"Toward the end of his life, the Buddha took his disciples to a quiet pond for instruction. As they had done so many times before, the Buddha’s followers sat in a small circle around him, and waited for the teaching.
But this time the Buddha had no words. He reached into the muck and pulled up a lotus flower. And he held it silently before them, its roots dripping mud and water.
The disciples were greatly confused. Buddha quietly displayed the lotus to each of them. In turn, the disciples did their best to expound upon the meaning of the flower: what it symbolized, and how it fit into the body of Buddha’s teaching.
When at last the Buddha came to Mahakasyapa, the disciple smiled, bowed to the Buddha, and said, “I understand”.
And thus, a special transmission of the dharma was given to Mahakasyapa, who Zen Buddhists attribute as the first patriarch of Zen.
Is the Universe Friendly?
by Albert Einstein
"I think the most important question facing humanity is, ‘Is the universe a friendly place?’ This is the first and most basic question all people must answer for themselves.
"For if we decide that the universe is an unfriendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to achieve safety and power by creating bigger walls to keep out the unfriendliness and bigger weapons to destroy all that which is unfriendly and I believe that we are getting to a place where technology is powerful enough that we may either completely isolate or destroy ourselves as well in this process.
"If we decide that the universe is neither friendly nor unfriendly and that God is essentially ‘playing dice with the universe’, then we are simply victims to the random toss of the dice and our lives have no real purpose or meaning.
"But if we decide that the universe is a friendly place, then we will use our technology, our scientific discoveries and our natural resources to create tools and models for understanding that universe. Because power and safety will come through understanding its workings and its motives."
"God does not play dice with the universe,"
by Jack Kerouac
I have lots of things to share now, in case we ever meet, concerning the message that was transmitted to me under a pine tree in North Carolina on a cold winter moonlit night. It said that Nothing Ever Happened, so don’t worry. It’s all like a dream. Everything is ecstasy, inside. We just don’t know it because of our thinking-minds. But in our true blissful essence of mind is known that everything is alright forever and forever and forever. Close your eyes, let your hands and nerve-ends drop, stop breathing for 3 seconds, listen to the silence inside the illusion of the world, and you will remember the lesson you forgot, which was taught in immense milky way soft cloud innumerable worlds long ago and not even at all. It is all one vast awakened thing. I call it the golden eternity. It is perfect.
The world you see is just a movie in your mind.
Rocks don't see it.
Bless and sit down.
Forgive and forget.
Practice kindness all day to everybody
and you will realize you’re already
in heaven now.
That’s the story.
That’s the message.
Nobody understands it,
nobody listens, they’re
all running around like chickens with heads cut
off. I will try to teach it but it will
be in vain, s’why I’ll
end up in a shack
praying and being
cool and singing
by my wood-stove
"Surrendering To The Stream"
by Herman Hesse
The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. [...]
Siddhartha listened. He was now listening intently, completely absorbed, quite empty, taking in everything. He felt that he had now completely learned the art of listening. He'd often heard all this before, all these numerous voices in the river, but today they sounded different. He could no longer distinguish the different voices--the merry voice from the weeping voice, the childish voice from the manly voice. The all belonged to each other: the lament of those who yearn, the laughter of the wise, the cry of indignation and the groan of the dying. They're all interwoven and interlocked, entwined in a thousand ways. And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life. When Siddhartha listened attentively to this river, to this song of a thousand voices; when he did not listen to the sorrow or laughter, when he did not bind his soul to any one particular voice and absorb it in his Self, but heard them all, the whole, the unity; then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om -- perfection. […]
From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny. There shone in his face the serenity of knowledge, of one who is no longer confronted with conflict of desires, who has found salvation, who is in harmony with the string of events, with the stream of life, full of sympathy and compassion, surrendering himself to the stream, belonging to the unity of all things.
-- by Herman Hesse
The mystic was back from the desert.
"Tell us," they said, "what God is like?”
But how could he ever tell them
what he had experienced in his heart?
Can God be put into words?
He finally gave them a formula—
so inaccurate, so inadequate—
in the hope that some of them might be tempted
to experience it for themselves.
They seized upon the formula.
They made it a sacred text.
They imposed it on others as a holy belief.
They went to great pains to spread it in foreign lands.
Some even gave their lives for it.
The mystic was sad.
It might have been better if he had said nothing.
It seems the happiest people I know can whoop it up with friends on Saturday night and attend church with great conviction on Sunday.
They can chat with equal amiability with college professors and construction workers, with police officers and prostitutes, with ministers and mine workers.
They can have fun in a disco or on a mountain trail, can be at peace in traffic or in tranquility.
They are all things to all people.
They are, as the Tao recommends, as soft and yielding as water, yet, as it also says, their strength has no equal.
Anyone who sounds one note might not fit the bill.
And yet, in all these situations, happy people are always themselves, never sacrificing who they are for the sake of others.
They contain multitudes.
So that is the final Secret. Look back over the other 364, and find out what sides of yourself might need development. If you only have one tune, master some more. If you only have one way to deal with adversity, learn some others. If you only have one friend, make more!
And, for the last time: You'll be happier.
The explorer returned to his people, who were eager to know about the Amazon. But how could he ever put into words the feelings that flooded his heart when he saw exotic flowers and heard the night-sounds of the forest; when he sensed the danger of wild beasts or paddled his canoe over treacherous rapids?
He said, “Go and find out for yourselves. "
To guide them
he drew a map of the river.
They pounced upon the map.
They framed it in their town hall.
They made copies of it for themselves.
And all who had a copy
considered themselves experts on the river,
for did they not know its every turn and bend,
how broad it was and how deep,
where the rapids were and where the falls?
