About twenty years ago, my architect brother shared with me a legend from the Japanese tradition that was meaningful to him. This story made a big impact on me as well, and I have shared it many times over. This is the story:
“A long time ago In Japan, there was a seeker who went to an
enlightened master. The master told him to build a house. He worked
really hard, and it took him a long time. Finally, it was finished.
Shockingly, after looking at the house from top to bottom, the master told him to tear the house down. The seeker was crushed and confused, but he grudgingly tore it down. After a few days, the master told him to build the house again.
The seeker rolled up his sleeves and put his whole heart and mind into it. The thatched roof curved gently up to the heavens. The interior was made of fine wood, bamboo, silk, and rice straw mats. He knew that he master would be most pleased.
The master came to see this new house, nodded to himself as if he was in a...