Monday, September 21, 2015

Zen Stories [1]

A MASTER who lived as a hermit on a mountain was asked by a monk,
"What is the Way?"

"What a fine mountain this is," the master said in reply.

"I am not asking you about the mountain, but about the Way."

"So long as you cannot go beyond the mountain, my son, you cannot
reach the Way," replied the master.

* * *

THE MASTER Kosen drew the words "The First Principle" which are
carved over the gate of the Oaku Temple in Kyoto. He drew them
with his brush on a sheet of paper later they were carved in wood.

A pupil of the master had mixed the ink for him, and stood by,
watching the master's calligraphy. 
This pupil said, "Not so good!"
Kosen tried again. 
The pupil said: "That's worse than the first one!" and Kosen tried again.

After the sixty-fourth try, the ink was running low, and the pupil went out to mix some more. 

Left alone, undistracted by any critical eye watching him, Kosen made one more quick drawing with the last of the ink. 
When the pupil returned, he took a good look at this latest effort.

"A masterpiece!" he said.

* * *

JOSHU asked a monk who appeared for the first time in the hall,
"Have I ever seen you here before?" 

The monk answered, "No sir, you have not."

"Then have a cup of tea," said Joshu.

He turned to another monk. "Have I ever seen you here before?" 
he said. 
"Yes sir, of course you have," said the second monk.

"Then have a cup of tea," said Joshu.

Later, the managing monk of the monastery asked Joshu, "How is it
that you make the same offer of tea whatever the reply to your

At this Joshu shouted, "Manager, are you still here?"

"Of course, master!" the manager answered. 
"Then have a cup of tea," said Joshu.

* * *

THE STUDENT Doken was told to go on a long journey to another
monastery. He was much upset, because he felt that this trip would
interrupt his studies for many months. 
So he said to his friend, the advanced student Sogen:

"Please ask permission to come with me on the trip. There are so
many things I do not know; but if you come along we can discuss
them - in this way I can learn as we travel."

"All right," said Sogen. 
"But let me ask you a question: 
If you are hungry, what satisfaction to you if I eat rice? 
If your feet are lame, what comfort to you if I go on merrily? 
If your bladder is full, what relief to you if I piss?"

* * *

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