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Story of Ryokan

Story of Ryokan
   
Photo: A Komusō playing on a Shakuhachi flute, Japan. Komusō represented the Fuke Zen Buddhist School, a branch of Buddhism originating from China. Their unusual and distinctive feature, the straw basket worn on the head, symbolized the “absence of ego".
 

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Ryokan lived in utter poverty in his little mountain hut. One night a burglar came. He found nothing.

Ryokan surprised the burglar and said: 'You must have come so far to visit me. I can't let you leave empty handed.' He took off his clothes and gave them to the thief, who left nonplussed.

Ryokan sat naked on the floor, watching the moon.

'Poor fellow', he mused. 'I wish I could give him this wonderful moon.'

(Ryokan)
 

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Recommended Reading:

'Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings of D.T. Suzuki' 

By D.T. Suzuki (Author), William Barrett (Editor)

Purchase Book:

Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk

Description:

No other figure in history has played a bigger part in opening the West to Buddhism than the eminent Zen author, D.T. Suzuki, and in this reissue of his best work readers are given the very heart of Zen teaching. Zen Buddhism, which sold more than 125,000 as an Anchor paperback after its publication in 1956, includes a basic historical background as well as a thorough overview of the techniques for Zen practice. Concepts and terminology such as satori, zazen,and koans, as well as the various elements of this philosophy are all given clear explanations. But while Suzuki takes nothing for granted in the reader's understanding of the fundamentals, he does not give a merely rudimentary overview. Each of the essays included here, particularly those on the unconscious mind and the relation of Zen to Western philosophy, go far beyond other sources for their penetrating insights and timeless wisdom.

What is most important about D.T. Suzuki's work, however--and what comes across so powerfully in these selections--is his unparalleled ability to communicate the experiential aspect of Zen. The intensity here with which Zen philosophy comes to life is without parallel in the canon of Buddhist literature. Suzuki stands apart from all teachers before or since because of his exceptional ability to eloquently capture in words the seemingly inexpressible essence of Zen.

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