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Religions and storytelling

Religions from all over the world have used storytelling as a medium to convey their messages of wisdom.

One such religion is Buddhism, which for centuries has used parables, anecdotes, fables and tales to help people develop awareness by offering them enlightening insights and moral life lessons. This culminates in the teachings of Zen Buddhism, a tradition famous for using short stories extensively to arise in Buddhist monks and students a deeper, more comprehensive understanding of reality.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

One day a man stumbled upon a tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice.

An old farmer that couldn’t work anymore spent days sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, got so aggravated that his father was useless, that he built a wood coffin and told his father to get in. The son closed and dragged the coffin to a high cliff , where he heard a tapping ...

A martial arts student went to his teacher and asked how long it would take to master his system. The teacher answered 10 years. The student got impatient and said he would work hard and practice many hours everyday. The teacher pondered and said: “20 years.”

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived a simple life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal. Ryokan returned and caught him. “You may have come a long way to visit me and you shoud not return emptyhande...

Nan-in, a Japanese master, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor said. “It is overfull. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full...

A soldier named Nobushige asked Hakuin if heaven and hell were real. Hakuin answered with provocations until the soldier drew his sword. 

A young Buddhist on a journey pondered for hours on how to cross a wide river he came upon. As he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river and yelled asking how he could get to the other side. 

Ikkyu, the Zen master, was very clever even as a boy.

2 men were arguing about a flag flapping in the wind. One thought the flag was moving the other thought the wind was moving.

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”

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