Commentary: It is said that Buddha obdurately refused to be drawn into talking about God.
When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.
Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.
When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”
A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.
The story goes that Thomas Aquinas, one of the world's ablest theologians, suddenly stopped writing. When his secretary complained that his work was unfinished, Thomas replied, "Brother Reginald, some months ago I experienced something of the Absolute, so all I have ever written about God seems to me now to be like straw.”
How could it be otherwise when the scholar becomes a seer?
When the mystic came down from the mountain
he was accosted by the atheist, who said sarcastically, "What did you bring us from that garden of delights you were in?"
The mystic replied, "I had every intention of filling my skirt with flowers and giving them to my friends on my return.
But while I was there
I became so intoxicated with the fragrance of the garden that I let go of the skirt.”
COMMENTARY: The Zen masters put it succinctly: "The one who knows, does not say. The one who says, does not know."
Click Here to Purchase:
“Old Woman Portrait Pencil Drawing”
by Kelly Green - (visit the Kelly Green Gallery)
The Wise Woman’s Stone
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food. The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without hesitation. The traveler left, rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a lifetime. But a few days later he came back to return the stone to the wise woman.
“I’ve been thinking,” he said, “I know how valuable the stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me something more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.
"Walking Man" Pencil Sketch by Duane Tells
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in ... it's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
I walk down another street.
Copyright 1993 Portia Nelson, all rights reserved.
Buy her book:
There's a Hole in my Sidewalk The Romance of Self-Discovery
Dizang asked Xiushan, “Where do you come from?” Xiushan said, “From the South.” Dizang said, “How is Buddhism in the South these days?” Xiushan said, “There is extensive discussion”” Dizang said, “How can that compare to me here planting the fields and making rice to eat?” Xiushan said, “What can you do about the world?” Dizang said, “What do you call the world?”
Time and again during question and answer sessions after a Zen lecture, someone will ask: ‘What is the use of just sitting in silent meditation when there is so much suffering in the world?’ This question is usually meant as a challenge to what seems a kind of passiveness. It is true that the world is full of suffering beings; humans, animals, plants, even the planet itself is deeply suffering. Shouldn’t we be having extensive discussions, protesting, implementing solutions? This koan does for me what I think is the intention of all koans – it stops my mind in mid stride. It brings my awareness to the importance of asking questions before acting. Questions like: What is the nature of suffering and what is its ultimate cause? How can I help a world that I see as separate from myself? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for me to deeply understand how the world is not something ‘out there’ that needs saving? If I consider the way we are all constantly, every moment, making the world then each simple, ordinary action I am able to take right here is ‘doing something about the world.’ And when it is time for other kinds of action, less simple or potentially more widely impactful, it is my intention that these actions will be grounded in not knowing what the world is, or what helping is.
—Rev. Zesho Susan O’Connell (Zen priest, President of the San Francisco Zen Center)
The Zen teacher’s dog loved his evening romp with his master.
The dog would bound ahead to fetch a stick, then run back, wag his tail, and wait for the next game.
On this particular evening, the teacher invited one of his brightest students to join him – a boy so intelligent that he became troubled by the contradictions in Buddhist doctrine.
“You must understand,” said the teacher, “that words are only guideposts. Never let the words or symbols get in the way of truth. Here, I’ll show you.”
With that the teacher called his happy dog.
“Fetch me the moon,” he said to his dog and pointed to the full moon.
“Where is my dog looking?” asked the teacher of the bright pupil.
“He’s looking at your finger.”
“Exactly. Don’t be like my dog.
Don’t confuse the pointing finger with the thing that is being pointed at.
All our Buddhist words are only guideposts.
Every man fights his way through other men’s words to find his own truth.
"MOVING TO A NEW CITY"
There was a person coming to a new village, re-locating, and he was wondering if he would like it there, so he went to the zen master and asked: do you think I will like it in this village?
Are the people nice?
The master asked back: "How were the people on the town where you come from?"
"They were nasty and greedy, they were angry and lived for cheating and stealing said the newcomer."
"Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village", said the master.
Another newcomer to the village visited the master and asked the same question, to which the master asked, "How were the people in the town where you come from?"
“They were sweet and lived in harmony, they cared for one another and for the land, they respected each other and they were seekers of spirit,” he replied.
"Those are exactly the type of people we have in this village", said the master.'
If You Love, Love Openly
Twenty monks and one nun, who was named Eshun, were practicing meditation with a certain Zen master.
Eshun was very pretty even though her head was shaved and her dress plain.
Several monks secretly fell in love with her.
One of them wrote her a love letter, insisting upon a private meeting.
Eshun did not reply.
The following day the master gave a lecture to the group, and when it was over, Eshun arose.
Addressing the one who had written her, she said: "If you really love me so much, come and embrace me now."
From Zen Flesh Zen Bones
After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull's eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.
"There," he said to the old man, "see if you can match that!"
Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain.
Curious about the old fellow's intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log. Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit.
"Now it is your turn," he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.
Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target.
"You have much skill with your bow," the master said, sensing his challenger's predicament, "but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot."
“The purpose of a fish trap
is to catch fish,
and when the fish are caught
the trap is forgotten.
The purpose of a rabbit snare
is to catch rabbits.
When the rabbits are caught,
the snare is forgotten.
The purpose of the word
is to convey ideas.
When the ideas are grasped,
the words are forgotten.
Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
He is the one I would like to talk to.”
