Japanese Rinzai Zen master (1689—1769)

“Is That So?”

The Zen master Hakuin was praised by his neighbors as one living a pure life.

A beautiful Japanese girl whose parents owned a food store lived near him. Suddenly without any warning, her parents discovered she was with child.

This made her parents angry. She would not confess who the man was, but after much harassment at last named Hakuin.

In great anger the parents went to the master. “Is that so?” was all he would say.

After the child was born it was brought to Hakuin. By this time he had lost his reputation, which did not trouble him, but he took very good care of the child. He obtained milk from his neighbors and everything else the little one needed.

A year later the girl-mother could stand it no longer. She told her parents the truth—that the real father of the child was a young man who worked in the fishmarket.
The mother and father of the girl at once went to Hakuin to ask his forgiveness, to apologize at length, and to get the child back again.

Hakuin was willing. In yielding the child, all he said was: “Is that so?”

From Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, compiled by Paul Reps, reprinted with permission from Bantam, Doubleday, Dell.

The Kanjurwa Khutughtu

High-ranking lama at Sergu Monastery, Inner Mongolia (1914-1978)

“People commonly feel that because an incarnation is a “Living Buddha” certainly he must experience only serenity, perpetual happiness, and have no worries. Unfortunately this is not so. As a Khubilgan (living Buddha, incarnate lama, tulku) I am quali fied to speak about this matter. I know the feelings of an incarnation “

A Mongolian Living Buddha: Biography of the Kanjurwa Khutughtu, by Paul Hyer and Sechin Jagchid, State University of New York Press.

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