The Five-Minute Buddhist Books

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Koan: The Stingy Artist

Koan: The Stingy Artist

Gessen was an artist monk. Before he would start a drawing or painting he always insisted upon being paid in advance, and his fees were high. He was known as the “Stingy Artist.”

A geisha once gave him a commission for a painting. “How much can you pay?” inquired Gessen.

“Whatever you charge,” replied the . . . → Read More: Koan: The Stingy Artist

Wishing Your Life Away


I am particularly concerned about a friend who always seems unhappy at work, complains about how some colleagues are making her life difficult, and how little she earns. She believes that marrying and giving up her job would bring her happiness. She reads books that teach her “10 Ways of Dealing with People Who Make . . . → Read More: Wishing Your Life Away

What Happens, Happens.


After having studied Buddhism for a while, I have come to some ideas about the philosophy and in particular its’ relation to morality. For westerners especially, Buddhism seems to be paradoxical and difficult to really categorize. I can accept that some things cannot be controlled, that man cannot directly choose his circumstances all the . . . → Read More: What Happens, Happens.

Rebirth Revisited


I know that Buddhist belief is based greatly on experiencing teachings for yourself, and not taking what anyone says (even the Buddha himself) as truth without first examining it ourselves. However, I am confused as to where the belief in rebirth and karma comes from in Buddhism. I agree with this Buddhist belief that we should . . . → Read More: Rebirth Revisited

Koan: How Grass and Trees Become Enlightened

Koan: How Grass & Trees Become Enlightened

During the Kamakura period, Shinkan studied Tendai six years and then studied Zen seven years; then he went to China and contemplated Zen for thirteen years more.

When he returned to Japan many desired to interview him and asked obscure questions. But when Shinkan received visitors, which was infrequently, he seldom . . . → Read More: Koan: How Grass and Trees Become Enlightened