Bodhidharma was an Indian sage who lived sometime in the fifth or sixth century AD. He is the undisputed founder of Zen Buddhism.
- A man walking across a field encounters a tiger. He fled, the tiger chasing after him. Coming to a cliff, he caught hold of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above.Terrified, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger had come, waiting to eat him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little began to gnaw away at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine in one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!
- Fa-yen,a Chinese Zen teacher, overheard four monks arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"
One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."
"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Fa-yen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."
- Two monks were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was falling. Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on, girl,"said the first monk. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
The second monk did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he said. "It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left the girl there,: the first monk said. "Are you still carrying her?"
- Wealthy patrons invited Ikkyu to a banquet. Ikkyu arrived dressed in hisbeggar's robes. The host, not recognizing him, chased him away. Ikkyu went home, changed into his ceremonial robe of purple brocade, and returned. With great respect, he was received into the banquet room.There, he put his robe on the cushion, saying, "I expect you invited the robe since you showed me away a little while ago," and left.