The Gates of Paradise
Samurai with Sword
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 . . . → Read More: Koan: The Gates of Paradise
Koan: Accurate Proportion
Sen-no Rikyu, a tea-master, wished to hang a flower basket on a column. he asked a carpenter to help him, directing the man to place it a little higher or lower, to the right or left, until he had found exactly the right spot. “That’s the place,” said Sen-no Rikyu at long last.
The carpenter, . . . → Read More: Koan: Accurate Proportion
Koan: Ryonen’s Clear Realization
The Buddhist nun known as Ryonen was born in 1797. She was a granddaughter of the famous Japanese warrior Shingen. Her poetic genius and alluring beauty were such that at seventeen she was serving the empress as one of the ladies of the court. Even at such a youthful age fame awaited her.
The . . . → Read More: Koan: Ryonen’s Clear Realization
Koan: Black-Nosed Buddha
A nun who was searching for enlightenment made a statue of Buddha and covered it with gold leaf. Wherever she went she carried this golden Buddha with her.
Years passed and, still carrying her Buddha, the nun came to live in a small temple in a country where there were many Buddhas, each one with . . . → Read More: Koan: Black-Nosed Buddha
My Heart Burns Like Fire
Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.
In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
Retire at a regular hour. Partake of . . . → Read More: Koan: My Heart Burns Like Fire