With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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Rafe Martin is an author and the founding teacher of Endless Path Zendo in Rochester, New York. His latest book is Before Buddha Was Buddha: Learning from the Jātaka Tales.
Long ago, a little gray parrot lived in a green forest. She was a happy bird and loved to fly. One day a dark storm hovered over the forest. Lightning flashed and the forest began to burn.
Late at night in New York’s Museum of Natural History, time comes to a stop. The dust settles slowly on the dioramas and displays, and nothing stirs it. Not a muscle shifts: The head of a sperm whale is wrapped in the tentacles of a giant squid, forever.
For many years while practicing Zen, I thought I was a failure. But as more years went by, I began to realize that failure is the heart of Zen. Failure is what Zen is about.