Wisdom of the Zen

by Michelle Fortes

The wisdom from Zen stories give me a thought to ponder over. Intially it seems so simple but as you understand there is a deep and profound understanding to the realization.

1. Once upon a time the Zen student seeing his master on the other side of a raging torrent, waved his arms and shouted out, “Master, master, how do I get to the other side?”
The master smiled and said very peacefully, “You are on the other side.”

2. Once A Zen student went to a temple and asked how long it would take him to gain enlightenment if he joined .

“Ten years,” said the Zen master.
“Well, how about if I really work hard and double my effort?”
“Twenty years.” Said the master to the puzzled look of the Zen student.

3. Once One of the Zen student said, “My teacher is the best. He can go days without eating.”
The second Zen student said, “My teacher has so much self control he can go days without sleep.”
The third Zen student wisely said, “My teacher is so wise that he eats when he’s hungry and sleeps when he’s tired.”

4. Once For his 70th birthday, one of his favorite students gave the zen master a big box with a ribbon around it. When the master opened the box, to his great surprise he found that there was nothing inside. “Aha,” he wisely exclaimed, “just what I wanted!”

5. Once An aspiring monk asked his Master to enter a temple and attach himself to a guru.
“Very well,” said the wise guru, “but all students here observe the vow of silence. You will be allowed to speak only once in every twelve years.

After the first twelve years, the obedient student said, “The bed is too hard.” The master Guru said nothing.
After another twelve years, he said, “The food is not good.” The master Guru smiled and said nothing
Twelve more years later, when the student had another opportunity to speak after thirty-six years of hard work and meditation he said, “I quit.”
“Good,” snapped his master guru, ” Since all you have been doing is complain.”

6. Once The master holds the disciple’s head underwater for a long time. The bubbles become fewer, but at the last moment the master pulls out the disciple and revives him: “When you crave truth like you crave air below water, then you will be perfectly ready to know the truth.”

7. Once there were Four monks meditating in a temple when, all of a sudden, the prayer flag on the roof started flapping.
The youngest monk came out of his meditation and said, “The prayer Flag is flapping.”
The second, more experienced monk said, “The Wind is flapping the prayer flag.”
The third monk, who had been there for more than twenty years, said, ” Your Mind is flapping.”
The fourth monk, who was the eldest, said, ” Your Mouths are flapping!”

8. Once upon time , A novice in a Zen school was loading the larder with flour and oil . He needed help so then spotting one of the monks under a banyan tree, asked him for help. “Sorry,” said the monk, “I’m very busy”. To his surprise the student replied”But your eyes are shut!”. So the monk replied with a smile “Yes, I’m busy doing nothing. It’s much harder than what you’re doing. It’s what the food is for, it’s what the kitchen is for, it’s what the temple is for. Don’t interrupt me again with your lardering.”

Hours later, with his task complete, the novice spotted the monk slouching on a bench and curiously said, “Can we talk now?” “No,” came the reply from the Master Monk, “I haven’t finished yet.”

9. Once upon time A Zen master was visiting London. He went up to a hot dog vendor and said, “Make me one with everything.”
The vendor fixed up a hot dog with fried onions, gherkins, and mustard and handed it to the Zen master, who paid with a £20 note. The vendor put the note in his register and snapped it shut.

“Excuse me, but where’s my change?” asked the Zen master.
“O my brother,” said the vendor, “change comes from within.”

10. Once Two old friends met for dinner.
“How’s that husband of yours? Is he still unemployed?”
“No, no, not anymore.”
“Oh well some good news at least. What does he do now?”
“Now he meditates.”

“Meditates! What’s that?”
“I’m not sure, but it’s better than sitting around doing nothing.”

And one last one for the road

11. Once a Zen Master tells his tudent novice, “Don’t walk behind me, for I may not lead.

Don’t walk in front of me, for I may not follow.

Just walk beside me and keep quiet. Or even better, go away.”

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