True Religion Has the Right Priorities

[It is unfortunate, but true that when people compare different religions, they tend to focus on the differences instead of what they share in common. Here is an often told Zen tale that expresses the priority of helping those in need. It is a teaching of Jesus, also as reflected in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.]

Japanese Courage Pictures, Images and Photos

This story is few centuries old when wooden blocks were used to preserve words for posterity.

Tetsugen was a Great devotee of Zen in Japan and although he has left the body he is still very much alive in many hearts. During his time Sutras (Holy scripts) were available in Chinese language only.

Zen had started in China and from there it flourished more in Japan and now it is reaching to people all over the world. Tetsugen decided to print these Sutras (Holy scripts) in wooden blocks. It was a big project as 7000 wooden blocks were required.

Tetsugen himself did not have the money so he started traveling around the country and collecting the funds. Few people gave money lavishly but mostly people were miser in their donation but Tetsugen thanked each person from his heart full of gratitude. After 10 years Tetsugen had enough money to start publishing the Sutras.

Incidentally at the same time the river overflowed and many families were in distress. Tetsugen took the money he had collected for the project and used it to help the starving families.

Then again Tetsugen started collecting the money to raise the funds for the books. It took him several more years to collect the required fund. Incidentally this time an epidemic followed in the country. The generous Tetsugen again distributed the money he had collected to help the starving people.

Now for a third time Tetsugen again started collecting money. Finally after twenty years, his wish was fulfilled. He managed to print the Sutras in to wooden block.

The wooden blocks which were produced by Tetsugen are available at the Obaku monastery in Kyoto. The Japanese people tell their children that Tetsugen had made three sets of sutras and first two invisible sets of sutras surpass even the last.

[You can find the story here.]


About Paul Wharton

I am a cradle Catholic, a native West Virginian, and a priest since April 24, 1982. Spiritual Direction has made a tremendous difference in my life and I encourage people to try it out. My motto is "Progress not perfection." I am grateful that God has done for me what I could not do for myself.
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