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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The mountain of truth

*note* every now and then a great story teller appears..and Vernon Howard was one of them.So I post more of his wisdom here.
-added by danny-
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The Mountain of Truth

A king once ruled over a nation of unhappy people. Wanting to help his subjects, the king asked a wise man, “Is there a way to relieve my people of their sorrows?”

“Yes, there is,” replied the wise man. “As you know, just outside of town there is a height known as the Mountain of Truth. Ask everyone to leave their troubles at the base of the mountain. That is all they need do.”

The King issued a joyous proclamation. Everyone was invited to bring his problems to the Mountain of Truth at once. Every kind of difficulty could be left there, including Sorrow, Conflict, Fear, Tension, Worry and Hostility.

At the end of twenty-four hours, the king was stunned. Out of his thousands of subjects, only ten had left their miseries at the mountain.

“This is incredible,” he told the wise man. “I don’t understand. Everyone assured me he wanted to get rid of unhappiness.”

The wise man nodded. “I knew this would happen, but also knew you would never believe me until you saw for yourself. You see, most people secretly love their suffering. Conflict and hostility provide excitement, a false feeling of life. Our first task is to show them the difference between artificial life and true life.”

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Psychic Sleep

Psychic sleep is the cause of every human problem and disaster. It is sleeping people who suffer from heartache and loneliness, from fear and violence. Only self-awakening can end these sorrows. However — and please emphasize this point in your mind — man does not know he is asleep. So deep is his immersion in psychic hypnosis, that he instantly denies his actual condition. In other words, he does not know that he does not know. He spends his entire life under the gigantic illusion of being happy and productive, never once facing the terror in which he lives. Man huddles fearfully in a haunted house which he calls a castle.
Have you ever been in a room full of people when someone behaved foolishly or childishly? You sensed that he did not know how he appeared to others. In fact, he may have believed he was behaving cleverly or courageously. Everyone in the room saw him as he really was, except the man himself. That is a perfect example of human hypnosis, of psychic unawareness.
The ancient philosopher, Socrates, provided a classic illustration of man’s mental sleep. He told about a group of men who were huddled together in a deep cave. Their only light was a fire that blazed in the center of the cavern. The fire cast strange shadows against the wall of the cave, frightening the prisoners. So the men sat there in terror and confusion.
One of the prisoners made up his mind to explore the cave. When doing so, he found a secret tunnel. Following it all the way, he finally found himself in the outer world of sunshine and beauty.
We will now look at a chief characteristic of spiritual sleep. When this is understood, all the pieces of life fall into place, revealing the whole picture. Man has a false idea of who he is. He has an illusory sense of identity. This false self is manufactured out of self-flattering imaginations and out of self-pleasing labels. He labels himself as a successful man, or as an intelligent thinker, or as a human being with lofty motives. But these are mere ideas he has about himself and he is not these ideas. We can easily prove this.
Whenever a man feels depressed or irritated, it is simply because his false identity seems not to be confirmed. Both these reactions are false, so man is their slave.
Have you ever noticed how nervous people get when their pet ideas are challenged? Let this be a clue for you. By patient self-investigation we discover who we are not, and that ends the anxiety of not knowing who we are.
To summarize this vital point, man wrongly believes that he possesses a separate self, an individual ego. This false idea causes fear, loneliness, neurosis. It throws him into conflict with other people who are also under the illusion of having separate selves. No man is apart from the whole, from the all. Man is one with the universe. Human beings are like dozens of ponds, each reflecting the light from the same moon. This is not philosophy, this is fact.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The terror of Edo....hahahaha

*note*....these are funny,yet full of wisdom stories in the zen tradition.
I post this as a reminder that LIFE it's not what YOU might think it is.
-added by danny-
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Anger

When the Tesshu, a master of Zen, calligraphy and swordsmanship, was a young man he called on the Zen master Dokuon. Wishing to impress Dokuon he said, “The mind, the Buddha, and all sentient beings after all do not exist. The true nature of phenomenon is emptiness. There is no realisation, no delusion, no sagacity, no mediocrity, nothing to give and nothing to receive.

