Eric left the following as a comment on my last article:

Before enlightenment go to work, pay mortgage; after enlightenment go to work, pay mortgage. (An old Zen saying i just made up.)

I love it! A great re-working of a classic Zen saying. I got to thinking how to apply it specifically to my life right now, with regard to my daily activities. Here is one I thought of just now:

Before enlightenment, fix breakfast, take kid to school; after enlightenment, fix breakfast, take kid to school.

So, what I would like for you all to do is make up your own versions, using things from your life, and leave them in the comments. It would be fun to see how we can apply a wonderful Zen saying to each of our lives.

Looking forward to what you create. Namaste.

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21 Responses to Before Enlightenment – Your Version

  1. Cool idea, Tom! Here’s mine:

    Before enlightenment, feed cat, strip wallpaper;
    After enlightenment, feed cat, strip wallpaper.

  2. Before enlightenment, do laundry, cook dinner. After enlightenment, do laundry, cook dinner.

  3. Takuin says:

    Before Enlightenment = (∞)

    After Enlightenment = {∞}

    Beyond Any Idea of Before or After = ∞

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  5. haha, fun idea Tom!

    Before enlightenment, have fun with life.
    After enlightenment, have fun with life.

    Takuin’s getting all fancy with us. ;)

  6. Evan says:

    Before enlightenment: read feeds, leave comments on worthwhile posts.
    After enlightenment: read feeds, leave comments on worthwhile posts.

  7. Nice one, Takuin. My reaction, too, was that I wasn’t sure about the “before” and “after” bit. How about just:

    Enlightenment: drink coffee.

    Works for me! :-)


  8. Davina says:

    Before enlightenment had gas.
    After enlightenment had gas.

  9. before enlightenment, hate people … after enlightenment, hate people …

  10. Davidya says:

    Before Enlightenment, seek Enlightenment.
    After Enlightenment is a meaningless statement. (laughs)
    After and Enlightenment are both concepts. Neither has anything to do with being.

    The point I think of the original quote, and many of the comments, is that the mundane continues. The function, purpose and karma of the life are not changed by awakening. Even if we know this intellectually, seeing it is can still be a surprise.

  11. Davidya says:

    Andrea – they say one can awake even on the smoke of a stinking bus. I guess coffee could qualify then. But then you said “works for me” and gave it away. (laughs)
    One could perhaps say:
    Before Enlightenment, I drink coffee.
    After Enlightenment, coffee is drunk.

    Davina – you may want to look at the diet. Ayerveda calls this excess Vata ;-)

    Gregory – if that is your role. If it is reactive though, the After will change. ;-)

  12. It seems I had similar idea to Taukin

    Before enlightenment (everything)
    After enlightenment [everything]

    It’s all in the set notation…

  13. Francis says:

    Hehe, cool, here comes mine:

    Before enlightenment, sleep, eat, work, go to toilet;
    After enlightenment, sleep, eat, work, go to toilet.

  14. Tom Stine says:

    Hey everyone!!! I’m LOVIN’ the comments. Just what I wanted. Okay, a new one from me based upon recent events in my life:

    Before enlightenment: see Adyashanti, fly home, drink beer.
    After enlightenment: see myself, fly to Hawaii, drink sake.

    I’ll let you know about the Hawaii and sake. I haven’t been in a few years. Maybe Bora Bora instead. I’ve always wanted to see Bora Bora.

  15. Tom, another way of saying that is:

    Before enlightenment, I see you.
    After enlightenment, I see me.

  16. Before Enlightenment, talk and listen. After Enlightenment listen and talk.

    Tom, I will toast you with some saki from Kona next month!

  17. Duff says:

    Before enlightenment, seeking personal development.
    After enlightenment, enjoying leaves fall.

  18. Padma says:

    Before enlightenment, stress, cry, suffer

    After enlightenment, live, laugh, and love

  19. john says:

    b4 enlightenment : God = Big daddy in the sky
    after : God = me(i.e everything)

  20. Brendan says:

    Before Enlightenment-Quit my job to find Enlightenment
    After Enlightenment-Sh*t I still got to pay the bills!

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