5.  If You Love, Love Openly  

In a tranquil Zen monastery, a group of twenty monks and one nun, named Eshun, dedicated themselves to the practice of meditation under the guidance of a revered Zen master. Despite her shaved head and plain dress, Eshun possessed a captivating beauty that silently enchanted several of her fellow monks. Secretly, they found themselves falling in love with her, their hearts stirred by her presence.

One courageous monk, consumed by his feelings, took a bold step and penned a heartfelt love letter to Eshun, expressing his deep affection and yearning for a private meeting. Filled with hope, he eagerly awaited her response.

However, days went by, and Eshun remained silent. It seemed as though her heart and mind were focused solely on her spiritual journey. Then, on the following day, after the master concluded his lecture, Eshun rose from her seat, capturing the attention of the entire group.

With grace and determination, she addressed the one who had penned the love letter, her voice steady yet filled with wisdom. "If you truly love me with such intensity," she proclaimed, "then come forth and embrace me now."

Eshun's words echoed through the silent hall, carrying a profound message to all who listened. In her simple yet profound response, she unveiled a test of love, challenging the monk to examine the depth and sincerity of his affection. It was a call to go beyond mere words and bravely demonstrate the genuineness of his emotions.

This story reflects the teachings of Zen, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and direct experience. Eshun, as the nun, embodied both beauty and spiritual devotion, evoking admiration and desire among her fellow monks. However, her response served as a powerful reminder that love transcends romantic notions and requires a courageous and selfless commitment.

In asking the monk to embrace her, Eshun unveiled the truth that true love is not confined to written expressions or secret longings but rather blossoms through genuine connection and selfless action. She invited the monk to rise above the realm of fantasy and to confront the reality of love in its purest form.

Ultimately, this Zen story reminds us that love goes beyond mere words and desires. It calls us to embody love through our actions, demonstrating sincerity, selflessness, and a willingness to embrace others wholeheartedly. Eshun's test of love serves as a transformative lesson, guiding us to approach relationships with authenticity, courage, and a genuine commitment to understanding and connecting with others on a deeper level.
6. "An old tree grows on a cold rock in winter."
In a remarkable tale of devotion and curiosity, a female domestic servant dedicatedly served a Zen ascetic for over two decades. Her unwavering love and commitment manifested in timely meals and the meticulous preparation of the meditation cottage. However, she harbored a burning desire to witness the transformative effects of meditation on the Zen master's behavior and character. Determined to explore this, she devised a plan to test the ascetic's resolve by introducing a woman driven by lust into his presence.

Following the servant's instructions, the woman seductively embraced the ascetic, aiming to ignite and amplify his sexual desires. When the ascetic emerged from his deep meditation, he found himself confronted by the woman, who asked him what he desired. Responding poetically, he remarked, "Why does an old tree need nurturing heat? It will grow in a cold stone even in the rainy season." With these words, he returned to his meditative state.
Observing this encounter, the mission-oriented servant maid grew increasingly frustrated and impatient. Her internal monologue betrayed her disappointment as she questioned the value of her twenty years of service to such an ascetic. Fueled by these emotions, she ultimately resorted to burning down the meditation cottage.
The visiting seductress, perplexed by this unexpected turn of events, questioned the resident maid, asking why she was so angered. Justifying the ascetic's response, the seductress claimed, "The ascetic behaved as an ascetic should. Did you truly expect him to succumb to the desires of a nymphomaniac like me?" In response, the maid rebuked, "I did not anticipate his actions. However, he exhibited no compassion towards you, neither in word nor in deed. He failed to show even the faintest acknowledgment of your condition as a nymphomaniac." In her words, there lay an unspoken truth.
Ascetics, as practitioners, detach themselves from notions of "I," "Me," and "Mine," shedding their selfishness and self-centeredness. It is widely understood that ascetics embrace personal responsibility, addressing themselves in the first person. In the face of the hyper-sexual woman's advances, the ascetic could have expressed anger or compassion, acknowledging her plight. Compassion might have led him to meet her needs. However, the ascetic simply stated, "I do not need it." If his thoughts remained fixated on himself and his desires, then meditation had failed to yield any benefits. Such is the conclusion that arises.
In this captivating tale, the impact of meditation on the character of a Zen ascetic is laid bare, revealing the complexities and challenges of traversing the path of enlightenment. It invites contemplation on the nature of selflessness, compassion, and the transformative power of introspection.
                                                                               Story 7. Tanzan and his last message on postal cards (Announcement)
In the final days of his life, Tanzan, a renowned Zen master, sat down and wrote sixty postal cards. Each card bore a simple yet profound message. Once Tanzan finished writing, he entrusted an attendant with the task of mailing them.

The cards read:
"I am departing from this world. This is my last announcement."
Shortly after completing the cards, Tanzan peacefully passed away, leaving behind a legacy of wisdom and contemplation.
This story speaks to the impermanence of life and the acceptance of mortality. Tanzan, aware of his impending departure from the physical world, took the opportunity to leave a final message. The simplicity of the message underscores the transience of human existence and serves as a reminder to embrace the present moment.
The teaching imparted by this story is twofold. First, it emphasizes the importance of recognizing and accepting the impermanence of life. Tanzan, being a Zen master, understood that death is an integral part of the human experience. By acknowledging his imminent passing, he offered a lesson in confronting mortality with grace and clarity.
Secondly, the story underscores the significance of leaving a lasting impact. Though Tanzan's announcement was brief, it carried profound weight and invited reflection. By writing the postal cards, Tanzan ensured that his final message would reach others, extending his teachings beyond his physical existence. It serves as a reminder that the impact we make on others can continue long after we are gone.
Furthermore, the story highlights the power of simplicity in conveying profound truths. Tanzan's concise message cuts through the complexities of life, inviting contemplation and encouraging the listener to reflect on their own existence. It reminds us that sometimes, the most potent teachings can be found in the simplest expressions.
In essence, the story of Tanzan and the sixty postal cards invites us to embrace the transient nature of life, live in the present moment, and consider the legacy we leave behind. It encourages us to reflect on the profound impact our actions and words can have on others, reminding us that even a simple message can carry immense power and touch the lives of many.