Sunday, July 10, 2011
The Gates of Paradise
A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.
"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.
"You, a soldier!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar."
Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head."
As Nobushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: "Here open the gates of hell!"
At these words the samurai, perceiving the master's discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.
"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin.
Labels: psychological suffering
Sounds like a dangerous game. The risk being that the samuri might have been more a criminal than honourable.
Zen masters are supposedly beyond life and death and Hakuin (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Hakuin_Ekaku) was one of the greatest of the Japanese Zen masters. He likely knew exactly what he was doing and he was doing it without fear.
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