|Posted by Sensei on July 3, 2012 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
There was a Hindu saint in Africa. He had come to India for a pilgrimage to the Himalayas, particularly to a holy temple, one of the most difficult places to reach. Many people simply never came back - small pathways, and just to the side were valleys ten thousand feet deep, and the mountains were covered in eternal snow. Just a little slip of the foot, and you are gone.
The Hindu saint was tired, carrying very little luggage - because to carry much luggage at those heights becomes more and more difficult. Just ahead of him, he saw a girl not more than ten years old carrying a little boy, very fat, on her shoulders. She was perspiring, breathing heavely, and when the saint passed by her, he said, "My daughter, you most be tired. You are carrying so much weight."
The girl became angry, and she said, "You are carrying weight. This is not weight, this is my younger brother."
|Posted by Sensei on June 18, 2012 at 2:50 PM||comments (0)|
A student was caught stealing and his fellows asked master Bankei to expel him from the community. The master ignored the request, but the student stole again. The others drew up a petition demanding his expulsion, stating that otherwise they would all leave. Bankei called them together and said, "You are wise, my friends. You know right from wrong. You can go somewhere else to study, but this poor fellow - who will teach him if I do not? I must keep him as my student even if the rest of you leave." The student who had stolen was overcome with tears and never stole again."
|Posted by Sensei on May 11, 2012 at 1:20 PM||comments (0)|
Early one morning, young Babu went running to his master in the ashram.
“Master, master come quickly, Govindamurti has finally become enlightened.” Babu paused to catch his breath. “I’ve just come from the river, Govindamurti was on the other side. I beckoned him to me. He simply walked across the surface of the water to me. Govindamurti can now walk on water!”
Babu’s master remained seated and unmoved. His eyes glared at Babu with mocking joviality.
“Master, it is true,” protested Babu. “Govindamurti is enlightened. I saw him with my own eyes walk on water.”
The Master beckoned with his finger for Babu to sit before him. Silence followed.
An hour went by. In the presence and aura of the Master, Babu’s thoughts settled. He lapsed into deep meditation. Another hour elapsed. The silence was eventually shattered by a mosquito buzzing around Babu’s face.
The Master finally spoke. “Babu, is the mosquito enlightened?” “Of course not, master.”
“Yet even a mosquito can walk on water, can it not?” “Yes, but…”
“So you think that enlightenment is raising yourself to the talents of a mosquito do you?”
Babu was humbled. “No, master.”
“Enlightenment is dropping all notion of body consciousness and becoming the mosquito. Not imitating the mosquito, is it not?”
Babu nodded “Yes, master.”
“When you beckoned Govindamurti to come to you, how do you know it was not your power that prompted him to walk across the surface of the water?”
Babu looked perplexed and did not answer.
“Babu, the path to enlightenment is fraught with dangers. You will develop various powers and view many visions. All these powers and visions are impermanent, hence illusory. Know that enlightenment is even beyond sidhi powers.”
At that instant, the mosquito suddenly bit Babu on the face. Impulsively Babu slapped and killed the mosquito. The Master vanished and Babu was instantly enlightened.
|Posted by Sensei on September 20, 2010 at 9:40 PM||comments (0)|
Someone came to Bokuju (Zen master).
Bokuju's master was very famous, very well known, a very great man, so someone asked Bokuju, "Are you really following your master?" Bokuju said, "Yes, I am following him."
But the man who asked the question was disturbed because it was well know all over the country that Bokuju was not following his master at all. So the man said, "Are you tryingto deceive me? Everyone knows and you are aware that you are not following your master at all, and still you say that you are following. What do you mean?"
Bokuju said, "I am following my master - because my master never followed his master. This is what I learned from him. He was himself!"
|Posted by Sensei on July 24, 2010 at 8:25 AM||comments (0)|
In bullfighting there is a term called “querencia”. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot.
