Just Go To Sleep
Gasan was sitting at the bedside of Tekisui three days before his teacher’s passing. Tekisui had already chosen him as his successor.
A temple recently had burned and Gasan was busy rebuilding the structure. Tekisui asked him: “What are you going to do when you get the temple rebuilt?”
“When your sickness is over we want you to speak there,” said Gasan.
“Suppose I do not live until then?”
“Then we will get someone else,” replied Gasan.
“Suppose you cannot find anyone?” continued Tekisui.
Gasan answered loudly: “Don’t ask such foolish questions. Just go to sleep.”
The Gates of Paradise
A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”
“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.
“I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.
“You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
“Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin.
A long time ago in China there were two friends, one who played the harp skillfully and one who listened skillfully.
When the one played or sang about a mountain, the other would say: “I can see the mountain before us.”
When the other played about water, the listener would exclaim: “Here is the running stream!”
But the listener fell sick and died. The first friend cut the strings of his harp and never played again. Since that time the cutting of harp strings has always been a sign of intimate friendship.
The cook monk Dairyo, at Bankei’s monastery, decided that he would take good care of his old teacher’s health and give him only fresh miso, a paste of soy beans mixed with wheat and yeast that often ferments. Bankei, noticing that he was being served better miso than his pupils, asked: “Who is the cook today?”
Dairyo was sent before him. Bankei learned that according to his age abd position he should eat only fresh miso. So he said to the cook: “Then you think I shouldn’t eat at all.” With this he entered his room and locked the door.
Dairyo, sitting outside the door, asked his teacher’s pardon. Bankei would not answer. For seven days Dairyo sat outside and Bankei within.
Finally in desperation an adherent called loudly to Bankei: “You may be all right, old teacher, but this young disciple here has to eat. He cannot go without food forever!”
At that Bankei opened the door. He was smiling. He told Dairyo: “I insist on eating the same food as the least of my followers. When you become the teacher I do not want you to forget this.”
The True Path
Just before Ninakawa passed away the Zen master Ikkyu visited him. “Shall I lead you on?” Ikkyu asked.
Ninakawa replied: “I came here alone and I go alone. What help could you be to me?”
Ikkyu answered: “If you think you really come and go, that is your delusion. Let me show you the path on which there is no coming and no going.”
With his words, Ikkyu had revealed the path so clearly that Ninakawa smilled and passed away.