Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Post sayings or stories you find interesting or useful.

Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:04 am

Feel free to add any inspiring Buddhist stories/parables.... :thanks:

"Thus Have I Read......" :tongue:

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
FATE IS IN OUR HANDS
In a time long past, there was an old monk who, through diligent practice, had attained a certain degree of spiritual penetration.
"He had a young novice who was about eight years old.
One day the monk looked at the boy's face and saw there that he would die within the next few months.
Saddened by this, he told the boy to take a long holiday and go and visit his parents.
'Take your time,' said the monk. 'Don't hurry back.' For he felt the boy should be with his family when he died. Three months later, to his astonishment, the monk saw the boy walking back up the mountain.
When he arrived he looked intently at his face and saw that they boy would now live to a ripe old age.
'Tell me everything that happened while you were away,' said the monk.
So the boy started to tell of his journey down from the mountain.
He told of villages and towns he passed through, of rivers forded and mountains climbed.
Then he told how one day he came upon a stream in flood.
He noticed, as he tried to pick his way across the flowing stream, that a colony of ants had become trapped on a small island formed by the flooding stream.
Moved by compassion for these poor creatures, he took a branch of a tree and laid it across one flow of the stream until it touched the little island.
As the ants made their way across, the boy held the branch steady, until he was sure all the ants had escaped to dry land.
Then he went on his way. 'So,' thought the old monk to himself, 'that is why the 'gods' have lengthened his days.'
Compassionate acts can alter your fate. Conversely, acts of viciousness can adversely affect your fate."

:thumbsup:
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:57 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
TWO MORE DAYS TO MOUNT WU-T'AI
Long ago, in T'ang China, there was an old monk going on a pilgrimage to Mount Wu-t'ai, the abode of Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom. Aged and weak, he was treading the long dusty road alone, seeking alms along the way. After many long months, one morning he gazed upward and saw the majestic mountain in the distance. By the roadside, there was an old woman working the field. "Please tell me," he asked, "how much longer I must proceed before reaching Mount Wu-t'ai?" The woman just looked at him, uttered a guttural sound and returned to her hoeing. He repeated the question a second and third time, but still there was no answer.

Thinking that the woman must be deaf, he decided to push on. After he had taken a few dozen steps, he heard the woman call out to him, "Two more days, it will take you two more days." Somewhat annoyed, the monk responded, "I thought you were deaf. Why didn't you answer my question earlier?" The woman replied, "You asked the question while you were standing put, Master. I had to see how fast your pace was, how determined your walk!"

A cultivator is in the same position as the old monk in this story. As he practices the Dharma, seeking to help himself and others, he sometimes wonders why no one comes to his assistance. However, others may simply be trying to assess him, to gauge his strength and determination. This process can take five years, twenty years, or even a lifetime. Therefore, seekers of the Way, do not be discouraged, but forge ahead!
Last edited by thornbush on Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:02 pm

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
ALL IS VANITY (AMITABHA & SUKHAVATI)
In a long time past, in a certain country at the foot of the Himalayas, there dwelled a rare species of monkeys. Their blood, of a deep translucent red, was highly prized as a dye, for it would neither fade nor streak. The monkeys were therefore sought after by cloth merchants, as well as by kings and princes.

The monkeys themselves were clever and savvy -- adept at escaping all the traps and nets set out for them. However, they had two weaknesses: they loved rice wine and they enjoyed parading themselves in fancy shoes.

One day, a group of hunters, having discovered the monkeys' whereabouts, set up several huge kegs of wine on a hill and let the wind carry the bouquet afar. They also scattered hundreds of brightly colored wooden clogs near the barrels before hiding themselves in the surrounding bushes.

Sure enough, the monkeys, attracted by the aroma of the wine, approached the hillside. Furtively looking over their shoulders and surveying the area with their piercing eyes, they told one another: "This is bound to be a trap set by the men in the village below. You know how wicked and cruel they are. If we were to taste the wine, we would be caught and killed for our blood. Let's get out of here."

