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
60. The Tunnel
Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the
retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official's
wife and was discovered. In self-defense, he slew the official. Then
he ran away with the wife.
Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that
Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away
to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant.
To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed
in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had
caused the death and injury of many persons he resolved to cut a
tunnel through the mountains there.
Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his
tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet
long, 20, feet high, and 30 feet wide.
Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he
had slain, who was a skillful swordsman found Zenkai out and came to
kill him in revenge.
‘I will give you my life willingly,' said Zenkai. ‘Only let me
finish this work. On the day it is completed then you may kill me.'
So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zenkai kept on
digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with
the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to
admire Zenkai's strong will and
At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and
travel in safety.
‘Now cut off my head,' said Zenkai. ‘My work is done.'
'How can I cut off my own teacher's head?' asked the younger man
with tears in his eyes.
61. Gudo and the Emperor
The emperor Goyozei was studying Zen under Gudo. He inquired: 'In
Zen this very mind is Buddha. Is this correct?'
Gudo answered: 'If I say yes, you will think that you understand
without understanding. If I say no, I would be contradicting a fact
which many understand quite well.'
On another day the emperor asked Gudo: 'Where does the enlightened
man go when he dies?'
Gudo answered: 'I know not.'
'Why don't you know?' asked the emperor.
'Because I have not died yet,' replied Gudo.
The emperor hesitated to inquire further about these things his mind
could not grasp. So Gudo beat the floor with his hand as if to
awaken him, and the emperor was enlightened!
The emperor respected Zen and old Gudo more than ever after his
enlightenment, and he even permitted Gudo to wear his hat in the
palace in winter. When Gudo was over eighty he used to fall asleep
in the midst of his lecture, and the emperor
would quietly retire to another room so his beloved teacher might
enjoy the rest his ageing body required.