Thursday, November 15, 2012

Z is for Zen

In days gone by, Zen master Hui Chueh, had a disciple who called on him for instruction. The master taught her to examine the sentence: "Take no notice."

She followed his instruction strictly without backsliding. One day her house caught fire, but she said: "Take no notice." Another day, her son fell into the water and when a bystander called her, she said: "Take no notice."

She observed exactly her master's instruction by laying down all casual thoughts.

One day, while cooking, she threw into the pan full of hot oil a batter which made a noise. Upon hearing the noise, she was instantly enlightened. She threw the pan of oil on the ground, clapped her hands and laughed. Thinking she was insane, her husband scolded her and said: "Why did you do this? Are you mad?"

She replied: "Take no notice."

Then she went to the master Hui Chueh and asked him to verify her achievement. The master confirmed that she had obtained the holy fruit.


A friend who heard this story was worried. "Does this mean she just let her child drown?", she asked anxiously. It doesn't say but I don't think so. I think she went about the business of saving him without allowing the situation to get to her emotionally and mentally.

Jenny Matlock


  1. I love this story and I am so glad I stumbled on it from the linky (I didn't post one this week but was reading through Z posts for fun!). Being able to detach from the emotional craziness that swirls around us is a true achievement. For most of us that detachment is hard. Our culture seems to expect us to get wrapped up in feelings rather than stepping back mentally and observing what's happening. I just published an ebook on this topic for parents. It's called Detachment Parenting.

  2. So nice to see you writing again :)

    1. Thank you. I'm glad to see you've been writing again too. :)

  3. Very interesting, enchanting post. Thank you!

    Saying 'hello' via Alphabe- Thursday - mine for letter 'Z' @ ImagesByCW is about Zug, Switzerland

  4. Oh Cathy!

    Zis was a really great link!

    I loved your style of writing here.

    Very Aesop's Tale-y.



    I suspect that's a strange comment, but that's what your writing reminded me of.

    And I love those tales!

    Thanks for linking.



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