“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Monday, June 2, 2014

Two Short Zen Stories

Story 1

A young student of Zen happened to break a precious vase belonging to his teacher.

When he heard his teacher's footsteps, he quickly held the broken vase behind him. As the teacher walked up to him, he asked, "Why does one die, master?"

"It's natural," said the teacher. "Everything has a beginning and an end. Everything has just so long to live and then has to die."

The student held out the pieces of the broken vase and said, "The time for your vase to die had come."

Story 2

A Zen student said to his teacher, “Master, I have an ungovernable temper. Help me get rid of it.”

“You have something very strange, show it to me.” said the teacher.

“Right now I cannot show it to you.” replied the student.

“Why not?" asked the teacher

“It arises suddenly.” answered the student.

“Then it cannot be your own true nature,” said the teacher, “if it were, you would be able to show it to me at any time. Why are you allowing something that is not yours to trouble your life?”

Thereafter whenever the student felt his temper rising he remembered his teacher’s words and checked his anger.

In time, he developed a calm and placid temperament.

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