Uplifting

6 Zen Stories That Will Radically Change Your Perspective On Life

Zen stories are some of my favorites. They really help put my senses back in order if my ego has grown too large or my world too complicated. These 6 stories were pulled from 101 Zen Stories.

Each made me stop and consider my place in the universe and my views on the world. Enjoy.


Soldiers Of Humanity.

Once a division of the Japanese army was engaged in a sham battle, and some of the officers found it necessary to make their headquarters in Gasan's temple.

Gasan told his cook: "Let the officers have only the same simple fare we eat."

This made the army men angry, as they were used to very deferential treatment. One came to Gasan and said: "Who do you think we are? We are soldiers, sacrificing our lives for our country. Why don't you treat us accordingly?"

Gasan answered sternly: "Who do you think we are? We are soldiers of humanity, aiming to save all sentient beings."

A Cup Of Tea

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

The Moon Cannot Be Stolen

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 may have come a long way to visit me," he told the prowler, "and you shoud not return emptyhanded. 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."

The Real Miracle

When Bankei was preaching at Ryumon temple, a Shinshu priest, who believed in salvation through the repitition of the name of the Buddha of Love, was jealous of his large audience and wanted to debate with him.

Bankei was in the midst of a talk when the priest appeared, but the fellow made such a disturbance that bankei stopped his discourse and asked about the noise.

"The founder of our sect," boasted the priest, "had such miraculous powers that he held a brush in his hand on one bank of the river, his attendant held up a paper on the other bank, and the teacher wrote the holy name of Amida through the air. Can you do such a wonderful thing?"

Bankei replied lightly: "Perhaps your fox can perform that trick, but that is not the manner of Zen. My miracle is that when I feel hungry I eat, and when I feel thirsty I drink."

Nothing Exists

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his attainment, he said: "The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received."

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

"If nothing exists," inquired Dokuon, "where did this anger come from?"

The Tunnel

Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official's wife and was discovered. In self-defense, he slew the official. Then he ran away with the wife.

Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant.

To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there.

Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet long, 20 feet high, and 30 feet wide.

Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain, who was a skillful swordsman, found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge.

“I will give you my life willingly," said Zenkai. “Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me."

So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zendai kept on digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai's strong will and character.

At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel in safety.

“Now cut off my head," said Zenkai. “My work is done."

“How can I cut off my own teacher's head?" asked the younger man with tears in his eyes.

Uplifting

Man Buys Stranger's Groceries When Overhearing Her Tell Her Daughter They Can't Afford To Eat That Night

Kindness is within us all

A man has recently been getting attention online for his inspiring act. One night, while he was minding his own business, he was confronted with a family in need. He had two options. He could have done the same thing everyone else did in the store and let them figure it out for themselves, or he could be their hero that day and help them out within his means.

The thing is, the man didn't have much money himself, and he was working two jobs to support himself and his kid. Here's how he decided on what to do.

Meet Bear, A Man Who Works Double Shifts To Live

Bear's shirtless selfie covered in tattoos and smirking

therealbearjr / Instagram

It was a day like most for Bear, as he had just pulled two fourteen-hour shifts in a row and needed some food, but had no energy left to make it. He writes this on a post on Facebook and explains that this actually didn't turn out to be like most days: I stopped by the grocery store to grab food for dinner and as I was checking out a woman started crying in the next checkout line."

Bear listened in on the conversation between a mother and her daughter, and it was heartbreaking.

The Little Girl Asked Her Mom Why She Was Crying

woman walks with basket in grocery store with empty aisle

Martijin Boudain / Unsplash

At first, it's easy to assume the mom is just having a bad day, maybe she got into a fight with her husband or is tired from looking after her kid. As he listened in, ge overheard the girl ask her mom what was wrong, as she continued to stand crying in the lane right next to hers.

"Her daughter asked her what's wrong and she all she could say was, 'we can't afford to eat tonight.''" These are the words that no parent wants to imagine ever needing to say to their child, who depends on them just to live. Yet, it is the unfortunate case for many.

Food Insecurity Is A Real Problem

food items stacked up

Nico Smit / Unsplash

Food insecurity is a problem for many families across the country. This problem has gotten even worse with the pandemic as many families who relied on their small businesses had to shut down and couldn't make do anymore.

Even then, this problem existed before the pandemic and still continues today. In fact, the U.S Department of Agriculture reports that 10.5 percent (13.8 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some time during 2020 and this number is unchanged from 2019.

This Time It Would Be Different

Bear and son take selfie in the city with red masks on

therealbearjr / Instagram

For a lot of food-insecure families, they simply would have had to walk out of that grocery store empty-handed, with a kid possibly going to bed hungry that night. For this mom, kindness was in the cards, At first, another person who also overheard her gave them a few dollars towards their groceries.

But Bear knew she needed more than that. He walked over to the mom and her daughter and told them he would pay for their food and to get whatever they want. He writes on Facebook: "A person behind her gave her a couple of dollars and she bought her daughter a Kids Cuisine TV dinner. I told her to grab what she wants, I'll pay for it."

All In Divine Timing

walart staff stands in front of entrance with "thank you" sign

walmartcanada / Instagram

Was Bear's presence in that mothert's life at that time and place just a coincidence? Bear doesn't think so. He explains that he never actually shops at that store but for whatever reason, he felt inclined to do so that night. He think the reason for it comes down to divine timing…

"I NEVER stop at this Walmart. I'm simply saying GOD puts you where he needs you to be WHEN he needs you to be there"

People Find Bear Inspiring

Bear and son pose for picture while sitting on green chair

therealbearjr / Instagram

Bear's Facebook post has gotten a lot of attention as many who read it are inspired by his selfless act. For all he knows, he could have saved that family that night.

"That's my little Brother doing what moms told us to do when women and children are in need, we help them out with whatever they need. GOD put you in the right place last night. Thanks for helping a woman and her children with the food they need to eat so they don't go hungry. God's got you," a person commented.

Whether it was a divine intervention or simply the actions of a kind man, it brought good into the world and we only hope things like this continue to happen to make it a better place.

Are You Still Searching For Your Life Purpose?

The numerology of your birth date, regardless of what month you were born, can reveal surprising information about your personality.

Unlock the messages hidden in your Personality Code now with your free personalized video report!

Click HERE to learn what Numerology says about your life using only your Name and Birth Date.