Koan – Zen Dialogue

Zen teachers train their young pupils to express themselves. Two Zen temples each had a child protégé. One child, going to obtain vegetables each morning, would meet the other on the way.

“Where are you going?” asked the one.

“I am going wherever my feet go,” the other responded.

Camino montañas

This reply puzzled the first child who went to his teacher for help. “Tomorrow morning,” the teacher told him, “when you meet that little fellow, ask him the same question. He will give you the same answer, and then you ask him: ‘Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?’ That will fix him.”

The children met again the following morning.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“I am going wherever the wind blows,” answered the other.

viento soplando

This again nonplussed the youngster, who took his defeat to the teacher.

Ask him where he is going if there is no wind,” suggested the teacher.

The next day the children met a third time.

“Where are you going?” asked the first child.

“I am going to the market to buy vegetables,” the other replied.

verduras

If life is constant change, why do you expect the same answer for the same question?

Source

Koan – The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain.

hut in the mountains

One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing to steal.

empty room

Ryokan returned and caught him. “You have come a long way to visit me,” he told the prowler, “and you should not return empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift.”

shirt in the wind

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryoken sat naked, watching the moon. “Poor fellow,” he mused, “I wish I could have given him this beautiful moon.”

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Source

Awards – The Dragon’s Loyalty Award

I want to thank Richard A. Cross from Energize your thoughts ( http://richardacross.com/ ) for nominating for me the Dragon Loyalty Award.

Richard does a great job of keeping us away from self-contempt and on the push with a smile 🙂

However, for this award there are some rules to be followed.

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website. 

dragonsloyaltyaward1

  1. Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award. 
  2. Present 15 or so awards to deserving bloggers
  3. Send the nominees a comment to let them know of thier nomination.
  4. Post seven interesting things about yourself

Seven Interesting Things About Me:

1. I make it a point to smile at every small miracle I come across every day. Sometimes I even make it!

2. One of my favourite moments: when people forget they are talking to somebody and simply get carried away with a topic they are passionate about…that spark in their eyes!

3. For years I said I’d never get a blog nor a twitter, because I didn’t think I’d have anything to lecture the world about (still don’t think so…but maybe I can share 🙂 )

4. I got tired of waiting for the perfect moment for MANY things and just decided to get going…and have learned to enjoy the ride

5. By age 33, I’ve lived in 20+ houses

6. Burnt wood is my favourite smell

7. The sea is my favourite colour (with its changes and all).

Thanks to all who have visited my blog. I appreciate you all!

Now for the nominees for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award:

  1. http://pollockoflight.wordpress.com/ – stunning pics
  2. http://alterthecourse.com – humor
  3. http://totallyinspiredpc.wordpress.com/ – inspirational
  4. http://giftfromtheheartshareandcare.wordpress.com/ – caring and sharing
  5. http://kindnessblog.com/ – touching stories
  6. http://traveltipsandpictures.wordpress.com/ – pictures and travel guides
  7. http://thisdaythissong.wordpress.com/ – discovering a song every day
  8. http://thebettermanprojects.com/ – the process of becoming a better man
  9. http://bookhubinc.wordpress.com/ – future movers and shakers
  10. http://ivebecomemyparents.com/ – identification with your parents
  11. http://arthiker.wordpress.com/ – healing with art
  12. http://wildersoul.wordpress.com/ – drawings and shapes to colour
  13. http://craigkimbrough1.wordpress.com/ – meditation and positive thinking
  14. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/ – WordPress blogging tips tools & tutorials
  15. http://dhammafootsteps.wordpress.com/ – Reflections from a Buddhist

Remember the rules and also remember to visit Richard!

Koan – Obedience

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.

motivational speaker

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.

monk in tibet

“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.”

old tibetan man

Source

3 things you should know about Zen

Some time ago we were discussing about zen and koans.

So we can take a bit of time now and draw the main concepts of zen:

cuenco tibetano

Zen is a branch of Buddhism

Buddhism has two main branches: Theravada and Mahayana.

From this last one, there are many traditions and one of them is Zen.

Source and source

stone budha statue

The objective in Zen is to achieve enlightenment

Though it receives many names in Western adaptation, such as nirvana or bodhi, the concept is quite simple.

  1. Insight in past lives
  2. Insight in the workings of Karma and Reincarnation
  3. Insight in the Four Noble Truths

enlightenment

There is no specific path

Zen emphasizes the attainment of enlightenment and the personal expression of direct insight in the Buddhist teachings.

As such, it de-emphasizes mere knowledge of sutras and doctrineand favors direct understanding through zazen and interaction with an accomplished teacher.

your own path

We have been exposed to westernized Eastern philosophies for decades and though there is a general social consensus of understanding, our basic beliefs are so differently grounded that its hard to really grasp some of the concepts.

Hopefully these basic guides will help understanding them a bit better.

Koan – A parable

Buddha told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him.

running tiger

Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge.

vine

The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Roaring tiger

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine.

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The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

strawberry vine

Source

This is a good example of the difference with a fable, because instead of providing a specific answer it helps us reflect .