“All your seriousness is about sandcastles. And you yourself will leave them one day, trampling them down, and you will not look back,” adds Osho to the anecdote.
Zen does not take your life very seriously, it takes it playfully as if we were children playing by the seabeach, collecting seashells, colored stones, making houses of sand. Our life is not more than that; it is nothing to be serious about.
I am reminded of an occasion:
Gautam Buddha is entering a village. On the boundary there is a river, and in the sand a few children are playing, making castles of sand, and they were very serious. If somebody – there were many children – if somebody disturbed somebody’s castle… It is very easy to disturb a sandcastle, just throw a stone at it and it is gone. They were shouting and being angry at each other, and Buddha stood there, watching. Then it was time for the sun to set and their mothers called them from nearby houses, “Come back home, it is time for your supper.” And they all jumped on their own castles, the ones they had made and for which they were fighting that nobody should disturb them. They jumped on their own castles and never looked back, simply went home.
Buddha said to his disciples who were with him, “Life is not much more than this.”
All your seriousness is about sandcastles. And you yourself will leave them one day, trampling them down, and you will not look back. The people who take it seriously miss the beauty of playfulness.
Osho, Nansen: The Point of Departure, Ch 6 (excerpt)