Once a Zen master was teaching the art of gardening to the king of Japan. After three years of teaching he said, “Now I will come and see your garden — that will be the examination of what you have done in these three years.” And he told him before that “Whatsoever you are learning […]

The great mystic, Rabia of Basra, was immensely beautiful. And a beauty not of this world. Once a rich young man from Iran comes to Basra. He asks people, “Is there anything that is out of the way, something special here?” “Yes,” they all tell him. “We have the most beautiful woman of the world!” […]

There is an old sufi fable. In a very ancient family there was some musical organ, but people had completely forgotten how to play it. Generations came and people even forgot that it was a musical organ. It was gathering dust. It was a very big organ and it was taking up much space. One […]

A king was seriously thinking of turning the whole country moral. Nobody should be allowed to say anything untrue. Untruths should be banned. The wise men were all agreed; in fact, because these wise people were his servants they were even going further than him, exaggerating. One wise man suggested that of course this was […]

There was a mystic, Hassein, who had a very beautiful son — a very very intelligent and talented boy. Everybody loved the boy, but one day he suddenly died. He was just twenty and almost the whole town was in love with the boy. Hassein looked at the corpse and never cried. Not even a […]

Chuang Tzu talks about a draftsman of the name Chu’i, who could draw more perfect circles freehand than with a compass. Really, the compass is needed because you are afraid. If you are not afraid you yourself can draw a perfect circle without any help. In nature circles exist everywhere, everything moves on a circular […]

Let me tell you a Zen anecdote about a burglar who entered the house of a Zen master to rob him. The master not only made no move to stop him, but aided him in his search, suggesting things he might take. The burglar, wondering what kind of man this was who would help himself […]