Zen’s dying…

A famous zen master was lying on his death bed. A line of people trailed out the door and across the zen garden of those who had come to pay their respects to the master before he passed. They had come from all over to see the great zen master one last time.

The zen master’s student, Ryon, was also in this long line to see his master for what was permited, ten minutes for each patron to allow time for every one to visit with the zen master.

As Ryon entered the zen master’s room, the master graciously welcomed his student. The student stood next to the zen master’s bed, silent. Tears rolled down his cheek as he could see that the life was evaporating from his beloved teacher.

“I know not what to say master. You will no longer be with this world and I can not seem to find any words worthy.” The student sniffled.

“You need not say anything,” the zen master mumbled. “Your being here is enough. I however have a request.”

“Anything master,” the student stated. “Your wish is my command.”

“I will soon die…” the master began. “Do not let zen die.”

“I shall see that your teachings grow like the flowers in a field.” The student said. With this the zen master smiled.

“Of all the words I have heard spoken today, those were the most comforting.” The zen master stated. The abbott ushered the next visitor into the room as the student bowed to his teacher who lay withering and yet smiling.

by Art~ 2012            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

If you had ten minutes to spend with a loved one who was dying, what would you do or say?

This story evolved from the task I had on my friday at work!

Don’t wait until it is too late to tell some one how much you love them and how much you care. For when they are gone, no matter how loud you shout and cry they won’t hear you anymore!


…as one Zen master laughed on his death-bed: “All this time I’ve been selling water by the river!”

This famous Zen saying says it all about the quandary of the spiritual dilemma. What we seek… is what is seeking, our own self. And since what is seeking is already here, in other words, you are already here, then what we are seeking is already here as well!  But, alas, many of us don’t realize this, don’t know this. And therefore we seek, we search.

The Zen Master says, “but, but… the River, your own self, is already always here!”

“Free Water really…. religion is like, selling water by the river!”


A contemporary zen master lay dying on his death bed. His monks had all gathered around his bed, from the most senior to the most novice monk. The senior monk leaned over to ask the dying master if he had any final words of advice for his monks.

The old master slowly opened his eyes and in a weak voice whispered. “Tell them Truth is like a river.” The senior monk passed this bit of wisdom in turn to the monk next to him, and it circulated around the room. When the words reached the youngest monk he asked, “What does he mean.’Truth is like a river’?”

The question was passed back around the room to the senior monk who leaned over the bed and asked, “Master, what do you mean, ‘Truth is like a river’?”

Slowly the master opened his eyes and in a weak voice whispered, “O.K., truth is not like a river.”


Traditionally a Zen Master would write a poem when about to die. The poem served as a summation of life and a gift to inspire his disciples.

Coming and going, life and death;
A thousand hamlets, a million houses.
Dont you get the point?
Moon is the water, blossom in the sky….

Empty-handed I entered the world
Barefoot I leave it.
My coming, my going –
Two simple happenings
That got entangled.

Senryu, died June 2, 1827

Like dew drops
on a lotus leaf
I vanish.

Shinsui, died September 9, 1769, at 49

Now it reveals its hidden side
and now the other—thus it falls,
an autumn leaf

Ryokan 1758-1831

One Zen master, Takuan, was on his deathbed.
He asked for some paper and his calligraphic
brush. It has been a long-standing tradition in the
world of Zen that masters when departing from
life give their last statement, written. Takuan
wrote on the paper a Japanese word which
means dream. He laughed, closed his eyes, the
brush dropped from his hand…

During his last moment, Shisui’s followers requested that he write a death poem. He grasped his brush, painted a circle, cast the brush aside, and died. The circle is one of the most important symbols of Zen Buddhism. It indicates void — the essence of all things — and enlightenment.

 (When I first started posting on this blog I placed a lot of what I would call the best of my collection and yet back then not very many read these stories. SO, I will post some of these stories as they become relative.)

another zendictive post (related story)

Butter and Stones

death is a journey we all must experience at the end of our travels through life!


 may you live as if there were no tomorrow