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  • Zen stories

    I've always liked them, and so I'm posting a few good ones, for those who might not have come across them. Feel free to add to them.


    A Zen abbot went dressed in rags to the door of a rich man and was turned away with an empty bowl. So he returned in his formal robe of office and was invited in and served a sumptuous meal.
    Removing his robe and folding it, he placed it on front of the feast and departed with the words, "This meal is not for me; it is for the robe.


    The master Bankei's talks were attended not only by Zen students but by persons of all ranks and sects. He never quoted sutras not indulged in scholastic dissertations. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners. His large audience angered a priest of the Nichiren sect because the adherents had left to hear about Zen. The self-centered Nichiren priest came to the temple, determined to have a debate with Bankei. "Hey, Zen teacher!" he called out. "Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?" "Come up beside me and I will show you," said Bankei. Proudly the priest pushed his way through the crowd to the teacher. Bankei smiled. "Come over to my left side." The priest obeyed. "No," said Bankei, "we may talk better if you are on the right side. Step over here." The priest proudly stepped over to the right. "You see," observed Bankei, "you are obeying me and I think you are a very gentle person. Now sit down and listen."


    After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot. "There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!" Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. "Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground. Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. "You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."


    During the civil wars in feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into a town and take control. In one particular village, everyone fled just before the army arrived - everyone except the Zen master. Curious about this old fellow, the general went to the temple to see for himself what kind of man this master was. When he wasn't treated with the deference and submissiveness to which he was accustomed, the general burst into anger. "You fool," he shouted as he reached for his sword, "don't  you realize you are standing before a man who could run you through without blinking an eye!" But despite the threat, the master seemed unmoved. "And do you realize," the master replied calmly, "that you are standing before a man who can be run through without blinking an eye?"
    Nearly all men can stand adversity -- if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

  • #2

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    • #3
      Haha! I agree!
      The only constant is change.
      (And I wouldn't have it any other way.)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by CrouchingDork
        Haha! I agree!
        Explain it before you agree. ^_^
        Nearly all men can stand adversity -- if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by DarkBill
          Originally posted by CrouchingDork
          Haha! I agree!
          Explain it before you agree. ^_^
          The only constant is change.
          (And I wouldn't have it any other way.)

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          • #6
            Repetition is not understanding.
            Nearly all men can stand adversity -- if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

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            • #7
              I think those were good, DB.


              to you, LR

              :roll: to you, CD for not having any idea what LR was doing and just going along with whatever.
              Genius is a blink before a moment of insanity.
              "Dream is Destiny"
              Waking Life

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              • #8
                How the hell do you add these empty posts anyway!?

                EDIT: Never mind...

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                • #9

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                  • #10
                    If people don't accept your silence , say void things to satisfy them.
                    (pseudo-zen thought on-the-fly)

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                    • #11
                      _

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                      • #12

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                        • #13
                          This is my cool sig.

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                          • #14
                            ^Zen spamming. cool
                            This is my cool sig.

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                            • #15
                              TCO – Retired
                              Former TCO Head of Intelligence – Retired

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