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Some good Zen stories...

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posted on May, 14 2010 @ 02:05 PM
The Scorpion and the Frog

One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.

"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"

Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"

"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

"Alright do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.

"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.

"I could not help myself. It is my nature."

Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

[edit on 14-5-2010 by cindymars]

posted on May, 14 2010 @ 02:17 PM
Asanga and the Dog

Asanga yearned to have direct experience of the future Buddha, Maitreya. He slowly learned patience through guidance, practice and extraordinary experience. Once, after he had been meditating for 12 years, he left the cave and encountered a poor dog lying ill by the wayside. It was near death, its lower body covered with maggot-infested sores.

His meditations had helped him to develop great compassion, and so Asanga was moved to ease the animal's suffering. Naturally, he thought of removing the maggots, but he realized that if he did that with his fingers, he might injure them. (It is important to understand that in the Buddhist view -- and that of Jains and many other people -- there is no hierarchy in the realms of existence; each one is a poor suffering individual like ourselves.) Therefore not to injure any maggot but yet still relieve the dog, Asanga's solution was to crouch down and gently skim off the maggots with his tongue.

The moment he did that, the dog disappeared and Bodhisattva Maitreya appeared in its place. Asanga said, "I have longed to see you all these many years. Why have you chosen this moment to appear to me?"

Maitreya replied, "I have always been with you, but before now you were not able to see me. It was necessary for you to purify your mind and develop your compassion sufficiently before it was possible for this to happen.

To demonstrate the truth of what he had just said, the Bodhisattva whose name is maitri or loyal friend (or, loving-kindness) asked Asanga to pick him up, put him around his shoulders and take a stroll through the neighboring village.

Once there, no one noticed anything unusual at all except for one old woman, who asked, "What are you doing walking around like that with a sick dog on you?"

Of course, no one saw Maitreya and most noticed nothing out of the ordinary at all. This tale from the biography of Asanga makes a lesser and a greater point: There is no clean nor unclean, repugnancy comes from learning. And more importantly, whatever we experience -- all of reality -- depends only on the state of our mind.

Asanga (ca. 300- 370 CE) was a brahmin from Peshawar, so certainly before he left home, ritual purity was a matter of great importance to him. He is considered the founder of the Buddhist approach called Yogachara, especially the branch known as Chittamatra or Consciousness-Only.
The Dog Yogi

[edit on 14-5-2010 by cindymars]

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