Dokuon promptly hit him with a bamboo stick. Tesshu became quite furious.

Dokuon said quietly: “If nothing exists, where did this anger come from?”

A Flexible Grip

Tesshu once met a street fighter nicknamed ‘The terror of Edo,’ who had had more than thirty sword fights without once being defeated. Tesshu asked him where he had learned his skill. The street fighter replied that he was entirely self taught.

“Then how did you succeed?” asked Tesshu.

“As soon as the fight began I would get close enough to touch the tip of my enemy’s sword with my own. If he held his sword stiffly I knew I could win easily, but if he held his sword in a flexible grip with a strong projection of ki, I didn’t take the risk of a fight. If I meet such a man I throw my sword at him and run away, and thus remain undefeated.”

The Assembly of the Cats

Once there was a sword master called Shoken, who lived in a house infested with a large rat. This rat was truly ferocious, and no matter how hard Shoken chased it with his bokuto he could not kill it. Fortunately, one of Shoken’s neighbours was a cat breeder who specialised in training his cats to kill rats. Shoken asked if he might borrow a cat to catch the rat.

The cat trainer gave Shoken a viscous ginger alley cat, a real street fighter with sharp claws. But when the cat came to face the rat, the rat stood it’s ground and the cat was afraid. Shoken returned the cat to the cat master.

“Must be some rat,” said the breeder, and gave Shoken a lean black and white cat. “This cat has had years of training, and is highly skilled.” The second cat fought with the rat, but the rat was able to beat it easily.

Shoken went back to the cat breeder, and retuned with a jet black cat. The black cat had a very strong presence, projecting a quiet confidence. “This cat has mastered flawless technique, and has developed his mind through meditation. His zanshin is truly powerful. This cat will get the rat,” the master had said. But this cat also was defeated.

When Shoken returned to the cat master, the master said. “Very well, this time I will give you the master of the cats. This cat was old and grey, and did not look so impressive. Shoken took the cat home and brought it to face the rat. The rat moved to attack the old cat, but the old cat sat quietly unconcerned. Suddenly the rat felt a slight tinge of fear. The rat hesitated, and suddenly the old cat reached out a claw and killed the rat with a single strike.

When Shoken brought the cat back to the breeder he asked him how it was that the old cat could kill the rat while the younger ones had such a hard time. “Come with me,” said the breeder, “I’m sure the cats will discuss this, and since cats know a great deal about martial arts I’m sure you will find their conversation interesting.” They listened in to the cats’ discussion.

The ginger cat stood up and said, “I am very tough.”

“Then why couldn’t you beat the rat? Because toughness is itself not enough. There will always be a tougher rat somewhere.” Said the old grey cat.

The black and white cat spoke. “I have had years of training and impeccable technique, why could I not beat the rat?” “Because, although your waza is brilliant, and although you have had many years in the dojo, this is not enough in a real fight.

“But I have perfected my body through training and my mind through meditation,” said the black cat, “I have flawless technique, and also have achieved enlightenment. Why did the rat defeat me?”

“Because, Kuroi-san, although your skill is indeed great, and you have both spiritual and physical power you are not without desire. When you faced the rat you had an object in your mind, you did not have mushin. The rat sensed this, and his intuition was better than yours. Because you did not have mushin you were unable to harmonise your strength, your technique and you consciousness. I was able to use all these three elements naturally and unconsciously to defeat the rat. This is why I was successful.

“But I know of another cat, in a village not far from here. His fur is snow white with age, and he’s not very strong looking. He doesn’t eat meat, but lives on vegetables and rice gruel, although he is known to take a little sake occasionally. He hasn’t caught a rat in years because the rats are all terrified of him! As soon as he walks into a house all the rats leave at once. Even in his sleep he chases away rats! We must all learn to be like him, beyond violence, beyond technique, beyond even the desire for skill.”

