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Tag: stories

  • Zen Stories ☯

    A university student while visiting Gasan asked him: “Have you even read the Christian Bible?” “No, read it to me,” said Gasan. The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, […]

  • Zen Stories ☯

     Zen teachers train their young pupils to express themselves. Two Zen temples each had a child protégé. One child, going to obtain vegetables each morning, would meet the other on the way. “Where are you going?” asked the one. “I am going wherever my feet go,” the other responded. This reply puzzled the first child […]

  • Zen Stories

    Sozan, the Chinese Zen master known for his poetry and calligraphy, was about to start a talk with his students. Just then, a student asked him, “Teacher, what is the most valuable thing in the world?” Without any hesitation, Sozan responded, “A dead cat’s head.” The student was baffled. Perhaps his Master hadn’t heard the […]

  • Zen Stories

    Once a division of the Japanese army was engaged in a sham battle, and some of the officers found it necessary to make their headquarters in Gasan’s temple. Gasan told his cook: “Let the officers have only the same simple fare we eat.” This made the army men angry, as they were used to very […]

  • Zen Stories

    Full awareness ☯ After ten years of apprenticeship, Tenno achieved the rank of Zen teacher. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous master Nan-in. When he walked in, the master greeted him with a question, “Did you leave your wooden clogs and umbrella on the porch?” “Yes,” Tenno replied. “Tell me,” the master […]

  • Zen Stories ☯

    Little miracles While Bankei was preaching quietly to his followers, his talk was interrupted by a Shinsu priest who believed in miracles, and thought salvation came from repeating holy words. Bankei was unable to go on with his talk, and asked the priest what he wanted to say. ‘The founder of my religion,” boasted the […]

  • Zen Stories

    The Stonecutter There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house, and through the open gateway, saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be […]

  • Zen Stories

      A rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for generations. On a large piece of paper, the master wrote, “Father dies, son dies, grandson dies.” The rich man became angry […]

  • Zen Stories

    A farmer got so old that he couldn’t work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there. “He’s of no use any more,” the son thought to himself, “he doesn’t […]

  • Zen Stories

    There lived an old farmer who had worked on his fields for many, many years. One day, his horse bolted away. His neighbors dropped in to commiserate with him. “What awful luck,” they tut-tutted sympathetically, to which the farmer only replied, “We’ll see.” Next morning, to everyone’s surprise, the horse returned, bringing with it three […]