Monday, September 21, 2015



Zen Story 1: Too Much

An elderly monk was assigned a chaplain's role at an academy for girls. In discussion groups he often found that a central topic was the subject of love.

"Understand the danger of anything that becomes too much in your lives,” the monk said. “Too much anger can lead to recklessness and death. Too much zeal in religious beliefs can lead to close-mindedness. Too much erotic passion creates dream images that ultimately prove false and generate anger.”

One woman spoke up. "But as a celibate man," she asked, “how can you know anything about love between a man and a woman?"

"Sometime, dear children," replied the old teacher, "I will tell you why I became a monk."

Zen Story 2: The Hangover

A certain Zen teacher enjoyed celebrating with his students. He would drink sake and whiskey until after midnight, then rise next morning before dawn. However, he was annoyed that the young monks would not be up in time to do zazen.

When they mumbled that their sluggishness was the result of all the drink, the teacher snapped, "Sake is one thing, and zazen is another! They have nothing to do with each other!"

Zen Story 3: Air

A hermit was meditating by a river when a young man interrupted him by saying, "Master, I wish to become your disciple."

"Why?" asked the hermit.

The young man thought for a moment, then blurted, "Because I want to become enlightened.”

The master jumped up, grabbed the fellow by the scruff of his neck, dragged him to the river, and plunged his head under water.

After holding him there for a minute the master pulled him up out of the river. The young man coughed and gasped to get his breath.

When he eventually quieted down, the master spoke. "Tell me, what you wanted most of all when you were under water."

"Air!" answered the man.

"Very well," said the master. "Go home and come back to me when you want awakening as much as you just wanted air."

Zen story 4: Just Sit

          After graduating from university a woman traveled to the near east. There she spent ten years visiting one illustrious church after another, one temple after another, one ashram after another.

Quite by chance she came to a remote Zen monastery where she was allowed an audience with the master.

“In all of your wanderings, what have you learned?” asked the master.

The woman clapped her hands several times and chanted loudly. She threw herself face down on the floor. She cried out in several languages.

The master was silent for several minutes

Finally he spoke.

“I am overwhelmed,” he said. “Now if you have finished your calisthenics, are you ready to sit?”