A famous dignitary was coming to visit a Zen monastery and intense preparations were being made for the visit. The Zen Master instructed the monks to carefully rake up all the leaves that had fallen over their beautiful rock garden. The monks gave particular attention to this task as this garden was a source of great acclaim. The task was completed perfectly about half an hour before the visit.

The Zen Master then went to a deck that was directly above the garden to inspect the outcome of the monks' work. He saw that every leaf had been raked, all the weeds removed, and the rocks hosed down so that they were gleaming in the sun. Some of the monks down below saw him inspecting the garden. They had completed the work just in time.

After the Master was satisfied with their work, he left for a moment and then returned with a huge bag of old leaves. To the monks' horror and without a moment's notice, he immediately tossed them down all over the garden again.

"Now this is a perfect Zen garden," said the Master. "Don't forget that."

The master was teaching the monks that work itself suffices, to forget about results. Whatever life brings is perfect. One cannot improve upon that.

Brenda Shoshanna in Zen Miracles