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Some good Zen stories...

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posted on May, 11 2010 @ 09:03 AM
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The Burden

Two monks were returning to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there were puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a beautiful young woman was standing unable to walk accross because of a puddle of water. The elder of the two monks went up to a her lifted her and left her on the other side of the road, and continued his way to the monastery.

In the evening the younger monk came to the elder monk and said, "Sir, as monks, we cannot touch a woman ?"

The elder monk answered "yes, brother".

Then the younger monk asks again, "but then Sir, how is that you lifted that woman on the roadside ?"

The elder monk smiled at him and told him " I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her."


Nothing Exists

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?"


A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

You can find the rest of the stories here:

10 Very Best Zen Stories




posted on May, 11 2010 @ 09:06 AM
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My personal interpretation of Zen is to free one's thought process from the vicious cycle of associating the present moment with past experiences or future expectations.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 09:34 AM
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If only people looked at how their beliefs arise, instead of trying to convert others. Of course, this BBS would be a lot less fun....



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 09:38 AM
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A true zen moment is when you let go all the restraints of the physical realm, money, the body, all attachments released, then you have a true enlightenment. That is my beleif. But this world is very greatly hardwired to keep us from our true zen moment. Freedom from these expectations we have and society has of us, is truly difficult to obtain.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 11:08 AM
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I love Zen stories, most of them make me smirk, or outright laugh, thats the coolest way to enlightenment there is

www.ashidakim.com...


Here you will find a collection of Zen Koans.

and a nice quote how Zen Koans pertain to Ninjitsu



Ninja Koans
To the Ninja, the Mind is the ultimate weapon. Development of the Mind can be achieved only when the body has been disciplined. To accomplish this, the ancients have taught us to imitate the Five Elements and the Eight Mystic Trigrams. From these come the physical exercises and techniques we practice in Black Dragon School. Thus, the Art is crafted and the body is trained.

To develop the mental skills necessary to fully utilize the special powers and abilities conferred by these methods, the Ninja practice codes and ciphers, much like the Cryptoquote given elsewhere on this site, and which can be employed in their trade of espionage, as well as crossword puzzles, riddles, mathematical games, and for the more philosophical principles, Koans. All designed to exercise the Mind and teach the student to think.

This grants the Ninja access to the incredible world of possibilities. Thus, when confronted with danger or need, the Ninja is not limited in his development of a solution. He is able to improvise, adapt, and overcome any obstacle, making him formidable indeed.

Some Koans take the form of questions, like the one that asks, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear, does it make a sound?" There is no "right" answer to this question. It can be argued for years from either perspective, yes or no. BUT, to the Ninja there is at least one other answer. It matters not at all whether the tree makes a sound or not. What is important is that it has fallen.

Further, not all Koans come from Japan. One example is the famous psychological test: "Is the glass half full or half empty?" The Ninja is not limited to these two choices, because he is aware of this ploy to see if he is optimistic (half full) or pessimistic (half empty). Therefore, the Ninja uses an option that seldom occurs to other people: The glass is too large for the amount of water contained therein. Thus, it is neither half full nor half empty. And, there are many other "answers" equally as correct. The "trick" is to imagine them and exercise the mind. That is what makes them fun, and useful.


Learn not only to "read between the lines" but also "within the words" of each of these examples. There is always more than meets the eye.


Enjoy

[edit on 11-5-2010 by Dynamitrios]



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 12:58 PM
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I love koans, great thread!


A Parable

Buddha told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!


Everything Is Best

When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.

"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.

"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."

At these words Banzan became enlightened.


One Note of Zen

After Kakua visited the emperor he disappeared and no one knew what became of him. He was the first Japanese to study Zen in China, but since he showed nothing of it, save one note, he is not remembered for having brought Zen into his country.

Kakua visited China and accepted the true teaching. He did not travel while he was there. Meditating constantly, he lived on a remote part of a mountain. Whenever people found him and asked him to preach he would say a few words and then move to another part of the mountain where he could be found less easily.

