More great advice from the Zenrin, a classic collection of Buddhist wisdom -quoted in David Brazier's inspirational book The Feeling Buddha, which I've just finished reading:
In life, seek no heaven;
In death, fear no hell.
Enter the woods without disturbing a blade of grass;
Enter the water without making waves.
Meet the enlightened one on the street;
Do not greet him with words nor silence.
For so long, like a bird in a cage;
Now fly free like a cloud in the blue sky.
Hold the hoe with empty hands;
Ride the ox by standing on your own feet.
Brazier comments: These verses point to an innocence of mind that is yet fully mature. The enlightened person is mature enough to enjoy life as it is and by doing so liberates the creative fire within. The ox is an age old symbol for the wildness in us that is also the basis for our spiritual life. If we can catch and tame the ox, we will be in command of our power.
Brazier's book is a radical new look at Buddhism, going back to the Buddha's original words and intentions (so far as it is possible to tell them). It's a refreshingly simple, psychological, common sense approach to the subject.
These are Buddhism's Four Noble Truths as Brazier interprets them:
DUKKHA: AFFLICTION, burning, adversity, suffering, provocation, ill-being: SPARK
SAMUDAYA: RESPONSE, welling up, passion, feeling, reaction, spirit: FIRE
NIRODHA: CONTAINMENT, holding firm, harnessing, sheltering the fire, applying the energy: TENDING THE FIRE
MARGA: TRACK, making tracks, way, trace, the completed work, the undefeated life: THE COOKED MEAL
Throughout his book Brazier makes helpful analogies with the fire symbol - an image which the Buddha himself used constantly.
I quoted another poem from the Zenrin here.