True Reformation

Love – Buddha taught: “Love is the only way to destroy hatred. Hatred cannot be defeated  with more hatred”.

Ryokan devoted his life to the study of Zen. One day he heard that his nephew, despite the admonitions of relatives, was spending his money on a courtesan. Inasmuch as the nephew had taken Ryokan’s place in managing the family estate and the property was in danger of being dissipated, the relatives asked Ryokan to do something about it.

Ryokan had to travel a long way to visit his nephew, whom he had not seen for many years. The nephew seemed pleased to meet his uncle again and invited him to remain overnight.

All night Ryokan sat in meditation. As he was departing in the morning he said to the young man: “I must be getting old, my hand shakes so. Will you help me tie the string of my straw sandal?”

The nephew helped him willingly. “‘Thank you,” finished Ryokan, “you see, a man becomes older and feebler day by day. Take good care of yourself.” Then Ryokan left, never mentioning a word about the courtesan or the complaints of the relatives. But, from that morning on, the dissipations of the nephew ended.

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.

The Blockhead Lord

Nobody is better than, but two Zen teachers approached in different ways. This story depends on appropriate for requirements by each person.

Two Zen teachers, Daigu and Gudo, were invited to visit a lord. Upon arriving, Gudo said to the lord: ‘You are wise by nature and have an inborn ability to learn Zen.”

“Nonsense,” said Daigu. “Why do you flatter this blockhead? He may be a lord, but he doesn’t know anything of Zen.”

So, instead of building a temple for Gudo, the lord built it for Daigu and studied Zen with him.

The Most Valuable Thing in the World

Normally, people think that value is defaulted in price frame only. But, zen master showed that his followers should escape “price frame” to find out the true value.

Sozan, a Chinese Zen master, was asked by a student: “What is the most valuable thing in the world?”

The master replied: “The head of a dead cat.”

“Why is the head of a dead cat the most valuable thing in the world?” inquired the student.

Sozan replied: “Because no one can name its price.”

Just Go To Sleep

We all us turn round and round everyday in foolish questions. But, there is something lovely in foolish question from Zen master and quoted in this story when Gasan answered loudly: “Don’t ask such foolish questions. Just go to sleep.”

Gasan was sitting at the bedside of Tekisui three days before his teacher’s passing. Tekisui had already chosen him as his successor.

A temple recently had burned and Gasan was busy rebuilding the structure. Tekisui asked him: “What are you going to do when you get the temple rebuilt?”

“When your sickness is over we want you to speak there,” said Gasan.

“Suppose I do not live until then?”

“Then we will get someone else,” replied Gasan.

“Suppose you cannot find anyone?” continued Tekisui.

Gasan answered loudly: “Don’t ask such foolish questions. Just go to sleep.”

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.”

Eating the Blame

When we make mistakes, it can be hard to admit them, but this situation, no one have to suffer mistake from the cook because he ate the blame although this was not unintentional mistake.

Circumstances arose one day which delayed preparation of the dinner of a Soto Zen master, Fugai, and his followers. In haste the cook went to the garden with his curved knife and cut off the tops of green vegetables, chopped them together, and made soup, unaware that in his haste he had included a part of a snake in the vegetables.

The followers of Fugai thought they never had tasted such good soup. But when the master himself found the snake’s head in his bowl, he summoned the cook. “What is this?” he demanded, holding up the head of the snake.

“Oh, thank you, master,” replied the cook, taking the morsel and eating it quickly.

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.