― Chuang Tzu
--“Lovers” by Connie Chadwell
My Beloved emerges and
arises from within
divinely created moments
to surprise and startle me awake
from my human slumbering
talks to me in rumbling thunderstorms
in whirling winds
washing away the heat
from parched surfaces
of wilting flowers and thirsty lips
rinsing the dust from the leaves
washing the windows of the world
with dancing raindrops of light
appearing in penetrating minds and insights
in discoveries of truth
arms of expanding love and open hands
that clasp my own
the waters of life clear away
whatever is confining brilliance
revealing flashing potential
beyond my knowing
My Beloved soothes my pain
drowns the empty noise
opens my hearing
and sings to me in a thousand songs
of birds and humming insects
blinking in a glowing firefly
catching the gleaming light from flying fish
leaping from the sea
to glimpse the sky
My Beloved plays with words
creates new language
enlightens and brightens
with a laugh that shakes the world
My Beloved sometimes hides in a child
who wants to be held
sometimes in a flower that delights my eyes
sometimes an owl outside my window
watching in the night
a soaring hawk
a clumping elephant
a sleek panther
a clumsy pelican with a beak
full of fish
a wild mustang
a clucking chicken showing her chicks
how to scratch for food
an unfolding story told around a fire
flowing in a whispering stream
roaring in a rushing river
circling in a spinning planet
crawling in an ant
slowly building a mound of dirt
to make a home
or peeking wonderfully
out of the soft petals
of the pinkness of a peony
flows in all that
is entertaining and stunning
beautiful and joyful
awkward and new
strange and familiar
compelling and thrilling
I am bewildered
in love with such
endearing diversity and range
every encircling me with tenderness
humbling me with scarcity
exalting me with abundance
giving birth to a star
across the universe
to give birth to more
I am enchanted by such infinite love
by the gift of creation
by strong arms
filled with tears
with love that ever amazes
and forever touches my heart
in disarming and charming ways
The storm that awakens me
quiets into gentle raindrops touching
and cradling me
to rest as every drop
becomes a waking dream
that pools and expands
until the dam breaks
flooding the valleys of my being
with endless beauty
My Beloved makes each moment new
sweeping me into feelings
I have never felt before
leaving me reeling
and feeling like a bride
of a forever life
laced with an enhancing
creating a new story
of all that love can be
May it always be so…..
New Mother, New Earth Night Songs
Trust is the great key!
First look at what mistrust brings you
then you have a sense of what trust is.
Mistrust shuts you down, hides you away.
Trust opens you up to the fullness of life.
There was a time when ship builders
would carve a figure out of wood at the front of the boat.
I found it so beautiful
—like this, you also are right at the cutting edge of all existence.
And the fierce winds of the sea, the biting salt
and roaring waves are blasting and blowing past,
but this figure is just so still, so majestic and so unperturbed.
It invokes a feeling of trust.
Trust takes you where logic will fail,
trust will sail you over the seas.
It is instinct in us to trust,
But trust must come with wisdom also.
Like with love, they work together and reveal great things
—when you trust in the right thing.
When we are full of ego, our trust is very limited, very weak,
for we are trusting in the wrong thing.
But this we have to taste also,
so when you taste the right things you will know.
Trust reminds you, ‘Don’t panic.’
In life we have been trained and habituated to acting prematurely
because of the fear, ‘If I don’t act quickly, I will miss my chance.
I will miss my change for this job,
or to be married, or to have children,’
so we force ripen ourselves,
and miss the real juice, so to speak.
But wisdom says, ‘Just observe a little,
be very present with yourself.
Don’t encourage superstition or suspicion.
Just rest in your being and observe.
Don’t panic, don’t pull the parachute too quickly.'
Some are pulling the parachute open
when they are still on the ground!
Just hear that voice of wisdom
that tells you to simply to be present
as the uninvolved witness, and it will not go wrong.
Trust gives you the courage to express your heart’s truth.
Know that if you do what is right inside your heart,
it cannot turn out to be wrong for someone else.
They may go, ‘No, no, no,’ but it will turn out just fine.
Trust opens you up to the great things of life.
The greatest is to wake up.
Trust is there, faith is there, courage
—all these they come and make their home in you.
29 August 2016
Through endless ages, the mind has never changed.
It has not lived or died, come or gone, gained or lost.
It isn’t pure or tainted, good or bad, past or future,
true or false, male or female.
It isn’t reserved for monks or lay people,
elders to youths, masters or idiots,
the enlightened or unenlightened.
It isn’t bound by cause and effect
and doesn’t struggle for liberation.
Like space, it has no form.
You can’t own it and you can’t lose it.
Mountains rivers or walls can’t impede it.
But this mind is ineffable
and difficult to experience.
It is not the mind of the senses.
So many are looking for this mind,
yet it already animates their bodies.
It is theirs, yet they don’t realize it.
--“Letting Go” by Connie Chadwell
---by Doreen Davis
Surrender to Spirit,
not to form and objects
whose heaviness feigns fullness,
But to timeless Spirit
which lifts and lightens in its wholeness.
Surrender to Vision,
not to vision that comes from eyes
and sees facades,
But to sacred Vision
that looks past chaos to perfection.
Surrender to this Day,
not to days past and future
which lead astray,
But to this Moment
which brings certainty and stability.
Surrender to the Creator,
not to the unconscious self
that vainly seeks contentment,
But to God
Who holds the door open, waiting.
--by Aeterna Lumen
This is a union of souls, and hearts, and time. Whispers of the universe swirling and colliding until the particles finally configure and align. Lessons are learned as we travel this world. We can travel the perimeter or take the plunge into the center to seek and understand its core.
She walks in beauty as the night leaving behind trails and trials that encouraged her to take this flight. Time is a healer and a friend if one would take its hand. She has examined the fire, taken its energy, and found its source, unplanned.
He walked the road of good intentions and spiritual desire. Playing with shadows that could not adequately fulfill or truly inspire the deeper intellect needed to connect. His illuminating spirit could not find true peace or pure respect. So, he chose a path that turned away, eventually leading him to this promised day.