So they began to run towards the forest, to the safety of the tall, leafy trees and the dense underbrush. However, as the pack was running for cover, a few monkeys let their eyes dart back to the wine kegs. Finally, several returned to the hill they had just left, telling themselves: "It is very dangerous to be exposed this way, we'd better just try a few drops of wine and then leave -- remember, just a few drops! Otherwise, we will be captured and skinned alive...!"

They then furtively dipped half of one finger into the kegs and tasted the wine. Soon afterward, they inserted a whole finger and ... a whole hand. Poor monkeys, earlier, they could not resist the mere smell of the wine, how could they now resist its taste? After watching from a safe distance, the rest of the pack soon came swarming around the kegs. They drank and drank and drank some more, all of their caution and reluctance by now long forgotten. They then discovered the gorgeous clogs, their favorite attire ...

Observing all this from the bushes, the hunters waited patiently for the wine to take effect. They then emerged from hiding and surrounded the whole pack. There was no possible escape for the poor monkeys, who were not only drunk but also weighed down by heavy wooden clogs!

We humans are no different from the monkeys. We, too, know of the dangers of the five desires. Yet, while we may resist them for a while -- at certain times -- few of us can do so at all times. This is the rationale for seeking rebirth in the Pure Land, an ideal environment, free of temptation, free of suffering:

"In an infinite time in the past, Bhiksu Dharmakara [the future Buddha Amitabha] observed the misery of all sentient beings, and moved by compassion, vowed to establish a pure and perfect land where all could be liberated ... "
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Fri Apr 10, 2009 9:32 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
ATTACHMENT (NEITHER HATRED NOR LOVE)
"It once happened that a monk, having awakened to the Way under the eminent Master Fu Shan, went to reside in a famous monastery. Although living among the Great Assembly, he did not practice meditation or seek guidance in the Dharma; all he did all day was lie sleeping. Upon hearing this, the abbot arrived at the meditation hall, a big staff in hand. Seeing the guest master reclining with eyes closed, he admonished: 'This place does not have surplus rice to allow you to do nothing but eat and rest!' Reply: 'What would you, High Master, advise me to do?' The abbot said: 'Why don't you sit in meditation?' Answer: 'Succulent food cannot tempt those who have eaten their fill.' The abbot continued, 'A great many people are unhappy with you.' Answer: 'If they were happy, what would I gain?' Hearing these unusual replies, the abbot inquired further, 'Who was your master?' Answer: 'I arrived here after having studied under the eminent Master Fu Shan.' The abbot said, 'No wonder you are so headstrong!' They then clasped hands, laughing aloud, and headed toward the abbot's quarters.

"One day, many years later, the guest Zen Master, having washed himself, ascended the Dharma seat, bid farewell to the Great Assembly, wrote a parting stanza, immediately dropped the pen and expired in a seated position. The guest master, as we can see, conducted himself easily and freely, having mastered life and death. Is it not because he had truly internalized the meaning of the passage 'when neither hatred nor love disturbs our mind, serenely we sleep?'" (quotation from the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng.)
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Sat Apr 11, 2009 7:56 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
ATTACHMENT (MONK / YOUNG GIRL)
The following story forms the basis of a well-known koan.

"Once there was a devoted old woman who built a place of retreat for a monk, arranging that he would not lack for anything, so that he could concentrate upon his meditation and practice. One day, after twenty years, she instructed her daughter: 'Today, after serving the Master his meal, take advantage of the situation to embrace him tightly, asking him at the same time, 'how does it feel to be hugged these days?' Come back and let me know his answer as faithfully as you can.'

The daughter dutifully did as she was told, putting her arms around the Master and asking the question. The Master replied, 'I am not moved in the very least by sexual desire, no different from a dried up tree leaning against a cold mass of rocks in the middle of winter, when not even a drop of warmth can be found.' The young girl repeated the answer to her mother, who said unhappily, 'I have really wasted my time and effort during the last twenty years. Little did I know that I was only supporting a common mortal!' Having said this, she went out, evicted the monk, lit a fire and burned the meditation hut to the ground.

