Do not seek to follow in the footsteps
of the men of old;
One day Chuang Tzu and a
friend were walking by a river. "Look at the fish
swimming about," said Chuang Tzu, "They are really
"You are not a fish,"
replied the friend, "So you can't truly know that they
are enjoying themselves."
"You are not me," said
Chuang Tzu. "So how do you know that I do not know that
the fish are enjoying themselves?"
The Emperor asked Master
Gudo, "What happens to a man of
"How should I know?"
"Because you are a
master," answered the Emperor.
"Yes sir," said Gudo, "but
not a dead one."
Two monks were returning
to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there
were puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a
beautiful young woman was standing unable to walk across
because of a puddle of water. The elder of the two monks
went up to a her lifted her in his alms and left her on
the other side of the road, and continued his way to the
In the evening the younger
monk came to the elder monk and said, "Sir, as monks, we
cannot touch a woman ?"
The elder monk answered
Then the younger monk asks
again, " but then Sir, how is that you lifted that woman
on the roadside?"
The elder monk smiled at
him and told him " I left her on the other side of the
road, but you are still carrying her."
General and a Zen Master
During the civil wars in
feudal Japan, an invading army would quickly sweep into
a town and take control. In one particular village,
everyone fled just before the army arrived – everyone
except the Zen master.
Curious about this old
fellow, the general went to the temple to see for
himself what kind of man this master was.
When he wasn't treated
with the deference and submissiveness to which he was
accustomed, the general burst into anger.
"You fool," he shouted as
he reached for his sword, "don't you realize you are
standing before a man who could
kill you without
blinking an eye!"
But despite the threat,
the master seemed unmoved.
"And do you realize," the
master replied calmly, "that you are standing before a
man who can be killed without blinking an eye?"