Arresting the Stone Buddha

We need only know peace of mind carefully make perceptions turn noumena into phenomena, and turn phenomena into noumena. That Is Life!

A merchant bearing fifty rolls of cotton goods on his shoulders stopped to rest from the heat of the day beneath a shelter where a large stone Buddha was standing. There he fell asleep, and when he awoke his goods had disappeared. He immediately reported the matter to the police.

A judge named O-oka opened court to investigate. “That stone Buddha must have stolen the goods,” concluded the judge. “He is supposed to care for the welfare of the people, but he has failed to perform his holy duty. Arrest him.”

The police arrested the stone Buddha and carried it into the court. A noisy crowd followed the statue, curious to learn what kind of a sentence the judge was about to impose.

When O-oka appeared on the bench he rebuked the boisterous audience. “What right have you people to appear before the court laughing and joking in this manner? You are in contempt of court and subject to a fine and imprisonment.” The people hastened to apologize. “I shall have to impose a fine on you,” said the judge, “but I will remit it provided each one of you brings one roll of cotton goods to the court within three days. Anyone failing to do this will be arrested.”

One of the rolls of cloth which the people brought was quickly recognized by the merchant as his own, and thus the thief was easily discovered. The merchant recovered his goods, and the cotton rolls were returned to the people.

In the Hands of Destiny

In this story, a great Japanese warrior “borrowed” soldiers trust based on mysterious power to encourage their fighting spirit.

A great Japanese warrior named Nobunaga decided to attack the enemy although he had only one-tenth the number of men the opposition commanded. He knew that he would win, but his soldiers were in doubt.

On the way he stopped at a Shinto shrine and told his men: “After I visit the shrine I will toss a coin. If heads comes, we will win; if tails, we will lose. Destiny holds us in her hand.”

Nobunaga entered the shrine and offered a silent prayer. He came forth and tossed a coin. Heads appeared. His soldiers were so eager to fight that they won their battle easily.

‘No one can change the hand of destiny,” his attendant told him after the battle.

“Indeed not,” said Nobunaga, showing a coin which had been doubled, with heads facing either way.

Temper

Temper must not be your own true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you…

A Zen student came to Bankei and complained: “Master, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?”

“You have something very strange,” replied Bankei. “Let me see what you have.”

“Just now I cannot show it to you,” replied the other.

“When can you show it to me?” asked Bankei.

“It arises unexpectedly,” replied the student.

“Then,” concluded Bankei, “it must not be your own true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you. Think that over.”

A Letter to a Dying Man

Quoted from last paragraph:”Your end which is endless is as a snow-flake dissolving in the pure air”. The Buddha taught there is no birth, there is no death; there is no coming, there is no going; there is no same, there is no different; there is no permanent self, there is no annihilation. We only think there is. When we understand that we cannot be destroyed, we are liberated from fear.

Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:

The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither color nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.

“I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snow-flake dissolving in the pure air.”

No Attachment to Dust

Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.

Zengetsu, a Chinese master of the Tang dynasty, wrote the following advice for his pupils:

¨ Living in the world yet not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the way of a true Zen student.

¨ When witnessing the good action of another encourage yourself to follow his example. Hearing of the mistaken action of another, advise yourself not to emulate it.

¨ Even though alone in a dark room, be as if you were facing a noble guest.

¨ Express your feelings, but become no more expressive than your true nature.

¨ Poverty is your treasure. Never exchange it for an easy life.

¨ A person may appear a fool and yet not be one. He may only be guarding his wisdom carefully.

¨ Virtues are the fruit of self-discipline and do not drop from heaven of themselves as does rain or snow.

¨ Modesty is the foundation of all virtues. Let your neighbors discover you before you make yourself known to them.

¨ A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.

¨ To a sincere student, every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame can move him.

¨ Censure yourself, never another.

¨ Do not discuss right and wrong. Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave an immediate appreciation.

¨ Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.

The Stone Mind

Everything created by Mind Alone. “If you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind, your head must feel very heavy”, Hogen said.

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: “There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?”

One of the monks replied: “From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind.”

‘Your head must feel very heavy,” observed Hogen, “if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.”

Kasan Sweat

It it not easy to admit the weak point yourself! The most difficult double is Kasan confessed that with his students. From his brave, this brought to his enlightment.

Kasan was asked to officiate at the funeral of a provincial lord.

He had never met lords and nobles before so he was nervous. When the ceremony started, Kasan sweat.

Afterwards, when he had returned, he gathered his pupils together. Kasan confessed that he was not yet qualified to be a teacher for he lacked the sameness of bearing in the world of fame that he possessed in the secluded temple. Then Kasan resigned and became the pupil of another master. Eight years later he returned to his former pupils, enlightened.

Gudo and the Emperor

Emperor is also a human. And the most important is after Gudo beat the floor with his hand, make Emperor was enlightened !

The emperor Goyozei was studying Zen under Gudo. He inquired: “In Zen this very mind is Buddha. Is this correct?”

Gudo answered: “If I say yes, you will think that you understand without understanding. If I say no, I would be contradicting a fact which many understand quite well.”

On another day the emperor asked Gudo: “Where does the enlightened man go when he dies?”

Gudo answered: “I know not.”

“Why don’t you know?” asked the emperor.

“Because I have not died yet,” replied Gudo.

The emperor hesitated to inquire further about these things, his mind could not grasp. So Gudo beat the floor with his hand as if to awaken him and the emperor was enlightened!

The emperor respected Zen and old Gudo more than ever after his enlightenment, and he even permitted Gudo to wear his hat in the palace in winter. When Gudo was over eighty he used to fall asleep in the midst of his lecture, an the emperor would quietly retire to another room so his beloved teacher might enjoy the rest his aging body required.

Soldiers of Humanity

Zen master was telling the truth so far more people accidentally forgot…

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 deferential treatment. One came to Gasan and said: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers, sacrificing our lives for our country. Why don’t you treat us accordingly?”

Gasan answered sternly: “Who do you think we are? We are soldiers of humanity, aiming to save all sentient beings.”

The Gates of Paradise

When emerge from anger, open the gates of hell. The gates of Paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed, on the contrary. In a daily life, there are some people leisurely stepped into the Hell as if they hanged out the park. How scary is!

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”

“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.

“I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.

“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword. Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”

As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!” At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed. “Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.