Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Moon Cannot be Stolen

A Zen anecdote...

Ryokan, a Zen master, lived the simplest kind of life in a little hut at the foot of a mountain. One evening a thief visited the hut only to discover there was nothing in it to steal.

Ryokan returned and caught him. "You have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you should not go away empty-handed. Please take my clothes as a gift."

The thief was bewildered. He took the clothes and slunk away.

Ryokan sat naked, watching the moon. "Poor fellow," he mused, "I wish I could give him this beautiful moon."

3 comments:

George Romagosa said...

Zen is

I have heard about an old Zen monk. He was on his deathbed. The last day had come, and he
declared that that evening he would be no more. So followers, disciples, friends star ted coming. He had many lovers. They all star ted coming. From far and wide people gathered.

One of his old disciples, when he heard that the master was going to die, ran to the market. Somebody asked: The master is dying in his hut, why are you going to the market? The old disciple said: I know that my master loves a particular type of cake, so I am going to purchase the cake.
It was difficult to find the cake, because now it had gone out of fashion, but by the evening somehow he managed. He came running with the cake.

And ever ybody was worried – it was as if the master was waiting for someone. He would open his eyes and look, and close his eyes again. And when this disciple came, he said: Okay, so you have
come. Where is the cake? The disciple produced the cake – and he was ver y happy that the master asked about the cake.

Dying, the master took the cake in his hand, but his hand was not trembling. He was ver y old, but his hand was not trembling. So somebody asked: You are so old and just on the verge of dying. The last breath is soon to leave you, but your hand is not trembling.

The master said: I never tremble, because there is no fear. My body has become old, but I am still young, and I will remain young even when the body is gone.

Then he took a bite, star ted munching the cake. And then somebody asked: What is your last message, Master? You will be leaving us soon. What do you want us to remember?
The master smiled and said: Ah, this cake is delicious.

This is a man who lives in the here and now: This cake is delicious. Even death is rrelevant. The next moment is meaningless. THIS moment this cake is delicious. If you can be in this moment, this present moment, this presentness, the plenitude, then only can you love.

Fiammetta said...

I know this tale and like it. This is a haiku of Ryokan that I like very much!
"The thief left it behind
The moon
At the window"
Do you like the haiku of Japanese?

T. T. Douglas said...

I love Haiku and will be posting some in the future. If you have some suggestions for some I would love to hear them. Thank you.