The gift of insults

By Paulo Coelho

Near Tokyo lived a great Samurai warrior, now old, who decided to teach Zen Buddhism to young people. In spite of his age, the legend was that he could defeat any adversary.

One afternoon, a warrior – known for his complete lack of scruples – arrived there. He was famous for using techniques of provocation: waiting until his adversary made the first move and counterattacking with fulminating speed.

All gathered on the town square, and the young man started insulting the old master. He threw a few rocks in his direction, spat in his face, shouted every insult under the sun – he even insulted his ancestors. At the end of the afternoon, by now feeling exhausted and humiliated, the impetuous warrior left.

Disappointed by the fact that the master had received so many insults and provocations, the students asked:

– How could you bear such indignity? Why didn’t you use your sword, even knowing you might lose the fight, instead of displaying your cowardice in front of us all?

– If someone comes to you with a gift, and you do not accept it, who does the gift belong to? – asked the Samurai.

– He who tried to deliver it – replied one of his disciples.

– The same goes for envy, anger and insults – said the master. – When they are not accepted, they continue to belong to the one who carried them.

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet

Tales of Zen wisdom – Where is the umbrella?

By Paulo Coelho

At the end of ten years of apprenticeship, Zenno thought he should be elevated to the category of Zen master. One rainy day, he went to visit the famous professor Nan-in.

Upon entering Nan-in’s house, the host asked him:

– Did you leave your shoes and umbrella outside?

– Of course – replied Zenno. – As good manners demand. I would do the same anywhere.

– Then tell me: did you place your umbrella to the right or the left of your shoes?

– I’ve no idea, master.

– Zen Buddhism is the art of total consciousness of what we do – said Nan-in. – The lack of attention to the smallest details can completely destroy a man’s life. A father who rushes out of the house, must never forget the dagger within his small son’s reach. A Samurai who doesn’t take care of his sword every day, will at some point find it is rusty, just when he most needs it. A young man who forgets to give his lover flowers, will end up losing her.

And Zenno understood that, although he knew the Zen techniques of the spiritual world, he had forgotten to apply them to the world of men.

Welcome to Share with Friends – Free Texts for a Free Internet