Sunday, November 4, 2012

Kinzumido: The Way of the Squirrel

Young Monk Contemplating Kinzumido

My friend in Japan told me that there are many squirrels that  have taken up residence at the Temple of the Great Buddha and are referred to as the Zen Buddhist Squirrels.
The formal Japanese phrase for squirrel is Kinzumi and adding the letters "do", Kinzumido, means "to follow the squirrel way."

And what is the "squirrel way"?  To answer this question, I asked Mr.Nut if he wouldn't mind being interviewed, as he is a wisdom squirrel.  Here's what he said: 

Me:  Mr.Nut, could you describe in a nutshell what is meant by "the way of the squirrel"?
Mr.Nut:  Essentially, it means to walk in kindness.

Me:  Mr.Nut, how does one embody this teaching?
Mr.Nut:  For a squirrel, it is simple... we treat everyone like a squirrel, meaning there is no one higher or lower... all beings are the energy of Great Mystery. By respecting Great Mystery, kindness naturally results.  It makes for a peaceful existence.

Me: Mr.Nut, why are there so many squirrels inhabiting sacred temples around the world?
Mr.Nut:  Squirrels naturally gravitate to familiar energy. Squirrels originally came from the Sun and so the high frequency and radiant light of the Sun feels comfortable to us.  So residing in the sacred Temples on the earth feels much like "going home" to us squirrels.

Me: Mr.Nut, can you tell us a good way to grow in kindness?
Mr.Nut:  It is simple really... just love every being.  People think this is hard because they still believe that there is good vs. evil.  So what to do... just rest in Squirrelmind.  In Squirrelmind there is just LOVE and love means "not two".  

Me:  Can you give an example of how this works? Take a current situation that is difficult... perhaps hurricane Sandy.
Mr.Nut:  OK.. there is no problem with a hurricane until you make a story about it.  If in talking about the storm, a person says, "Many buildings were damaged and people injured" still there is no problem.  But when you hold the belief that there should never be any damage or injuries,  then you create the perception of OK vs. not OK or good vs.evil. If you remember "not two", you can just witness all that is in front of you... buildings under water, people, tree branches on roadways, etc. and see it all as one scenic view.

Mr.Nut exemplifying Kinsumido

Me:  What is the "squirrel way" of viewing a storm?
Mr.Nut:  Typically, squirrel nests will be blown out of trees. Mama squirrels get busy finding their young and making a new nest.  Some squirrels are separated from their families and are rescued by friends of squirrels.  Then the rescued squirrels go on to teach their caregivers Kinzumido.  Squirrels are not afraid of death... we live short lives compared to humans and we don't take anything seriously. As a result, we have more fun in life.  That's how we can run at high speeds in the uppermost branches of the trees... we don't care if we fall or even if we die.  Everything is just a passing experience! So when a storm comes we know it is all just part of Great Mystery. We welcome everything that comes. 

Me: Mr.Nut, do you have any advice for people who want to experience more peace in life?
Mr.Nut:  I would just tell people to openly embrace everything without a story.  Let yourself enjoy every possible experience that comes to you. If you make this your practice, you will always be in Bliss.  And Bliss is your natural state... it is the constant state of every squirrel 

Newpaper reporters interviewing Kinzumi