How little we know and understand why moments in our lives occur. Years and decades later those whispers of the universe may, again, collide to cause our earthly particles to conjure and concur. Such moments are often forgotten, unnoticed and unsung, but when awakened to the light some greater meaning can become astoundingly powerful and clear!
Now they walk together, hand in hand, and heart to heart. Naked, fully exposed, they choose to make their start. Not so much a new start but a continuum in time. May all their days be sweet, gentle and sublime.
“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else ... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.”
“When someone seeks," said Siddhartha, "then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.”
“It is not for me to judge another man's life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.”
“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”
“What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.”
“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.”
“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.”
“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish. And yet it also pleases me and seems right that what is of value and wisdom to one man seems nonsense to another.”
“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.”
“My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.”
“When someone is seeking,” said Siddartha, “It happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.”
“. . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.”
“And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.”
“I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.”
“I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha." He looked around as if he were seeing the world for the first time.”
“Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.”
“One must find the source within one's own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking -- a detour, an error.”
“The reason why I do not know anything about myself, the reason why Siddhartha has remained alien and unknown to myself is due to one thing, to one single thing--I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself. I was seeking Atman, I was seeking Brahman, I was determined to dismember myself and tear away its layers of husk in order to find in its unknown innermost recess the kernel at the heart of those layers, the Atman, life, the divine principle, the ultimate. But in so doing, I was losing myself.”
“No, a true seeker, one who truly wished to find, could accept no doctrine. But the man who has found what he sought, such a man could approve of every doctrine, each and every one, every path, every goal; nothing separated him any longer from all those thousands of others who lived in the eternal, who breathed the Divine.”
Pencil drawing of Mr.Miyagi by frost1993
The Karate Kid (1984) is a very inspirational movie from the 80's that tells the story of a bullied teenage boy (Daniel LaRusso) and how he managed to rise above his teenage problems, with the help of a karate master named Kesuke Miyagi (Mr. Miyagi).
The movie is full of inspirational lessons, not only for karate, but for life as well. Later it became a classic trilogy with 2 more movies. There was one last movie, without Daniel, but with a girl being also taught by the one and only, Mr. Miyagi.
The fictional character karate master was played by the late Pat Morita, and was one of the reasons behind the great success of the "Karate Kids". Morita's acting was outstanding and his character was one of a kind.
Mr. Miyagi begins to appear has a simple maintenance man that fix things for people. But as the movie progresses we get exposed to his wisdom and knowledge, we realize he is much more than just a "maintenance guy".
The simple, humble and focused ways of Mr. Miyagi collide with the rebellious and curious ways of teenager Daniel. We get to see and learn a lot more than just karate, as Mr. Miyagi delivers life lessons: in every challenge he puts Daniel to the test, and, in the philosophy he delivers to his apprentice.
We've decide to focus on the wisdom behind the master, and analyze the words of Mr. Miyagi most of them, of course, directed to his discipline Daniel. We bring to you the most inspirational quotes from Mr. Miyagi:
1. “It’s ok to lose to opponent. It’s never okay to lose to fear" - Mr. Miyagi
2. "You trust the quality of what you know, not quantity." - Mr. Miyagi
3. "Better learn balance. Balance is key. Balance good, karate good. Everything good. Balance bad, better pack up, go home. Understand?" - Mr. Miyagi
4. “First learn stand, then learn fly. Nature rule Daniel son, not mine” - Mr. Miyagi
5. “Never put passion in front of principle, even if you win, you’ll lose” - Mr. Miyagi
6. "Only root karate come from Miyagi. Just like bonsai choose own way grow because root strong you choose own way do karate same reason." - Mr. Miyagi
7. "Either you karate do "yes" or karate do "no." You karate do "guess so," (get squished) just like grape." - Mr. Miyagi
8. "To make honey, young bee need young flower, not old prune." - Mr. Miyagi
9. "Just remember, license never replace eye, ear, and brain." - Mr. Miyagi
10. "No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do." - Mr. Miyagi
11. “Here are the 2 Rules of Miyagi-Ryu Karate. Rule Number 1: ‘Karate for defense only.’ Rule Number 2: ‘First learn rule number 1.’” - Mr. Miyagi
12. "We make sacred pact. I promise teach karate to you, you promise learn. I say, you do, no questions." - Mr. Miyagi
13. "Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance." - Mr. Miyagi
14. "If come from inside you, always right one." - Mr. Miyagi
15. "Lesson not just karate only. Lesson for whole life. Whole life have a balance. Everything be better." - Mr. Miyagi
16. "Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later...get squish just like grape" - Mr. Miyagi
17. "Daniel-San, lie become truth only if person wanna believe it." - Mr. Miyagi
18. "Wax on, wax off. Wax on, wax off." - Mr. Miyagi
19. "If karate used defend honor, defend life, karate mean something. If karate used defend plastic metal trophy, karate no mean nothing." - Mr. Miyagi
20. “Man who catch fly with chopstick, accomplish anything.” - Mr. Miyagi
The great Way is all-pervading.
It reaches to the left and to the right.
All things depend on it with their existence.
Still it demands no obedience.
It demands no honor for what it accomplishes.
It clothes and feeds all things without ruling them.
It is eternally without desire.
So, it can be called small.
All things return to it,
Although it does not make itself their ruler.
So, it can be called great.
Therefore, the sage does not strive to be great.
Thereby he can accomplish the great.
It's Great to Be Small
Lao Tzu again describes the humble nature of Tao, the Way. Its greatness lies exactly in its modesty. It has made the world appear and keeps it from disappearing. Every creature exists because of it. Yet, it's discreet with its presence, as if hiding, and it allows us to follow it or not, as if we had a choice to alter the very laws of existence.
