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Zen Is Right Here

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15 - notZen

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A well-known Japanese Rinzai Zen master dropped by Sokoji to meet Suzuki Roshi. After they chanted a sutra together, the visiting priest asked to see a sutra book on the altar. He looked at it, then suddenly exploded, stamping his foot on the floor and shouting, "This is not Zen!" He tore the book in two and threw it on the floor.

Suzuki squatted down and picked up the pieces. "Oh, this sutra book was donated to the temple when there was a memorial service for an old woman from a different sect.," he said. "We accept everything here. We chant everything. We eat everything." For a moment the guest still looked angry, then Suzuki said, "Let's go have some tea." A friendship began that continued as long as they were both alive.

p.17. Kazemitsu Kato, Sokoji, 1959.