Here’s a Zen story illustrate this learning. When you go to the Obaku temple in Kyoto in Japan you will see carved in wood, over the gate, the words “The First Principle.” The letters are unusually large, and those who appreciate calligraphy always regard them as a masterpiece. They were drawn by the Japanese Master Takushu Kosen (1760~1833) over two hundred years ago. When the Master drew them he did so on paper, from which workmen made the larger carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters an outspoken pupil was with him. The pupil never failed to criticize his Master’s work.
“That is not good,” he told Kosen after the first effort.
“How is that one?”
“Poor. Worse than before,” pronounced the pupil.
Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until 84 ‘First Principles’ had been accumulated, still without the approval of the pupil.
Then, when the young man stepped outside for a few moments, Kosen thought: “Now is my chance to escape his keen eye,” and he wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: “The First Principle.”
“A masterpiece,” pronounced the pupil.
This is the essence of ‘just being’. Kosen finally succeeded because he was one with his effort, his vision for the way the letters must appear on wood, above the gate. He was not intellectualizing his effort __ not thinking of what his pupil would be thinking when he wrote the last time. He was not considering his relationship with his pupil and wondering what he his pupil might say about a Master’s work! He just wrote. He simply was!