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
15. Shoun and His Mother
Shoun became a teacher of Soto Zen. When he was still a student his
father passed away, leaving him to care for his old mother. Whenever
Shoun went to a meditation hall he always took his mother with him.
Since she accompanied him, when he visited monasteries he could not
live with the monks. So he would build a little house and care for
her there. He would copy sutras, Buddhist verses and in this manner
receive a few coins for food.
When Shoun bought fish for his mother, the people would scoff at
him, for a monk is not supposed to eat fish. But Shoun did not mind.
His mother, however, was hurt to see others laugh at her son.
Finally she told Shoun: ‘I think I will become a nun. I can be a
She did and they studied together. Shoun was fond of music and was a
master of the harp, which his mother also played. On full-moon
nights they used to play together. One night a young lady passed by
their house and heard music. Deeply touched, she invited Shoun to
visit her the next evening and play. He accepted the invitation. A
few days later he met the young lady on the street and thanked her
for her hospitality. Others laughed at him. He had visited the home
of a woman of the streets.
One day Shoun left a distant temple to deliver a lecture. A few
months afterwards he returned home to find his mother dead. Friends
had not known where to reach him, so the funeral was then in
progress. Shoun walked up and hit the coffin with his staff.
'Mother, your son has returned,’ he said.
'I am glad to see you have returned son,' he answered for his
‘I’m glad too,' Shoun responded.
Then he announced to the people about him: The funeral ceremony is
over. You may bury the body.’
When Shoun was old he knew his end was approaching. He asked his
disciples to gather around him in the morning telling them he was
going to pass on at noon. Burning incense before the picture of his
mother and his old teacher, he wrote a poem:
For fifty-six years I lived as best I could,
Making my way in this world.
Now the rain has ended, the clouds are clearing,
The blue sky has a full moon.
His disciples gathered about him, reciting a sutra, and Shoun passed
on during the invocation.
16. Not Far from Buddahood
A university student while visiting Gasan asked him: 'Have you ever
read the Christian Bible?'
'No, read it to me,' said Gasan. The student opened the Bible and
read from St Mattew: 'And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider
the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do
they spin, and yet I say unto you that
even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
...Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall
take thought for the things of itself.'
Gasan said: 'Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened
The student continued reading: 'Ask and it shall be given you, seek
and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For
everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to
him that knocketh, it shall be opened.'
Gasan remarked: ‘That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far