(Note that this is a variant on Neko no Myojutsu (The mysterious skill of the cat) written by Issai Chozan in 1727. The original story focuses more on the mental and spiritual attributes of the ideal warrior. It has been translated into English By Karl Friday and can be found in Keiko Shokon (Dianne Skoss (ed.) Koryu Books, New Jersey 2002)

*note*..the original can be found here

-added by danny-


http://www.auburn.edu/~wilsoug/Neko_no_Myojutsu.html
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The Swordsman and the Cat1


There was once a swordsman called Shōken, who was very much annoyed by a furious rat in his house. The rat was bold enough to come out of its hiding place even in the daytime, doing all kinds of mischief. Shōken made his pet cat go after it, but she was not its equal, and being bitten by it, she ran away screaming. The swordsman now hired some of the neighboring cats noted for their skill and courage in catching rats. They were let loose against the rat. Crouching in a corner, it watched the cats approach it and furiously attacked them one after another. The cats were terrified and all beat a retreat.

The master became desperate and tried to kill the rat himself. Taking up his wooden sword he approached it, but every effort of the experienced swordsman proved ineffectual, for the rat dodged his sword so skillfully that it seemed as to be flying through the air like a bird or even lightning. Before Shōken could follow its movement, it had already made a successful leap at his head. He was perspiring heavily and finally decide to give up the chase. As a last resort, he sent for the neighboring Cat widely known for her mysterious virtue as the most able rat-catcher. The Cat did not look in any way especially different from other cats that had been invited to fight the rat. The swordsman did not think very much of her, but let her go into the room where the rat was located. The Cat went in quietly and slowly as if she were not cognizant of any unusual scene in the room. The rat, however, was extremely terrified at the sight of the approaching object and stayed motionless, almost stupefied, in the corner. The Cat almost nonchalantly went for the rat and came out carrying it by the neck.

In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at Shōken's house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor. They made profound bows before her and said: “We are all noted for valor and cunning, but never realized that there was such an extraordinary rat in the world. None of us was able to do anything with it until you came; and how easily you carried the day! We all wish you to divulge your secrets for our benefit, but before that let us see how much we all know about the art of fighting rats.”

The black cat came forward and said: “I was born in a family reputed for its skill in the art. Since my kitten days I have trained myself with a view to becoming a great rat-catcher. I am able to leap over a screen as high as seven feet; I know how to squeeze myself through a tiny hole which allows a rat only. I am proficient in performing all kinds of acrobatics. I am also clever at making the rats think that I am sound asleep, but I know how to strike them as soon as they come within my reach. Even those running over the beam cannot escape me. It is really a shame that I had to retreat before that old rat today.”

The old veteran Cat said: “What you have learned is the technique of the art. Your mind is ever conscious of planning how to combat the opponent. Th reason why the ancient masters devised the techniques is to acquaint us with the proper method of accomplishing the work, and the method is naturally simple and effective, implying all the essential points of the art. Those who follow the master fail to grasp his principle and are to busily occupied with improving their technical cleverness and manipulatory skill. The end is achieved, and cleverness attains its highest efficiency , but what does it all amount to? Cleverness is an activity of the mind, no doubt, but it must be in accordance with the Way. When the latter is neglected and mere cleverness is aimed at, it diverges and is apt to be abused. This is to be remembered well in the art of fighting.”

The tiger cat now stepped forward and expressed his view thus: “To my mind, what is important in the art of fighting is the spirit (ki; ch'i in Chinese); I have long trained myself in its cultivation and development. I am now in possession of the strongest spirit, which fills up heaven and earth. When I face an opponent, my overawing spirit is already on him, and victory is on my side even prior to actual combat. I have no conscious scheme as to the use of technical skill, but it comes out spontaneously according to change of situation. If the rat should be running over a beam, I would just gaze at him intensely with all my spiritual strength, and he is sure to fall by himself from the height and be my prisoner. But that old mysterious rat moved along without leaving any shadow. The reason is beyond me.”

