One Zen master was asked:
“What did you usually did before you became enlightened?”
“I used to cut wood and carry water from a well.” – said he.
Then he was asked:
“And now, when you have become enlightened, what are you doing?”
“What else can I do? I cut wood and carry water from a well.” – he replied.
The questioner, of course, was puzzled. So he asked again:
“What’s the difference then? Before Enlightenment, you did this and after Enlightenment, you do the same, what is the difference then?”
Master laughed and said:
“The difference is big. I used to do this before, but now it all happens naturally. Previously, I had to make an effort: before I became enlightened, it was a duty that I had to do, reluctantly, forcing myself.
I did this because I was told to do it; my teacher told me to cut wood, so I chopped it. But deep down I was angry, although outwardly I did not say anything.
Now I just chop wood, because I know the beauty and joy associated with it. I carry water from a well because it is necessary. It’s not my duty, but my love.
I love the old man. It’s getting cold, the winter is already knocking, we’ll need firewood. The teacher grows older every day; he needs more heat. It is necessary to heat its dwelling well. It is from this love that I chop wood. From this love, I carry him water from a well.
Now there is a big difference. There is no reluctance, no resistance.
I just respond to the moment and the current need.”