Drop all 'isms'
Mind of a Sage
Judging a saint
The Fake Monk
Zen Sage & Thief
Zen Master in Jail
The Game of Chess
Innocence is Divine
Knowledge is Trouble
Respond with awareness
3 set of
You are already a Buddha
Sound of one Hand Clapping
Master waits 4 right Moment
- Stories 1 - 2
- Stories 3 - 4
- Stories 5 - 7
- Stories 8-9
- Stories 10
- Stories 11
- Stories 12-14
- Stories 15-16
- Stories 17-18
- Stories 19 - 21
- Stories 22 - 24
- Stories 25 - 27
- Stories 28 - 32
- Stories 33 - 36
- Stories 37 - 38
- Stories 39 - 41
- Stories 42 - 44
- Stories 45 - 46
- Stories 47 - 48
- Stories 49 - 50
- Stories 51 - 53
- Stories 54 - 56
- Stories 57 - 59
- Stories 60 - 61
- Stories 62 - 64
- Stories 65 - 66
- Stories 67 - 68
- Stories 69 - 72
- Stories 73 - 75
- Stories 76 - 78
- Stories 79 - 82
- Stories 83 - 86
- Stories 87 - 89
- Stories 90 - 91
- Stories 92 - 94
- Stories 95 - 97
- Stories 98 -101
1. A Cup of Tea
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912) received
a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in saved tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain
himself. 'It is overfull. No more will go in!'
‘Like this cup,' Nan-in said. ‘You are full of your own opinions and
speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your
2. Finding a Diamond on a Muddy Road
Gudo was the emperor’s teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used to
travel done as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his way to
Edo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he
approached a little village mad Takenaka.
It was evening and a heavy rain was falling. Gudo was thoroughly
wet. His straw sandals were in pieces. At a farmhouse near the
village he noticed four or five pairs of sandals in the window and
decided to buy some dry ones.
The woman who offered him the sandals seeing how wet he was invited
him to remain for the night in her home. Gudo accepted, thanking
her. He entered and recited a sutra before the family shrine. He
then was introduced to the woman’s
mother, and to her children. Observing that the entire family was
depressed Gudo asked what was wrong.
‘My husband is a gambler and a drunkard,’ the housewife told him.
'When he happens to win he drinks and becomes abusive. When he
losses he borrows money from others. Sometimes when becomes
thoroughly drunk he does not come home at all. What can I do?
‘I will help him,’ said Gudo. 'Here is some money. Get me a gallon
of fine wine and something good to eat. Then you may retire. I will
meditate before the shrine.'
When the man of the house returned about midnight, quite drunk; he
bellowed: 'Hey, wife I am home. Have you something for me eat?'
I have something for you: said Gudo. ‘I happened to be caught in the
rain and your wife kindly asked me to remain here for the night. In
return I have bought some wine and fish. You might as well have
The man was delighted. He drank the wine at once and laid himself
down on the floor. Gudo sat in mediation beside him. In the morning
when the husband awoke he had forgotten about the previous night.
'Who are you? Where do yon come
from?' he asked Gudo, who still was meditating.
‘I am Gudo of Kyoto and I am going on to Edo,' replied the Zen
The man was utterly ashamed He apologized profusely to the teacher
of his emperor. Gudo smiled. 'Everything in this life is
impermanent' he explained. ‘Life is very brief. If you keep on
gambling and drinking yon will have no time left to accomplish
anything else, and you will cause your family to suffer too.'
The perception of the husband awoke as if from a dream. 'You are
right,' he declared. 'How can I ever repay you for this wonderful
teaching! Let me see you off and carry your things a little way.’
'If you wish,' assented Gudo. The two started out. After they had
gone three miles Gudo told him to return. ‘Just another five miles,’
he begged Gudo. They continued on. You may return now,' suggested
'After another ten miles,' the man replied.
'Return now,’ said Gudo, when the ten miles had been passed.
‘I am going to follow you all the rest of my life,' declared the
Modern Zen teachers in Japan spring from the lineage of a famous
master who was the successor of Gudo. His name was Mu-nan, the man
who never returned back.