A Zen Story About A Dragon

Cease grasping at illusions, cease running from phantoms.

There is a Zen story about a man that painted a dragon. When he finished, he put down his brush, looked at the picture, and was afraid. All the myriad things are nothing but the one mind of each of you, why should you fear your own creations? Why should you chase after possessions, everything is already yours. Everything pours forth from your own true mind.

The sages of all the great spiritual traditions were not born as sages; they were no different than any one of you. Once they awakened to the true nature of their own awareness, greed and fear naturally fell away. What did they not already possess? Since there was nothing outside of their own minds, what was there to fear?

If you want to awaken, let go of everything. When conceptualization ceases, the myriad things cease, and all that remains is your own pure and clear awareness. It has never been hidden from you. Now is the time, here is the place.

~The Flatbed Sutra of Louie Wing

4 thoughts on “A Zen Story About A Dragon”

  1. Hello Cowboy Pete,

    Ha! Very true! Unfortunately, it seems that too often I have to learn that lesson the hard way — Whack! Ouch!

    Steady as she goes,

  2. Hello Ted

    It does not seem wise , in the first place, to kneel unarmed before an unpredicable man with a stick

    smooth sailin Cap’n

  3. Hello Cowboy Pete,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Ha! That is a good one. I remember a similar story that Joseph Campbell related:

    A Hindu student asked his master, “What is God?”

    The master said, “You and all things are God.”

    The student was overwhelmed with joy and wandered off in awe. “I am God,” he thought, “How wonderful. I am God, the road is God. Everything is God.”

    As he walked along in bliss, he heard someone shouting, “Look out! Get out of the way!” The student looked and saw a man riding an elephant coming down the road. The student thought, “I am God, the elephant is God. Why would God need to get out of God’s way?”

    The elephant got closer, then picked to student up with its trunk and threw him aside. The disillusioned student, after awhile, got up and limped back to his master and told him what had happened.

    The master said, “Whe did you not listen to the voice of God coming from atop the elephant?”

    Haha! Perhaps getting out of the way of elephants (and kendo sticks) has more to do with wisdom than fear.

    Thanks again!


  4. Dear Ted,

    A Zen Master asked a monk to carve a kendo stick. After he finished, he handed the wooden sword to the Master, who asked “Why are you afraid of this piece of wood?”

    To show his attainment, the monk replied

    “All the myriad things are nothing but the one mind of each of you, why should you fear your own creations?”

    Immediately the Master began pounding the monk on the head with the stick, calling after him as he fled, ” Good question!”

    Question: Did the monk answer his own question?

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