John Suler's Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors

Westerners Speak Out on Zen Stories

Westerners definitely have something to say about the classic Zen and Taoist stories. They may be delighted. They may be puzzled or skeptical. They may want to add their own bit of wisdom to that of the masters. Listed below is a sample of their reactions to the stories on this web site.


zen stories "Be careful! Your children someday may do to you exactly what you did to your parents."

"Words, words, words.....They're not reality anyhow. They're just words."

"Just goes to show you - don't show off a talent until you've perfected it."

"How do you get a child to stop asking questions? This will make people feel inferior. Is this really what the master wants?"

"There is nothing even slightly Zen about this 'story.' It is an embarrassing, childish attempting to usurp the notion of Zen to endorse an unenlightened acceptance of Christian dogma without study, introspection, or question

"I can't think about this too long, because it will control my mind for the rest of the week."

"One person's destiny is another's manipulation."

" Be careful what you ask for. The universe may just provide you with what you seek."

" I see a very selfish man, raising the next generation of fool. He is neither a teacher or Father."

"Whenever you are absolutely sure you are doing something right, it turns out that you are going about it entirely the wrong way."

"Now we know the reason for lawyers, To sew crazy old self appointed wise men that carry pocket knives."

"God controls our lives. We may not understand his purpose, so just accept what happens."

"How stupid! I find it sad that two people would waste time on such an argument."

"Parents are sometimes like this - they push and push a kid until the kid finally rebels."

"I don't get this story. If someone dies, it's going to bring unhappiness - period."

"Family recipes are like this. Everyone keeps passing them down, even when they taste terrible."

"The 'MASTER' was human after all!

"The Zen Master needs to get a real job and Buddha is just a marketing idea which changes to suit the consumer."

"Why doesn't God make himself known to me? Why must I pursue Him?"

"Work with what life gives you and you will survive."

"Get a life, already!"

"How could Master Gasan never have read the Bible? Maybe that's the point of the story - even a Zen master can be illiterate."

"If you want to learn, you have to shut up and LISTEN for a change."

"Everyone you meet in life will know something about life that you may not."

"Maybe there's something important to learn about Zen by being whacked with a poker... beats me what it is, though."

"Originality is what makes each of us a masterpiece. Don't stick to the same old way of doing things."

"Nature doesn't need our help to be beautiful - but we need the help of nature."

"What I'd like to know is what is worse - physically touching a woman or thinking about one."

"The master could be in complete control, or he could be insane."

"This reminds me of something my mother told me last week. 'Stop dreaming and live.'"

"This story is very depressing to me - and it also doesn't make any sense."

"Sounds just like my father - always in control, always right, always the leader. But WE know the truth!"

"Always look at yourself first."

"People you would never expect to be the 'ONE' usually turn out to be the best, if they're just given a chance."

"Sooner or later, we all have to move on, both during this life and afterwards."

"Your true self is who you are - that's it!"

"Enlightenment may not be an unachievable task - it may be right in front of us all the time."

~ Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors ~