Monday, September 21, 2015

Zen Stories [4]

A FAMOUS soldier came to the master Hakuin and asked: 
"Master, tell me: is there really a heaven and a hell?"

"Who are you?" asked Hakuin.

"I am a soldier of the great Emperor's personal guard."

"Nonsense!" said Hakuin. 
"What kind of emperor would have you around him? To me you look like a beggar!" 

At this, the soldier started to rattle his big sword in anger. 

"Oho!" said Hakuin. "So you have a sword! I'll wager it's much too dull to cut my head off!"

At this the soldier could not hold himself back. 
He drew his sword and threatened the master, who said: 
"Now you know half the answer! You are opening the gates of hell!"

The soldier drew back, sheathed his sword, and bowed. 
"Now you know the other half," said the master. 
"You have opened the gates  of heaven."

* * *

THE STUDENT Doko came to a Zen master, and said: 
"I am seeking the truth. 
In what state of mind should I train myself, so as to find it?"

Said the master, "There is no mind, so you cannot put it in any
state. There is no truth, so you cannot train yourself for it."

"If there is no mind to train, and no truth to find, why do you
have these monks gather before you every day to study Zen and
train themselves for this study?"

"But I haven't an inch of room here," said the master, so how
could the monks gather? I have no tongue, so how could I call them
together or teach them?"

"Oh, how can you lie like this?" asked Doko. 

"But if I have no tongue to talk to others, how can I lie to you?" asked the master.

Then Doko said sadly, "I cannot follow you. I cannot understand you.

"I cannot understand myself," said the master.

* * *

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