In truth, it is rare enough these days for anyone to cultivate to the level of that monk. As far as the old woman is concerned, she is said to have been a saint in disguise. Her action of burning down the hut was to 'enlighten' the Master. Why is this so? It is because, while not moved by sexual desire, he still saw himself as pure and was still attached to the empty and still aspects of samadhi. Thus, he had not attained true and complete Awakening."
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Sun Apr 12, 2009 2:49 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
DAUGHTER OF GENGHIS KHAN
"Seated on the ground, I watched with amusement the various performances in which lama and believers played their parts with the utmost gravity, tinged, however, by that special good humour and overflowing gaiety which makes life among Tibetans so pleasant. I delightedly forgot Western lands, that I belonged to them, and that they would probably take me again in the clutches of their sorrowful civilization. I felt myself a simple dokpa of the Koko nor. I chatted with the women about my imaginary black tent in the Desert of Grass, my cattle, and the feast days when the menfolk race on horseback and show their cleverness as marksmen.

I knew by heart the region I described, for I had lived there long, and my enthusiasm for my so-styled mother country was so genuinely sincere that no one could have guessed my lie... After all, was it entirely a lie? I am one of the Genghis Khan race who, by mistake and perhaps for her sins, was born in the Occident. So I was once told by a lama."
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:37 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
ATTACHMENT (TEACHING OF THE BUDDHA)
For the seasoned practitioner, even the Dharma (teachings of the Buddha) must not become an attachment. As an analogy, to clean one's shirt, it is necessary to use soap. However, if the soap is not then rinsed out, the garment will not be truly clean. Similarly, the practitioner's mind will not be fully liberated until he severs attachment to everything, including the Dharma itself.


Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:04 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
ATTACHMENT (TO EXTERNAL FORMS OF CULTIVATION)
"There was once a Zen Master who practiced meditation with extreme diligence. He usually slept in a sitting position rather than lying down, and hardly rested much at all. However, despite practicing meditation for many years, he still had not become enlightened to the Way. One day, a novice of unknown provenance sought permission to join the Order. This novice was habitually lazy, to the point where he would often remain in bed even after the bell announcing the early prayer session had been rung. Informed of this, the Master summoned him and scolded him in the following terms, 'How is it that you have joined the Order but are still so lazy as to be always lying down? Don't you remember what the rules of discipline say: 'Remaining in bed and failing to arise after hearing the bell will bring the future retribution of rebirth as a snake?' The novice replied, 'You said, Master, that I often lie down and therefore will become a snake. How about you, who are attached to the sitting posture? You will be reborn a toad. What can you ever hope to awaken to?'

Immediately after this exchange, the novice disappeared. However, the Master had been awakened.

As the story goes, the novice was in fact a Bodhisattva, who had assumed the appearance of a novice in order to enlighten the Master..." (Master Tam)

Note: "The Master picked up a brick and began grinding it with a stone. The student asked what he was doing, and the Master replied, 'I am trying to polish this brick into a mirror.' - 'But no amount of polishing will ever make a mirror out of a brick.' - 'and no amount of sitting cross-legged will ever make a Buddha out of you"'

