Many teachings from Zen-Buddhism are told in short and delightful zen stories. They are usually designed to develop the mind and to free it from distortions and so to connect with our spirit.

Some of them are really inspiring and enlightening. It is helpful to the mind to think about them and feel the deeper meaning. Even if it is not possible to grasp them fully, the beauty and simplicity of the message usually gets through to us one way or the other.

The following 10 Zen stories are a selection of the ones I found most inspiring and really worth to ponder about. Some may be instantly understood, some others need to be thought through and recognized in oneself.

They are about the following topics: life in the present moment, different perspectives, attachment, resistance, judgment, delusion, beliefs and thought as mental concepts but not truth and unconditional love. Please feel free to post your interpretation or other stories into the comments.

After reading the first, follow it’s advice to read all the others. :)

1. A Cup of Tea

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?”

2. The Burden

Two monks were returning to the monastery in the evening. It had rained and there were puddles of water on the road sides. At one place a beautiful young woman was standing unable to walk accross because of a puddle of water. The elder of the two monks went up to a her lifted her and left her on the other side of the road, and continued his way to the monastery.

In the evening the younger monk came to the elder monk and said, “Sir, as monks, we cannot touch a woman ?”

The elder monk answered “yes, brother”.

Then the younger monk asks again, “but then Sir, how is that you lifted that woman on the roadside ?”

The elder monk smiled at him and told him ” I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her.”

3. Finding a Piece of the Truth

One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.”

“Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked. “No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

4. The Other Side

One day a young Buddhist on his journey home came to the banks of a wide river. Staring hopelessly at the great obstacle in front of him, he pondered for hours on just how to cross such a wide barrier. Just as he was about to give up his pursuit to continue his journey he saw a great teacher on the other side of the river. The young Buddhist yells over to the teacher, “Oh wise one, can you tell me how to get to the other side of this river”?

The teacher ponders for a moment looks up and down the river and yells back, “My son, you are on the other side”.

5. Is That So?

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly, without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents very angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth – that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.

The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

6. Maybe

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

7. Cliffhanger

One day while walking through the wilderness a man stumbled upon a vicious tiger. He ran but soon came to the edge of a high cliff. Desperate to save himself, he climbed down a vine and dangled over the fatal precipice.

As he hung there, two mice appeared from a hole in the cliff and began gnawing on the vine.

Suddenly, he noticed on the vine a plump wild strawberry. He plucked it and popped it in his mouth. It was incredibly delicious!

8. The Blind Men and the Elephant

Several citizens ran into a hot argument about God and different religions, and each one could not agree to a common answer. So they came to the Lord Buddha to find out what exactly God looks like.

The Buddha asked his disciples to get a large magnificent elephant and four blind men. He then brought the four blind to the elephant and told them to find out what the elephant would “look” like.

The first blind men touched the elephant leg and reported that it “looked” like a pillar. The second blind man touched the elephant tummy and said that an elephant was a wall. The third blind man touched the elephant ear and said that it was a piece of cloth. The fourth blind man hold on to the tail and described the elephant as a piece of rope. And all of them ran into a hot argument about the “appearance” of an elephant.

The Buddha asked the citizens: “Each blind man had touched the elephant but each of them gives a different description of the animal. Which answer is right?”

9. Right and Wrong

When Bankei held his seclusion-weeks of meditation, pupils from many parts of Japan came to attend. During one of these gatherings a pupil was caught stealing. The matter was reported to Bankei with the request that the culprit be expelled. Bankei ignored the case.

Later the pupil was caught in a similar act, and again Bankei disregarded the matter. This angered the other pupils, who drew up a petition asking for the dismissal of the thief, stating that otherwise they would leave in a body.

When Bankei had read the petition he called everyone before him. “You are wise brothers,” he told them. “You know what is right and what is not right. You may go somewhere else to study if you wish, but this poor brother does not even know right from wrong. Who will teach him if I do not? I am going to keep him here even if all the rest of you leave.”

A torrent of tears cleansed the face of the brother who had stolen. All desire to steal had vanished.

10. Nothing Exists

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his attainment, he said: “The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.”

