October 9, 2012

#54 Discipline

A student asked his teacher: "Why should I practice discipline of the spirit?"

The teacher answered: "Because you have a problem: You're born, you grow, you age, you die. Those practicing discipline do not."

"Are you claiming that you are not going to die?", the student asked.

"How could I?", the teacher said. "I wasn't even born."

October 7, 2012

#53 The Koan of Life

Some say that all of life is a koan.

Some say that not all of life is a koan.

All of them are wrong.


     In memoriam  W.H.  (September 18, 1928 - October 6, 2012)

October 4, 2012

#52 Be Neutral

A monk was caught arguing with a fishmonger by his master. The master demanded to know what their argument was about.

"This merchant was trying to sell rotten fish to her at an inflated price", the monk said, pointing to an elderly woman standing nearby, "so I decided to intervene."

The master asked: "Why would you want to intervene on her behalf?"

"Because she is a poor soul who has no one to care for her", the monk replied. "Evil men like that fishmonger make a living by preying on people like her. I was trying to promote good since you always tell us to be good."

"Be good?", the master asked, puzzled. "Why would I say that? Be neutral."

October 1, 2012

#51 Cut Off

A man who had recently started shaving his head was asked by his wife when he intended to allow his hair to grow again.

"When I know why I cut it off", he answered.

September 30, 2012

#50 Practical

A hermit Zen master was asked: "Is Zen practical in the modern world?"

"Oh yes, very", he answered.

"Why, then, do you wear homespun clothes and live without any aid from technology or civilization?"

"Because I am practical too."

September 27, 2012

#49 The Three Farmers

Three farmers were working in their fields when they noticed a storm cloud approaching.

"This is good", the first farmer said, hoping for copious amounts of rain to water his crops.

"This is bad", the second farmer said, fearing that the storm would spoil his harvest.

"This is", the third farmer said.

September 26, 2012

#48 Assumptions

"In order for you to proceed in the quest for knowledge, you have to make some assumptions that you can neither prove nor disprove", a philosopher told his student. "Without unquestioned assumptions at the base of your mind, the tree of knowledge you are aiming to build will crumble sooner or later. So, what are your assumptions going to be?"

The student, not quite understanding what was being asked of him, tentatively said: "I assume that if I turn around, I will face the other way."

"What else?", the philosopher demanded.

"I assume that one and one makes two."

The philosopher thought for a while, then claimed: "Sorry, my friend – your assumptions are both wrong."

"Which assumptions would you make yourself?", the student asked.

The philosopher took a step towards him.

September 25, 2012

#47 The Map

"Are we lost?", a scout asked his companion on a field trip.

"No, we're on the right path", came the reply.

"How do you know?", he asked again.

The boy took out his map, unfolded it and pointed out an intersection. "We are here", he said, tracing the course of the road with his finger. "And we need to go there. Anyway, come now!"

In response to this, the other scout took off his shoe and handed it to him. Suddenly, the boy was enlightened.

September 21, 2012

#46 Too Beautiful

A student asked his master, pointing at another student: "Can this one over there ever hope to attain mastery like you have?"

"No, he cannot", the master answered.

"Why not?", the student inquired.

"Because he is too beautiful", the master said.

September 17, 2012

#45 The Alarm

Two firemen lounged in the common room of their fire station when the alarm bell rang. Immediately, they both jumped from their seats.

"Where is it?", the first one asked.

His colleague looked at the monitor and tuned some dials. "Hol's Barn, nine miles from here."

"What happened?"

"Chip pan fire boilover. Spread to floor and ceiling and is now threatening to take the entire damn building."

"How many injured?", the first fireman asked impatiently. "I have to know!"

"Cook got badly burned, another inhaled smoke. Medic's on the way."

"I see…", the fireman said and looked at his colleague. They both remained still for a few moments. Then they quietly sat back down.