I talked to a friend of mine about this and he gave me a little different
perspective. He reminded me that zen in the West has been very heavily
influenced by Japanese and Korean zen, both of which are expressions of very
macho cultures. The West also is pretty macho so it was an easy transition.
He indicated that Chinese zen was a little less macho, but nothing much
exists at least nothing much has been translated about zen teachings with a
more compassionate perspective. At least he didn't know of any.
I hope someone does know of some sources, or perhaps has access to some
non-English texts that talk more about the compassionate side of zen. I'd
be very interested to hear about them.
Bill previously wrote:
Kathy, Okay - now I'm seriously going to try to address your question.
It's an interesting question. I thought a lot about it and really can't
come up with the type of philosophical or warm-'n-fuzzy quote you're
probably looking for. I know zen just doesn't put a lot of value on
philosophy, and maybe not even warm-'n-fuzzy.
Almost any koan (zen teaching parable) than involves a mondo (question and
response session) between teacher and student would demonstrate the
compassion a zen teacher has for others.
The most famous koan like that is Joshu's koan 'Mu' (The Gateless Gate, Case
1) in which Joshu answers one of his student's off-topic questions with a
nonsensical, seemingly inappropriate reply to encourage his student to look
to himself for answers.
Another is 'Gutei's One Finger' (The Gateless Gate, Case 3) in which Gutei
permanently deprives his student of using an easy, non-original answer -
forcing him to come up with one of his own.
These, from my perspective, show true zen-inspired compassion.
Does anyone have three or so short, but poignant quotes regarding
compassion? Something from a great teacher or the sutras or like that. I
read alot of Zen and Buddhist books, but can't remember quotes (I can't tell
a joke, either; it could be five words long and I'd still screw up the punch
I appreciate any help you can give - I do a couple Websites/online forums
and am always trying to slip Zen thought (non-thought) in under the radar;
without being tooooooo preachy.