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

“If nothing exists,” inquired Dokuon, “where did this anger come from?”

Bonus 11. Teaching the Ultimate

In early times in Japan, bamboo-and-paper lanterns were used with candles inside. A blind man, visiting a friend one night, was offered a lantern to carry home with him.

“I do not need a lantern,” he said. “Darkness or light is all the same to me.”

“I know you do not need a lantern to find your way,” his friend replied, “but if you don’t have one, someone else may run into you. So you must take it.”

The blind man started off with the lantern and before he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him. “Look out where you are going!” he exclaimed to the stranger. “Can’t you see this lantern?”

“Your candle has burned out, brother,” replied the stranger.


  1. Comment by D00dikov

    D00dikov Reply September 20, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    OK, I emptied my cup :P I had laugh out loud as I read “I left her on the other side of the road, but you are still carrying her.”

    But it’s true, sometimes we are wondering about things in our mind although the event is long gone and has no meaning anymore. We are trapped in mind then.

    • Comment by thushanth

      thushanth Reply December 18, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      whenever i go through theologies of god, i see contradictions……but finally i recover, remembering the Buddha’s saying ” believe nothing ,even if i have said it, unless it suits your own life”. lets act ourself, but not if it impact another

  2. Comment by Jonas

    Jonas Reply September 20, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    The 10 Zen stories are very beautiful.

    For my current state, this is the most important one:
    One day Mara, the Evil One, was travelling through the villages of India with his attendants. he saw a man doing walking meditation whose face was lit up on wonder. The man had just discovered something on the ground in front of him. Mara’s attendant asked what that was and Mara replied, “A piece of truth.”

    “Doesn’t this bother you when someone finds a piece of truth, O Evil One?” his attendant asked. “No,” Mara replied. “Right after this, they usually make a belief out of it.”

    The ego is funny.

    • Comment by atul

      atul Reply January 10, 2015 at 8:50 am

      Is finding a piece of truth all about ego?


  3. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply September 20, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    D00dikov, Jonas: Yes I find the message is very clear here, especially about the arising of beliefs. I find it also helpful being reminded about the fact that a belief is not reality. It may help as a guiding system for times, and therin already also lies the danger of it …

  4. Comment by Chloe

    Chloe Reply September 20, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    One day two monks were walking along a riverbank. “I would like to be a fish. They are so peaceful and happy!” the one monk exclaimed.

    “You are not a fish,” his friend said. “How do you know whether or not the fish are enjoying themselves?”

    “You are not me,” the first monk said. “How do you know that I do not know that the fish are enjoying themselves?”

  5. Comment by Stacey / CreateaBalance

    Stacey / CreateaBalance Reply September 20, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Most of these are new to me. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply September 20, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    Hi Stacey, welcome to my blog :)

    The selected stories had the most meaning to me personally, so I chose them. Also the first 3 are for me like an introduction … :)

  7. Comment by Pam

    Pam Reply September 21, 2008 at 2:33 am

    Thank You .. Nice collection.

  8. Comment by Ariel

    Ariel Reply September 22, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Thank you for putting together this collection, Myrko.

    #8 is my favorite and #10 is funny too.

    Ariel’s last blog post: Quit Trying to Be In the Now

  9. Comment by Evelyn Lim

    Evelyn Lim Reply September 22, 2008 at 4:16 am

    I’ve read some of them before but some are new to me. Thanks for sharing! It’s nothing like going back to the classics to be reminded of simple truths.

    Evelyn Lim’s last blog post: Attract Our Travel Dreams

  10. Comment by Logan

    Logan Reply October 7, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    I think it is important to empty your cup many times.

  11. Comment by muhadeeb

    muhadeeb Reply October 25, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    The sun shines
    my reflection in a bowl
    A heart beats in steady time

  12. Comment by axel g

    axel g Reply October 31, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Zen is beautiful!

    I suppose the koans were what made it so popular.

    Great write up +_+

  13. Comment by Anna Varney-Wong

    Anna Varney-Wong Reply December 14, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Thank you – loads of great reading material here!

    Anna Varney-Wong´s last blog post: Dear Friends

  14. Comment by Rumon

    Rumon Reply December 26, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    I like the 7th, “Cliffhanger”.

