Zen story told by enlightened master Osho:
(Title and comments are by me)
The essence of sadhana
I have heard one story about Hotei, a Zen master. One day he was passing through a village. On his shoulders he always carried a very big bag full of many toys, chocolates and sweets for children. Somebody asked him, "Hotei, we have heard that you are just playing a role, acting. We have heard that you are a Zen master, so why do you go on wasting your time just giving toys to children? And if you are really a Zen master then show us what Zen is." Zen means the real spirit of religion. Hotei dropped his bag, immediately he dropped his bag.
They couldn't follow, so they said, "What do you mean?" He said, "This is all. If you drop the burden, this is all." They asked, "Okay, then what is the next step?" So he put his bag again on his shoulders and started walking.
"This is the next step. But now I am not carrying. I know now that the burden is not me. Now the whole burden has become just toys for children and they will enjoy.
The essence of sadhana is dropping of ego. Ego operates through sanskaras. Sanskaras operate through mind. Dropping of the bag by Hotei is a symbolic way of telling “drop the ego and the mind”. So what next? The body will go on till life is left. So again assume the ego and mind, but now you know that they are not yours. You are different now. You know the art of dropping the ego. You can do it anytime. For the onlookers you appear the same, but qualitatively you are different now. Before dropping you were suffering. Now you are enjoying the game. Now you know that the old game is over and yet you have to go on. Now it is a new game. It is like distributing sweets and toys to children. This is the state of a jivanmukta(liberated while alive).