Zen Master and Jewish Novice – A Zen Story

spiritual stories
Zen Master and Jewish Novice - A Zen Story
spiritual stories – Zen Master and Jewish Novice – A Zen Story

ZEN MASTER: “I have here a staff, and yet I don’t have a staff. How would you explain that?”

Jewish novice: “I wouldn’t!”

Master: “Now, don’t be impertinent! It is incumbent on you — if you really wish to attain enlightenment as you claim — to make every possible effort to answer this.”

Novice: “All right, I guess that looked at one way you have a staff; looked at another way you don’t.”

Master: “No, that is not what I mean at all! I mean that looked at exactly the SAME way, I have a staff and I don’t have a staff. Now how do you explain that?”

Novice: “I give up!”

Master: “But you SHOULDN’T give up! You should strain every ounce of your being to unravel this.”

Novice: “I won’t argue with you as to whether I should give up. The existential fact simply is that I do give up.”

Master: “But don’t you wish to attain enlightenment?”

Novice: “If attaining enlightenment means considering such damn-fool questions, then to hell with it! I am sorry to disappoint you, but goodbye!”


Novice: “And so I return to you, oh master, in a state of absolute contrition. For twelve years now I have been wandering about feeling terrible for my cowardice and impatience. I now realize that I can’t keep running away from life. Sooner or later I have to face the ultimate problems of the universe. So now I am ready to steel myself and try to work in earnest on the problem you gave me.

Master: “What problem was that?”

Novice: “You said that you have a staff and yet you don’t have a staff. How do I explain that?”

Master: “Is that what I really said? Why how silly of me!”

ZEN HAS NO TEACHING, Zen has no doctrine. Zen gives no guidance, because it says there is no goal. It says you are not to move into a certain direction. It says you are already there, so the more you try to reach there, the less is the possibility of reaching. The more you seek, the more you will miss. Seeking is the sure way of missing it.
Getting it simply means getting the point that it is already available, that it has already happened, that it is the very nature of existence.

Osho – As told in ‘Take it easy’


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