The emperor heard about Kakua when he returned to Japan and asked him to preach Zen for his edification and that of his subjects.

Kakua stood before the emperor in silence. He then produced a flute from the folds of his robe, and blew one short note. Bowing politely, he disappeared.



The Most Valuable Thing in the World

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."



Publishing the Sutras

Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras, which at that time were available only in Chinese. The books were to be printed with wood blocks in an edition of seven thousand copies, a tremendous undertaking.

Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold, but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each donor with equal gratitude. After ten years Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task.

It happened that at that time the Uji Rive overflowed. Famine followed. Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the books and spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his work of collecting.

Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country. Tetsugen again gave away what he had collected, to help his people. For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.

The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.



www.ashidakim.com...



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 02:20 PM
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Thanks for the thread. It made me smile.
I especially like this one.

Nothing Exists

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?"

I am sure that you have heard this:

A Zen Monk went in for a pizza.
The guy behind the counter says "What can I make you?"
The monk says "Make me one with everything!"

I know its old.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 05:13 PM
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I've got two questions. How long does one have to maintain an empty mind before it has some type of permanent effects? And how come sometimes it's so much easier to maintain an empty mind than others?



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 05:26 PM
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Originally posted by Merle8
I've got two questions. How long does one have to maintain an empty mind before it has some type of permanent effects?


Years, or instantly. It depends on how hard you try. The more you want "effects" the longer it takes. You have to forget about that too.


And how come sometimes it's so much easier to maintain an empty mind than others?


All I can say is.... something happened.


[edit on 11-5-2010 by bsbray11]



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 11:01 PM
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I've already gotten over wanting effects. Strangely enough that's why I got into meditation and yet now I find they would be distracting at best, something to push through. I notice some effects are hard to dodge when I do get into a successful meditative state, but I have to try and not get hung up on them one way or another. It's tricky.



posted on May, 11 2010 @ 11:52 PM
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Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine

A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.

Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”

Knight turned the machine off and on.

The machine worked.



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 12:03 AM
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A priest asked,
What is Fate, Master?

And he answered:
It is that which gives a beast of burden its reason for existence.
It is that which men in former times had to bear upon their backs.
It is that which has caused nations to build by-ways from City to City upon which carts and coaches pass, and alongside which inns have come to be built to stave off Hunger, Thirst and Weariness.
It is that which has caused great fleets of ships to ply the Seven Seas wherever the wind blows.

And that is Fate? said the priest.

Fate... I thought you said Freight, responded the Master.

That's all right, said the priest. I wanted to know what Freight was too.

From Kehlog Albran's The Profit



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 12:04 AM
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I think that a full understanding of Zen is only possible with a full understanding of other strains of Buddhism and the historical situations under which Zen arouse. Then a feixation on the "enigmatic" or "paradoxical" aspects of Zen seem to fall away as the rather shallow western mistunderstandings. In traditional China or Japan, most people receiving Zen teachings would also have studied the much more technical and analytic philosophy of Buddhist schools like the Yogacara, the Sanron, the Tendai, and so on. The too-easy definition that "Zen is designed to shock us out of rational, discursive thought" contains a grain of truth, but it is not the whole story. The picture of Zen that emerges in the West lays too much empahsis on the transgressive, shocking, or illogical aspects of practice, because most people don't realize these aspects were carried out while being balanced by a whole host of other factors: Discipline, intense focus on scholastic and analytic delving into the labyrinth of the sutras, work in the fields in many cases, other ritual practes drawn from esoteric and Amida-based traditions, or interspesed with Lotus Sutra studies or faith in the Nenbutsu, etc...Plucked from this monastic context, its easy to get a misbalanced view that overly prejudices the irrational and intutive elements of practice at the expense of the vast conceptual and literary teachings and practices with which tendencies to extreme antiomianis, subjectivism, and sloppy shortcuts to thinking were balanced.

