On Heaven and Hell – A Zen Story

The Gates of Paradise

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin and asked: “Is there really a paradise and a hell?”

“Who are you?” inquired Hakuin.

“I am a samurai” the warrior replied.

“You, a soldier!” sneered Hakuin, “What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? You look like a beggar.”

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword.

Hakuin continued: “So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably to dull to cut off my head.”

Nobushige drew his sword.

Hakuin remarked: “Here open the gates of hell!”

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, put away his sword and bowed.

“Here open the gates of paradise”, said Hakuin.

 

 

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Zen Master Hakuin

 

 


 

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