The grand old Cat's reply was this: “You know how to make the most of your psychic powers, but the very fact of your being conscious of it works against you; your strong psyche stands opposed to the opponent's, and you can never be sure of yours being stronger than his, for there is always a possibility of its being surpassed. You may feel as if your active vigorous psyche were filling the universe, but it is not the spirit itself, it is no more than its shadowy image. It may resemble Mencius' Kōzen no ki (hao-jan chi ch'i), but in reality it is not. Mencius' ch'i (“spirit”), as we know, is bright and illuminating, and for this reason full of vigor, whereas yours gains vigor owing to conditions. Because of this difference in origin, there is difference in its operation. The one is a great river incessantly flowing, and the other is a temporary flood after a heavy rainfall, soon exhausted when it encounters a mightier onrush. A desperate rat often proves stronger than an attacking cat. It has been cornered, the fight is for life and death, and the desperate victim harbors no desire to escape unhurt. Its mental attitude defies every possible danger which may come upon it. Its whole being incarnates the fighting ch'i (“spirit” or “psyche”), and no cats can withstand its steel-like resistance.”

The gray cat now advanced quietly and said: “as you tell us, a psyche however strong is always accompanied by its shadow, and the enemy is sure to take advantage of this shadow, though it may be the faintest one. I have for a long time disciplined myself in this way: not to overawe the enemy, not to force a fight, but to assume a yielding and conciliatory attitude. When the enemy proves strong, I just look yielding and simply follow up his movements. I act like a curtain surrendering itself to the pressure of a stone thrown at it. Even a strong rat finds no means to fight me. But the one we had to deal with today has no parallel, it refused to submit to my psychical overpowering, and was not tempted by my manifestation of a yielding psyche. It was a most mysterious creature – the like of which I have never seen in my life.”

The grand old Cat answered: “What you call a yielding psyche is not in harmony with Nature; it is man-made, it is contrivance word out in your conscious mind. When you try by means of this to crush the opponent's positive impassioned attaching psyche, he is quick enough to detect any sign of psychic wavering which may go on in your mind. The yielding psyche thus artificially evoked produces a certain degree of muddiness and obstruction in your mind, which is sure to interfere with acuteness of perceptions and agility of action, for then Nature feels impeded in pursuing its original and spontaneous course of movement. To make Nature display its mysterious way of achieving things is to do away with all your own thinking, contriving, and acting; let Nature have her own way, let her act as it fees in you, and there will be no shadows, no signs, no traces whereby you can be caught; you have then no foes who can successfully resist you.

“I am not, however, going to say that all the discipline you have each so far gone through has been to no purpose. After all, the Way expresses itself through its vessels. Technical contrivances hold the Reason (ri, li) in them, the spiritual power is operative in the body, and when it is harmony with Nature, it acts in perfect accord with environmental changes. When the yielding psyche is thus upheld, it gives a stop to fighting on the physical plane of force and is able to stand even against rocks. But there is one most essential consideration which when neglected is sure to upset everything. This is: not to cherish even a speck of self-conscious thought. When this is present in your mind, all your acts become self-willed, human-designed tricks, and are not in conformity with the Way. It is then that people refuse to yield to your approach and come to set up a psyche of antagonism on their part. When you are in the state of mind known as “mindlessness' (mushin), you act in unison with Nature without resorting at all to artificial contrivances. The Way, however, is above all limitations, and all this talk of mine is far from being exhaustive as far as the Way is concerned.

