It is part of my yoga practice and journey to contemplate zen stories and sayings because they are so funny and meaningful at the same time.
And most importantly – they are short, sweet and a quick read. How ironic that I should be saying that. Contemplations are not meant to be quick. Yet, in this day and age of fast forward, I am left with few options other than quick and funny zen stories to help lighten my mind.
Of course, there is no quick or easy route to enlightenment. But the moment can be enlightened with stories that give you the raw truth in a simple, often puzzling fashion - so that you can be puzzled until the sudden aha! insight experience hammers all your thoughts out leaving you in stupendous realization of the Truth - from complete ignorance to deep understanding, you move the entire gamut in a flash. At the very least, for that moment. And that is good enough, I say. Life is made up of moments after all.
There is one zen story in particular that I love and it goes something like this:
A samurai went to Master Hakuin and requested him to reveal heaven and hell. The master immediately started berating him.
“What kind of samurai are you?” “You are worthless.” “Why should I waste my time with you?”
The master continued hurtling insults at him for a few minutes.
The samurai became angry and drew his sword out.
“Now open the gates of hell!!” said the Master.
The samurai suddenly withdrew his sword and bowed before the master.