Filed in Zen (Chan)

How to Not Waste Time

Turns out you can’t waste time if you’re aware of it.Brad Warner

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I hate the phrase “killing time.” No one has an overabundance of time here on this earth—the idea of killing any second of it just makes me cringe. In Zen monasteries you often see an old Chinese poem written on the han, the wooden board that’s hit to call people to meditation. It goes like this:

Great is the matter of life and death
Moments go by swiftly and are lost
To squander time is a great shame
Do not waste your life

People have a great variety of definitions for what constitutes time wasting and what doesn’t. Some people want to stay busy and productive every minute. On the other hand, when asked what he thought was the purpose of life, Kurt Vonnegut said, “We’re all just farting around, and don’t let anyone tell you different.” But Kurt Vonnegut accomplished a lot in his time.

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