HereŽs a collection of Zen- and Budostories that have helped me on my way
The stories are put down in the way I remember them. I do not remember anymore any potential author to them. Neither have I written any explinations or even my own interpretions to them. Though many of the Budo-stories are about swordmen, the message is the same as for any other martial art or Zen-do. I hope you bare with all the linguistical- and print errors.
Does the dog have Buddha-nature?
("If you answer Yes or No to this question you will loose your Buddhanature": Mumoun)
A young man went to a swordmaster who lived in a cave. The young man had been sent there by his father to be taught swordmanship. The young man kindly asked to be accepted as a desciple. The master accepted. Then the young man asked how long it would take to become a good swordman. Why do you ask that? said the master. Well, my father is getting old and I have to hurry to become a successor to him. Well, said the master. Then it takes about ten years.Oh, said the young man, if I really try hard, how long does it take then? Then it takes 30 years, said the master! What? said the young man, how can it take longer if I try harder? The master asnwered: If a person is in such a hurry to learn as you are then it will take that time.
The young man understood and accepted this. He was ordered to clean the cave and to prepare food for the master. He did that but as the months went by and that was all he was ordered to do he began to wonder when he was about to be taught swordmanship. One day he then asked the master about it. The master did not reply. Then one day when the young man was preparing food the master hit him hard with a stick. The young man was surprised and asked what was wrong. You have to be alerted if you want to learn swordmanship said the master. The young man bowed deeply, as was the custom. Then the master hit him again, very hard, over the neck. Did I not tell you to be alerted, said the master. After that the young man had to be very alerted, because the old master could attack him anytime - even in the night. The young man became a very skillful swordman.
There was a very famous teaceremonymaster. He was serving a Daimyo who was very proud of him. Then came the day when the daimyo had to go and visit the Shogun in Edo. Some soldier was to escort him, but he also demanded the teamaster to come along. He had to wear the two swords, so typical for the Bushi-class in the feodal Japan. The master was worried about this, because he knew that if thereŽd be a fight he couldnŽt be of any help, not knowing how to use the swords. Thus in the case he would die, he would die disgracefully. Well, on this trip there were no incidents so they reached the capitol well.
At the court he was performing the teaceremony and everybody
were really pleased. One day he was walking in the Ueno park. By
a pond, sitting on a stone, was a Ronin. The Ronin noticed at
once that there came a "swordman" that would be easy to
kill and rob. He got up and said that he could see that there was
a fine swordman in front of him and he was wondering if they
could measure their skills against eachother. This was a tough
thing for the poor teamaster. He could not refuse such a request.
He remembered that he had seen a swordmanshipschool on the way to
the park. He said to the Ronin that he had to run an errand for
his chief, but that heŽd be back right after that. The Ronin
agreed. The teamaster run to this swordmanshipschool and talked
to the teacher. He asked the teacher how he should keep the sword
in order to die honorously. This was a very strange question for
the swordmaster. Usually people wanted to learn to use the sword
in order to stay alive. The teamaster explained to him his
awkward situation. The swordmaster agreed to help him if the
teamaster would serve him tea first. The teamaster agreed. Using
all his skill he prepared and served tea to the swordmaster . The
swordmaster was deeply impressed. After the ceremony the
swordmaster said to the teamaster how he should prepare him self,
once confronted with the Ronin (turning up sleeves, put on the
Tenugui etc.). After that he should lift the sword in Yodan No
Kamae position and turn his mind in to exactly the mood he was
when serving the tea. When you here his Kiai, strike! It is
likely that you both will die, he said.
The teamaster went back to the Ueno park and found the Ronin sitting there waiting for him. The teamaster did as he had been instructed and lifted the sword. What the Ronin now saw was everyting else than what he had seen earlier that day. Away was that scary man who would have been very easy to beat. Now he saw that there was a very big chance that heŽd get killed himself. He threw himself on the ground, surrendering and appologizing. Then he run away.
Next to come will be another swordmanstory. It is about the
Shoguns guard, who wanted to be tought by the legendary
Yagyu Tajima No Kami Munenori.