attraction, and yet to say there is none, when clearly you see, and yet to say “invisible,” is that not to deceive oneself and others too?’The fourth disciple replied: ‘As a wooden figure looks without feeling upon birds and flowers, what hinders us from doing the same with everything that surrounds us?’ The master replied: ‘In that case, what is there to distinguish you from unfeeling plants, trees and stones?’

The fifth disciple replied: ‘Attraction is attraction, and I am I. To see that which should be seen, where then is the hindrance to seeing? To avoid that which should be avoided, where then is the hindrance to avoiding?‘ The master replied: ‘Excellent! Excellent!’

Chinese Zen: A Path To Peace And Happiness
Wu Yansheng (Translated By Tony Blishen)

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