Monday, May 4, 2009

Tesshu the Samurai learns a lesson

When Tesshu, the famous medieval samurai swordsman, was young and headstrong, he visited one Zen master after another. Once he went to visit Master Dokuon and triumphantly announced to him the classic Buddhist teaching that all that exists is empty, there is really no you or me, and so on. The master listened to all this in silence. Suddenly he snatched up his pipe and struck Tesshu’s head with it. The infuriated young swordsman would have killed the master there and then, but Dokuon said calmly, “Emptiness is sure quick to show anger, is it not?” Tesshu left the room, realizing he still had much to learn about Zen.

Hands palm to palm,


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