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6 Awesome Zen Stories That Will Teach You Important Life Lessons

Everything Changes

During a Q&A session a student said to master Roshi he’d been listening to his lectures for years but couldn't understand. So he asked Roshi to reduce Buddhism to one phrase. "Everything changes," Roshi said. Then Roshi asked for another question.

Being aware of the ever-changing nature of reality and appreciating the present leads to peace in everyday life.

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6 Awesome Zen Stories That Will Teach You Important Life Lessons

6 Awesome Zen Stories That Will Teach You Important Life Lessons

https://buddhaimonia.com/blog/zen-stories-important-life-lessons

buddhaimonia.com

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Key Ideas

Empty Your Cup

A university professor researching Zen sought master Nan-in, who served him tea. Nan-in poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Non-Judgment

A farmer was consoled by his neighbors who claimed it was bad luck his horse ran away. The farmer replied “Maybe.” The horse returned with more horses, so his neighbors said it was luck. The farmer said “Maybe.” Later a horse broke his son leg and the neighbors said it was a misfortune. The farmer said “Maybe.” The next day his son escaped conscription thanks to his broken leg and the neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. The farmer said “Maybe.”

Time goes on and good and bad are two sides of the same coin. Being aware of this allows us to find peace and happiness.

Right And Wrong

A meditation pupil was caught stealing. Master Bankei ignored the case. It happened again and Bankei disregarded it. The other pupils, angered, said they would leave if the thief wasn’t expelled. Bankei said they could leave for they already knew right from wrong but he would keep the thief, as he was the one who really needed help. Hearing that brought the thief to tears and vanquished his desire to steal.

We are often too quick to punish, forgetting some just need to be shown the right path. Being compassionate is hard but the alternative is guaranteed to perpetuate negative behavior.

Be The Boss

A man came on a horse galloping down the road. Another man asked him where he was going. The rider answered to ask the horse as he didn’t knew.

The horse symbolizes our habits, often established not by our intentional actions, but by our surroundings and mindless activity. The question is supposed to make us reflect on our actions and prompt us to be more proactive.

Watch Yourself

A master acrobat would walk around while balancing in his head a bamboo pole where his pupil stood on. One day, the teacher said they should watch each other to help maintain concentration and balance. The pupil answered :" I think it would be better for each of us to watch ourself. To look after oneself means to look after both of us." 

Taking care of yourself is important in order to take care of others. 

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  2. Makes sure you enjoy most moments of your day.
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Zen In The Arts

Zen has no goal. A world that focuses on destinations, that only cares about getting somewhere as fast as possible, becomes a world without substance.

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Satori And The Koan
  • Satori, enlightenment, is not a sudden complete awakening, it is the sudden and intuitive way of seeing into anything. The satori is not a feeling of relaxation, though, it is letting go but not feeling it.
  • The koan is a way of stressing the mind into having to relax and release itself. Like increasing muscular tension to give yourself a feeling of what not to do. 
Of Zen And Focus

Zen spirituality is to be in the moment and do only what you are doing without giving in to fleeting thoughts.

When a human is so self-controlled, that he cannot let go of himself, he dithers or wobbles between opposites. The effort to remain “good” or “happy” necessitates such strenuous balancing that it will surely induce mania and anxiety.

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What Zen Is Not
  • A habit
  • Simplicity
  • A state of peace
  • A state of mind
  • A minimalist aesthetic
  • Living simply
  • A destination
  • Just being in the moment
On Zen
  • “Zen” is a shorthand for Zen Buddhism, introduced into China in the 6th century, and emphasizes enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means.
  • Zen is a path to fully awaken to your original nature, which is present at all times.
  • The word Zen comes from the Chinese word “chán” and the Sanskrit word “dhyana, ” which means “meditation. ”
  • A Zen mind cannot be understood from the perspective of our ordinary, dualistic mind.
  • Zen practice may calm our minds, bring more clarity, and infuse us with greater kindness.
Shunryū Suzuki
Shunryū Suzuki

“Zen mind is one of those enigmatic phrases used by Zen teachers to make you notice yourself, to go beyond the words and wonder what your own mind and being are. This is the purpose of all Zen teaching—to make you wonder and to answer that wondering with the deepest expression of your own nature.”

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