101 Zen Stories

Originally posted by Dave the Druid
New thread, Let me read back what you are suggesting,
youwant to start a new thread that is limited to the koans
and stories but not interrupted by discussion. Correct?
No - other way around. This thread stays and a new one for discussion is created. Does that make more sense? Like I said, this might be a case of Pooh thoughts on my end. In any case, I will create a new thread for it and see what happens. Give me a few to collect my thoughts and then I will post it. I really didn't intend this to be a big deal or confusing, I apologize. :(
You can, it doesn't matter imo. I just thought separate threads would be less
confusing. It appears that my thought is the thing that is confusing not the
thread. Again, I apologize. Like I said before, Pooh thoughts. ;)
No Need

No need to apollogize! Go ahead and post the new thread.I guess my take on it is this, limiting a thread to stories, koans or just sayings limits the broad scope of zen to single entities and to certian extent quashes the learning. A story is as good as a koan as good as a saying. All carry equal weight and validation.
If I am still reading this wrong let me know. I am willing to share what I understand and learn from others.

Chop wood, carry water - Zen Saying

Dave the Druid
What Are You Doing! What Are You Saying!

In modern times a great deal of nonsense is talked about masters and disciples, and about the inheritance of a master's teaching by favorite pupils, entitling them to pass the truth on to their adherents. Of course Zen should be imparted in this way, from heart to heart, and in the past it was really accomplished. Silence and humility reigned rather than profession and assertion. The one who received such a teaching kept the matter hidden even after twenty years. Not until another discovered through his own need that a real master was at hand was it learned that the teching had been imparted, and even then the occasion arose quite naturally and the teaching made its way in its own right. Under no circumstance did the teacher even claim "I am the successor of So-and-so." Such a claim would prove quite the contrary.

The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. "I am getting old," he said, "and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I have also added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorhip."

"If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it," Shoju replied. "I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is."
"I know that," said Mu-nan. "Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here."

They happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions. Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: "What are you doing!" Shoju shouted back: "What are you saying!"

Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
Please note: If you want to discuss this story you
can post in this thread or over here in this thread.
The obstacle is the path- Zen proverb
"The purpose of a fishtrap is to catch fish, and when the fish are caught, the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to."

The Dead Man's Answer

When Mamiya, who later became a well-known preacher, went to
a teacher for personal guidance, he was asked to explain the
sound of one hand. Mamiya concentrated upon what the sound
of one hand might be.

"You are not working hard enough," his teacher told him. "You
are too attached to food, wealth, things, and that sound. It
would be better if you died. That would solve the problem."

The next time Mamiya appeared before his teacher he was again
asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand.
Mamiya at once fell over as if he were dead.

"You are dead all right," observed the teacher, "But how about
that sound?" "I haven't solved that yet," replied Mamiya, looking
up. "Dead men do not speak," said the teacher. "Get out!"

Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

Please note: If you want to discuss this story or any
other story, you can post in this thread or over here
in this thread. The obstacle is the path- Zen proverb
Precision has it's place in spirituality as it does in math and science.

Rabbi Isadore was a wise teacher. A student asked, "How is one to know the precise time when night ends and day begins?"

One student volunteered, "It is when one can distinguish between a dog and a sheep in the far distance, that is when day begins."

Another said, "It is when you can tell the difference between a fig tree and a date tree, then night is fully gone."

"No, it is neither of those things," said the Rabbi. "It is when you can see your brother or sister in the face of a stranger. Until then, night is still with us."

The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly. Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, "Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?"

Source: Zen Stories To Tell Your Neighbors
ohhh! I like it, I like it

I like that storey. It makes lying on a grassy hillside in summer a bit more meaningful.
Dave the Druid

Glad you liked the story. Have you ever read Jonathan
Livingston Seagull
? If not, I recommend it highly. After
I first read it I never looked at seagulls the same way
again. Very cool imo. :D

Eve, ;D
I've read all of those books and it's not just sea gulls that deserve to be looked at differently
Dave the Druid

"it's not just sea gulls that deserve to be looked at differently"

I agree 100%.

On that note, I really need to get my rear in gear
and get some stuff done around here. Thanks for
all the food for thought. Have a very zenny rest of
your day! Cya later. :cool:
How Grass and Trees Become Enlightened

During the Kamakura period, Shinkan studied Tendai six years and then studied Zen seven years; then he went to China and contemplated Zen for thirteen years more.

When he returned to Japan many desired to interview him and asked obscure questions. But when Shinkan received visitors, which was infrequently, he seldom answered their questions.

One day a fifty-year-old student of enlightenment said to Shinkan: "I have studied the Tendai school of thought since I was a little boy, but one thing in it I cannot understand. Tendai claims that even the grass and trees will become enlightened. To me this seems very strange."

"Of what use is it to discuss how grass and trees become enlightened?" asked Shinkan. "The question is how you yourself can become so. Did you even consider that?"

"I never thought of it that way," marveled the old man.

"Then go home and think it over," finished Shinkan.

Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
Please note: If you want to discuss this story or any
other story, you can post in this thread or over here
in this thread. The obstacle is the path- Zen proverb
A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you."

"Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?"

"I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer's heart went out to the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path."

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt sad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."
A bit off thread

Good one Evilpoet!
There is a Druid tenet that holds that the trees have great wisdom. I can't say that there is a connection but the toughts are similar.
Dave the Druid

From the pine tree
Learn of the pine tree.
And from the bamboo
of the bamboo.

There is opportunity to learn from everthing,
For we are as much a part of everything as we are alone

Dave the Druid
"I once saw a child coming towards me with a lit torch in his hand. 'Where have you brought the light from?' I asked him. He immediately blew it out and said to me, 'Oh Hasan, tell me where it has gone and I will tell you whence I fetched it.'" - Hasan Basri

Kansan left home when he was nine years old. He had a brilliant mind and studied both Buddhist and Confucian classics. Inspired by one of the books he read, for a time Kansan devoted himself to the study and practice of esoteric Buddhism in western Japan. Later he went to the capatal city of Edo, where he perused the massive Buddhist canon.

After nearly two decades of these studies, Kansan finally went to see a Zen teacher. Well versed in Buddhist practices, Kansan mastered the Zen teachings in two years of intensive work.

Subsequently Kansan was sent to take over the abbacy of a temple in southern Japan. When he arrived, he found that drinking and carousing were so common in the area that the temple itself was accustomed to supplying visitors with wine, as if it were a lounge.

On the day that Kansan formally took over the abbacy of the temple, he destroyed every single wine jar, ashtray, and serving table. After that, guests were treated with a single cup of plain tea.

Three years later, Kansan retired. He disappeared into the mountains, putting a sign over the door of his hut that simply said, "Content."

Source: Zen Antics
A little bear cub was confused about how to walk. "What do I do first?" he asked his mother. "Do I start with my right foot or my left? Or both front feet and then my back feet? Or do I move both feet on one side and then both feet on the other?"

His mother answered, "Just quit thinking and start walking."