Quotes from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings

216 pages

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“14. Muddy Road

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unble to cross the intersection.

"Come on, girl," said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carriedher over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he could no longer restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzan, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"

"I left the girl there," said Tanzan. "Are you still carrying her?”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“If the feet of enlightenment moved, the great ocean would overflow; If that head bowed, it would look down upon the heavens.
Such a body has no place to rest. . . .
Let another continue this poem.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“It is too clear and so it is hard to see. A dunce once searched for a fire with a lighted lantern. Had he known what fire was, He could have cooked his rice much sooner.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“When the mouth opens All are wrong.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“Meeting a Zen master on the road, Face him neither with words nor silence. Give him an uppercut And you will be called one who understands Zen.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“Mamiya concentrated upon what the sound of one hand might be. “You are not working hard enough,” his teacher told him. “You are too attached to food, wealth, things, and that sound. It would be better if you died. That would solve the problem.” The next time Mamiya appeared before his teacher he was again asked what he had to show regarding the sound of one hand. Mamiya at once fell over as if he were dead. “You are dead all right,” observed the teacher. “But how about that sound?” “I haven’t solved that yet,” replied Mamiya, looking up. “Dead men do not speak,” said the teacher. “Get out!” 43.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy’s mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


“When there is no place for Zen in the head of our generation, it is in grievous trouble.”
― quote from Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings


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