The first cause of the universe is quiet about its feat.
This grand example is for everyone to follow. The sage, knowing this, makes sure not to strive for greatness. What would at all be great compared to Tao? One learns Tao by imitating it, so the sage avoids greatness – not in order to accomplish it, but to be in accordance with Tao, the greatest of all. This imitation leads to great accomplishments.
It can also be described as behaving in accordance with nature. When we learn the natural way, we find solutions to problems no matter how big they are, and our actions meet no resistance. We still have the freedom to counter nature, and often we succeed. The question is what it costs us. And we continue paying as long as we want to keep it up.
We can fly, although it's not within our own nature. It took quite an effort to succeed, and it continues to be a complicated endeavor. Lao Tzu would have preferred us to remain on the ground. We change the courses of rivers, drill tunnels through mountains, drain lakes, and tear down forests. It's not for free.
That's Our Nature
On the other hand, this refusal to accept nature's order is part of our nature. That's how we are, evidently. We developed this big brain and need to use it. So, we replace nature by culture. Cities expand and we hurry between them at increasing speed.
It may pillage our planet, but we can't stop ourselves. We are victims of our own capacity.
Lao Tzu was surely aware of this paradox. Already in his days, this urge of ours had forced nature to retreat a few steps. He could see civilization grow, and didn't expect his fellow men to reverse the process.
Instead of restraining our urge to excel, maybe the solution lies in developing how this urge is expressed. If the brain is what causes it, why not turn the ambitions to it?
Instead of struggling with our outer world in efforts to improve it, which is a quest that seems endless, we might find greater satisfaction by working on our inner worlds. Our minds. They are worlds just as complex as the one we see around us.
Exploring the mind, cultivating our thoughts, contemplating our awareness – that's where we are the most likely to find the answers to the questions with the same origin. That's also how to satisfy our longing, without ravaging the world around us.
It could also lead to the discovery that there is not so much we need from the outside world.
Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd Tao Te Ching 51 - Translated and Explained by Stefan Stenudd
The Way gives birth to them.
Virtue gives them nourishment.
Matter gives them shape.
Conditions make them whole.
Of all things,
None does not revere the Way and honor virtue.
Reverence of the Way and honoring virtue
Were not demanded of them,
But it is in their nature.
So, the Way gives birth to them,
Takes care of them.
It gives birth without seizing,
Helps without claim,
Fosters without ruling.
This is called the profound virtue.
All Things Are Nurtured
Tao as a source, out of which all things have come into existence, is mentioned several times in the Tao Te Ching. But virtue, te, giving them nourishment, is a somewhat confusing perspective. Human beings need virtue as nourishment for their character and perspectives on life. Perhaps the same thing can be said for the animals – but how can it be expected of plants and dead things?
What is hinted with the statement is either virtue as a kind of principle for the growth and development of all things, or some animistic standpoint, where everything in the world is connected and in some sense alive. Probably, it's a combination of both.
To Lao Tzu and his contemporaries, life was something other than it is to us. All of nature, with its movements, changes, and dynamics, could be seen as being alive. Movement is everywhere, so is growth and decay. Therefore, in many cultures it has been taken for granted that all things possess some kind of life. Otherwise, how could they change, and how could they be active, important parts of the human conditions?
We are enclosed in the world and we relate to it in countless ways, so it's definitely part of our lives. At least in that sense, the world is alive and bound to the same conditions as we are. The world is alive because it matters to our lives.
Also, since Lao Tzu sees Tao as something encompassing all, behind all, he gives equal omnipresence to virtue, the worldly manifestation of Tao. This relation between Tao and virtue is expressed by the last line of this chapter. How Tao behaves is called the profound virtue. So, Tao can be said to have virtue, therefore virtue must be present in everything born out of Tao.
Since Tao is the way things are and ought to be, it can be called virtuous. Tao is the original state of Te, virtue. The nature of Tao is virtuous, but not because it's bound by virtue. That would make it second. It's virtuous of itself, whereas the world coming out of it has virtue because of its origin, like genes transporting heredity from parents to children. The whole world and all things in it carry the virtue of Tao with them.
So, there is just one form of virtue, which is from Tao, and its essence is nothing but being in accordance with Tao. We are virtuous when we follow the Way.
“Return of the Prodigal Son” by Rembrandt
From The Mystical Theology, by Pseudo-Dionysius (St. Denys the Areopagite),
6th-century Christian monk
So this is what we say. The Cause of all is above all and is not inexistent, lifeless, speechless, mindless. It is not a material body, and hence has neither shape nor form, quality, quantity, or weight. It is not in any place and can neither be seen nor be touched. It is neither perceived nor is it perceptible. It suffers neither disorder nor disturbance and is overwhelmed by no earthly passion. It is not powerless and subject to the disturbances cause by sense perception. It endures no deprivation of light. It passes through no change, decay, division, loss, no ebb and flow, nothing of which the sense may be aware. None of all this can either be identified with it nor attributed to it.
Again, as we climb higher we say this. It is not soul or mind, nor does it possess imagination, conviction, speech, or understanding. Nor is it speech per se, understanding per se. it cannot be spoken of and it cannot be grasped by understanding. It is not number or order, greatness or smallness, equality or inequality, similarity or dissimilarity. It is not immovable, moving or at rest. It has no power, it is not power, nor is it light. It does not live nor is it life. It is not a substance, nor is it eternity or time. It cannot be grasped by the understanding since it is neither one nor oneness, divinity nor goodness. Nor is it a spirit, in the sense in which we understand that term. It is not sonship or fatherhood and it is nothing known to us or to any other being. It falls neither within the predicate of nonbeing nor of being. Existing beings do not know it as it actually is and it does not know them as they are. There is no speaking of it, nor name nor knowledge of it. Darkness and light, error and truth—it is none of these. It is beyond assertion and denial. We make assertions and denials of what is next to it, but never of it, for it is both beyond every assertion, being the perfect and unique cause of all things, and, by virtue its preeminently simple and absolute nature, free of every limitation, beyond every limitation; it is also beyond every denial.