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:50 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
AWAKENING TO THE WAY IS NOT ENOUGH
"In T'ang Dynasty China, in a temple called Fragrant Mountain in the district of Loyang, there was a Buddhist monk named Mirror of Emptiness. He came from a destitute family, and, though diligent in his studies, was a mediocre student in his youth. As an adult, he used to compose poems, few of which are quoted or remembered.
He would travel throughout central China seeking support from local leaders, without much result. As soon as he would accumulate some savings he would fall ill, exhausting all his funds by the time he recovered. Once, he travelled to a neighboring district, which at that time was struck by famine. He was thinking of reaching the Temple of the Western Land to eat and regain strength, but on the way, felt too hungry to go further. He decided to rest by a snow-covered spring, reciting verses of self-pity and despondency. Suddenly, an Indian monk appeared and sat down beside him. Smiling, he asked, 'Elder Master, have you already exhausted the sweet dew of distant travel?' He answered, 'I have indeed exhausted the nectar of travel; however, my name is...and I have never been a high-ranking Buddhist master.' The Indian monk replied, 'Have you forgotten the time you were preaching the Lotus Sutra at the Temple of ... ?'-- Answer: 'For the last forty-five years, since I was born, I have always been in this vicinity. I have never set foot in the capital and therefore cannot have preached at the temple you mentioned.' The Indian monk answered, 'Perhaps you are starving and have forgotten all about the past.' Thereupon, he took an apple as big as a fist from his bag and gave it to the famished poet, saying, 'This apple comes from my country. Those of high capacities who eat it can see the past and future clearly. Those of limited capacities can also remember events of their past lifetimes.' The poet gratefully accepted the apple, ate it, and proceeded to drink the spring water. Feeling suddenly drowsy, he rested his head on the rocks and began to doze off. In an instant, he awakened and remembered his past life as a high-ranking Buddhist monk, preaching the Dharma along with fellow monks, as clearly as though everything had happened the previous day. He wept and asked, 'Where is the Great Abbot Ch'an these days?' The Indian monk replied, 'He did not cultivate deeply enough. He has been reborn a monk in Western Szechuan.' The starving poet asked further, 'What has become of the great masters Shen and Wu?' 'Master Shen is still alive. Master Wu once joked in front of the rock monument at the Fragrant Mountain Temple, 'If I cannot attain Enlightenment in this life, may I be reborn as a high-ranking official in the next one.' As a result, he has now become a top general. Of the five monks who were close in the past, only I have managed to escape Birth and Death. The three others are as described...and you, the fourth and last one, are still plagued by hunger in this place.' The starving poet shed a tear of self-pity and said: 'In my previous life, for forty long years I took only one meal a day and wore only one robe, determined to rid myself of all mundane preoccupations. Why is it that I have fallen so low as to go hungry today?' The Indian monk replied: 'In the past, when you occupied the Dharma seat, you used to preach many superstitions, causing the audience to doubt the Dharma. In addition, you were not entirely faultless in keeping the precepts, resulting in today's retribution.' Having finished, the Indian monk took a mirror from his bowl, with flawless reflection on both sides, and said 'I cannot undo what happened in the past. However, If you want to know your future destiny, whether you will be rich or poor, have a long or short life, even the future ups and downs of the Dharma, just have a look in the mirror and all will be clear.' The poet took the mirror and gazed into it for a long time. Returning it, he said, 'Thanks to your compassionate help, I now know causes and retribution, honor and disgrace.' The Indian monk put the mirror back in his bowl, took the poet by the hand, and started to walk away. After about ten steps, he disappeared.

That same night, the poet entered the Order at the Temple of the Divine Seal, and was given the Dharma name 'Mirror of Emptiness.' After receiving the complete precepts of a Bhikshu, he travelled throughout the country practicing the Way, his high conduct and ascetic practices being praised by all. Later on, Zen Master Mirror of Emptiness once met with a certain layman from the Temple of the Western Land. Telling the latter about his past, he said: 'I am now 77 years old, my Dharma age is 32. I have only nine more years to live. After my death, who knows if the Dharma will still exist as it is now?' The layman, puzzled, tried to inquire further. The Master did not reply. He just requested a pen and began scribbling some lines on the north wall of the tower which housed the Tripitaka (Buddhist canon)...The words represented the prophecy of Zen Master Mirror of Emptiness, the gist of which is as follows: The Dharma will experience a decline. There will be ruthless persecution of Buddhism, the period of persecution beginning in the 840's. However, the Dharma will survive; the light of the Dharma will not be extinguished. This prophecy is consonant with the destruction of Buddhism under the Chinese Emperor T'ang Wu Tsung, who ordered the razing of some 47,000 temples and forcibly returned hundreds of thousands of monks and nuns to the laity."

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Thu Apr 16, 2009 4:10 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
THE BIRD IS MINE (COMPASSION)
"It is recorded in the Mahabhinishkramana that Devadatta, the cousin of Prince Siddhartha, took a bow and arrow and shot down a swan. The creature was grounded but not killed. The future Buddha took the bird upon his knees and comforted it. Devadatta was sent to claim his prize, no doubt intending to kill it, but the Buddha refused to hand over the swan, saying that the bird was his:

'Then our Lord
Laid the swan's neck beside his own smooth cheek
And gravely spake, "Say no! the bird is mine,
The first of myriad things that shall be mine
By right of mercy and love's lordliness...'" (The Light of Asia by Sir Edwin Arnold)