    That’s the way, how life goes. All we have to do, find the positive parts of it.

  15. Comment by Nik

    Nik Reply January 4, 2009 at 8:26 am

    @Logan – keep the cup empty all the time.

  16. Comment by grikdog

    grikdog Reply March 7, 2009 at 11:49 am

    My favorite Zen story is the one about the two monks. Younger is sitting in zazen. Elder inquires, “Why are you sitting in zazen?” Younger replies, “By sitting in zazen, I hope eventually to become a buddha.” Elder picks up a brick and begins rubbing it on a rock (I tend to imagine that he has tracked through a lot of carefully raked Zen sand and it rubbing the brick on one of those ancient black “growing” stones). Younger laughs, “And what are you doing?” Elder replies, “I am polishing this brick in hopes that eventually it will become a mirror.” The advanced story ends here, but for the rest of us it continues. Younger asks, “How can polishing a brick make a mirror?” Elder retorts, “How can sitting in zazen make a buddha!” And, true to the ancient formula, the younger monk instantly became a mirror.

  17. Comment by Sandeep

    Sandeep Reply June 6, 2009 at 1:50 am

    This is the first time I have come across zen stories and I really liked them!

  18. Comment by Sensual photography

    Sensual photography Reply June 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    It was briefly introduced in Charlie Wilson’s War. It’s about a boy and a horse and all the Zen Master says is “We’ll see.” Does anyone know the whole story?

  19. Comment by Liara Covert

    Liara Covert Reply July 12, 2009 at 7:07 am

    Zen stories encourage meaningful self-reflection. Thanks for sharing here and empowering readers to step back and reconnect with soul.

  20. Comment by kinresh patel

    kinresh patel Reply October 12, 2009 at 2:01 am

    I have learned something new that wants me to really live the ZEN life. All I wanted was to get ideas for a ZEN garden. WOW..
    Thank you,
    Kinresh Patel

  21. Comment by Mathurini

    Mathurini Reply August 19, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Hey, Loved it.. particularly the tea cup one.. Please check out my blog, I will be posting about similar conversations.. would be great to make a cool network! Love this post! :-)


  22. Comment by Nick

    Nick Reply October 5, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    the candle has burned out :)

    nice stories! may all beings benefit from the sharings :)

  23. Comment by Sell Textbooks

    Sell Textbooks Reply October 13, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    I cannot thank you enough for these. I think my favorite of these was the brother you are on the other side. That was awesome. Thanks more than I can say.

  24. Comment by Mr Price

    Mr Price Reply February 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I find it also helpful being reminded about the fact that a belief is not reality. It may help as a guiding system for times, and therin already also lies the danger of it …

  25. Comment by mohan

    mohan Reply May 1, 2011 at 11:31 am

    i love zen stories a lot.its easy aswell as confusing if v think under its contant.

  26. Comment by Gayan Jayaweera

    Gayan Jayaweera Reply May 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm


    There is suppose to be a saying about a Zen master who pored tea to a cup with a hole in it. to say he knows what the other is thinking.

    Does anyone know the full story

  27. Comment by Hand Tool

    Hand Tool Reply May 31, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Mentioned all stories are nice. I read all and all stories are really very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Comment by Rent Textbooks

    Rent Textbooks Reply June 9, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    I can’t ever get enough of zen stories they are always so personally inspirational. Every cup has to be emptied before the good things can come in.

  29. Comment by Ziko

    Ziko Reply July 1, 2011 at 6:12 am

    If you understand, things are just as they are; if you do not understand, things are just as they are.

  30. Comment by Karissa Smale

    Karissa Smale Reply August 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    these are very interesting stories. Thank you so much for sharing. These will be great for my english homework. Thanks a million for sharing these…… :))

  31. Comment by textbook buyback

    textbook buyback Reply August 6, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    #3 is awesome! Does everyone “get” this one? I didn’t at first, but see, a “belief” is a step away from truth. With 100% truth, there is no “belief” or its opposite “disbelief.” I like it!

  32. Comment by James

    James Reply August 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    Yes, empty the cup. Be mindless of it as well.

