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
19. The First Principle
When one goes to Obaku temple in Kyoto one sees carved over the gate
the words ' The First principle '. The letters are unusually large,
and those who appreciate calligraphy always admire them as being a
masterpiece. They were drawn by Kosen two hundred years ago.
When the master drew them he did so on paper, from which workmen
made the larger carving in wood. As Kosen sketched the letters a
bold pupil was with him who had made several gallons of ink for the
calligraphy and who never failed to criticize his master's work.
That is not good,' he told Kosen after the first effort.
'How is that one?'
'Poor. Worse than before,' pronounced the pupil.
Kosen patiently wrote one sheet after another until eighty-four
First Principles had accumulated, still without the approval of the
pupil. Then, when the young man stepped outside for a few moments,
Kosen thought: 'Now is my chance to escape his keen eye,' and he
wrote hurriedly, with a mind free from distraction: ‘The First
'A masterpiece,' pronounced the pupil.
20. A Mother's Advice
Jiun, a Shingon master, war a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the
Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his
His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter: 'Son, I do not
think you become a devotee of the Buddha because you desire to turn
into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information
and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this
lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote
part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way
attain hue realization.'
21. The Sound of One Hand
The masts of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a
little protégé named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw
the olds disciples visit the master's room each morning and evening
to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they
were given koans to stop mind- wandering.
Toro wished to do sanzen also.
'Wait a while,' said Mokurai. 'You are too young.'
But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.
In the evening little Toyo went at the props time to the threshold
of Mokurai's sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his
presence, bowed respectfully three times outside the door, and went
to sit before the master in respectful
'You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together,' said
Mokurai. ‘Now show me the sound of one hand.'
Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his
window he could hear the music of the geishas. 'Ah, I have it!’ he
The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound
of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
'No, no,' said Mokurai. That will never do. That is not the sound of
one hand. You've not got it at all.'
Thinking that such music might interrupt, Toyo moved his abode to a
quiet place. He meditated again. 'What can the sound of one hand
be?' He happened to hear some water dripping. ‘I have it,' imagined
When he next appeared before his teacher, Toyo imitated dripping
'What is that?' asked Mokurai. That is the sound of dripping water,
but not the sound of one hand. Try again.'
In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the
sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected. He heard the cry of
an owl. This also was refused.
The sound of one hand was not the locusts.
For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds.
All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one
hand might be.
At last little Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all
sounds. 'I could collect no more,' he explained later.' so I reached
the soundless sound.'
Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.