Get off your behind and do someting useful!
The work is part of the koan.
Today i'd like to adress the subject of work, or rather samu.
I rather like the definition on Wikipedia is quite good...
Samu refers to work that is done to promote mindfulness...
Mindfulness means accepting reality just as it is. Samu is a means of finding Buddha-nature in everyday life, that reality has ever been pure from the very beginning...
Samu is one way to go beyond the self and is one way to integrate practice into daily life.
Samu is sometimes translated as "daily work practice.
And i would say that Samu is vital to Practice.
In fact, Samu is "working Zazen"!
Being part of the Treeleaf sangha, Samu is something that is somewhat encouraged, but up to each person to do, as we are a "worldwidesangha", and not always near another person.
At treeleaf, we are encouraged to do some hands-on, actually helping people while doing Samu, not just pulling weeds and raking the gravel.
Some hands on work with the sick, the abused or suffering.
However, this should not take out the time to take care of family, children and such, since that is ALSO Samu, done properly.
How much should you be doing?
Well, that is a another question.
I would say, just enough.
When you do it, do enough.
Not to much, not to little, just enough.
If that is just giving a smile and a hand in something simple, and that is all you can, thats enough.
If you can put off some hours each week sitting with the needing, then that is enough.
I can't say what is enough for you, you have to feel that yourself.
The second thing i would like to say, do it so it feels, but not more than enough.
In fact, it is even good to choose (if you choose) an activity that you resist ...
If you do it so it doesn't feel, it somewhat diminishes it's value, and you don't get the right things out off it....
There is an old story which is an favourite of mine...
No Work, No Food
Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees.
The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools.
That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. "He may be angry because we have hidden his tools," the pupils surmised. "We had better put them back."
The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: "No work, no food."
I'd like to end this by a saying supposedly from the buddha.
“Work out your own salvation. Do not depend on others.”
These works in quite well with Hakuin's quote in the beginning, "work is part of the koan".
No way around it.
Get to it.