PZI Teacher Archives
Nothing to Complain About
Once upon a time there was a young man who was deeply unhappy. He had many good things in his life but they didn’t help. When he was at the end of his tether he heard about a teacher who was supposed to be good with hopeless cases and he made the journey to see her.
“I am very unhappy,” he said. “I’m too restless to sit still and do a spiritual practice and I’m too selfish to practice compassion and service. I reach for what I want but when I get it, I’m not happy, and I’, always looking out for the next thing. I don’t have a clue where to turn. But I’m told that you deal with hopeless cases so perhaps you can help me. You are my last resort.”
“I’m glad you came,” she said. “I might be able to help but you will have to agree to do the practice I ask you to do.” “Why don’t you tell me?” he said “and I’ll decide if it will work for me.”
“Oh no,” she said, “The deal is that you agree to do what I say and then I tell you what you must do. There is no other way.” He hemmed and hawed and went back and forth and finally surrendered and said, “OK I’ll do it, but I won’t do it forever.” So she said, “Try it for a year and let me know.”
“A year!” She said nothing.“OK,” he said, “Give it to me.”
“I’ll give you the practice I do myself. Whenever anything appears in my mind or appears in the world, I say ‘Thank you very much I have no complaints whatsoever.’”
“That’s all? That’s it? That’ll never work for me!”
“You agreed. For a year. Off you go now. Thank you very much I have no complaints whatsoever.”So he left and she more or less forgot about him.Then a year passed and he asked for an interview and arrived in her room. “It’s as I suspected, I knew it would never work for me, I’m still just as unhappy and selfish as I ever was.”
Immediately she said, “Thank you very much I have no complaints whatsoever.” With her words, he felt an eruption in his chest and began to laugh and immediately understood what she meant and laughed and laughed and laughed and his happiness didn’t subside though it did become quieter after some months.
“Thank you very much,” he told people, “I have no complaints whatsoever.”
—as told by John Tarrant
Our Own True Lives: Thank You Very Much!
Thanksgiving weekend dharma talk on the many-layered and mysterious qualities of gratitude: aspirational, strategic, innocent, etc. The act of giving is pure —any gift is good. A koan story: A teacher gives a student a yearlong task on feeling gratitude. Music for meditation from Michael Wilding and Jordan McConnell, Cantor Amaryllis Fletcher on violin introducing the Four Vows.
Excerpt: An Impossible Task – Journey Into Awakening
PZI Zen Online: Excerpt from The Journey Into Awakening. A story especially for this Covid lockdown Thanksgiving. A woman gets a task that seems impossible and which she must practice without fail for a year. As recorded Nov. 22, 2020. 17 minutes.