Ashish Saharia's Virtual Realm

Zen Fables

[I possess the true Dharma Eye, the marvelous mind of Nirvana.]

    Here's a collection of some truly inspiring Zen fables. I've collected these tales from various sources on the Internet, and from a few books as well. I have taken the liberty to express these stories in my own words; their essence, though, I believe, remains unchanged.


    A young student went to his teacher and said, "I can't meditate. I get distracted, my legs ache, and I keep falling asleep. I can't do it !". "Things will change.", said the teacher in a reassuring tone. A few days later, the student went to the teacher again and said, "You were right ! Things have changed. I can now meditate peacefully, without getting distracted, without feeling any discomfort in my legs, and without falling asleep all the time. It's simply wonderful !". Once again, the teacher replied, "Things will change.".


    During a momentous battle, a Japanese General decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On their way to the battlefield, they stopped at a Buddhist Shrine. After praying with the men, the General took out a coin and said, "This is a special coin. I shall now toss it, to determine what destiny has in store for us. If it's heads, we shall win. If it's tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.". He threw the coin into the air, and everyone watched intently as it landed on the ground. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and full of renewed strength and confidence, that they aggressively fought against the enemy, and won the battle. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the General, "No one can change destiny.". "Quite right, you are !", replied the General, as he showed the lieutenant the special coin - which had heads on both sides.

Most Wanted

    An old Zen Master was meditating by a river, when a young man walked up to him and said, "Master, I want to be your disciple.". "Why do you want to be my disciple, son ?", asked the Master. "Because I want to find God.", replied the man. Without warning, the Master grabbed the man by his neck, dragged him into the river, and pushed his head under the water. The man tried his best to escape, but the Master's grip was just too strong for him. After several seconds, the Master pulled this man's head out of the water and released his grip. "Tell me, son, what is the one thing that you wanted most, when I held your head underwater ?", asked the Master. "Air !", shouted the man, still gasping for breath. "Very well, son - come back to me when you want God as much as you just wanted air.", said the Master.

The Tea Cup

    A renowned professor, who taught Zen at a famous University, once visited a Zen Master. He introduced himself, and started talking about Zen, as the Master prepared tea for his visitor. He talked without giving the Master much of a chance to speak. He continued talking about Zen, as the Master started pouring tea in his cup. The cup filled up to the brim, but the Master continued pouring, even as the tea started spilling out of the cup, onto the table. Seeing this, the professor exclaimed, "Stop ! No more tea will go in - the cup is full !". The Master stopped pouring, and replied, "You see, son - your mind, right now, is like this cup - it's already full of your own conceptions about Zen. How can I teach you anything about Zen, if you don't first empty your mind of these illusions ?".