Zen Koan #43: Parable of Zen in a Beggar’s Life – Buddhist Teaching on Buddha Nature

Zen Koan #43: Parable of Zen in a Beggar's Life - Buddhist Teaching on Buddha Nature According to Zen Buddhism, the only source of energy that can be subsidiary is commiseration, for the reason that it is safe. When you have commiseration, your energy is born from insight. It is not visually impaired energy. With commiseration, we practice in order to learn ways to bulwark the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals. You will feel restless and think, “Today has gone by already and I’ve wasted my time.”

Some people have this attitude when, after a day or two, they feel they have not made any progress. Another case was a person who was required to take the English equivalency exam in order to apply for a U.S. You cannot practice this way. Once we see how we are hooked and how we are swept along by the momentum, there’s no way to be arrogant. The trick is to keep seeing. On the contrary, they are unable to practice. The master looked out of his hut and saw a man about to cross the river.

Can a Buddhist monk have a family? A true totality would not even be considered “one”; it can only be called “nothing.” It is only when a distinction is made that the one can subsist at all, and in that cases it will lead to two. They often make the mistake of exerting physical energy to fight against wandering thoughts.

Zen Koan: “Zen in a Beggar’s Life” Parable

Tosui was a well-known Zen teacher of his time. He had lived in several temples and taught in various provinces.

The last temple he visited accumulated so many adherents that Tosui told them he was going to quit the lecture business entirely. He advised them to disperse and to go wherever they desired. After that no one could find any trace of him.

Three years later one of his disciples discovered him living with some beggars under a bridge in Kyoto. He at one implored Tosui to teach him.

“If you can do as I do for even a couple of days, I might,” Tosui replied.

So the former disciple dressed as a beggar and spent a day with Tosui. The following day one of the beggars died. Tosui and his pupil carried the body off at midnight and buried it on a mountainside. After that they returned to their shelter under the bridge.

Tosui slept soundly the remainder of the night, but the disciple could not sleep. When morning came Tosui said: “We do not have to beg food today. Our dead friend has left some over there.” But the disciple was unable to eat a single bite of it.

“I have said you could not do as I,” concluded Tosui. “Get out of here and do not bother me again.”

Buddhist Insight on Buddha Nature

Transgressions are classified either depending on the essence or on time. In addition, it happened that the Buddha came along the road as he was waiting thus. He thought it was just a conventional ascetic, and he meant to kill Him and get the hundredth finger he wanted. That is Buddha Nature. What probably happens is that his mind flickers with incredible rapidity between the two ideas; the agony is still there but may be reduced to endurable dimensions. The American Zen and spirituality teacher Dennis Genpo Merzel wrote in The Path of the Human Being: Zen Teachings on the Bodhisattva Way,

True nature is Buddha nature, unfixed and able to adapt to any container, so we will all express Buddha nature differently. Every person is a unique container and what is appropriate in one bowl may not be appropriate in another bowl. Our lives, too, are made up of different containers. Your body-mind is one container, and your family is another. Your work and living situations are containers, and our Earth is a container. For each situation a different manifestation is appropriate. Practice is all about learning how to recognize and manifest our true nature in everything we do. To become confident, free and joyful in manifesting our true nature takes a lot of attention and practice. Zazen is the way we accomplish this. Through zazen, we learn how to be who we really are.

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