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Old 04-29-2005, 11:43 PM   #1
Neal Dunnigan
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Location: Oklahoma
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3
Zen anecdotes and stories

I'm interested in hearing from anyone who has a particular "Zen" type anecdote or story that has been significantly significant in shaping their attitude about some aspect of their training and life. I'm interested in hearing about both classical and contemporary stories.
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Old 04-30-2005, 09:17 AM   #2
SeiserL's Avatar
Location: Florida Gulf coast
Join Date: Jun 2000
Posts: 3,888
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" by Paul Reps (Tuttle Publishing)

Lynn Seiser PhD
Yondan Aikido & FMA/JKD
We do not rise to the level of our expectations, but fall to the level of our training. Train well. KWATZ!
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Old 04-30-2005, 10:04 AM   #3
Dojo: Messores Sensei (Largo, Fl.)
Location: Florida
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,267
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

Lynn Seiser wrote:
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" by Paul Reps (Tuttle Publishing)
Me, too. Read it in high school. In particular, I remember trying to "act as alone when in company and as with company when alone", a personal tenet of some contemporary master, IIRC.

To get a better idea of the influences on martial arts, however, you might look into esoteric Buddhism/Shinto, Kuukai and Saichoo, e.g.

Don J. Modesto
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Old 05-01-2005, 02:14 AM   #4
Thomas Ambrose
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Location: Michigan
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 59
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

I don't know if this is Zen-type anecdote, I don't know much about Zen even... but it is an experience which had a more profound impact on me than I would expect... and it fits the mode of a story with a moral...

In my class we were all expected to give a lesson to the rest of the class (it is a class on teaching methods for secondary school teachers). This guy showed up one day, and attended the class. He brought up weird points of view, and was ultra-conservative and somewhat stand-offish. Many people in the class did not like him. On the way to the parking lot after class, I was talking to my friend about him. My friend jokingly referred to him as "Bible Belt Bob." Anyway, when I left school that day, something funny happened. The parking lot I use is in a bad location, and usually we have to wait a long time for someone in the oncoming traffic to let us in. As I waited, one peson let me in. Who was it? Bible Belt Bob!

Now, I don't know if the story is Zen at all, but it fits a certain format and thought process that I find appealing much the same way of Zen stories. In my case, humans are all humans. Sometimes we tend to annoy each other, but generally most people are good and nice, if you get the chance to see it. In other words, people can surprise your pre-conceptions of them!

Anyway, that is my story, not sure if it is Zen or not, but the experience had a weird spiritual impact on me. For Zen stories, I find I really like this website. Has anyone else checked these out?

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Old 05-18-2005, 02:45 PM   #5
Stefan Stenudd
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Dojo: Enighet Malmo Sweden
Location: Malmo
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Posts: 538
Deshimaru on Zen and the Martial arts

Regarding zen and its relation to the Martial arts, the zen monk Taisen Deshimaru said a lot, which was collected in the book The Zen Way to Martial Arts. On Amazon:

He spent many years in France, where he frequently showed his genuine interest in budo. He was also a friend of some of the Japanese shihan living there.

As far as I remember from the book, he had the highest respect for kendo, which is no surprise, but cherished aikido, too.

And I do believe that there are some typical zen anecdotes in the book, as well. Actually, in his own life he lived some pretty good zen anecdotes, to say the least.
Heard some of them?

Stefan Stenudd
My aikido website: http://www.stenudd.com/aikido/
My YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Aikidostenudd
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:31 PM   #6
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Location: Rochester, NY
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 281
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

By the very nature of the question's subject matter, wouldn't you want to find your own answer? And now I'll go ahead and share a book I've found interesting:

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind
by Shunryu Suzuki

If you want my reasoning in how it might be helping my aikido, I'd say it's practically in the title itself. In other words I try to tell myself everyday is my first day in aikido, nothing is old or boring, and the person I'm working with is actually doing it right, (as far as I know), so try and learn from it.

This doesn't always work, but we do what we can when we can.

I've recently been told to throw it (Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind) out by a random zen practitioner, but never received an adequate reason why.

Failing that, hit the local border's/barnes, grab a pile of books, leaf through them and go from there.

That's how I found "Aikido Basics" (Tuttle Martial Arts) last spring, but I'm only just now getting thoroughly into it and others I found in the same way focusing on aikido. Some guy named Lynn wrote it, and I like it so far... ( )

Have a good evening.
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:09 PM   #7
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Location: Elgin, IL
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 165
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

Like all the suggested reading so far...each one opened different doors for me. One more that I might add is a book called Hardcore Zen by Brad Warner. To say the least he has turned the zen apple cart upside down with his contemporary anecdotes.

He has a web page called SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP that tends to piss some people off - it makes me laugh!

Charles Burmeister
Aikido Yoshinkan Yoseikai

"Calmness is trust in action"
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Old 05-19-2005, 03:39 AM   #8
Yann Golanski
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Dojo: York Shodokan Aikido
Location: York, United Kingdom.
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 406
United Kingdom
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

There is of course Peirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintance which admitingly has very little to do with Zen or motorbikes and plenty with values. Well worth reading. Lila (his second book) is well worth reading too as it's all about quality.

The people who understand, understand prefectly.
yann@york-aikido.org York Shodokan Aikido
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Old 05-19-2005, 12:57 PM   #9
Dojo: Sheffield Shodokan Dojo
Location: Sheffield, UK
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Posts: 524
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

Yann Golanski wrote:
There is of course Peirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintance which admitingly has very little to do with Zen or motorbikes
As he says himself at the very beginning. Though it does contain a top tip for how to stop the brake and clutch levers working loose on an R series BMW.

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Old 05-22-2005, 11:36 PM   #10
Jeanne Shepard
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Dojo: Puget Sound Aikikai
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Posts: 351
Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

I enjoyed "Zen Antics: A Hundred Stories of Enlightenment" translated and edited by Thomas Cleary, and published by Shambal Press.

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Old 05-24-2005, 10:25 PM   #11
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Dojo: Aikido of Petaluma, Petaluma,CA
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Re: Zen anecdotes and stories

A Master and a Student were carrying heavy loads up a steep mountain path. The Student asked "Master, what is enlightenment?"
The Master dropped the load he was carrying.
The Student then asked,"Master, what hapens next?"

The Master picked up his load and continued walking up the mountain path.


"It is not wise to be incautious when confronting a little smiling bald man"'- Rule #1
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