Day: October 21, 2017

Zen Stories

Buddha was once threatened with death by a bandit called Angulimal. “Then be good enough to fulfill my dying wish,” said Buddha. “Cut off the branch of that tree.” One slash of the sword, and it was done! “What now?” asked the bandit. “Put it back again,” said Buddha. The bandit laughed. “You must be crazy to think that anyone can do that.” “On the contrary, it is you who are crazy to think that you are mighty because you can wound and destroy. That is the task of children. The mighty know how to create and heal.”

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Zen stories

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”