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Zen Stories to Ponder On

Zen Stories to Ponder On

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Published by Bro. Oh Teik Bin
Some Zen stories with points of LIFE Lessons. Reflections are made based upon the stories.
Some Zen stories with points of LIFE Lessons. Reflections are made based upon the stories.

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Published by: Bro. Oh Teik Bin on Nov 18, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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1Just Two Words 
There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, noone was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Everyten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. After spendinghis first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the head monk. "It hasbeen ten years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would liketo speak?""Bed... hard..." said the monk."I see," replied the head monk.Ten years later, the monk returned to the head monk's office. "It has been tenmore years," said the head monk. "What are the two words you would like tospeak?""Food... stinks..." said the monk."I see," replied the head monk.Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the head monk who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?""I... quit!" said the monk."Well, I can see why," replied the head monk. "All you ever do is complain."
Points For Reflection
Is it our habit to complain, complain and complain ? There are times when wehave to make the best of the circumstances or situation we are in . Learn tocount our blessings and the good things that we have. Remember that inSamsara, nothing is perfect.
Patience, tolerance and forbearance are great virtues to develop. Without these,we often give up on many things that we start upon to do … Dhamma study,outreach work (Dana), meditation and so on.
There is a saying : “There’s no gain without pain!” The Path of DhammaPractice and cultivation is a struggle …it entails much effort, discipline, sacrificeand commitment. Remember Siddharta Gautama struggled for 6 long yearsbefore Enlightenment ….and he was a Bodhisattva with good paramis !Reflecting on this, we know that we, defiled worldlings have even to strugglemore ! 
 A famous spiritual teacher came to the front door of the King's palace. None of the guards tried to stop him as he entered and made his way to where the Kinghimself was sitting on his throne."What do you want?" asked the King, immediately recognizing the visitor.
"I would like a place to sleep in this inn," replied the teacher."But this is not an inn," said the King, "It is my palace.""May I ask who owned this palace before you?""My father. He is dead.""And who owned it before him?""My grandfather. He too is dead.""And this place where people live for a short time and then move on - did I hear you say that it is NOT an inn?"
Points For Reflection
We are ALL here for just a short time, and then move on. Reflecting on this,shouldn’t we realize a sense of urgency to practise Dhamma before it is too late ?Doesn’t it make sense to develop our virtues and cut our defilements of greed,hatred and delusion in this very short life of ours ?
Our true wealth does not lie in our material possessions or in the people we loveor attach to. We live and die and never really own anything. How many peopletoday think about this deeply ? Too many people entrench themselves in theirpossessions and positions.
What is our true wealth ? It is our Kamma and the Kamma potential we storeup in this fleeting life that will follow us from life to life . When we reflect onthis , we should waste no more time to practise Dana, Sila and Bhavana the bestwe can .
One day there was an earthquake that shook the entire Zen temple. Parts of it evencollapsed. Many of the monks were terrified.When the earthquake stopped the teacher said, "Now you have had the opportunity tosee how a Zen man behaves in a crisissituation. You may have noticed that I did not panic. I was quite aware of what was happening and what to do. I led you all tothe kitchen, the strongest part of the temple. It was a good decision, becauseyou see we have all survived without any injuries. However, despite myself-control and composure, I did feel a little bit tense - which you may havededuced from the fact that I drank a large glass of water, something I never dounder ordinary circumstances."One of the monks smiled, but didn't say anything."What are you laughing at?" asked the teacher."That wasn't water," the monk replied, "it was a large glass of soy sauce."

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