101 Zen Stories

Hmm. As in, once you become as your master, you will be enlightened? (Though if that's right, I'd kinda thought mentally or psychologically, not physically :confused: )
A suggestion

A fair assumption. Masterhood implies enlightenment, but I think there are differing levels of enlightenment. Consider that "light bulb' going on feeling when you understand something new. It's much like that.

Dave the Druid

:) I think this snippet sums it up quite nicely:

"Buddhism is a system designed to bring a technical knowledge inseparable from its technique of practice, an organized practical understanding of the true nature of things or what is what. If you keep this definition in mind, you should have no difficulty understanding Buddhism."
[click here to read more]

I'm not trying to step on any toes here, if it appears that way my apologies. Firefly, here is a different version of the story (see below for source) that Dave the Druid posted - is it any clearer? Remember, this is a koan so it is like a puzzle or riddle (sorta kinda). ;)

Gutei's Finger

Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He siezed him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.

When Gutei was about to pass from this world he gathered his monks around him. "I attained my finger-zen," he said, "from my teacher Tenryu, and in my whole life I could not exhaust it. " Then he passed away.

Mumon's comment: Enlightenment, which Gutei and the boy attained, has nothing to do with a finger. If anyone clings to a finger, Tenryu will be so disappointed that he will annihilate Gutei, the boy, and the clinger of all things.

Gutei cheapens the teaching of Tenryu,
Emancipating the boy with a knife.
Compared to the Chinese god who
pushed aside a mountain with one
Old Gutei is a poor imitator.

Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, The Gateless Gate

Well, seeing as I have no idea what source you used,
I don't think I am in the position to make comment. I
guess I will just have to take your word for it. ;)

Speaking of laughter ...


At a Tallspruce party, Porcupine cornered Raven and
said, "I wanted to tell you that I've found that there
is no basis for emptiness." Raven looked startled,
then he and Porcupine burst into laughter.

Source: Zen Master Raven
Who Is He?

Hoan said: "The past and future Buddhas, both are his
servants. Who is he?"

Mumon's comment: If you realize clearly who he is, it is as if
you met your own father on a busy street. There is no need
to ask anyone whether or not your recognition is true.

Do not fight with another's bow and
Do not ride another's horse.
Do not discuss another's faults.
Do not interfere with another's work.

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
Originally posted by EvilPoet
"I wanted to tell you that I've found that there
is no basis for emptiness."
Hmm, this is really interesting, I feel like I'm on the verge of understanding it. From where does emptiness spring? :confused: :confused:
My take

The emptiness comes from clearing your mind of all distraction, your physical being from all want and then realizing that all that you perceive is and that which you don't is not.

Sorry I wasn't clearer, I may be too far in. Perhaps Evilpoet can clarify what I said.

Dave the Druid:)

So close yet so far away, eh? ;)

Some food for thought ...

Stepping Back

"You should step back and investigate. How do you step back? It is not a matter of sitting there ignoring everything, stiffly repressing the body and mind so that they are like earth and wood---that will never do any good. When you want to step back, if there are any sayings you do not understand, or stories you do not comprehend, they are then right before you. Step back and see for yourself why you do not understand." -Zen Master Foyan, Zen Essence
"I wanted to tell you that I've found that there
is no basis for emptiness."
I think you're looking too far into my remark. :p I just meant, when he says there's no basis, I thought, well, I hadn't realised that - what did I think the basis was? :confused: And then realised I don't actually know!
The Path

Perhaps not knowing is the begining of the path for you. Sorry if I read too deep into your remarks.

Dave the Druid
I Don't Know

The emperor, who was a devout Buddhist, invited a great
Zen master to the Palace in order to ask him questions
about Buddhism. "What is the highest truth of the holy
Buddhist doctrine?" the emperor inquired.

"Vast emptiness... and not a trace of holiness," the master

"If there is no holiness," the emperor said, "then who or
what are you?"

"I do not know," the master replied.

Source: Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors

Evilpoet, ;)
I read a similar discourse but the monk replied 'nothing' and the emporer aked 'what did I ask?'

At least I seem to remeber it that way.

Dave the Druid

A Chinese emperor known for his foul temper entered the bedroom of his soon-to-be-bride, who was one of the most beautiful women in all of China. She was being made to marry him against her will, as her parents were forcing her into it. Little did the emperor know however that she had also been taught by wise sages as a child. She sat expressionless, staring at the wall.

"Hello, pretty," he said to her, but she didn't respond.

"I said hello to you, and you will respond when I address you, do you understand me??" he snarled. But still, she didn't reply.

Most people would have answered him by now, so despite himself he grew curious, and gruffly asked, "What is it you are thinking?"

Finally she answered him. "Two things. One, that I do not wish to marry you because you are so callous and mean-spirited. And the other thing, is that I was wondering if you have it within your power to have a certain something changed."

"What?!" the emperor exclaimed with outrage. "You bitch! How dare you question my authority! ... But ... I admit I'm curious. Since I have it within my power to snap my fingers and whatever I command within my kingdom will be obeyed, what is it you are wondering if I could change?"

"Your attitude," she replied. And with that she got up and walked out of the room, leaving him in stunned silence.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
With our thoughts we make the
Speak or act with an impure mind
And trouble will follow you
As the wheel follows the ox that draws
the cart.

We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our
With our thoughts we make the
Speak and act with a pure mind
And happiness will follow you
As your shadow, unshakable.

-Dhammapada, The Sayings of the Buddha
Two Nazi soldiers were standing and talking in the concentration camp in Auchwitz, when a Jew walked up to them and said, "I'm not going to follow your orders anymore." One of the soldiers promptly pulled out his pistol and shot the man until he was dead.

"Why did you do that?" asked the other soldier.

"It's routine," he replied.