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The Severe Zen Teaching

A short Zen story speaks of the severity of a Zen master which ultimately resulted in the enlightenment of an unusual number of ten disciples.

Zen pupils pledge that they will learn Zen unswervingly even if their life is at stake at the hands of their teacher. They normally cut a finger to affirm their resolve with blood. It soon became a formality.

Ekido, the Zen master was a very strict instructor . He was so severe that his pupils feared him.

Once a pupil missed a few strikes of the gong which he sounded to tell the time of the day, when his eyes followed a beautiful girl who passed by the temple gate.

At that time, Ekido who happened to be there, struck him with a stick from behind and the pupil happened to die.

The guardian of the people rushed to meet Ekido on hearing the death of the pupil. He praised Ekido for his severe instruction on coming to know that he was not to be blamed.

Ekido on the other hand was his same self as if the pupil was alive.

The master was believed to produce ten enlightened successors after the event. The dead pupil was considered a martyr.

Story first published: Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 15:47 [IST]
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