Zen Story 19. The First Principle
In the serene realm of Obaku temple, nestled within Kyoto's embrace, a profound sight awaits those who venture through its gate. High above, meticulously carved into the archway, gleam the words "The First Principle." These grandiose letters, an embodiment of exquisite calligraphy, have garnered the awe and admiration of all who appreciate such artistry. Their origins trace back two centuries to the skilled hands of Kosen.
As Kosen set out to capture the essence on paper, an audacious disciple accompanied him. This pupil, well-versed in the craft of ink-making, had diligently prepared several gallons of ink for the master's calligraphic endeavors. Throughout the process, he seized every opportunity to critique his teacher's work, convinced of his own discerning eye.
The first attempt met with the student's disapproval. "That falls short," he commented bluntly.
Undeterred, Kosen persevered, his brush gracefully gliding across countless sheets, pouring his soul into each stroke. Yet, no matter how assiduous his efforts, the young critic withheld his approval, dismissing each iteration as inferior to the last.
Seizing a fleeting moment when the apprentice stepped outside, Kosen saw his chance to evade the watchful gaze. With unencumbered thoughts and unhurried hand, he penned the definitive revelation: "The First Principle."
Upon the pupil's return, his discerning eyes fell upon the latest creation. "A masterpiece," he declared, his voice brimming with awe and admiration.
Zen Story 20. A Mother's Advice.

In the era of Tokugawa, during a time when wisdom flowed through the realm, there existed a remarkable Shingon master named Jiun. Renowned for his profound knowledge of Sanskrit, he captivated his fellow students with eloquent lectures in his youth.

Word of Jiun's scholarly pursuits reached the ears of his concerned mother, prompting her to pen a heartfelt letter:

"My dearest son, when I reflect upon your journey as a devoted follower of the Buddha, I cannot help but wonder if your intention was solely to become a walking encyclopedia for others. The pursuit of knowledge knows no bounds, forever entangled in the web of explanations and accolades. Oh, how I implore you to reconsider this path of constant lecturing.

Instead, envision a different destiny for yourself. Seek solace within the confines of a humble temple, hidden away amidst the serene embrace of a remote mountain. Dedicate your days to the profound practice of meditation, for it is through this introspection that true realization shall unfold."

With motherly love and wisdom, she beseeched Jiun to tread a path less adorned with worldly accomplishments, urging him to immerse himself in the depths of solitude, where the sacred essence of enlightenment awaited.