  33. Comment by textbook rental

    textbook rental Reply August 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    I really enjoyed all of them but the one “Is That So” I am confused about and don’t understand it, would someone please give me an explanation.

  34. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply August 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    The Master responds to falsehood and truth, bad news and good news, in exactly the same way: “Is that so?” He allows the form of the moment, good or bad, to be as it is and so does not become a participant in human drama. To him there is only this moment, and this moment is as it is. Events are not personalized. He is nobody’s victim. He is so completely at one with what happens that what happens has no power over him anymore. Only if you resist what happens are you at the mercy of what happens, and the world will determine your happiness and unhappiness.

    The baby is looked after with loving care. Bad turns into good through the power of nonresistance. Always responding to what the present moment requires, he lets go of the baby when it is time to do so.

  35. Comment by textbook rental

    textbook rental Reply August 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Thanks for the explanation I understand it now.

  36. Comment by Mike Etts

    Mike Etts Reply September 11, 2011 at 1:34 am

    “Maybe” (#6) is a great illustration of how a current hardship can be a future blessing in disguise.

  37. Comment by TJ

    TJ Reply September 25, 2011 at 9:46 am

    It is quite difficult to learn about the ” I “. So much to learn and so little time. There is not quick
    fix. There is only one way. One step at a time.
    What would you do if you never really have a role model. What would you do if you raise yourself to be the person that you are today….and then learn that…you wish you had a role model. Then you wonder how your life would turn out if you had a role model to guide you through tough time as well as good time. Have you ever heard the story of John Wooden? I am not a sport person, but what an incredible man that he is.

  38. Comment by Kimberly

    Kimberly Reply October 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    These are wonderful. Can you tell me anything about their origins?

  39. Comment by Goodheart

    Goodheart Reply October 28, 2011 at 3:58 am

    It’s softly utter by wind of life-who is an always been from eons to eons. Life’s grandest virtues is who we are truly wit in our eyes and what we persieve in them about others says all about our hearts condition. (Goodheart has spoken)

  40. Comment by Chandra Sekhar M

    Chandra Sekhar M Reply November 4, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I would like to suggest three more:

    The Gift of Insults
    There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.
    One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.

    Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.

    Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”

    “If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”


    Working Very Hard
    A martial arts student went to his teacher and said earnestly, “I am devoted to studying your martial system. How long will it take me to master it.” The teacher’s reply was casual, “Ten years.” Impatiently, the student answered, “But I want to master it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice everyday, ten or more hours a day if I have to. How long will it take then?” The teacher thought for a moment, “20 years.”


    THE LOST SON (Clinging to opinions)
    “A young widower, who loved his five year old son very much, was away on business when bandits came who burned down the whole village and took his son away. When the man returned, he saw the ruins and panicked. They took the burnt corpse of an infant to be his son and cried uncontrollably. He organized a cremation ceremony, collected the ashes and put them in a beautiful little bag which he always kept with him.
    Soon afterwards, his real son escaped from the bandits and found his way home. He arrived at his father’s new cottage at midnight and knocked at the door. The father, still grieving asked: “Who is it?” The child answered, it is me papa, open the door!” But in his agitated state of mind, convinced his son was dead, the father thought that some young boy was making fun of him. He shouted: “Go away” and continued to cry. After some time, the child left.
    Father and son never saw each other again.”
    After this story, the Buddha said: “Sometime, somewhere, you take something to be the truth. If you cling to it so much, even when the truth comes in person and knocks on your door, you will not open it.”

  41. Comment by Myrko

    Myrko Reply November 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Chandra thanks for those 3 additions.

    “Working Very Hard” is almost a bit funny. What do you think is it telling us?
    I’d say it’s showing the pitfalls of over-ambition and lack of balance, when true understanding is missing.

    “The Gift of Insults” is a really intelligent one.

  42. Comment by textbook rental

    textbook rental Reply November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I really enjoyed the Cup of Tea story. It is hard for one to move forward when they are so bogged down by the past.

