Simplicity (Lao Tzu)


Manifest plainness

embrace simplicity

reduce selfishness

have few desires.



- Lao Tzu

A Koan: Muddy Road

Tanzan and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.

Coming around a bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.

“Come on, girl,” said Tanzan at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.

Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. “We monks don’t go near females,” he told Tanzan, “especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”

“I left the girl there,” said Tanzan. “Are you still carrying her?”

A Koan: Thirty Years


A fellow went to a Zen master and said, “If I work very hard, how soon can I be enlightened?”

The Zen master looked him up and down and said, “Ten years.”

The fellow said, “No, listen, I mean if I really work at it, how long—”

The Zen master cut him off. “I’m sorry. I misjudged. Twenty years.”

”Wait!” Said the young man, “You don’t understand! I’m—”

“Thirty years,” said the Zen master.