Zen can be like the nectar that when drunk, makes the whole world blossom

One day the master, Wei Shan, told his students: One hundred years from now I shall be reborn on this mountain as a bull, with the words This is Wei Shan so and so clearly written on my shoulder. If you call me Wei Shan, I am actually a bull; if you call me a bull, I am actually Wei Shan. What will you call me?

When a zen master was asked “What is Zen?”
He replied, “When hungry – eat, when tired – sleep.”

“Well, isn’t that what everyone does?”

“Oh, nothing of the kind. When they are hungry they don’t just eat but think of all sorts of things. When they are tired they don’t sleep but dream all sorts of dreams.”


Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

“Before I sought enlightenment, the mountains were mountains and the rivers were rivers.

While I sought enlightenment, the mountains were not mountains and the rivers were not rivers.

After I reached satori, the mountains were mountains and the rivers were rivers.”