In Dreamland

Our schoolmaster used to take a nap every afternoon,’ related a disciple of Soyen Shaku. ‘We children asked him why he did it and he told us: ‘I go to dreamland to meet the old sages just as Confucius did.’ When Confucius slept, he would dream of ancient sages and later tell his followers about them.

‘It was extremely hot one day so some of us took a nap. Our schoolmaster scolded us. “We went to dreamland to meet the ancient sages the same as Confucius did,” we explained. “What was the message from those sages?” our schoolmaster demanded. One of us replied: “We went to dreamland and met the sages and asked them if our schoolmaster came there every afternoon, but they said they had never seen any such fellow.”

The Driverless Boat

A zen teacher and student are rowing a boat through a narrow channel. An empty boat that had come untied from the shore crashes into theirs. The student steers their boat around it, and continues rowing unaffected.

A few moments later, another boat driver, who was rowing in the opposite direction, crashes into their boat, causing the student to be angry. “Watch where you are rowing! You aren’t the only boat on this channel” the student yells at the other boat driver.

The zen teacher turns to the student. “You weren’t angry at the first boat, but you were angry at the second?”

“The first boat didn’t have a driver. It was simply pushed into us by the current. There was no cause for anger.”

The zen teacher replied, “Until we are enlightened, we are all driverless boats, being pushed by the current.”

Sent by Jasmine K.


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