Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Zen Stories # 1 - Learning the Hard Way

The month of March, as everyone in India are about to be worried about their tax, and many companies release their Bonus, I thought it would be wise to start knowing the Zen Philosophy through some short Zen Stories, as it fundamentally gets you to stay firmly on the ground, and not get carried away.

Zen philosophy is originally drawn from our own Indian Vedic Philosophy of dhyaan (meditative state) - which went to China as Chan, and finally got translated to Japan as Zen. It fundamentally helps one understand about the transient nature of material things, and how to really derive wisdom, rather than just from bookish knowledge.

Zen emphasizes experiential Wisdom in the attainment of enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical knowledge in favor of direct realization through meditation and dharma practice. The teachings of Zen include various sources of Mahāyāna thought, including the Prajñāpāramitā literature and the teachings of the Yogācāra and Tathāgatagarbha schools.

More details on Zen Philosophy can be had from here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen


Now on to our first story of this month - Learning the Hard Way

The son of a master thief asked his father to teach him the secrets of the trade.

The old thief agreed and that night took his son to burglarize a large house.

While the family was asleep, he silently led his young apprentice into a room that contained a clothes closet. The father told his son to go into the closet to pick out some clothes. When he did, his father quickly shut the door and locked him in.

Then he went back outside, knocked loudly on the front door, thereby waking the family, and quickly slipped away before anyone saw him.

Hours later, his son returned home, bedraggled and exhausted.

"Father," he cried angrily, "Why did you lock me in that closet? If I hadn't been made desperate by my fear of getting caught, I never would have escaped. It took all my ingenuity to get out!"

The old thief smiled. "Son, you have had your first lesson in the art of burglary."

Zen principle: Learning it the Hard way is the only way, bookish knowledge is of no help.

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