  43. Comment by Nidish

    Nidish Reply May 10, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Well, it was really beautiful!!! But i din’t quite get #4. The other side.. Can anyone please explain? :)

  44. Comment by Designerlm

    Designerlm Reply June 2, 2012 at 4:50 am

    Very inspiring. Also thanks for the stories told through the commentaries. :D

  45. Comment by Anya

    Anya Reply June 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I’m helping to compile a book of zen stories and found that I loved all of the zen stories you chose. Would it be possible for you to give me the sources of these stories so that I could use some in the book?
    Thank You.

  46. Comment by Nicholas

    Nicholas Reply July 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Am very delighted that I have found some familiar stories so that I may share them with other folks. I see some awesome new stories, too! But I have trouble understanding “Finding a Piece of the Truth.”

    I’ve never heard of walking meditation.
    I don’t understand the significance of stopping because of something on the ground.
    I don’t understand the symbolism of making a belief out of this.

    I was wondering if you could help me to see. And if not, I suppose I’ll be fine anyway. :)

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  48. Comment by sujay

    sujay Reply August 10, 2012 at 7:01 am

    the stories are mind calming , i did not get #7 though .
    can anyone please explain ?

  49. Comment by American Zen - Journey to a Quiet Mind

    American Zen - Journey to a Quiet Mind Reply August 11, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Great page. I linked at American Zen – Journey to a Quiet Mind “Koans – Zen Puzzles for the American Mind”.

  50. Comment by Gal Speier

    Gal Speier Reply October 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    THANK you for making my brain think , my mind be peaceful and my heart smile …

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  53. Comment by Bee

    Bee Reply February 24, 2013 at 1:17 am

    @sujay: For Sujay…

    Number 7, is actually a parable reportedly told by Buddah. Originally the mice are supposed to be, one white, and one black. They represent the passing of day and night. The Tiger is birth (your past), and the man’s plummet into the precipice is death (your future).

    Birth swallows you up from behind, and death is waiting for you. Day and night gnaw at your existence. Time will destroy you. Everything is transient. The man can only hold on to this transience by clinging to it. The only thing to do is to enjoy the strawberries. You only exist in the present ! A better translation of the last line is .. “how sweet they tasted!”

  54. Comment by Bee

    Bee Reply February 24, 2013 at 3:10 am

    @sujay: The parable is an explanation of meditation itself. The mind is constantly clinging to the past, and dreaming about the future. The strawberries, are enlightenment, which exists only in the present moment, and grow out of the very vine that the man is clinging to. Enlightenment is always available here within this moment. But if we are busy clinging, we will miss it.

  55. Comment by Bee

    Bee Reply February 24, 2013 at 3:47 am

    @Nidish: For Nidish,

    The great obstacle facing the young monk is himself. He wants to be where the teacher is, but cannot get past his own ambitions, ideas, and preconceptions.

    Only when he gives up his effort and striving, can he receive the teaching and realize the wisdom expressed through his own existence. Wisdom is contained where he is.

  56. Comment by Marcy Lifavi

    Marcy Lifavi Reply April 14, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I love this site and have been finding it very useful and informative. In fact I just used one of the koans in my latest blogpost, which will be published 4-18-13. I invite readers who like Zen koans and teachings to visit my blog which deals with ways to overcome stress, and features “The Amaryllis and Nigel Dialogues,” a tongue-in-cheek saga of two friends: Amaryllis, a lovable but hyperactive “Type A” worrywort guinea pig, who gets stressed out on a regular basis, and seeks out guidance from a Bearded Dragon Lizard named Nigel, who is a laid-back, very mellow, Zen-loving lizard-dude who receives his wisdom of Divine Guidance from the Great Spirit.
    I hope you will enjoy the episodes! Please go to: http://greatstresssolutions.com/category/the-amaryllis-and-nigel-dialogues/

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  58. Comment by FermentedBrains

    FermentedBrains Reply June 1, 2013 at 12:18 am


    He had already put her down “on the other side” of the puddle and forgotten about it, but the young monks were still thinking about it.

  59. Comment by Amy

    Amy Reply June 23, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Thank you so much for this page. I’ve been trying to find the story “Maybe” after hearing it long ago, I’d like to link to it from my blog. I’m writing a piece about expectations and how toxic they can be. Thank you for this collection of excellent stories!

