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Short Story: The Zen master’s love for his young student brought a Zen moment to the student

A young and rather inexperienced monk asked Guinuin, his old Zen master the following question:

“What is the first principle of Zen?”

The master smiled kindly, as he replied,

“What you just asked me is actually the second principle of Zen.”

The young student felt perplexed, and rather lost by this answer of his great master.

“What else can you say to me about Zen,” the student pleaded to his master. “This makes no sense to me at all.”

The old master sat down on the large rock with his student, under an equally old and gnarled oak tree, in the nearby forest. The sun streamed through gently onto both of them.

Then Guinuin, the old master, replied to his young student like this:

“Zen is not based around principles, laws, rules, or anything else. Zen is love. Once you see that, you drop at once into your heart, where the true enlightenment lies. You will never find it in your head by thinking about principles, or trying to understand or categorise it with your intellect.”

“Love, and be enlightened now.”

The student looked at his old master, and he felt the master’s real love for himself. He dropped into his heart for a moment as he connected with his master. He had then a taste of the enlightenment that would come to him later, even as he learned more fully how to drop his mind, and to place his heart first in everything.

Only such a loving connection to God, to yourself, or to another person is real.

This is why even the master Jesus advised us all to love God with our whole person, in his two great laws.

Jesus replied: ‘”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'”

These verses, from the Christian Bible, come from Saint Matthew’s gospel, chapter 22, verse 37 to 39.


Our mind reaches out to love, but can never feel it. 

Only living from our heart first puts love first in our life, and only this leads us to the real truth and, enlightenment naturally then follows.

Enlightenment is then felt in your mind too, even as the light of this truth illuminates your mind with itself too, then too.

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What do you think?


Written by The Dunce

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  1. At the heart of all else is love. This is no different with Zen. The best teacher always teaches from love.

    It is said that God is love. We can ask for no more than this. Zen is a teaching, based on Buddhism.

    If there really is a God though, all religions, must in the end have their realisation through God. Otherwise, it can never be a complete realisation, or enlightenment.

    Enlightenment that ignores love, is only an illusion of the mind.

    Love, only love, can provide us with answers, better than the intellect can, and give us meaning which our minds can never find.


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