The Zen Master Shido Bunan was once appealed to by a family of local lords at Okubo. For over twenty years they had been plagued by continuous misfortunes and they had consulted various astrologers, spirit mediums, and even some Buddhist priests, but without success. The disasters went on.
When the request for help came Bunan read it and simply said: “there’s no need for me to make a special visit for this sort of thing. Give the messenger this.” He slumped down at his writing table, slapped down a sheet of white paper, snatched up a brush, and splodged what looked like a black rice cake in the middle of the sheet. He passed it to the messenger with the words “Tell them to paste it up somewhere.”
The horrified messenger took it back and reported to the head of the Okubo family who also had the feeling he was being made the butt of a joke and said so openly. Still, he had it pasted up on the wall of the main hall. Strange to say, the chain of catastrophes stopped at once and the bewildered Okubo’s sent a fulsome note of thanks to the Zen Master.
Perhaps they never made up their minds what to think. The Zen sect, unlike most of the other Buddhist sects does not provide charms or amulets, so this could hardly be a charm. And by its nature and the way it was produced it certainly could not be a charm. So how was it that it worked?
© 1999 Trevor Leggett
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