As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar. His comfort zone.
|Posted by Sensei on August 2, 2009 at 6:49 PM||comments (0)|
The master Bankei's talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged inscholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from hisheart to the hearts of his listeners.
His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei.
"Hey, Zen teacher!" he called out. "Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Canyou make me obey you?"
"Come up beside me and I will show you," said Bankei.
Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher.
Bankei smiled. "Come over to my left side."
The priest obeyed.
"No," said Bankei, "we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here."
The priest proudly stepped over to the right.
"You see," observed Bankei, "you are obeying me and I think you are avery gentle person. Now sit down and listen."
|Posted by Sensei on August 1, 2009 at 8:16 PM||comments (0)|
Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: "I suppose you left your wodden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs."
Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in's pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.
|Posted by Sensei on August 1, 2009 at 7:27 PM||comments (0)|
Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master.
Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dressplain. Several monks secretly fell in love with her. One of them wroteher a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.
Eshun did not reply. The following day the master gave a lecture to thegroup, and when it was over, Eshun arose. Addressing the one who hadwritten to her, she said: "If you really love me so much, come and embraceme now."
|Posted by Sensei on August 1, 2009 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Gudo was the emperor's teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used totravel alone as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his way toEdo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he approached alittle village named Takenaka. It was evening and a heavy rain wasfalling. Gudo was thoroughly wet. His straw sandals were in pieces. Ata farmhouse near the village he noticed four or five pairs of sandals inthe window and decided to buy some dry ones.
The woman who offered him the sandals, seeing how wet he was, invitedhim in to remain for the night in her home. Gudo accepted, thanking her.He entered and recited a sutra before the family shrine. He was thenintroduced to the women's mother, and to her children. Observing that theentire family was depressed, Gudo asked what was wrong.
"My husband is a gambler and a drunkard," the housewife told him. "When hehappens to win he drinks and becomes abusive. When he loses he borrows moneyfrom others. Sometimes when he becomes thoroughly drunk he does not come homeat all. What can I do?"
"I will help him," said Gudo. "Here is some money. Get me a gallon offine wine and something good to eat. Then you may retire. I will meditatebefore the shrine."
When the man of the house returned about midnight, quite drunk, he bellowed:"Hey, wife, I am home. Have you something for me to eat?"
"I have something for you," said Gudo. "I happened to be caught in therain and your wife kindly asked me to remain here for the night. In returnI have bought some wine and fish, so you might as well have them."
The man was delighted. He drank the wine at once and laid himself downon the floor. Gudo sat in meditation beside him.
In the morning when the husband awoke he had forgotten about theprevious night. "Who are you? Where do you come from?" he asked Gudo, whowas still meditating.
"I am Gudo of Kyoto and I am going on to Edo," replied the Zen master.
The man was utterly ashamed. He apologized profusely to the teacher ofhis emperor.
Gudo smiled. "Everything in this life is impermanent," he explained."Life is very brief. If you keep on gambling and drinking, you will haveno time left to accomplish anything else, and you will cause your familyto suffer too."
The perception of the husband awoke as if from a dream. "You areright," he declared. "How can I ever repay you for this wonderfulteaching! Let me see you off and carry your things a little way."
"If you wish," assented Gudo.
The two started out. After they had gone three miles Gudo told him toreturn. "Just another five miles," he begged Gudo. They continued on.
"You may return now," suggested Gudo.
"After another ten miles," the man replied.
"Return now," said Gudo, when the ten miles had been passed.
"I am going to follow you all the rest of my life," declared the man.
Modern Zen teachings in Japan spring from the lineage of a famous masterwho was the successor of Gudo. His name was Mu-nan, the man who never turnedback.
|Posted by Sensei on May 26, 2009 at 3:02 PM||comments (0)|
There once was a wise sage who wandered the countryside.One day, as he passed near a village, he was approached by a woman whotold him of a sick child nearby. She beseeched him to help this child.
So the sage came to the village, and a crowd gathered around him, forsuch a man was a rare sight. One woman brought the sick child to him,and he said a prayer over her.