“Some time ago there was in my neighborhood a cat who passed all her time in sleeping, showing no sign of spiritual-animal power, and looking like a wooden image. People never saw her catch a single rat, but wherever she roamed about no rats ever dared to appear in her presence. I once visited her and asked for the reason. She gave no answer. I repeated my query four times, but she remained silent. It was not that she was unwilling to answer, but in truth she did not know how to answer. So we note that one who knows speaks not a word, while one who speaks knows not. That old cat was forgetful not only of herself but all things about her, she was the one who realized divine warriorship and killed not. I am not to be compared to her.”

Continued the Cat: “Well, I am a mere cat; rats are my food, and how can I know about human affairs? But if you permit me to say something further, you must remember that swordsmanship is an art of realizing at a critical moment the Reason of life and death, it is not meant just to defeat your opponent. A samurai ought to be always mindful of this fact and discipline himself in a spiritual culture as well as in the technique of swordsmanship. First of all, therefore, he is to have an insight into the Reason of life and death, when his mind is free from thoughts of selfishness. This being attained, he cherishes no doubts, no distracting thoughts; he is not calculating, nor does he deliberate; his Spirit is even and yielding and at peace with the surroundings; he is serene and empty-minded; and thus he is able to respond freely to changes taking place from moment to moment in his environment. On the other hand, when a thought or desire is stirred in his mind, it calls up a world of form; there is 'I,' there is 'not-I,' and contradictions ensue. As long as this opposition continues, the Way finds itself restricted and blocked; its free activities become impossible. Your Spirit is already pushed into the darkness of death, altogether losing its mysterious native brightness. How can you expect in this state of mind to rise and wager your fate against the opponent? Even when you come out victorious, it is no more than accidental, and decidedly against the spirit of swordsmanship.

“By 'purposelessness' is not meant mere absence of things where vacant nothingness prevails. The Spirit is by nature formless, and no 'objects' are to be harbored in it. When anything is harbored there, your psychic energy is drawn toward it; and when your psychic energy loses its balance, its native activity becomes cramped and no more flows with the stream. Where the energy is tipped, there is too much of it in one direction, while in another there is a shortage. Where it is too much, it overflows and cannot be controlled; where there is a shortage, it is not sufficiently nourished and shrivels up. In both cases, it is unable to cope with ever-changing situations. But when there prevails a state of 'purposelessness' [which is also a state of 'mindlessness'] the Spirit harbors nothing in it, nor is it tipped in any one direction; it transcends both subject and object; it responds empty-mindedly to environmental vicissitudes and leaves no tracks. We have in the Book of Changes (I Ching): 'There is in it no thinking, no doing [ or no willing], absolute quietness, and no motion; but it feels, and when it acts, it flows through any objects and events of the world.' When this is understood in connection with the art of swordsmanship, one is nearer to the Way.”

After listening intently to the wisdom of the Cat, Shōken proposed this question: “What is meant by 'There is neither the subject nor the object'?”

Replied the Cat: “Because of the self there is the foe; when there is no self there is no foe. The foe means an opposition as the male is opposed to the female and fire to water. Whatever things have form exist necessarily in opposition. When there are no signs [of thought movement] stirred in your mind, no conflicts of opposition take place there; and when there are no conflicts, one trying to get the better of the other, this is known 'neither foe nor self.' When, further, the mind itself is forgotten together with signs [of thought movement], you enjoy a state of absolutely-doing-nothingness, you are in a state of perfectly quiet passivity, you are in harmony with the world, you are one with it. While the foe-form ceases to exist, you are not conscious of it. Your mind is cleansed of all thought movements, and you act only when there is prompting [from the Unconscious].

