a zen master, dreams

The great Taoist master Chuang Tzu once dreamt that he was a butterfly fluttering here and there. In the dream he had no awareness of his individuality as a person. He was only a butterfly.

Suddenly, he awoke and found himself laying there, a person once again. But then he thought to himself, “Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?”


moral; interpretations vary, perspectives are visuals from different stand points, life is truely amazing, to ponder rather reality is a dream or a dream is reality. I find dreams curious, I had one the other night where in a certain spot in this house, when you stood there, it lifted you upward, floating. Now, what gets me about this is the feelings that come along with the dream, you actually feel as though your being elevated, gravity defied. If I am awake, I could not reproduce the physical feeling of being lifted, yes I can imagine floating but without the feeling that dreams seem to recreate, fascinating.


food for thought

Dream interpretations date back to 3000-4000 B.C., where they were documented on clay tablets.  For as long as we have been able to talk about our dreams, we have been fascinated with them and have strived to understand them.

In some primal societies, members were unable to distinguish between the dream world and the waking world. Or they could simply choose not to make the distinction. They saw that the dream world was not only an extension of reality, but that it was a more powerful world. 


1. One-third of your life is spent sleeping.

2. In an average  lifetime, you would have spent a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm!


Everybody dreams. EVERYBODY! Simply because you do not remember your dream does not mean that you do not dream. In fact, you have several dreams during a normal night of sleep.


In reality, we cannot really fly, of course. Thus, such dreams can be representative of things that are beyond your physical limitations. In your mind, you can be anybody and do anything. Another way of interpreting flying dreams is that these dreams symbolize your strong mind and will. You feel undefeatable and that nobody can tell you what you cannot do and accomplish. Such dreams are sure to leave you with a great sense of freedom.



Master Takuan was on his death bed. A very devoted disciple came to the beloved master and asked:“Master, what would be your legacy to this world?Takuan answered him that he did not have any legacy in the world.But the Disciple insisted again asking: “Master don’t you have anything to say?”

After long moments, the Master finally answers:

“Life is nothing more than just a dream,”

In saying this, The Master expired.

have a dreamy day
(one more day of work and I’ll be back)

blind horse, guide horse*


(I read this at (the witty word wizards blog)… Cat, I asked her if I could add it to the zendictive collection of zen tales and she warmly did not hesitate in saying “Yes” which is what I love about her and those here at WordPress…sharing wisdom! )

Catlas Crosses the Internet

(from Cat’s blog here) For those of you who have not visited Cat’s blog, I highly recommend you read her words and poems filled with wisdom.

The following is a beautiful story, but it is not my story.  It touched me deeply when I read it and wanted to share it with you.

“Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.
But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice
something quite amazing.

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His
owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear
the sound of a bell. Looking around for the source of the sound, you
will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse’s halter is a small bell. It lets the blind
friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse
with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the
blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each
evening, it stops occasionally and looks back, Making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses, God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others into our life
To help us when we are in need..

Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing
bell of those who God places in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way.”

“Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly.”

Author Unknown/ Image source Unknown



Matthew 15:14

 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

(I have seen the blind leading the blind. Two men with walking canes outreached, making their way the best they can. Unity in the attempt to reach a destination. They did not allow their handicap to stop them from going where they felt they needed to travel to. Rather, they had the strength and courage to venture out in the world blindly to pursue a goal. I can only imagine what it would be like to go into the world without sight.)

The parable of the blind leading the blind can also relate to a man without vision, insight, knowledge and lacks heart followed by a man who would follow another over a cliff because they have not the sense to make their own way in life. Hence, those with sight will lead the blind.

We know nothing of our universe, little about our solar system and a handful of knowledge about this planet and a tid bit of knowledge about ourselves, the human race. (Do you disagree?) We haven’t a cure for the common cold, have we yet to cure cancers or recreate life in its miraculous form or defeat death and its mysterious grasp on human nature? Are we not the blind leading the blind. Or the blind horse and the guide horse.