Source: Pseudo-Dionysius, The Complete Works, 1987, Paulist Press. Trans. Colm Luibheid
--“Christ in Silence” by Odilon Redon
by Thomas Merton
Listen to the stones of the wall.
Be silent, they try
to speak your
to the living walls.
Who are you?
are you? Whose
silence are you?
Who (be quiet)
are you (as these stones
are quiet). Do not
think of what you are
still less of
what you may one day be.
be what you are (but who?)
be the unthinkable one
you do not know.
O be still, while
you are still alive,
and all things live around you
speaking (I do not hear)
to your own being,
speaking by the unknown
that is in you and in themselves.
“I will try, like them
to be my own silence:
and this is difficult. The whole
world is secretly on fire. The stones
burn, even the stones they burn me.
How can a man be still or
listen to all things burning?
How can he dare to sit with them
when all their silence is on fire?”
Thomas Merton Center
-Painting — “The Wandering Sage”
by Gautama Buddha
There is no suffering for the one
who has completed the journey,
who is freed from sorrow,
who has freed oneself on all sides,
who has thrown off all chains.
The thoughtful exert themselves;
they do not delight in a home;
like swans who have left their lake,
they leave their house and home.
Those who have no accumulations, who eat properly,
who have perceived release and unconditioned freedom,
their path is difficult to understand,
like that of birds in the sky.
Those whose passions are stilled,
who are indifferent to pleasure,
who have perceived release and unconditioned freedom,
their path is difficult to understand,
like that of birds in the sky.
Even the gods admire one whose senses are controlled,
like horses well tamed by the driver,
who is free from pride and free from appetites.
Such a dutiful one who is tolerant like the earth,
who is firm like a pillar,
who is like a lake without mud:
no new births are in store for this one.
One’s thought is calm;
calm is one’s word and one’s action
when one has obtained freedom by true knowledge
and become peaceful.
The one who is free from gullibility,
who knows the uncreated, who has severed all ties,
removed all temptations, renounced all desires,
is the greatest of people.
In a village or in a forest, in a valley or on the hills,
wherever saints live, that is a place of joy.
Forests are delightful; where others find no joy,
there the desireless will find joy,
for they do not seek the pleasures of the senses.
Many years ago there was a young man living in a large city in Japan who felt his life was quite empty. With the hope of achieving a state of inner peace, he shaved his head and went to live in the mountains as a monk.
After studying diligently for ten years, the man realized he still didn't understand how to live with a sense of emotional fulfillment. Talking with other disciples, the young monk heard of a highly evolved Zen master living in China. He was drawn to study with this man with the hope of finally realizing his true self. He gathered his meager belongings, crossed the sea of Japan, and started a long and arduous journey across arid plains.
Every day he walked for many hours, and would stop for the evening only after finding a patch of land that had a natural source of water safe for drinking. After traveling in this manner for more than a month, he had the strange sensation of feeling both energized and empty.
One day was particularly hot and dry and the monk walked endlessly unable to find water. As the day turned into a moonless night he finally found an oasis. Totally exhausted, he collapsed onto the ground and began crawling around in the darkness in search of liquid sustenance. He came across a roughly made cup that had been left behind. The custom of leaving a cup with some water in it for the next traveler was quite common. He drank the meager amount of delicious tasting water and felt blessed and at peace with the world. He soon lay down and slept quite comfortably until awaking to the light of the early morning sun.
Upon sitting up, the first thing he noticed was what he had taken to be the roughly made cup the night before. Indeed it was not a manmade cup, but rather the shattered skull of a baby wolf! The moist skull was caked with blood, and a number of ants were crawling around inside scavenging for food to carry back to their colony.
The monk saw all this and immediately began to vomit! He was overcome by several waves of nausea, and as the fluid poured forth from his mouth and nose, he clearly experienced his thinking mind overwhelming his body and his emotions. With no choice but to submit to the moment, he understood that his thinking mind had been overwhelming him his entire life!
The night before the water tasted delicious and he felt refreshed. It was his misunderstanding of the circumstances that led him to feel fine. Upon seeing the skull and the ants in the light of the morning sun, it was his memory of his past actions and not the putrid water that brought about his nausea.
Regardless of whether or not he was understanding or misunderstanding, it was his thinking mind that created the way he felt. This was suddenly very clear to him. He realized that if his thinking was capable of creating suffering, it was also capable of creating peace of mind. He realized that what had occurred in the past was much less important than the way he reacted in the present. Upon understanding this, his journey was complete and he returned home to live his life with a sense of emotional fulfillment.
From “It's Your Thinking That Leads to Your Suffering”
By Charlie Badenhop
When I first came across the Taoist writings, I was infinitely delighted. I did not feel that I was reading something strange or exotic, but that I was reading the very thoughts I have had all my life, only expressed far better than I have ever been able to express them. To me, Taoism means a state of inner serenity combined with an intense aesthetic awareness. Neither alone is adequate; a purely passive serenity is kind of dull, and an anxiety-ridden awareness is not very appealing. A Chinese friend of mine (of the modern school) recently criticized Taoism as a philosophy of “having one’s cake and eating it too.” I replied, “What could be better?” He responded, “But one can’t have one’s cake and eat it too!” This is precisely where we disagree! All my life I have believed that one can have one’s cake and eat it too. Hence I am a Taoist.
