Searching for the Truth

The disciple told the master, “I am going away to the town on the other side of the hill. There are less distractions there and I can focus on meditating and searching for the truth. But don’t worry, while I am there, I will write to you and let you know my progress.”

After a month, the master received a note which said, “I am now able to enter into deep meditation.”

The master shook his head and tore up the note.

After six months, he received another note which said, “I now know the secret of the Self and of Silence.”

The master sighed and threw the note away.

After a year, he received another note which said, “Now I understand the Path of Stones and the Song of the Forest.”

The master spat at the ground and threw the note into the fire.

Then, three years passed without the master receiving any note from the disciple. The master then learned that one of his friends was going over to that town so he asked him to look up the disciple to see how he was coming along in his quest.

The master’s friend came back two weeks later with a note that said, “Who cares?”

“He got it! He got it!” bellowed the master as he jumped up and down with glee.

Not One. Not Two.

photo by topbanana
photo by topbanana

“Why does it seem that the harder I seek God, the more distant he seems from me?” asked the disciple.

The master smiled and replied, “The distance seems to grow because you seek. Stop seeking and understand that there is no distance.”

“Are you saying that I and God are one?” said the disciple.

“No, not one. Not two,” said the master.

“I don’t understand,” said the disciple.

“The ocean and the wave; the dancer and the dance; the singer and the song; the lamp and its light. Not one. Not two.”

Holy Banana

photo courtesy of darotyka, sxc.hu
photo courtesy of darotyka, sxc.hu

There was once a master whose fame had spread far and wide because of his holiness.

A tourist once came and visited the master, who was seated behind a small table eating a banana. Upon seeing the guest, the master picked another banana from the bunch and offered it to him.

The guest was so awed that this great man would offer something to one as lowly and sinful as him. He left the master’s house with the uneaten banana still in his hands, and wondered aloud what he should do with such a holy gift.

Some of the master’s disciples heard the man and went to tell the master about the guest’s dilemma.

The master laughed and said, “Tell the silly fool to eat it.”

Then Have a Cup of Tea

photo courtesy of SheCat, sxc.hu
photo courtesy of SheCat, sxc.hu

One day, a travelling stranger came to visit the master Joshu.

Joshu said, “Stranger, have I ever met you before?”

“No, sir. This is the first time we have met,” replied the stranger.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

Joshu then turned to a monk beside him.

“Have I ever seen you before?” he asked.

“Yes, I have been in this monastery for three years,” replied the monk.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

The head monk was quite confused with this behavior. So he asked, “Master, why do you offer a cup of tea whether or not you have met the person before? Why do you even ask?”

“Head monk, are you here?” said Joshu.

“Of course, I am here,” said the head monk.

“Then have a cup of tea,” said Joshu.

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