I have often said about control…This planet spins through space at 66,000 miles an hour and no one in the drivers seat and you want to say your in control? We are like fleas on a dog and have no way of steering our vessel. There-fore, perhaps we are like the blind-horse and the planet is the guide horse.

I did re-construction on my link (Zen Trails) the page with a list of all stories posted on this blog. I hoped to make it easier for some one (including myself) to find the story they would like to read. Check it out and let me know what you think. (top left)

have an insightful day


The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.

 The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste. To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan? If you were consulting the fish industry, what would you recommend?

How Japanese Fish Stay Fresh: To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.

Moral; Have you realized that some of us are also living in a pond but most of the time tired & dull, so we need a Shark in our life to keep us awake and moving? Basically in our lives Sharks are new challenges to keep us active and lively….. The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a challenge.

  If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are Conqueror. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

food for thought

The games now are nothing like when I was growing up. Play Stations, Wii and kids skateboarding on handrails. The games are challenging and filled with puzzles like mazes and shooting galleries that work on a memory based play, remembering where you got killed on your last try, is a far more challenging experience than the old chess, checkers, monopoly games. Of course the physical games of baseball, football and basketball are still exhilarating. Do something challenging and see if you don’t feel more alive. Of course some of these video games can be frustrating. (grin) But if you are saying to yourself, “I am bored!” Then perhaps you need to be challenged. (as if life isn’t challenging enough)

 Mark Twain

“I thoroughly disapprove of duels. If a man should challenge me, I would take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to a quiet place and kill him.” 

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

always set the trail, never follow the path


The Zen Trials

by Art~

my zen gets tested everyday
what is zen? work or play

is the glass half full
or is it half empty
I look and I see
that I have plenty

I see the dog has no patience
when it comes to eating
devouring my shoe, I pat his head
rather than give him a beating

the water faucet drips
an annoying sound
I submerse myself
in its constant pound

a man speeds around me
and my slow moving car
he raises his middle finger
I’m number one, a motorist star

I stub my toe and I’m
not sure what to do
be as silent as a zen master?
no, I yell out, “my toe is now blue.”

new tests will come
the grades aren’t kept in a file
measuring the progress
of my zen trials

have a challenging day

mind, the poison

A long time ago, a girl named Li-Li got married and went to live with her husband and mother-in-law. In a very short time, Li-Li found that she couldn’t get along with her mother-in-law at all. Their personalities were very different, and Li-Li was angered by many of her mother-in-law’s habits. In addition, she criticized Li-Li constantly.

Days passed days, and weeks passed weeks. Li-Li and her mother-in-law never stopped arguing and fighting. But what made the situation even worse was that, according to ancient Chinese tradition, Li-Li had to bow to her mother-in-law and obey her every wish. All the anger and unhappiness in the house was causing the poor husband great distress.

Finally, Li-Li could not stand her mother-in-law’s bad temper and dictatorship any longer, and she decided to do something about it.

Li-Li went to see her father’s good friend, Mr. Huang, who sold herbs. She told him the situation and asked if he would give her some poison so that she could solve the problem once and for all. Mr. Huang thought for awhile, and finally said, “Li-Li, I will help you solve your problem, but you must listen to me and obey what I tell you.”

Li-Li said, “Yes, Mr. Huang, I will do whatever you tell me to do.” Mr. Huang went into the back room, and returned in a few minutes with a package of herbs.

He told Li-Li, “You can’t use a quick-acting poison to get rid of your mother-in-law, because that would cause people to become suspicious. Therefore, I have given you a number of herbs that will slowly build up poison in her body. Every other day prepare some pork or chicken and put a little of these herbs in her serving. Now, in order to make sure that nobody suspects you when she dies, you must be very careful to act very friendly toward her. Don’t argue with her, obey her every wish, and treat her like a queen.” Li-Li was so happy. She thanked Mr. Huang and hurried home to start her plot of murdering her mother-in-law.

