Just do the needed now,
but be sure it is
truly what is needed now.
A student was on Mount Tiantong in China, studying Chan [Chinese Zen], when one day he encountered an old monk who was working as chief cook. It was midsummer, and the sun was beating down hard. The chief cook was working vigorously, drying out some mushrooms. He said, ‘This is awfully hard work, isn’t it? Why don’t you have a younger man do it?‘
The chief cook replied, ‘If another person does it, I won’t be able to do it myself.’ [Or, as alternative reply?: ‘If another person could do it, I wouldn’t need to do it myself.’] ‘That’s so, but it’s so hot right now. Wouldn’t it be better to do it on a more pleasant day?’ ‘And when would such a pleasant day be? Answer me that. Will there ever be another time like this one, right now?‘ The student could say nothing, and the chief cook worked on, sweating in silence.
William Scott Wilson