A Zen Parable.

Is That So?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”


About agnophilo

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to A Zen Parable.

  1. TheSutraDude says:

    Zen Master Basho approached a hot dog vendor and said “Make we one with everything.” But there’s more to the joke…The vendor took a hot dog out of the hot water, placed it in a bun, added mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut and relish. “There. One with everything as you requested. That will be $2.50 please” said the hot dog vendor as he handed the hot dog to Zen Master Basho. Zen Master Basho handed him a 10 dollar bill. The vendor put the $10 in his box then added some more hot dogs to the hot water and opened a new package of buns. He took out a cloth and began cleaning his stand. A moment later he looked up and saw Zen Master Basho still standing there. “Can I help you with something else?” asked the vendor. “I’m waiting for my change” the Zen Master replied to which the vendor said, “Change must come from within.”

  2. agnophilo says:

    @TheSutraDude – Heard that one before, but it still makes me smile : )

  3. TheSutraDude says:

    @agnophilo – ha ha. Yeah it’s an old one but when I first heard it I was only told part 1. I think part two came along later. Anyway, glad it made you smile. Btw as I Googled Zen Master names to find one for the joke I also came across websites of Zen jokes haha. 

  4. agnophilo says:

    @TheSutraDude – Link?  And yeah it’s usually just quoted as the first part.

  5. angys_coco says:

    I have heard of this before, but it is nice to be reminded again. 

  6. jdortiz says:

    goes around comes around

  7. xXrEMmUsXx says:

    what will be will be.

  8. ZSA_MD says:

    That is funny. And the other Mark (Sutradude’s) Zen joke is very funny too. You left a comment on my poem, “very Zen.” was that a joke? Inquiring minds want to know.

  9. PPhilip says:

    Another Zen ParableThe Gates of ParadiseA soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?””Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.”I am a samurai,” the warrior replied.”You, a soldier!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.”Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.”As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.”Here open the gates of paradise,” said Hakuin. http://www.101zenstories.com/index.php?story=rand

  10. agnophilo says:

    @TheSutraDude – This was my favorite bit:”Living your life is a task so difficult, it has never been attempted before.”

  11. agnophilo says:

    @jdortiz – @xXrEMmUsXx – Not what I got from it at all, lol.  But maybe that’s the idea.@ZSA_MD – No, I honestly thought it was very zen.  I looked this stuff up later (prompted by something unrelated).@PPhilip – Reminds me of the quote “we are punished by our sins, not for them”.

  12. GaijinWords says:

    How far can you chuck Norris?

  13. xXrEMmUsXx says:

    @agnophilo – i didn’t really know what the heck to think for a while. I had to come up with something!

  14. @GaijinWords – depends: is Filch watching? (hoping someone gets the joke, and that it is funny to them)

  15. agnophilo says:

    @GaijinWords – Alrighty.  Am I supposed to ask how far or is that the joke?@xXrEMmUsXx – It’s an example of someone literally living selflessly.  Without ego or complaint, doing whatever is required.@tendollar4ways – ?

  16. Zen koan … student asks the master the meaning of life. M answers a shit wipeing stick. Toilet paper to us modern folk.

  17. xXrEMmUsXx says:

    @agnophilo – While my initial thoughts were ‘wow, how selfish’ something inside me was too angry to realize that was what it was all about. hmmm… good stuff.

  18. agnophilo says:

    @tendollar4ways – Okie dokie.@xXrEMmUsXx – Selfish?  And I’m not putting down your interpretation, the whole point of stories like these is to make you think which is why they’re not dogmatic.  It’s okay to get something else out of it.

  19. MelFamy says:

    We all clapped, couldn’t you hear us?

  20. eshunt says:

    I FOUND THIS IN MY ZEN FILE:Your own nature is provided With the Three Bodies; When its brightness is manifested, The Four Wisdoms are attained.- Sokei Daishi That is what the story reminds me. The story points out one condition of life where reputations are all important. Hakuin pays no mind at all to how others think of his reputation. He takes and dutifully cares for the baby. He is wise therefore; and again, as the second story indicates, this time, of how the others think but acts only in harmony of his maker’s design. The stories, I think are like chapters. One story needs the other in our minds. 

  21. I like Zen and find a lot of wisdom in it BTW.

  22. agnophilo says:

    @MelFamy – I’m guessing you did so with one hand : P@eshunt@revelife – I didn’t take you for the sort that would have studied other religions/philosophies.

  23. eshunt says:

    @xXrEMmUsXx – Yes, selfish/self-absorbed, I see that this is perhaps a perfect reason for Hakuin saying only “Is that so?” The parents are not aware of the divine nature of spirit, not aware that their daughter has passions, nor of the baby’s innocence. Hakuin sees all this and replies in a simple manner that says this all without harm to anyone, still, giving them wisdom that is his trademark. @GaijinWords – I believe that I cannot chuck Norris very far. How far can you chuck Norris?@agnophilo – Every day here in Xanga may be a discovery of what is; still, what is is what is. 

  24. GaijinWords says:

    @eshunt@revelife – About the same, I think. Maybe further if I close my eyes.

  25. eshunt says:

    @GaijinWords – My eyes were closed. Why don’t Buddhists vacuum in the corners?  

  26. eshunt says:

    Why don’t Buddhists vacuum in the corners?  @GaijinWords -hint:The greatest generosity is non-attachment.

  27. xXrEMmUsXx says:

    @agnophilo – should have said *selfless*

  28. agnophilo says:

    @xXrEMmUsXx – I figured that’s what you meant, but when interpreting a non-dogmatic zen parable you never know.

Speak yer mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s