Weeks went by, and months went by, and every other day, Li-Li served the specially treated food to her mother-in-law. She remembered what Mr. Huang had said about avoiding suspicion, so she controlled her temper, obeyed her mother-in-law, and treated her like her own mother. After six months had passed, the whole household had changed. Li-Li had practiced controlling her temper so much that she found that she almost never got mad or upset. She hadn’t had an argument in six months with her mother-in-law, who now seemed much kinder and easier to get along with.

The mother-in-law’s attitude toward Li-Li changed, and she began to love Li-Li like her own daughter. She kept telling friends and relatives that Li-Li was the best daughter-in-law one could ever find. Li-Li and her mother-in-law were now treating each other like a real mother and daughter. Li-Li’s husband was very happy to see what was happening.

One day, Li-Li came to see Mr. Huang and asked for his help again. She said, “Dear Mr. Huang, please help me to keep the poison from killing my mother-in-law! She’s changed into such a nice woman, and I love her like my own mother. I do not want her to die because of the poison I gave her.”

Mr. Huang smiled and nodded his head. “Li-Li, there’s nothing to worry about. I never gave you any poison. The herbs I gave you were vitamins to improve her health. The only poison was in your mind and your attitude toward her, but that has been all washed away by the love which you gave to her.”


moral; time usually repair/fixes problems. Poison of the mind is as common as two left feet. Often we have ill feelings toward others that simply go away as one grows on us. As I reflect on this I think we all can relate to this situation. We have all probably known someone that we did not get along with at first but as time went by a bond grew in some way or another. I recall my mother telling me she did not like my step father when she first met him. He was boastful and loud, he was strong willed and intrusive in ways, but he treated my mother like a queen and won her affection.


poem by zen poet; Dogen 1200-1253

The moon reflected
In a mind clear
As still water:
Even the waves, breaking,
Are reflecting its light.


have a dog gone good day


the General (destiny)

During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”

He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.”

“Quite right,” the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.


moral: we make our own destiny, sometimes we need encouragement to believe in our selves or to have someone believe in us.  You can’t change the spots on a leapard, but the choices you make, can change your destiny,



To a woman who complained about her destiny, the Zen Master said, “It is you who makes your destiny.”

“But surely I am not responsible for being born a woman?”

“Being born a woman isn’t destiny. That is fate. Destiny is how you accept your womanhood and what you make of it.” Replied the Zen Master.


food for thought

the choices we make, not the chances we take, determine our destiny!


It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
….Winston Churchill…
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.William Jennings Bryan

One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
have a quality day

the rainbow (unity)


Once upon a time the colors of the world started to quarrel. All claimed that they were the best. The most important, the most useful, the most beautiful and the favorite.

Green said:
“Clearly I am the most important. I am the sign of life and of hope.
I was chosen for grass, trees and leaves. Without me, all animals would die. Look over the countryside and you will see that I am in the majority.”

Blue interrupted:
“You only think about the earth, but consider the sky and the sea.It is the water that is the basis of life and drawn up by the clouds from the deep sea. The sky gives space and peace and serenity. Without my peace, you would all be nothing.”

Yellow chuckled:
“You are all so serious. I bring laughter, gaiety, and warmth into the world. The sun is yellow, the moon is yellow, and the stars are yellow. Every time you look at a sunflower, the whole world starts to smile. Without me there would be no fun.”

Orange started next to blow her trumpet:
“I am the color of health and strength. I may be scarce, but I am precious for I serve the needs of human life. I carry the most important vitamins. Think of carrots, pumpkins, oranges, mangoes, and papayas. I don’t hang around all the time, but when I fill the sky at sunrise or sunset My beauty is so striking that no one gives another thought to any of you.”

Red could stand it no longer he shouted out:
“I am the ruler of all of you. I am blood – life’s blood!I am the color of danger and of bravery. I am willing to fight for a cause. I bring fire into the blood. Without me, the earth would be as empty as the moon. I am the color of passion and of love, the red rose, the poinsettia and the poppy.”

Purple rose up to his full height:
He was very tall and spoke with great pomp: “I am the color of royalty and power. Kings, chiefs, and bishops have always chosen me for I am the sign of authority and wisdom. People do not question me! They listen and obey.”