Actually, I came to Taoism first through Zen-Buddhism. It took me quite a while to realize to what extent Zen has combined Taoism and Buddhism, and that it was primarily the Taoistic elements which appealed to me. The curious thing about Zen is that it first makes one’s mouth water for this thing called Satori (enlightenment) and then straightaway informs us that our desire for Satori is the very thing which is preventing us from getting it! By contrast, the Taoist strikes me as one who is not so much in search of something he hasn’t, but who is enjoying what he has.
by Doreen Davis
Sense the rhythms of the Earth.
Place your feet upon her heart
and let your blood pulse to her tempo.
Feel the chants in winds and waters echo.
Search for melodies in stars and space –
Heaven’s notes infuse your Soul.
Angels whisper lyrics.
Do you hear them?
Listen to your brother’s song, your sister’s key
and sing the harmony.
Perceive the perfect pitch within you
and sing out loud and clear.
The One Song.
Ms. Davis’s Website
-Painting by Luo Ping
“THE GREAT WAY”
by Wu Men
The Great Way has no gate;
there are a thousand paths to it.
If you pass through the barrier,
you walk the universe alone.
(Wumen Huikai (1183–1260) was a Zen Master most famous as the compiler of and commentator on the 48-koan collection The Gateless Gate (Japanese: Mumonkan).
“At all costs, the Christian must convince the heathen and the atheist that God exists, in order to save his soul. At all costs, the atheist must convince the Christian that the belief in God is but a childish and primitive superstition, doing enormous harm to the cause of true social progress. And so they battle and storm and bang away at each other.
Meanwhile, the Taoist Sage sits quietly by the stream, perhaps with a book of poems, a cup of wine, and some painting materials, enjoying the Tao to his hearts content, without ever worrying whether or not Tao exists. The Sage has no need to affirm the Tao; he is far too busy enjoying it!”
--“Wind” by Deborah Richardson
Wind and a bobwhite
And the afternoon sun.
By ceasing to question the sun
I have become light,
Bird and wind.
My leaves sing.
I am earth, earth
All these lighted things
Grow from my heart.
A tall, spare pine
Stands like the initial of my first
Name when I had one.
When I had a spirit,
When I was on fire When this valley was
Made out of fresh air
You spoke my name
In naming Your silence:
O sweet, irrational worship!
I am earth, earth
My heart’s love
Bursts with hay and flowers.
I am a lake of blue air
In which my own appointed place
Field and valley
I am earth, earth
Out of my grass heart
Rises the bobwhite.
Out of my nameless weeds His foolish worship.
--Painting — “Lillies of the Field” by aldussaunt
One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned,
he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible. "No," Gasan
replied, "Please read some of it to me." The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon
on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ's words
about the *lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long
time. "Yes," he finally said, "Whoever uttered these words is an enlightened
being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying
to teach you here!"
————*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.
Painting: “Awareness” by Rebecca Rees
by Anthony De Mello
The student monk had spent seven years,
Learning how to comprehend awareness.
At the end of his study it was time for assessment,
To visit the master was his final assignment.
The master sat, at the young man he looked,
Was he ready to become a teacher monk?
The young monk, wet from his walk,
Had placed his umbrella in the hall
Master asked, 'to the left or right of your clogs,
Did you place your umbrella to dry at rest? '
The monk was taken by surprise,
Why such simple thing, when so wise?
Try as he might he couldn't recall;
Had to admit, no idea at all.
'Go back to your teacher for seven more years,
To learn once more the secret of awareness'.
To late the young monk remembered,
Awareness encompasses everything.
No chance of ever really seeing,
Unless every second has meaning.
--Painting by Margaret_097
You have pursued me
and dared to know me
You embrace my stillness
and my uprising
You understand my thoughts,
share a shadowland of memory
and bright hopes for what is to come.
That you have chosen me
is wonderful beyond belief.
You are my faithful companion.
In the heights and depths,
in light and darkness.
Surely, we were formed in separate wombs,
destined to be joined in life.
You look beyond my faults and failings
to some beauty I am becoming but cannot see.
Your myriad ways are precious to me.
I fall asleep graced by your presence,
thankful for my good fortune.
When I awake you are still here.
Interpretation by Sam Keen
-Painting by Isabelle Bryer
Heaven and Hell are not after life
Heaven and Hell are within life.
It’s in movement we create joy
It’s in despair we cement walls.
Step over limitation.
Openly reveal, peel apart & feel poetry
moving around every barrier
Overflowing to your own nature.
Never regret action
as the past lies
in fleeting memories.
To Live, eternally, now
within the way
of exploring possibility.
The secret to life is…
Simply being true to yourself and smiling
Looking upon each day,
with the new wonder it deserves.
Drawing — “Socrates” by Mark Lastovsky
“Test of Socrates”
In ancient Greece, Socrates was reputed to hold knowledge in high esteem. One day an acquaintance met the great philosopher and said, "Do you know what I just heard about your friend?"
"Hold on a minute," Socrates replied. "Before telling me anything, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"That's right," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say. That's why I call it the triple filter test."
"The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and...."
'All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not.
Now let's try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
--“Sea Turtle” at Risk: by Rabi Khan
“You risked your life, but what else have you ever risked?
Have you risked disapproval?
Have you ever risked economic security?
Have you ever risked a belief?
I see nothing particularly courageous about risking one's life.
So you lose it, you go to your hero's heaven and everything is milk and honey 'til the end of time. Right?
You get your reward and suffer no earthly consequences.
