Buddhism, Short, Stories

Enter Zen from there; A simple Zen story of how to find peace

Enter Zen From Here - AnAccidentalAnarchist.com

Photo thanks to Henry Burrows cc

A learning student of Zen practice was out for a stroll with a more experienced teacher. They walked through the mountains near their accommodation.  Majestic views, a cool evening, everything so calm, truly a blissful environment to walk.

After some time the student said to his friend, “I am trying to find Zen* but I keep thinking about where best to begin and how to do it”.

They continue walking for a few minutes. The student, lost now in further worry, begins to think his friend might not have heard the remark.  He opens his mouth to speak again when his teacher comments. “Do you hear the steam? Enter Zen from there.”

The student listens for a minute or two, paying attention until he eventually hears the sound of a distant stream.  “Satori”** He realised something he could not express.

They continue walking and for the first time the student experiences all there is around him.  After some time however, his mind intrudes upon this peace.  He asks his teacher, “What would you have said if I could not hear the stream? If I heard or saw something else?” 

His teacher responds, “Enter Zen from there.”

We can choose to enter mindful alertness and find peace at any time using anything. I find myself guilty of demanding the ‘right’ circumstances sometimes.  But, we can instead just choose to be alert and alive to the unfolding moments.  Don’t let the mind make excuses or conjure layers of complexity.

We can enter Zen from anywhere!

*Zen – Something words cannot describe, but perhaps the state of completeness with the universe, mindfulness, alertness, presence.

**Satori – A sudden realisation or enlightenment.


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  1. Great post. From a Christian point of view it reminds me a bit of Jesus saying, “You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.” – – Luke 17:21

  2. just beautiful. than you.

  3. I love how many religions teach many of the same teachings. Loving and learning from our earth is evidently a part of them too. Beautiful story!

    • Yes, totally agree, so much shared wisdom in tales from various religion. In my opinion we all have the same issues in one way or another.

  4. Niklas

    And if we cannot be alert and mindful, if our mind it constantly on the move, even agitated;
    That door is just as wide.
    We enter there.

    • This made me smile, yes, that’s a harder lesson but there are not places where we cannot enter. Thank-you for the insightful comment 🙂

  5. That’s the way it is, folks!

    Btw. – do You have a collection of Koans or non-Japanese buddhist stories and tales that You can really recommend?

    Would You mind to share title/s?

    • Sorry, I don’t have a collection as such, but rather have come across various stories in teachings from various sources. The closest thing to a book of stories would be ‘Opening the door of your heart’ by Ajahn Brahm.

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