Finally Indigo spoke, much more quietly than all the others. But with just as much determination: “Think of me. I am the color of silence. You hardly notice me, but without me you all become superficial.I represent thought and reflection, twilight and deep water. You need me for balance and contrast, for prayer and inner peace.”

And so all the colors went on boasting. Each convinced of his or her own superiority. Their quarreling became louder and louder. Suddenly there was a startling flash of bright lightening, thunder rolled and boomed.Rain started to pour down relentlessly.The colors crouched down in fear, drawing close to one another for comfort.

In the midst of the clamor, the Rain began to speak: “You foolish colors, fighting among yourselves, each trying to dominate the rest. Don’t you know that you were each made for a special purpose, unique and different? Join hands with one another and come to me.”

Doing as they were told, the colors united and joined hands. The Rain continued “From now on, when it rains, each of you will stretch across the sky.In a great bow of color as a reminder that you can all live in peace.The Rainbow is a sign of hope for tomorrow.”

And so, whenever a good rain-washes the world and a Rainbow appears in the sky, is to let us remember to appreciate one another.

moral; It seems that we all find our importance either superior or inferior to others. The fact is that we all as a whole make up what is needed in this world. As with the Ying and the Yang there are opposites, the universal equation that is necessary in order for the world to work properly. Hot/cold, Up/down, light/dark, male/female and those whom are brighter/ those who are darker. Band together we all make the whole, a rainbow of versatility.


~~~color my world~~~

there is a treasure at the end of the rainbow

it is simply… beauty!

when I read this poem I knew I had to share it…


When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

Jersey Rain (2000)

have a colorful day



Buddha never forgot the promise he made to king Bimbisara to return and give him teachings. So when the time was right, he journeyed to Rajagriha. Outside this royal city was a hill called Vulture’s Peak, and Buddha and many of his disciples went and lived in caves there. King Bimbisara often went to Vulture’s Peak to hear the words of the Buddha. The people of the city went also, and soon the number of Buddha’s followers grew very large.

After some time, the King and several other rich people gave Buddha and his followers parks where everyone could stay and listen to his teachings in comfort. Buddha’s cousin, Devadatta, became very jealous. “He has so many people following him, ” he thought, “and everyone shows him so much respect. But they all ignore me, and I am as great as he is. I must destroy him !”

He knew that he would need help in killing the Buddha, so he went to King Billiards’s son.”Don’t you want to be King ?” he asked.
” Why should your father have all the wealth and power ?” Come, if you help me kill the Buddha, I shall help you kill your father. Then you can become King in his place.” The King’s son listened to these wicked words and agreed.

Then the two of them tried many ways to murder the Buddha.
One day, while Buddha was sitting in meditation near Vulture’s Peak, they rolled a very large boulder down the hill towards him. But just before it was going to crush him, the rock split in half, leaving Buddha unharmed.

Another time, Buddha was walking through the city with several of his closet disciples.The two men knew he was coming and were ready. They had bought an elephant and gave it lots of liquor to drink. When the elephant was quite drunk, they beat it with sticks until it was crazy with anger. Then they released it in the direction of the Buddha, hoping the elephant would trample him to death.
When the disciples saw the enraged elephant charging towards them, they ran away in fear. All except Ananda, Buddha’s closet companion, who stayed by his teacher’s side, holding onto Buddha’s robe.

Buddha saw the elephant coming and , instead of being frightened or angry, felt great love and pity for the poor beast. Even though the elephant was drunk and crazed, it felt the power of Buddha’s love.It stopped charging and walked over to the Buddha meekly, and then bowed down its large head at Buddha’s feet.

moral: Buddha patted the elephant gently an turned and said to Ananda,”The only way to destroy hatred is with love. Hatred can not be defeated with more hatred.”


3 haiku poems by one of my favorite zen poets

Matsuo Basho 1644- 1694 (Japan)

Wintry day,
on my horse
a frozen shadow.

A banana plant in the autumn gale -
I listen to the dripping of rain
Into a basin at night.

Wintry day,
on my horse
a frozen shadow.


may your day be filled with love