“When your mind is thus in a state of absolutely-doing-nothingness, the world is identified with yourself, which means that you make no choice between right and wrong, like and dislike, and are above all forms of abstractions. Such conditions as pleasure and pain, gain and loss, are creations of your own mind. The whole universe is indeed not to be sought after outside the Mind. An old poet sings: 'When there is a particle of dust in your eyes, the triple world becomes a narrow path; have your mind completely free from objects – and how much this life expands!' When even a tiny particle of sand gets into the eye, we cannot keep it open; the eye may be likened to the Mind which by nature is brightly illuminating and free from objects; but as soon as an object enters there its virtue is lost. It is said again that 'when one is surrounded by an enemy – hundreds of thousands in strength – this form [known as my Self] may be crushed to pieces, but the Mind is mine with which no overwhelming army can have anything to do.' Says Confucius: 'Even a plain man of the street cannot be deprived of his will.' When however this mind is confused, it turns to be its own enemy. This is all I can explain here, for the master's task cannot go beyond transmitting technique and illustrating the reason for it. It is yourself who realizes the truth of it. The truth is self-attained, it is transmitted from mind to mind, it is a special transmission outside the scriptural teaching. There is no willful deviation from traditional teaching, for even the master is powerless in this respect. Nor is this confined to the study of Zen. From the mind-training initiated by the ancient sages down to various branches of art, self-realization is the keynote of them all, and it is transmitted from mind to mind – a special transmission outside the scriptural teaching. What is performed by scriptural teaching is to point out for you what you have within yourself. There is no transference of secrets from master to disciple. Teaching is not difficult, listening is not difficult either, but what is truly difficult is to become conscious of what you have in yourself and be able to use it as your own. This self-realization is known as 'seeing into one's own being,' which is satori. Satori is an awakening from a dream. Awakening and self-realization and seeing into one's own being – these are synonymous.”

1From an old book on swordplay, probably written by an early master of the Ittōryū school, which was founded by Itō Kagehisa in the seventeenth century.

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One Finger Zen

Gutei was a Zen teacher who had a habit of answering questions by simply raising a single finger. One day Gutei noticed a young boy imitating him. Someone had asked the boy what the master had taught that day, and the boy cheekily raised his finger. Gutei grabbed the boy suddenly and cut of his finger.

The boy yelped and ran away, but Gutei called out to the boy. The boy stopped and looked back. As he did so Gutei raised his finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.

What Are You Saying?

When Munan was getting old he called his senior pupil, Shoju in to see him.

“Shoju,” he said, “I am getting old. This book was handed to me by my teacher, to him from his teacher for seven generations. You will succeed me, and I am now passing the book to you.”

Shoju declined to accept the book. “I have received your teaching without writing and am satisfied. I have no need for the book. Perhaps you should keep it.”

“Even so,” said Munan, “you should take the book as a symbol of my teaching. This has been so for seven generations.” And he passed the book to Shoju.

Shoju threw it into the fire.

“What are you doing!” Shouted Munan.

“What are you saying!” Shouted Shoju back.

Emperor Meiji’s Wrestling

Tesshu served in the household of the Emperor Meiji as Japan transformed from a feudal to a modern society. Meiji enjoyed Sumo wrestling and often wrestled with his aids. Since he was the Emperor his opponents always let him win, giving Meiji a false impression of his own abilities. One evening Tesshu was drinking sake with the emperor and some of the other aids when the emperor challenged Tesshu to a sumo match.

Since he did wanted neither to humiliate the emperor nor fake a loss, Tesshu politely declined to wrestle the emperor. Meiji insisted and, having drunk a lot of sake, became angry at Tesshu’s continued refusal. Meiji began to shove Tesshu but found him to be solidly grounded. He threw a punch at Tesshu, but Tesshu moved slightly to the side, causing the emperor to lose his balance and tumble to the floor. Tesshu then pinned him to the ground while the other aids shouted at him to be appropriately respectful. Eventually Tesshu released the emperor and went to another room.

Everyone demanded that Tesshu immediately apologise for causing such humiliation to the emperor, but Tesshu only said “If I deliberately let him throw me I would be nothing better than a lackey, whereas I have pledged my life to him. He must learn not to lose his temper and not to be a bully. If he does not learn defeat in a wrestling match he will become a tyrant. Tell him what I have said and if he orders me to commit suicide I will do so immediately.

The emperor sent Tesshu a message to say that he would henceforth abstain from both sake and sumo.