Shantideva: 209-210
Note: "In the psycho-ethical social philosophy of Buddhism, the concept of compassion has two main aspects. First, as a desirable quality in human character, it is meant to regulate our attitude to other people. Secondly, it has its transcendental aspect known as Great or Grand Compassion (maha-karuna) found only in sages like Buddhas, [Bodhisattvas] and Arhats. It is the higher kind and is super-individual in scope and covers all beings in their entirety. It 'seeketh not its own' and hence is the result of coming into contact with spiritual reality. Cleansed of individualised exclusiveness, it becomes unlimited ... If compassion is the desire to relieve the suffering of others, the best way to do so is to lead them to the freedom of Buddhahood and hence it is this kind of compassion that makes the concept truly meaningful." (Encyclopedia of Religions. Malalasekera: Vol. 4, p. 201)

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:46 pm

I like the story about the two monks who are taking a walk. They're not supposed to touch or pick up a female. But they come to a river and there's a woman in distress in the water. A monk wades out, lifts her up, and gets her safely to the other side. They continue their walk, and all the while the monk's walking partner is fuming that he touched the lady. Finally he says, "I can not keep quiet about it any longer. How could you carry that woman?" He replied, "Brother, I put the woman down a long time ago. Why are you still carrying her?"

This may be a really bad re-telling of the story, and if anyone knows the original please jump in and direct me to it!

Best,
ND
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:05 am

http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Zen_Humor.html
THE RIVER
Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing.
There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes.
Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way.
Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple.
And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…”
Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations.
Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”
(Based on an autobiographical story by Japanese master Tanzan, 1819-1892)

In this day and age of equal rights, the woman should cross herself :tongue:
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:08 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
THE GREAT MATTER OF BIRTH AND DEATH
"In India there was once a king who believed in a non-Buddhist religion which taught many kinds of bitter practices ... some spread ashes on their bodies, and some slept on beds of nails. They cultivated all kinds of ascetic practices. Meanwhile, the Bhikshus who cultivated the Buddhadharma had it 'easy,' because they didn't cultivate that way. Now, the king of that country said to the Buddha's disciples, 'It's my belief that the ascetic practices which these non-Buddhists cultivate still don't enable them to end their afflictions. How much the less must you Bhikshus, who are so casual, be able to sever the affliction of your thoughts of sexual desire.'

One of the Dharma Masters answered the king this way: 'Suppose you take a man from jail who had been sentenced to execution, and you say to him 'Take this bowl of oil and carry it in your two hands as you walk down the highway. If you don't spill a single drop, I'll release you when you return.' Then, suppose you send some beautiful women musicians out on the highway to sing and play their instruments where the sentenced man is walking with his bowl of oil. If he should spill any oil, of course, you'll execute him. But if he should come back without spilling a single drop, what do you suppose he will answer if you ask him what he's seen on the road?'

The king of country did just that: he took a man destined to be executed and said to him, 'Today you should be executed but I'm going to give you an opportunity to save your life. How? I'll give you a bowl of oil to carry in your two hands as you take a walk on the highway. If you can do it without spilling a single drop, I'll spare your life. Go try it.' The sentenced man did as he was told. He went out on the highway, and when he returned he had not spilled one drop. Then the king asked him, 'What did you see out on the highway?' The sentenced man said, 'I didn't see a single thing. All I did was watch the oil to keep it from spilling. I didn't see anything else or hear anything at all.'

So, the king asked the Dharma Master, 'Well, what is the principle here?' The Dharma Master answered, 'The sentenced man was like the novice who has left the home life. Both see the question of Birth and Death as too important to waste time on thoughts of sexual desire, [the most dangerous affliction for ascetics].

Why can't people sever their afflictions? Because they don't understand Birth and Death. They don't realize how great the importance of this matter is [and therefore, are not single-minded in their determination to transcend it].'"

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Apr 17, 2009 8:31 pm

thornbush wrote:
http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Zen_Humor.html
THE RIVER
Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing.
There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes.
Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way.
Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple.
And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…”
Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations.
Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”
(Based on an autobiographical story by Japanese master Tanzan, 1819-1892)

In this day and age of equal rights, the woman should cross herself :tongue:


Awesome, thanks! I agree, if you're going to wear fancy dresses you have to be prepared to mess them up. It's the way of the world :pig:
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Sat Apr 18, 2009 5:45 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
BODHI MIND (MIND OF ENLIGHTENMENT)
The crucial role of the Bodhi Mind in Buddhist cultivation is illustrated in the following parable.