That's not courage. Real courage is risking something that might force you to rethink your thoughts and suffer change and stretch consciousness.
Real courage is risking one's clichés.”
Picture by Smattila
The emperor, who was a devout Buddhist, invited a great Zen master to the Palace in order to ask him questions about Buddhism.
"What is the highest truth of the holy Buddhist doctrine?" the emperor inquired.
"Vast emptiness... and not a trace of holiness," the master replied.
"If there is no holiness," the emperor said, "then who or what are you?"
"I do not know," the master replied.
A Chinese farmer's neighbors came over to offer him their sympathy after his horse ran away. "I'm not so sure it's a misfortune", said the farmer. The neighbors left, shaking their heads.
The next day, the farmer's horse returned, and three wild horses came home with him. The neighbors returned to congratulate the farmer on his good fortune. "I'm not certain that it is good fortune", replied the farmer. The neighbors left, more bemused than before.
Later that week, the farmer's son broke his leg trying to train one of the new horses, and the neighbors came by to offer condolences. "I'm not sure this is a misfortune", said the farmer again. The neighbors left, discussing the man's mental state among themselves.
The next day, the emperor came through, gathering up young men to be in his army. They bypassed the farmer's son, since he had a broken leg.
“Painting: “The Happy Clown” by Deb Adams
There was a young monk in China who was a very serious practitioner of the Dharma. Once, this monk came across something he did not understand, so he went to ask the master. When the master heard the question, he kept laughing. The master then stood up and walked away, still laughing.
The young monk was very disturbed by the master's reaction. For the next 3 days, he could not eat, sleep nor think properly. At the end of 3 days, he went back to the master and told the master how disturbed he had felt.
When the master heard this, he said, "Monk, do you know what your problem is? Your problem is that YOU ARE WORSE THAN A CLOWN!"
The monk was shocked to hear that, "Venerable Sir, how can you say such a thing?! How can I be worse than a clown?"
The master explained, "A clown enjoys seeing people laugh. You? You feel disturbed because another person laughed. Tell me, are you not worse than a clown?"
When the monk heard this, he began to laugh. He was enlightened.
On this morning of stark contrasts
Branches and brambles
confess their strong, swarthy hues
beneath a gentle, snowy cloak
As smoky-gray clouds at the horizon
attempt to mask
the promise of today’s sunshine.
On this morning of stark contrasts
that beauty colors both light and dark.
The Gates of Paradise
A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.
"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin.
(from Collection of Sand and Stone, 13th Century Japanese koans written by Japanese Zen teacher Muju)
A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked the Zen Master: "If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen."
The Master thought about this, then replied, "Ten years."
The student then said, "But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast -- How long then ?"
Replied the Master, "Well, twenty years."
"But, if I really, really work at it. How long then ?" asked the student.
"Thirty years," replied the Master.
"But, I do not understand," said the disappointed student. "At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that ?"
Replied the Master," When you have one eye on the goal, you only have one eye on the path."
Painting: “The Stone Cutter” by Gillian Calvert
There was once a stone cutter who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life. One day he passed a wealthy merchant's house. Through the open gateway, he saw many fine possessions and important visitors. "How powerful that merchant must be!" thought the stone cutter. He became very envious and wished that he could be like the merchant.
To his great surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever imagined, but envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself. Soon a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. "How powerful that official is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a high official!"
Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around. It was a hot summer day, so the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. "How powerful the sun is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the sun!" Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers and laborers. But a huge black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. "How powerful that storm cloud is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a cloud!"
Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. "How powerful it is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be the wind!"
Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, feared and hated by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it - a huge, towering rock. "How powerful that rock is!" he thought. "I wish that I could be a rock!"
Then he became the rock, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the hard surface, and felt himself being changed. "What could be more powerful than I, the rock?" he thought.
He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stone cutter.
The old monk sat by the side of the road, with his eyes closed, his legs crossed and his hands folded in his lap in deep meditation.
Suddenly his tranquility was interrupted by the harsh and demanding voice of a samurai warrior standing before him. “Old man! Teach me about heaven and hell!”
At first, as though he had not heard, there was no perceptible response from the monk. But slowly he began to open his eyes, the faintest hint of a smile playing around the corners of his mouth as the samurai stood there, waiting impatiently, growing more and more agitated with each passing moment.
“You wish to know the secrets of heaven and hell?” replied the monk at last. “You who are so unkempt, whose hands and feet are covered with dirt. You whose hair is uncombed, whose breath is foul, whose sword is rusty and neglected. You would ask me of heaven and hell?”
The samurai uttered a vile curse. He drew his sword and raised it high above his head. His face turned crimson and the veins on his neck stood out pulsing wildly as he prepared to sever the monk’s head from his shoulders.
“That,” said the old monk gently, just as the sword began its descent, “is hell.” In that fraction of a second, the samurai was overcome with amazement, awe, compassion and love for this gentle being who had dared risk his very life to give him such a teaching. He stopped his sword in mid-descent and his eyes filled with grateful tears.
A big, tough samurai once went to see a little monk.
He barked, in a voice accustomed to instant obedience.
"Teach me about heaven and hell!”
The monk looked up at the mighty warrior and replied with utter disdain,
"Teach you about heaven and hell? I couldn't teach you about anything. You're dumb. You're dirty. You're a disgrace, an embarrassment to the samurai class. Get out of my sight. I can't stand you.”
The samurai got furious. He shook, red in the face, speechless with rage. He pulled out his sword, and prepared to slay the monk.
Looking straight into the samurai's eyes, the monk said softly,
The samurai froze, realizing the compassion of the monk who had risked his life to show him hell! He put down his sword and fell to his knees, filled with gratitude.
The monk said softly,
"And that's heaven.