Be that as it may, many Zen tales sitll have powerful universal appeal. I like this one in particular:




A soldier named Nobushige came to Zen Master 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.




posted on May, 12 2010 @ 07:40 AM
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My fav:

Once upon a time in a village in far away China, a boy got a horse as a gift on his 14th birthday. All the villagers said, “Wow, that’s great.”

But the Zen master said, “We shall see.”

Some months later as the young boy rode up the hill, he fell down and broke his leg. All the villagers said, “That’s terrible.”

“We shall see,” smiled the Zen master.

A few years later all the young men in the village had to go to war. But because the young boy had bent his leg, he couldn’t go. All the villagers said, “This fellow is lucky.”

“We shall see,” replied the Zen master.



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 04:14 PM
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reply to post by bringthelight
 


Reminds me of this one:

"A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter's accusation, he simply replied "Is that so?"

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. "Is that so?" Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

Hakuin's reputation was now in tatters, but that caused the master no distess. For many months he took very good care of the child. Finally, the daughter could no longer live with the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin With profuse apologies they abjectly hasked for forgiveness and explained what had happened. "Is that so?" Hakuin said as he calmly handed them the child.



posted on May, 12 2010 @ 04:38 PM
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A Zen master practiced many years in wilderness solitude. He made excellent spiritual progeress, but circumstances beyond his control brought him to a large city. He had a great deal of trouble with his practice in the middle of noisy, bustling crouds. To counter these setbacks, he sat on the sidewalk and began to visualize the pedestrians as forest trees. After some years of this practice, he had a beakthrough. His realization poem, still treasured today, describes the oceanic calmness and penetrating insight he had attained through this exercise -- He could now sit on the street and view the people moving by as if gazing at a mossy forest deep in the mountainous interior. The lound noises of the city had become to him as silent as the forest tranquility he had longed for.

But even this was only partial realization at best, and the monk redoubled his efforts. It is said that true realization only came many years later after much struggle. It came after he was finally able to see the passers-by exactly as they really were, rather than as trees, and to bask joyfully in the loud urban noise for its own sake, rather than perceiving it as silence.



[edit on 5/12/10 by silent thunder]



posted on May, 13 2010 @ 01:04 PM
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The Gates of Paradise

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!" sneered Hakuin, "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? You look like a beggar".
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword.
Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably to dull to cut off my head."
Nobushige drew his sword.
Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, put away his sword and bowed.
"Here open the gates of paradise", said Hakuin.



Self Control

During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived - everyone except the Zen master.

Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn't treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger.
"You fool," he shouted as he reached for his sword, "don't you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!"

But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved.
"And do you realize," the master replied calmly, "that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?"



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 01:09 AM
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reply to post by bsbray11
 


How did you get 5 warnings? Illegal aliens thread ... LOL.



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 01:21 PM
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Zen is superb...I think I have come close and I was at peace yet still with expectations...I hope one day to feel it if even for a second. I study it abit but am no means a master

Now then...

Egotism

The Prime Minister of the Tang Dynasty was a national hero for his success as both a statesman and military leader. But despite his fame, power, and wealth, he considered himself a humble and devout Buddhist. Often he visited his favorite Zen master to study under him, and they seemed to get along very well. The fact that he was prime minister apparently had no effect on their relationship, which seemed to be simply one of a revered master and respectful student.

One day, during his usual visit, the Prime Minister asked the master, "Your Reverence, what is egotism according to Buddhism?" The master's face turned red, and in a very condescending and insulting tone of voice, he shot back, "What kind of stupid question is that!?"

This unexpected response so shocked the Prime Minister that he became sullen and angry. The Zen master then smiled and said, "THIS, Your Excellency, is egotism."

LOVE the thread OP

-Kyo



posted on May, 14 2010 @ 01:28 PM
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Boy oes this scream ATS...

Finding a Piece of the Truth

One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, "A piece of truth."

"Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?" his attendant asked. "No," Mara replied. "Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it."

-Kyo



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