Suppose a person is trying to fill a small tank of perhaps three cubic feet with rain water for drinking purposes. As soon as the tank is filled, all excess water escapes and is lost. The same is true if instead of a tank, he has only a small container, or for that matter, a teacup to fill up. However, if his vessel is as vast as a city's reservoir, or the Amazon River, or for that matter the Pacific Ocean, he can store whatever rain water falls without ever losing a single drop!

This is the same for a devotee. If he is only seeking personal liberation or the good of his immediate family, his vessel is only as big as a cup or at most a three-cubic-foot tank. However, if his mind is like the mind of the Bodhisattvas and Buddhas seeking enlightenment for all, his vessel is as great as the rivers and oceans of the entire world. No amount of merit and virtue can ever be lost. Therefore, developing the Bodhi Mind -- the aspiration to rescue all sentient beings -- is not only necessary, it is the very essence of Buddhist practice.

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby thornbush » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:43 am

http://www.ymba.org/parable/parabfr3.htm
BODHISATTVAS & ARHATS
In days of yore, an older master was traveling along a country road, followed by a disciple carrying his bags. As they walked, they saw lands being tilled while farmers and oxen were strained to the utmost.

Countless worms and insects were killed in the process, and birds were swooping to eat them.
This led the disciple to wonder to himself, "How hard it is to make a living. I will cultivate with all my strength, become a Buddha and save all these creatures."
Immediately the Master, an Arhat able to read the thoughts of others, turned around and said, "Let me have those heavy bags and I will follow you."
The disciple was puzzled but did as instructed and walked in front.
As they continued on their way with the hot sun bearing down on them, dust swirling all around them, the road stretching endlessly in front, the disciple grew more and more tired. It wasn't long before he thought to himself, "There are so many sentient beings and there is so much suffering, how can I possibly help them all?
Perhaps I should try to help myself only." Immediately, the Master behind him said, "Stop. Now you carry the bags and follow me."
The puzzled disciple did as told, knowing he was not supposed to ask questions.
He took up the bags again and walked behind. This sequence repeated itself several times.
The Master walked in front with the disciple carrying the bags, then the disciple in front with the Master carrying the bags, back and forth, until they stopped for lunch.
Then the disciple gathered his courage and asked the reason why.
The Master said, "When you had exalted thoughts of saving all sentient beings, you had the Bodhi Mind, the mind of a Bodhisattva, and I as an Arhat had to follow you.
But as soon as you had selfish thoughts, you were no longer a Bodhisattva, and being junior to me in years and cultivation, you had to carry my bags!"

Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby floating_abu » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:47 pm

Liberation is possible, here and now, in this very lifetime.

:namaste:
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby LuzdelaLuna » Sun Apr 19, 2009 2:26 pm

thornbush wrote:
http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/Zen_Humor.html
THE RIVER
Two Zen monks, Tanzan and Ekido, traveling on pilgrimage, came to a muddy river crossing.
There they saw a lovely young woman dressed in her kimono and finery, obviously not knowing how to cross the river without ruining her clothes.
Without further ado, Tanzan graciously picked her up, held her close to him, and carried her across the muddy river, placing her onto the dry ground. Then he and Ekido continued on their way.
Hours later they found themselves at a lodging temple.
And here Ekido could no longer restrain himself and gushed forth his complaints: “Surely, it is against the rules what you did back there…. Touching a woman is simply not allowed…. How could you have done that? … And to have such close contact with her! … This is a violation of all monastic protocol…”
Thus he went on with his verbiage. Tanzan listened patiently to the accusations.
Finally, during a pause, he said, “Look, I set that girl down back at the crossing. Are you still carrying her?”
(Based on an autobiographical story by Japanese master Tanzan, 1819-1892)

In this day and age of equal rights, the woman should cross herself :tongue:


One of my favorites...thanks for posting this.

