1
   

Three koans in a fountain.

 
 
DrewDad
 
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 10:45 am
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 who went to his teacher for help. "Tomorrow morning," the teacher told him, "when you meet that little fellow, ask him the same question. He will give you the same answer, and then you ask him: 'Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?' That will fix him."

The children met again the following morning.

"Where are you going?" asked the first child.

"I am going wherever the wind blows," answered the other.

This again nonplussed the youngster, who took his defeat to the teacher.

Ask him where he is going if there is no wind," suggested the teacher.

The next day the children met a third time.

"Where are you going?" asked the first child.

"I am going to the market to buy vegetables," the other replied.
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 10:45 am
@DrewDad,
Tangen had studied with Sengai since childhood. When he was twenty he wanted to leave his teacher and visit others for comparitive study, but Sengai would not permit this. Every time Tangen suggested it, Sengai would give him a rap on the head.

Finally Tangen asked an elder brother to coax permission from Sengai. This the brother did and then reported to Tangen: "It is arranged. I have fixed it for you to start on your pilgrimage at once."

Tangen went to Sengai to thank him for his permission. The master answered by giving him another rap.

When Tangen related this to his elder brother the other said: "What is the matter? Sengai has no business giving premission and then changing his mind. I will tell him so." And off he went to see the teacher.

"I did not cancel my permission," said Sengai. "I just wished to give him one last smack over the head, for when he returns he will be enlightened and I will not be able to reprimand him again."
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 10:45 am
@DrewDad,
Ikkyu, the Zen master, was very clever even as a boy. His teacher had a precious teacup, a rare antique. Ikkyu happened to break this cup and was greatly perplexed. Hearing the footsteps of his teacher, he held the pieces of the cup behind him. When the master appeared, Ikkyu asked: "Why do people have to die?"

"This is natural," explained the older man. "Everything has to die and has just so long to live."

Ikkyu, producing the shattered cup, added: "It was time for your cup to die."
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 11:10 am
Three young acolytes, studying at a temple on the side of a mountain in the Himalaya foothills, were sent by the aging abbot down to the local village to pick up supplies. As all three had bicycles, they decided not to walk but to ride their bikes on this errand.

When they returned, the old lama called each one to him separately and asked each the same question: "Why did you ride your bicycle this morning instead of walking down to the village and back?"

The first one answered, "Master, I did not know how heavy the burden I was returning with would be and I thought it prudent to have transportation to carry it."

"Ah, you are growing in wisdom," said the old monk admiringly. "Thinking ahead is a worthy trait and you have learned the value of prior planning."

The second young man said: "I love to feel the wind whipping in my face. And, besides, I wanted to chant my morning mantra and thought it would be even more meaningful to do so while moving faster than I can walk or even run. It was a spiritual thing, Master."

"You have a mystical streak," said the abbot admiringly. "You will make a fine monk, attuned to nature and to the holy implications of wind and the other elements."

When it was third acolyte's turn, the young man said simply: "Why id I ride my bicycle? Because it is a bicycle and it is made to be ridden."

The abbot looked at this upstart for a long time, then sat down at the young man's feet and said, humbly: "May I study with you? You are my master."

edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 12:09 pm
I have read all these before. I keep a couple of collections. I love this stuff.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  3  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 12:47 pm
@Lustig Andrei,
Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

"Come on, girl" said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?"
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 12:49 pm
@DrewDad,
That one I like. A lot.
0 Replies
 
Lustig Andrei
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 May, 2012 03:31 pm
@DrewDad,
Dogen was returning from a long meditative walk and, coming within sight of the monastery where he was then residing, he saw two monks appparently arguing over something. Above them, a flag fluttered in the wind atop a flag-pole.

"My brothers," Dogen said, "what is the nature of your disgreement?"

The first monk said: "My brother here insists that the flag is moving. I am trying to convince him that the flag is not moving; the wind is what is moving."

The second monk agreed that this was the basis for the contention and asked that Dogen mediate the dispute.

Dogen shook his head. "You are both in error," he said. "The flag is not moving. The wind is not moving. It is your minds that are moving."
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Fri 11 May, 2012 03:51 pm
A favorite of mine is one of the best known:

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!
Glennn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 16 Aug, 2017 07:44 pm
@edgarblythe,
That koan is my favorite. It puts this life in perspective.
0 Replies
 
Glennn
 
  2  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2017 08:21 am
The meaning of this koan is as obvious as it is profound. Never cross an open field without a high-powered rifle, especially in tiger country. For, not only will you die kicking and screaming, but you'll also be forced to settle for just a single strawberry as your last meal. Pretty sad.

Or, it could be interpreted as meaning that one should never cross an open field in tiger country without at least a BB-pistol. If the guy in the koan had been carrying a BB-pistol, he could have removed those mice from the equation. The mice were the real problem because if it hadn't been for them, the guy could have waited until the tiger above him got bored enough to seek food elsewhere, at which time he could have made his escape.

Also, given that those mice could have been off eating wild fruits, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, etc., it is obvious that they weren't chewing at that tasteless and nutritionless vine for sustainance. They saw the situation and knew what would happen if the integrity of that vine was compromised, and so they got busy with the compromising. Fuckers! What a warped sense of humor. The guy never did anything to them, so they both had a BB coming to them.
0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Aug, 2017 09:21 am
Who knew that Kafka was Zen..
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2017 11:00 am
@DrewDad,
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!" 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.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Aug, 2017 11:05 am
@DrewDad,
Real Prosperity

A rich man asked Sengai to write something for the continued prosperity of his family so that it might be treasured from generation to generation.

Sengai obtained a large sheet of paper and wrote: "Father dies, son dies, grandson dies."

The rich man became angry. "I asked you to write something for the happiness of my family! Why do you make such a joke as this?"

"No joke is intended," explained Sengai. "If before you yourself die you son should die, this would grieve you greatly. If your grandson should pass away before your son, both of you would be broken-hearted. If your family, generation after generation, passes away in the order I have named, it will be the natural course of life. I call this real prosperity."
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Aug, 2017 07:45 am
@DrewDad,
Live long and prosper?
0 Replies
 
 

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