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Avalokiteshvara, temple tanghka. Date unknown. Namaste is the traditional hand greeting that translates I bow to you. Namaste is a ritual form which acknowledges the divinity of the other. It has three variations: placing the hands together and then 1. touching the center of the chest (directed to an equal) 2. touching the forehead (directed to a person of a higher class) 3. touching the space above one's head (reverencing God or the holiest of persons).
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RIDDLING THE WAY TO ZEN

 

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.

from Collection of Sand and Stone, 13th Century Japanese koans written by Japanese Zen teacher Muju (the "non-dweller")

 

Buddha told a parable in sutra:

A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him.

Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

from Collection of Sand and Stone, 13th Century Japanese koans written by Japanese Zen teacher Muju (the "non-dweller")

 

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