Valorization of Everyday Life; A Zen Story


Joshu asked a monk who appeared for the first time in the hall,
“Have I ever seen you here before?”
The monk answered, “No sir, you have not.”

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

He turned to another monk. “Have I ever seen you here before?”

“Yes sir, of course you have,” said the second monk.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

Later, the managing monk of the monastery asked Joshu,

“How is it that you make the same offer of tea whatever the reply to your question?”

At this Joshu shouted, “Manager, are you still here?”

“Of course, master!” the manager answered.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.


The idea of the valorization of everyday life was explained in Marea Eliade's The Sacred and Profane: The Nature of Religion. He discovered in cultures throughout time and location the function of rites, rituals and attitudes in adding value to individual lives by encouraging the perception of the sacred in even the most mundane activities: such the conscious, careful and appreciative drinking of tea.


Joshu (Chinese: Chao-chou) was a Chinese Zen (Chan) Master (778-897) known for his paradoxical statements and strange behavior.