"Do you really think your prayer will help her, when medicine has failed?" yelled a man from the crowd.
"You know nothing of such things! You are a stupid fool!" said the sage to the man.
The man became very angry with these words and his face grew hot andred. He was about to say something, or perhaps strike out, when thesage walked over to him and said: "If one word has such power as tomake you so angry and hot, may not another have the power to heal?"
And thus, the sage healed two people that day.
|Posted by Blanca Hager on May 14, 2009 at 10:01 AM||comments (0)|
"The thought manifests as the word,
The word manifests as the deed,
The deed develops into habit,
Habit hardens into character.
So watch the thought and its ways with care
And let it spring from love
Born out of concern for all beings...
As the shadow follows the body,
As we think, so we become."
Saying of the Buddha
|Posted by Sensei on March 17, 2009 at 4:24 PM||comments (1)|
There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for
many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his
neighbors came to visit.
"Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.
"We'll see," the farmer replied.
The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses.
"How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.
"We'll see," replied the old man.
The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.
"We'll see," answered the farmer.
The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.
"We'll see" said the farmer.
|Posted by Sensei on January 31, 2009 at 5:46 PM||comments (0)|
The old monk sat by the side of the road. With his eyes closed, his
legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap, he sat. In deep
meditation, he sat.
Suddenly his Zazen was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior. "Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!"
At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But gradually he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing second.
"You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?" replied the monk at last. "You who are so unkempt. You whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is all rusty and neglected. You who are ugly and whose mother dresses you funny. You would ask me of heaven and hell?"
The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned to crimson and the veins on his neck stood out in bold relief as he prepared to sever the monk's head from its shoulders.
"That is hell," said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent. In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared to risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-flight and his eyes filled with grateful tears.
"And at," said the monk, "is heaven."
|Posted by Sensei on January 11, 2009 at 7:56 PM||comments (2)|
|Posted by Sensei on January 7, 2009 at 10:45 AM||comments (0)|
A priest was in charge of the garden within a famous Zen temple. He had
been given the job because he loved the flowers, shrubs, and trees.
Next to the temple there was another, smaller temple where there lived
a very old Zen master.
One day, when the priest was expecting some special guests, he took extra care in tending to the garden. He pulled the weeds, trimmed the shrubs, combed the moss, and spent a long time meticulously raking up and carefully arranging all the dry autumn leaves. As he worked, the old master watched him with interest from across the wall that separated the temples.
When he had finished, the priest stood back to admire his work. "Isn't it beautiful?" he called out to the old master. "Yes," replied the old man, "but there is something missing. Help me over this wall and I'll put it right for you."
The priest lifted the old fellow over and set him down. Slowly, the master walked to the tree near the center of the garden, grabbed it by the trunk, and shook it. Leaves showered down all over the garden. "There!" said the old man, "you can put me back now."
|Posted by Sensei on November 21, 2008 at 10:52 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Sensei on September 8, 2008 at 9:38 PM||comments (0)|
Suiwo, the disciple of Hakuin, was a good teacher. During one summer seclusion period, a pupil came to him from a southern island of Japan.
Suiwo gave him the problem: "Hear the sound of one hand."
The pupil remained three years but could not pass the test. One night he came in tears to Suiwo. "I must return south in shame and embarrassment," he said, "for I cannot solve my problem."
"Wait one week more and meditate constantly," advised Suiwo. Still no enlightenment came to the pupil. "Try for another week," said Suiwo. The pupil obeyed, but in vain.
"Still another week." Yet this was of no avail. In despair the student begged to be released, but Suiwo requested another meditation of five days. They were without result. Then he said: "Meditate for three days longer, then if you fail to attain enlightenment, you had better kill yourself."
On the second day the pupil was enlightened.
|Posted by Sensei on August 24, 2008 at 11:36 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Sensei on July 22, 2008 at 9:22 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Sensei on June 26, 2008 at 10:54 AM||comments (0)|