Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Every Minute Zen
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.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Calling Card

Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto. One day the governor of Kyoto called upon him for the first time.
His attendant presented the card of the governor, which read: Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto.
"I have no business with such a fellow," said Keichu to his attendant. "Tell him to get out of here."
The attendant carried the card back with apologies. "That was my error," said the governor, and with a pencil he scratched out the words Governor of Kyoto. "Ask your teacher again."
"Oh, is that Kitagaki?" exclaimed the teacher when he saw the card. "I want to see that fellow."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike; each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little. Buddha

Saturday, July 19, 2008

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. If a man speaks or acts with an evil thought, pain follows him. If a man speaks or acts with a pure thought, happiness follows him, like a shadow that never leaves him.

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. Buddha

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stingy in Teaching

A young physician in Tokyo named Kusuda met a college friend who had been studying Zen. The young doctor asked him what Zen was.
"I cannot tell you what it is," the friend replied, "but one thing is certain. If you understand Zen, you will not be afraid to die."
"That's fine," said Kusuda. "I will try it. Where can I find a teacher?"
"Go to the master Nan-in," the friend told him.
So Kusuda went to call on Nan-in. He carried a dagger nine and a half inches long to determine whether or not the teacher was afraid to die.
When Nan-in saw Kusuda he exclaimed: "Hello, friend. How are you? We haven't seen each other for a long time!"
This perplexed Kusuda, who replied: "We have never met before."
"That's right," answered Nan-in. "I mistook you for another physician who is receiving instruction here."
With such a begining, Kusuda lost his chance to test the master, so reluctantly he asked if he might receive instruction.
Nan-in said: "Zen is not a difficult task. If you are a physician, treat your patients with kindness. That is Zen."
Kusuda visited Nan-in three times. Each time Nan-in told him the same thing. "A phsisician should not waste time around here. Go home and take care of your patients."
It was not clear to Kusuda how such teaching could remove the fear of death. So on the forth visit he complained: "My friend told me that when one learns Zen one loses his fear of death. Each time I come here you tell me to take care of my patients. I know that much. If that is your so-called Zen, I am not going to visit you anymore."
Nan-in smiled and patted the doctor. "I have been too strict with you. Let me give you a koan." He presented Kusuda with Joshu's Mu to work over, which is the first mind-enlightening problem in the book called The Gateless Gate.
Kusuda pondered this problem of Mu (No-Thing) for two years. At length he thought he had reached certainty of mind. But his teacher commented: "You are not in yet." Kusuda continued in concentration for another yet and a half. His mind became placid. Problems dissolved. No-Thing became the truth. He served his patients well and, without even knowing it, he was free from concern of life and death.
Then he visited Nan-in, his old teacher just smil

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On life's journey faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life, nothing can destroy him. Buddha

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. Buddha

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is That So?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbours as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him.

Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child. This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parent went to the master. "Is that so?" was all he would say. After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin.
By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbours and everything else he needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth - the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back. Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: "Is that so?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Accept disgrace willingly... Accept being unimportant...
Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

Lao Tzu (c.604 - 531 B.C.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mokusen's Hand

Mokusen Hiki was living in a temple in the province of Tamba. One of his adherents complained of the stinginess of his wife.

Mokusen visited the adherent's wife and showed her his clenched fist before her face. "What do you mean by that?" asked the surprised woman."Suppose my fist were always like that. What would you call it?" he asked. "Deformed," replied the woman.Then he opened his hand flat in her face and asked: "Suppose it were always like that. What then?"
"Another kind of deformity," said the wife."If you understand that much," finished Mokusen, "you are a good wife." Then he left. After his visit, this wife helped her husband to distribute as well

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

There’s an old koan about a monk who went to his master and said, "I’m a very angry person, and I want you to help me." The master said, "Show me your anger." The monk said, "Well, right now I’m not angry. I can’t show it to you." And the master said, "then obviously it’s not you, since sometimes it’s not even there." Who we are has many faces, but these faces are not who we are.

Monday, July 07, 2008

No Water No Moon

When the nun Chiyono studied Zen under Bukko of Engaku she was unable to attain the fruits of meditation for a long time.
At last one moonlit night she was carrying water in an old pail bound with bamboo. The bamboo broke and the bottom fell out of the pail, and at that moment Chiyono was set free!
In commemoration, she wrote a poem: In this way and that I tried to save the old pail Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about to break Until at last the bottom fell out. No more water in the pail! No more moon in the water!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon."

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Mother's Advice
Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures
to his brother students.
His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:
"Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor.
I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization."