Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Muso Kokushi and the Drunk Samurai


Muso Kokushi, (夢窓 疎石, 1275 – 1351), was one famous Rinzai Zen Master in Japan. Once upon a time, he was traveling escorted by a Samurai friend and Kenjutsu expert. They arrived at a river and boarded a boat to cross it.
Master Kokushi was sitting away from the Samurai on the other side of the boat which had filled up with passengers. As the captain was turning away people, a drunken samurai rushed up, demanding to be taken aboard. The captain could not decline. 
In the dangerously overloaded boat the drunk started a quarrel. Master Kokushi tried to reason him by pointing out that any violent movement might sink the boat.

"You meddling priest!" shouted the drunken samurai, and he hit him on the forehead with his iron war-fan. The blood poured down. 

The master quietly sat unmoving and the samurai, satisfied, slumped back in his own place without further disturbance. 

As the boat reached the other shore. The swordsman lightly jumped out, looking at the samurai, waiting for him to come ashore. 

There is something about the stance of an unhappy kenjutsu expert... The bully well knew that he was going to dearly pay for his striking Master Kokushi.

But Muso jumped from the boat and said : 
"No, No ! Now is the time to apply our Buddhism. These Forms are Emptiness; Anger and all the Passions are the Bodhi." 

And he swiftly and quietly led his follower away.


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