Sunday, January 11, 2009

Stories of Zen

Help Yourself

A man was troubled by the hardship of life, so he went to a temple, kneeled down, worshipped a Buddha, and prayed with a string of beads in his hand.

Afterwards, he noticed the Buddha was praying with a string of beads in his hand, too. He was bewildered.

A master in the temple said, “You ask the Buddha for help, but the Buddha has his own trouble, too. He has to help himself first.”

Asking for help is no better than helping yourself first.


A Zen master met a man on his journey, who disliked the Zen master and tried all his means to insult the master.

Finally, the Zen master turned to the man and asked, “If someone wants to give you a gift, but you refuse to accept it, then who owns the gift?”

The man replied, “It still belongs to that person who intends to give me the gift.”

The Zen master smiled, “Right. Likewise, if I don’t accept your insults, you are insulting yourself.”

A Tea Cup

A student went to visit a Zen master for Zen philosophy. The Zen Master asked the student to sit at a table and he prepared tea for him. The student was very talkative and he told the master he knew a lot of ancient classics.

The master poured tea into the tea cup until it was full; however, he continued to pour tea into the cup. Tea flowed out from the cup to the table, dropped off from the edge and wetted the student’s clothes.

The student watched the master pouring the tea, and shouted, “It is overflowing. Don’t pour again.”

“You are like this cup, full of your own opinions and thoughts.” The master said, “If you don’t empty yourself first, how can I teach you Zen?”

The Light of Comprehension

When studying the Buddhism scripture, a student asked his master, “You described the pure land; I can’t see it, how can I believe it?”

The master led the student to a dark room and said, “There is a hammer at the corner of the room.”

The student opened his eyes wide and then narrowed his eyes; however hard he tried he couldn’t see anything in the deep darkness.

The master lit a candle, for sure, there was a hammer at the corner of the wall.

That you can’t see it doesn’t mean that it does not exist. You have to light the lamp in your heart to vision the pure land.


Daniel Ng said...

Thanks for the sharing. I love all the short stories that able to enlighten our spirits and remind us of the inner truths within us all.

Jade Meng said...

You are welcome. Congratulations! Your newborn daughter is very lovely and surprisingly long. She can make a model when she grows up.