Where are you going?

Photo by Wonderlane
Photo by Wonderlane

The master lived in a dictatorial country where the political leaders were corrupt and the military was abusive.

Every morning, the master would go out of his house and head to the nearby field where there was a large tree. He would sit under the tree and meditate in the shade.

One day, a policeman intercepted the master and said, “Where are you going?”

“I don’t know,” replied the master.

“You’re lying. I have watched you every day for the last two weeks. You go to that field and sit under the tree. Since you are lying to me, you are obviously up to no good.” So the policeman arrested him and put him in jail to await questioning. As the policeman locked the jail door and turned to walk away, the master called out to him, “See what I mean when I told you a while ago that I didn’t know where I was going?”

Slippery Stone

Photo by Toshimasa Ishibashi
Photo by Toshimasa Ishibashi

There was a master called Sakito. He was also called Stonehead – partly because of his smoothly shaven head, and partly because he loved to sit in meditation on a large rock on the side of a mountain.

One day, a disciple came to Ma Tsu, another master, and said, “I shall go and challenge master Sakito.”

Ma Tsu replied, “Be careful. The path of the Stonehead is slippery.”

But the disciple waved a staff and said, “I carry the stick of an acrobat.”

The disciple made it to Sakito who was, as usual, sitting on his rock. He stood in front of Sakito, waved his stick in the air and gave a loud shout. Then he addressed Sakito, “Now tell me, what is the essence of what I have done?”

Sakito, who had barely moved or changed his expression, just said, “How sad, how sad.”

The disciple had no answer for this, so he left and went back to Ma Tsu and reported the entire incident.

Ma Tsu told the disciple, “Go back and do the same thing. Then, when he says, ‘how sad, how sad’, you start crying.”

So the disciple went back and did the exact same thing. But when he asked the question, Sakito put both hands on his face and started to cry.

The disciple was again left with no response, so he went back to Ma Tsu to report.

Ma Tsu smiled and said, “I told you. The path of the Stonehead is slippery.”

Showing Respect

Photo by Silvio Tanaka
Photo by Silvio Tanaka

The master decided to go to church one Sunday. As he sat listening through a rather long sermon, his eyes began to droop and pretty soon he was dozing and began to snore softly.

The preacher was outraged by this behavior, especially since the man was seated in the front row. He came down from the pulpit and shook the sleeper.

“What are you doing?” said the preacher. “You are sleeping through the Word of God! Show some respect!”

“What? Oh, sorry, sir,” said the master sleepily. And with that, he stretched along the entire pew and went back to sleep.

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