A Test of Good Health

Matsuka, one of Tesshu’s students heard he was dying, but because Tesshu was only in his early 50s and always apparently in good health he did not believe it. Creeping into Tesshu’s room late at night he saw his teacher sitting zazen and jumped on him. Tesshu quickly pinned him to the ground, and seeing who it was demanded an explanation. The student however saw that his teacher was still strong and quickly ran away to tell the other students that there was nothing wrong with Tesshu. The following week Tesshu died of stomach cancer.

Pot Lid Zen

Yagyu Matajuro was a young member of the Yagyu family, famous for the family tradition of swordsmanship. However Matajuro’s father was disappointed in his son’s tendency towards laziness and banished him from the dojo. Matajuro, his pride stung resolved to seek out a master and return as a great swordsman. Matajuro journeyed to the Kumano shrine in the province of Kii, where he had heard of a great teacher called Banzo. The monks at the shrine told him that Banzo lived as a hermit in the nearby mountains, and showed him the trail to follow. Eventually he found Banzo asked to be accepted as a student.

“How long will it take me to learn swordsmanship?” he asked.

“The rest of your life,” was the reply.

“I can’t wait that long. I will accept any hardship, and will devote myself completely to the study of swordsmanship.”

“In that case, ten years.”

“What if I train twice as hard?” tried Matajuro.

“In that case, thirty years.”

“Why is that? First you say ten then thirty years. I will do anything to learn, but I don’t have that much time.”

“In that case, seventy years.”

Sensing the direction of the conversation, Matajuro capitulated and agreed to work as long as it took, and do anything he was told. However, for the first year all Banzo had Matajuro do was to perform simple physical tasks such as chopping wood. After a year of this Matajuro was disappointed and demanded that Banzo teach him some swordsmanship. Banzo merely insisted that he chop wood.

Matajuro went to the woodpile and was chopping, but inwardly he was furious. He resolved to leave Banzo the next day. But while he was chopping Banzo crept up behind him and struck him painfully with a wooden sword. “You want to learn swordsmanship, but you can’t even dodge a stick,” he said.

From that day on Banzo would creep up on Matajuro and attack him with a wooden sword. Eventually Matajuro’s senses became heightened, and Banzo had to change tactics. Now Banzo would attack repeatedly, even when Matajuro was asleep. For the next four years Matajuro had not a moment’s rest from the fear of unexpected attack.

One day, when Matajuro was stirring some food on the fire, Banzo crept up and attacked him by surprise. Without thinking Matajuro fended off the blow with the lid of the pot without taking his mind off stirring the food. That night Banzo wrote out a certificate of mastery for Matajuro.

When it is Possible to Break Study

One of Tesshu’s former students, Ogura Tetsuju, had undertaken a three year Zen retreat when he heard that Tesshu was on his death bed. He asked for, and was given, permission to visit his teacher one last time. However, when he arrived Tesshu refused to see him, saying only “Tell him the three years are not up yet.

The day before he died Tesshu noticed that there were no sounds of training to be heard from the dojo. He was told that the students had decided to cancel training to be with him in his last hours. “Training is the only way to honour me!” he thundered, and ordered them back to training.

Carry It Out

A monk once asked Joshu “If I have nothing in my mind, what should I do?”

“Throw it out.” Replied Joshu.

“But if there is nothing in my mind how can I throw it out?”

“Then,” said Joshu, “you will have to carry it out.”