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  61. Comment by Gurpreet S Pabla

    Gurpreet S Pabla Reply July 26, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    That’s really true. We dwell a lot on things that are useless while ignore those which need immediate attention.

  62. Comment by subodh poddar

    subodh poddar Reply August 13, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I love the stroies. Is there a collection of Buddha’s lectures where he gave examples from evryday life?

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  66. Comment by George

    George Reply December 20, 2013 at 2:40 am

    I loved “The Other side”
    You’re already there! Where you are, IS “the other side”, that mystical place of Peace and Escape we’re all looking for in our lives: Shambala, Atlantis, Avalon, Camelot, Kailas, the quiet corner in that coffee shop across town, the shady nook under the tree in the backyard, the sun dappled stone seat in the garden….

    BE Silent,
    BE Still,
    Here and Now.

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  70. Comment by ZenSpeaking

    ZenSpeaking Reply January 22, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Like the first story, so profound word like Nan-in master said “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

    I think Zen means “Empty” or “Nothing”, all that in the world is conditioned existence, and actually they exist in our heart.

    Thanks so many best Zen stories!

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  72. Comment by ish thareja

    ish thareja Reply April 8, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Zen stories inspire for meditation

  73. Comment by Darpan Dahiya

    Darpan Dahiya Reply May 5, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Out there laughing a child starts crying,
    Oh you grown ups, how old are you?
    Ask the water of its youth,
    Ask the air of its freshness,

    Falls on his knees the child stumbles on his legs,
    Oh you grown ups, how sturdy are you?
    Ask the fire of its destiny,
    Ask the sun for where it stands,

    Born is the child and old does die,
    Oh you speak of Zen,
    Ask the speechless to sing,
    Ask the snake to fly,
    When everything that lives
    Shall one day die.

    Respect to all

  74. Comment by Darpan Dahiya

    Darpan Dahiya Reply May 5, 2014 at 4:31 am

    When speaking of Zen,
    Silently the Zen speaks of us.

  75. Comment by Sharad Pant

    Sharad Pant Reply May 10, 2014 at 5:38 am

    I like a story ” A cup of Tea”. unless and until person will not make empty his/her mind (CUP) the person couldn’t get new things or will not be in position to accept new things and thoughts.
    Like when we are working in community as development professional I observed that the illiterate people who are away from the town are taking and accepting the ideas very well and very fast and in very short time they are showing results. In opposite to this the people who are literate and who have well accessibility of town, cities are taking long time to accept ideas and to implement on that. So sometime the question came in mind in real sense who is really ignorant, who is illiterate?

  76. Comment by Sanchit Sahay

    Sanchit Sahay Reply June 24, 2014 at 5:11 pm


    I’m not able to understand the story..

    What’s the other side?
    And does that mean the student is not going to cross the river anyway at all??

  77. Pingback: A Cup of Tea with Perceptual Positions | Best NLP Newyork

  78. Comment by Dr Abdul Salam K P

    Dr Abdul Salam K P Reply August 6, 2014 at 12:25 am

    “The Other Side” essentially shows us the importance of ‘perspective’. The student is already on the “other” side if you are looking from the teacher’s side. It depends on your point of view!

  79. Comment by Sudhir

    Sudhir Reply August 10, 2014 at 3:06 am

    Great work

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  81. Comment by Linda

    Linda Reply October 19, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Story #6 “Maybe” is a very ancient Chinese folktale. But, all the same, it’s great seeing all these stories together.

  82. Pingback: A Cup of Tea | ZEN frequency

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  85. Comment by Jordan Elliott

    Jordan Elliott Reply December 3, 2014 at 5:56 am

    In A Cup of Tea, how is the “cup of tea” like the “cup of life” and what is the primary moral lesson of this passage???

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  87. Comment by Arundhati

    Arundhati Reply January 13, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    Hi Myrko,

    i logged on to your page just when the realization of limitations and movement to limitless possibilities was opening up for me. I couldn’t help but laugh really hard at the first story, for that was truly the point of my realization! The stories on your blog has profound meaning for me, the messages from the universe really. I truly have enjoyed reading them and thank you for sharing such wonderful bunch of them.


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