The Zen Master & the Tree


There are 5 rules in Cognitive Principle Therapy relating to the difference between a good habit and a bad habit and they all have spiritual principles supporting them.

This post is about the first two rules:

I was listening to Alan Watts [1915-1973] tapes,  the philosopher whose writings influenced the beat and hippie generations and helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States and I was speculating how he would tell the story about the first rule.

He may say.

“A student came to the Zen Master and asked “You are the keeper of all the grounds around the temple, tell me “where did this tree come from?” And the Zen Master said “I don’t know, you tell me”. The student then said “I don’t know either, that’s why I asked you.” The Zen Master replied. “Now you know”.

As Alan Watts says most conversations between students and the Zen Masters were to either create awareness or remove blockages from within oneself. This story is about awareness of the difference between influence versus concern and to know when to stop asking questions or worrying over it.

Because you have influence [and Control] to seek knowledge, then you have a responsibility to ask questions. But if there is no answer, then you may be concerned, but you need to unconditionally accept that there is no answer.

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