It really points to the fact that it is we who cling, and by simply opening one's hand, we can let go. A friend of mine puts it another way..."Don't forget...the doorknob is on the inside!"

:rolling:
If you can't find the truth right in front of you, where do you expect to find it? - Dogen

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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby dumb bonbu » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:03 pm

Jiroemon of Settsu Province

During the Kyoho era (1716-35), there lived at the foot of Mt. Maya of Settsu Province a Shin follower with steadfast Faith named Jiroemon. He was extremely poor, making his living as a woodcutter. He would make a pilgrimage to Honzan once or twice a year, and in order to offer a small donation to Honzan, he must earn extra money by gathering brackens in the field and selling them at the market.

About the same time, there was in Nishijin, Kyoto, an exceptionally devout follower named Hishiya Ryogen, who never failed to pay a visit to Honzan everyday. One day he met Jiroemon in the main hall, and witnessed his sincere devotion to the Buddha. Since then they met every year and became good friends. So, whenever Jiroemon visited Kyoto, Ryogen would let him stay at his home and exchange the joy of the Dharma with him for a long time.
Once, a year had passed without Jiroemon's visit to Honzan. Ryogen became worried, thinking that he might have already gone to the Pure Land or become ill. Since, for Ryogen, Jiroemon was the only friend who would remain close to him until after death, although there were many friends in this life, Ryogen pined to see him.
Accompanied by a man, Ryogen set out to Settsu. After a long journey they came to Jiroemon's village. Asked where his house was, a villager replied, "There is certainly a man named Jiroemon, but he wouldn't deserve a visit by such a wealthy man as you. He makes his living with great difficulty; taking poor meals and wearing threadbare clothes, he appears no better than a beggar. But if you insists on going to see him, that is his house." So saying, the villager pointed at a hut by the road.
Ryogen found that the hut had bamboo pillars and the door was made of wormwoods; branches of a thorny shrub constituted walls; there was no floor, except loosely woven straw-mats, which were spread on the earth.
Jiroemon came out of the house to greet Ryogen and showed him in. "Are you not Ryogen-sama?" Jiroemon exclaimed, "How very nice to see you! I have been unwell these days, unable to make a pilgrimage to the Honzan as I used to. I am happy to see you well, enjoying the life of Nembutsu more than ever before."
Apparently unconcerned about his shabby hut, Jiroemon talked all night with Ryogen and renewed their friendship of Dharma, while repeating the Nembutsu all the time. Ryogen's attendant, on the other hand, was uninterested in their conversation and so spent an extremely boring night.
The following morning, they bade each other a long farewell, exchanging words of promise that if one of them died first, he would wait for the other in the Pure Land, eventually sharing the same lotus-seat with each other.
Before departure, Ryogen produced some money from the wallet and gave it to Jiroemon, saying, "You seem rather poor. You may not care about it so much because this is the world of temporary habitation. As a fellow traveler of the Way, I cannot bear to see your poverty. I give some stipend even to the unworthy servants; why should I not share the little money I have with a man of the same Faith? Buy a screen door to shut off the wind."
Jiroemon replied, "This is the remark I did not expect to hear from you. Up to now, I have had a great joy of having you as a good friend of firm Faith. What you have just said makes me wonder about your understanding of the Dharma. The reason is that one's life of poverty or wealth, suffering or pleasure, is dependent upon the karmic cause in one's previous lives. You are rich because of your favorable karma in the past, while I am poor and destitute because of my karma in the past. Even sages cannot escape from the results of their past karma. Your offer of help runs counter to the law of causality, doesn't it?"
Ryogen apologized, "I am sorry. It was my mistake to try to redeem my despicable mind this way. I beg you to remain my best friend of the Dharma as before, for this friendship would be the most valuable thing in this transient world."
After all, they became friendly to each other again, and remained so for the rest of their lives in their joyful pursuit of the Dharma together.
http://shin-westhartford.tripod.com/id18.html
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Reflections from Buddhist Parables/Stories

Postby dumb bonbu » Sun Apr 19, 2009 5:08 pm

A Cup of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), 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 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?"

http://www.101zenstories.com/
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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dumb bonbu
 
Posts: 93
Joined: Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:29 pm
Location: East Yorkshire, UK

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