Easter - 2018

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leadership knows when and when not to....

Two monks, Tanzan and Ekido, were walking down a country road on their way to visit a local monastery. They came upon a lovely young girl dressed in fine silks, who was standing in front of a muddy stream afraid to cross it.

“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan. And he picked her up in his arms, and carried her across. The two monks did not speak again till nightfall when they had returned to the monastery. Ekido couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

“Monks shouldn’t go near girls,” he said “certainly not beautiful ones like that one! Why did you do it?”
“My dear fellow,” said Tanzan. “I put that girl down, way back at the crossing. It’s you who are still carrying her! (Peter Pauper Press, Zen Buddhism, 1959).

This is a great story for the church today. There are many muddy paths that people must cross in today’s organizations and leadership needs to be clear, decisive and appropriate to the situation. Tanzan in the above story shows unique leadership. He sees the situation and is able to do what is needed. He is not encumbered by ideas, rules and procedures but looks at what is needed. Even more importantly, he is able to move down the road after the event with a clear mind. He lets go of any anxiety about whether he acted rightly or wrongly. Tanzan would have been able to see and respond to the next action because his mind is not still carrying his last action.

Ekido, however, is still carrying his judgements, thoughts and concerns. Ekido needs rules and procedures to control him in his journey. On the outside Ekido may look like the “perfect” monk – but inside he is torn by the rules of being a monk and needs these rules to manage his inner yearnings.

While concepts, rules and ideas may help guide a person in training, a true leader carries his/her mission in his/her heart – it is not external rules that make the person. The leader models the way not by following outer form but by seeing their work as their way of being. Our love to God, for each other, and for life needs to permeate every fiber of our being so that we can let things go that are not essential while passionately carrying dynamics of life that are essential!

You know I love ya, Don

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