Only a Matter of Seeing

Yin-Tsung also asked, ” How is the Legacy of the Fifth Zen Patriarch demonstrated and transmitted?”

I said, “There is no demonstration or transmission; it is only a matter of seeing[original] nature, not a matter of meditation and liberation.”

Yin-Tsung asked, “Why is it not a matter of meditation and liberation?”

I said, “Because these two things are not Buddhism; Buddhism is a non-dualistic teaching.”  ~ Hui-Neng

Zen Story: Cause and effect

There lived an old farmer who had worked on his fields for many, many years. One day, his horse bolted away. His neighbors dropped in to commiserate with him. “What awful luck,” they tut-tutted sympathetically, to which the farmer only replied, “We’ll see.”

Next morning, to everyone’s surprise, the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How amazing is that!” they exclaimed in excitement. The old man replied, “We’ll see.”

A day later, the farmer’s son tried to mount one of the wild horses. He was thrown on the ground and broke his leg. Once more, the neighbors came by to express their sympathies for this stroke of bad luck. “We’ll see,” said the farmer politely.

The next day, the village had some visitors – military officers who had come with the purpose of drafting young men into the army. They passed over the farmer’s son, thanks to his broken leg. The neighbors patted the farmer on his back – how lucky he was to not have his son join the army! “We’ll see,” was all that the farmer said!

In the seed of a mishap lies the potential tree of good fortune.

Everybody Sits

During the 1960’s, many unusual people showed up at the (Zen) monastery gate. Among them was a young electrician from Sweden, whose limited command of English was further hindered by a few beers. He was met at the gate by the director, who asked him what he wanted. “I want to study Buddhism!” the Swede bellowed.

“Have you ever sat?” the director asked, using our shorthand expression for “Have you ever done sitting meditation?”

The Swede didn’t know how to answer this question. It seemed to be a question in plain English, and he understood the words, but somehow the meaning eluded him. Was this some kind of Buddhist trick? Was the director making fun of him? Of course, he had sat. Finally, he decided that if the question were a trick he would not take the bait. He drew himself up to his full height and shouted, “Everyone has sat!”

The Swede entered the retreat center and remained there for several years. He was right, of course. All people have sat. We do it every day. We stand too, and walk, and lie down. ~ Lewis Richmond

Why make meditation into some holy and separate ritual when you can sit, stand, walk, and lie down in awareness?

From 365 Days of Nirvana by Josh Baran

A Zen Perspective

Chuang Tzu and his friend were walking along a river bank and stopped for a moment to gaze at the water.

Chuang Tzu exclaimed, “Look at those fish, how they’re enjoying themselves!”

“How would you know? You aren’t a fish to know if they’re having a good time!” snorted the friend.

“You aren’t me either,” said Chuang Tzu. “So how would you know that I don’t know the fish are having fun?”

Others’ perceptions are as valid as yours – or not. Think about that before jumping to conclusions!

(found this story on Facebook….and sharing it here with you. ~ Talon)


A Zen disciple approached his teacher. “Master, I have an uncontrollable temper.
Can you help me overcome it?”

“Hmmm, that’s strange. Can you show it to me?” asked the master.

“Not right now.”

“Why not?”

“It occurs suddenly.”

“Then it can’t be a part of your true nature,” said the master. “If that were the case, you wouldn’t have any difficulty in showing it! Why do you allow something that isn’t yours to worry you?”

Thereafter, the master’s words would come back to the student whenever his temper rose. Soon, he learned to check his anger and developed a placid temperament.