The Moon

Ryokan was a Zen master who lived a very simple life in the countryside. One summer evening, Ryokan returned home to find a thief in his house. The thief was looking for something to steal but could find nothing. “You have come a long way to visit,” said Ryokan, “I cannot let you return empty handed. Please accept my clothes as a gift.” The thief was so confused he grabbed the clothes and ran away. Later Ryokan sat outside watching the moon. To himself he said, “What a shame I could not give him this beautiful moon.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

Form is emptiness,emptiness is form

*note* this short buddhist sutra always fascinated me...it's easy to read it,but unbelievable hard to actually experience it's meaning...form is emptiness,emptiness is form?..marvelous,because usually we believe that emptiness(spirit,gods,etc..) is something different then form.(matter,consciousness,etc).But maybe they are the same. Same coin,with 2 sides.Which side do you want to choose?..up to you.
-added by danny-
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The Heart Sutra

Maha-Prajna-Paramita-Hridaya

Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One together with many of the highest Bodhisattvas and a great company of Bhikshus was staying at Rajagaha on Mt. Gridhrakuta. The Blessed One was sitting apart absorbed in Samadhi Prajna-paramita. The Venerable Sariputra, influenced by the Blessed One absorbed in Samadhi, spoke thus to the Noble Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara: --If a son or daughter wishes to study the profound Prajna-paramita, how is he to do so?

The Noble Avalokitesvara replied to the Venerable Sariputra, saying:--If a son or daughter wishes to study the profound Prajna-paramita, he must first get rid of all ideas of ego-selfness. Let him think thus: Personality? What is personality? Is it an enduring entity? Or is it made up of elements that pass away? Personality is made up of the five grasping aggregates: form, sensation, perception, discrimination, consciousness, all of which are by nature empty of any self-substance. Form is emptiness, emptiness is not different from form, neither is form different from emptiness, indeed, emptiness is form. Also, sensation is emptiness, emptiness is not different from sensation, neither is sensation different from emptiness, indeed, emptiness is sensation. Also, perception is emptiness, emptiness is not different from perception, neither is perception different from emptiness, indeed, emptiness is perception. Also, discrimination is emptiness, emptiness is not different from discrimination, neither is discrimination different from emptiness, indeed, emptiness is discrimination. Also, consciousness is emptiness, emptiness is not different from consciousness, neither is consciousness different from emptiness, indeed, emptiness is consciousness.

Thus, O Sariputra, all things having the nature of emptiness have no beginning and no ending. The are neither faultless nor not faultless; they are neither perfect nor imperfect. In emptiness there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no discrimination, no consciousness. There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no sensitiveness to contact, no mind. There is no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no mental process, no object, no knowledge, no ignorance. There is no destruction of objects, there is no cessation of knowledge, no destruction of objects, there is no cessation of knowledge, no cessation of ignorance. There is no Noble Four-fold Truths: no pain, no cause of pain, no cessation of pain, no Noble Path leading to the cessation of pain. There is no decay and no death, and no destruction of the notion of decay and death. There is no knowledge of Nirvana, there is no obtaining of Nirvana, there is no not obtaining of Nirvana.

Why is there no obtaining of Nirvana? Because Nirvana is the realm of no "thingness." If the ego-soul of personality was an enduring entity it could not obtain Nirvana. It is only because personality is made up of elements that pass away, that personality may attain Nirvana. So long as man is seeking highest perfect Wisdom, he is still abiding in the realm of consciousness. If he is to realize Nirvana, he must pass beyond consciousness. In highest samadhi having transcended consciousness, he has passed beyond discrimination and knowledge, beyond the reach of change or fear; he is already enjoying Nirvana. The perfect understanding of this and the patient acceptance of it is the highest perfect Wisdom that is Prajna-paramita. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future having attained highest samadhi, awake to find themselves realizing Prajna-paramita.

Therefore, O Sariputra, every-one should seek self-realization of Prajna-paramita, the Transcendent Truth, the unsurpassable Truth, the Truth that ends all pain, the Truth that is forever True. Oh Prajna-paramita! O Transcendent Truth that spans the troubled ocean of life and death: safely carry all seekers to the other shore of enlightenment.

Listen to the Mantra, the Great, Mysterious Mantra:--Gate, gate, paragate, bodhi, svaha! Gone, gone, gone to that other shore; safely passed to that other shore, O Prajna-paramita! So may it be.