Rent-A-Monk

No monk? No problem, says Amazon Japan. As communal ties to Buddhist temples weaken throughout Japan, many are at a loss as to how to find a monk to perform memorial services when a loved one dies. But now Amazon Japan offers “Obo San Bin” or “Mr. Monk Delivery” for just these situations. The basic plan offered through Minrevi Co. on Amazon …

A time to learn

A young but earnest Zen student approached his teacher, and asked: “If I work very hard and diligent how long will it take for me to find Zen?” The Master thought about this, then replied, “Ten years.” The student then said, “But what if I work very, very hard and really apply myself to learn fast — How long then …

The power of silence

We spend a lot of time looking for happiness when the world right around us is full of wonder. To be alive and walk on the Earth is a miracle, and yet most of us are running as if there were some better place to get to. There is beauty calling to us every day, every hour, but we are …

Crossing to the other shore

Paramita means perfection, the perfection of the crossing over to the other shore. We have seen that a paramita is not so difficult to practice; even children can do it. Paramita means from this shore of suffering we cross over to the other shore, the shore of well-being. From the shore of anger, we cross to the shore of non- …

The sound of one hand clapping

MAMIYA was a worldly man, but he thought he ought to study Zen. So he went to a great teacher, who told him to concentrate on the famous koan: “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” Mamiya went away, and came back a week later, shaking his head. He could not get it. “Get out!” said the master. “You are not trying …

A Gift of Insults

There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him. One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an …

To save a dying sister

AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD GIRL BECAME ILL and was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease. She needed a transfusion, but her blood type was rare. A search went out for a donor. With every passing day, the little girl weakened, and still no donor was found. Then it was discovered that her six-year-old brother shared her rare blood type. The mother, along …

Become What You Are

from the archives of Alan Watts: IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THE HIGHEST WISDOM lies in detachment, or, in the words of Chuang-tzu: ‘‘The perfect man employs his mind as a mirror; it grasps nothing; it refuses nothing; it receives, but does not keep.’’ Detachment means to have neither regrets for the past nor fears for the future; to let …

Dharma talks now online

The wonderful resource site dharmaseed.org is a warehouse of literally thousands of audio-recorded dharma talks by some of the greatest Buddhist and Zen teachers alive today …. and even some who have recently passed away. The site allows you to listen  free of charge to any of the talks and even download them to listen to later on your cellphone, iPod …

When things fall apart

ZEN MASTER Ikkyu showed his wisdom even as a child. Once he broke the precious heirloom teacup of his teacher, and was greatly upset. While he was wondering what to do, he heard his teacher coming. Quickly he hid the pieces of the cup under his robe. “Master,” he said, “why do things die?” “It is perfectly natural for things to die and for …