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Friday, 22 September 2017

354 – Huineng

                The District Governor said to the Fifth Patriarch, Hongren: “You have a thousand disciples. In what way does Layman Huineng distinguish himself from the others that you should bestow upon him the bowl and robe of Bodhidharma?”
                “Nine hundred and ninety-nine of my disciples have a good understanding of Buddhism,” the master replied.  “The exception is Huineng.  He isn’t to be compared with the others, and for that reason I’ve transmitted the bowl and robe to him.”
                In another story, a monk asked Huineng, “Who now has the secret teachings of Master Hongren?”
                “Someone who understands Buddhism,” Huineng said.
                “Do you, then, have them, Sir?”
                “I don’t understand Buddhism,” declared Huineng.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

353 – The Sannyasi and the Precious Stone

                A sannyasi—a homeless monk—had come to a village where he begged for his food from door to door, then retired to a grove of trees outside the village limits to eat his meal and pass the remainder of the day in meditation. As the sannyasi was meditating, a young villager came up to him and bowed respectfully.
                “Reverend sir,” the villager said, “last night the Lord Krishna appeared to me in a dream and told me to seek out the sannyasi meditating by our village. He told me to ask the sannyasi for the precious stone he was carrying. Are you that sannyasi, sir?”
                “Precious stone?” the sannyasi mused. “I may be.” He took up his small bag of belongings, rummaged about in it, and drew forth a stone about the size of a child’s fist. “Perhaps this is the stone you are seeking.”
                The villager took the stone and recognized it as a rough, unpolished diamond which, because of its size, would be of enormous value.
                “Are you willing to give this to me?” the villager asked.
                “Take it with my blessing.”
                “But do you know what it is?”
                “I believe it is a precious stone of some sort and probably worth a great deal of money.”
                The villager looked at the stone, then handed it back, saying, “Please, sir, give me that which allows you to part with this stone so easily.”

Monday, 18 September 2017

352 – Tianhuang and Lungtan

                Lungtan Chongzen served Tianhuang Daowu as personal attendant.  After he had been in that position for several years, he approached his master and complained, “Since I came here, I haven’t had any instruction in the study of mind.” 
                “That isn’t so,” Tianhuang said.  “Since the day you first arrived, I haven’t missed an opportunity to show you how to study mind.” 
                “In what way, sir?”
                “When you brought me a cup of tea, didn’t I drink it?  When you bowed to me, didn’t I  return the bow?  When did I ever neglect instructing you?” 
                Lungtan sat for a moment with his head down.  “If you want to see it,” Tianhuang snapped, “see it directly!  When you just think about it, it’s altogether lost!”
                Lungtan came to awakening and asked, in marvel, “How does one maintain it?”
                “Live in accordance with conditions as they arise moment to moment,” Tianhuang instructed him.  “Surrender to everyday mind.  There’s nothing sacred except this.”

Saturday, 16 September 2017

351 – The Salt Doll

                A salt doll set out on a journey of discovery and, after many days of travel, came at last to the sea. “What is this?” the salt doll wondered aloud.
                “Come in and find out for yourself,” the sea replied.
                Cautiously, the salt put a toe into the water, and it dissolved. But rather than being painful, the experience was, in fact, delicious. “What has happened to me?” the salt doll asked.
                “You have given a bit of yourself to gain knowledge,” the sea said. “Come further in.” 
                   So, although it was slightly frightened, the salt doll began to wade deeper into the water. As it did so, it was gradually consumed by the waves. Just before the last bit of the doll was dissolved in the great ocean, it exclaimed in wonder and awe: “Now at last I know what I am!”