Explain Simplicity

There are people who try to make mountains of molehills, draw water from stones, and live complicatedly when their lives are easy. The never-ending engagement of the universal cosmos, the neutrino with its half-integer spin, and my life are all equally simple, strangely irrelevant, and universally important. All at the same time.

But instead of trying to explain simplicity, I will tell my version of an old story.

One day, a young guy went to an old guy who he thought was smart. Talking about life, he wanted to show the old guy how smart he was.  

He said, “Nothing really exists, you know. Everything is really empty, there’s nothing to learn, nothing to uncover or show, there’s no really real intelligence, and nothing is ever really lame. There’s nothing to give or receive.”  

The old guy didn’t say anything, and instead just sat there smoking on a big old pipe. Out of nowhere he took his pipe and smacked the young guy on the cheek. 

“HEY! What was that all about?!” the young guy said angrily. 

“If nothing exists,” asked the old guy, “where did this anger come from?”

That’s the story of Yamaoka Tesshu from when he was a young student of Zen. He had visited Dokuon of Shokoku, and that’s what happened.

Leonardo da Vinci wrote, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

This story is a great explanation of simplicity, and your engagement in your life.

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