Live Forever

It was an encounter with a magician that changed my life forever and made me a writer.

During the Labor Day week of 1932 a favorite uncle of mine died; his funeral was held on the Labor Day Saturday. If he hadn’t died that week, my life might not have changed because, returning from his funeral at noon on that Saturday, I saw carnival tents down by Lake Michigan…

Always Moving

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”

Zen Confrontation

When a rebel army swept into a town in Korea, all the monks of the Zen temple fled except for the abbot.

The general came into the temple and was annoyed that the abbot did not receive him with respect…

Problems

A man once came to see the Buddha to get help with his problems. After the man had told the Buddha one of his problems and asked for help, the Buddha replied, “I cannot help you get rid of that problem.”

The man was surprised that the Buddha could not help him in this regard, but he told the Buddha about another problem. He thought to himself that the Buddha should at least be able to help him with that problem. But the Buddha told him, “I cannot help you with that problem, either.”

The man started to get impatient. He said, “How can it be that you are the perfectly Enlightened Buddha, when you can’t even help people get rid of their problems?”

How to Choose

A young man approached the abbot of a monastery and said, “I am willing to leave everything. Please, take me as a disciple.”

The abbot asked him, “How does a man choose his path?”

“Through sacrifice. A path that demands sacrifice is a true path.”

The abbot bumped into a bookcase. A very rare vase fell down and the young man threw himself to the floor to catch it. He fell the wrong way and broke his arm, but was able to save the vase…

Making Sandcastles

Hot sun. Salty air. Rhythmic waves.

A little boy is on his knees scooping and packing the sand with plastic shovels into a bright blue bucket. Then he upends the bucket on the surface and lifts it. And, to the delight of the little architect, a castle tower is created.

All afternoon he will work. Spooning out the moat. Packing the walls. Bottle tops will be sentries. Popsicle sticks will be bridges. A sandcastle will be built…

The Flower Shop

A woman was strolling through a shopping mall when she noticed a poster announcing the opening of a new flower shop. She went in but was surprised by what she found. She was the only customer in the shop; there she saw no vases, no pots, no arrangements and no flowers. God was standing behind the counter…

The Gift of Anger

It is said that on an occasion when the Buddha was teaching a group of people, he found himself on the receiving end of a fierce outburst of abuse from a bystander, who was for some reason very angry…

Three Answers

Chen Zing was a friend of Confucius’s son. One day Zing asked, “Does your father teach you things that we don’t yet know?”

Night Falls and Dawn Arrives

The master asked his disciples: “How do we know when the night is over and the day has arrived?”