Soyen Shaku, the first Zen teacher to come to America, said: “My heart burns like fire but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes.” He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.

  • In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.


  • Retire at a regular hour.


  • Partake of food at regular intervals. Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.


  • Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone. When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.


  • Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.


  • When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting.


  • Do not regret the past. Look to the future.


  • Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.


  • Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep. Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes.


source: Gateless Gate

picture source: 220px‑Soyen_Shaku.jpg


Mokusen Hiki was living in a temple in the province of Tamba. One of his adherents complained of the stinginess of his wife.

Mokusen visited the adherent’s wife and showed her his clenched fist before her face.

“What do you mean by that?” asked the surprised woman.

“Suppose my fist were always like that. What would you call it?” he asked.

“Deformed,” replied the woman.

Then he opened his hand flat in her face and asked: “Suppose it were always like that. What then?”

“Another kind of deformity,” said the wife.

“If you understand that much,” finished Mokusen, “you are a good wife.” Then he left.

After his visit, this wife helped her husband to distribute as well as to save.


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