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Heaven and Hell

A warrior asked Zen Master Hakuin about Buddhism.

“What is the difference between heaven and hell?” asked the warrior.

“Who are you?” Zen Master Hakuin asked back.

“I am a warrior.” replied the warrior.

Zen Master Hakuin laughed and said: “A vulgar person like you does not deserve my answer.”

The warrior flew into a rage and drew his saber towards Zen Master Hakuin:”I am going to kill you!”

The saber almost fell upon Zen Master Hakuin’s head when he whispered calmly: “This is hell.”

The warrior was startled and then seemed to be enlightened. He threw the saber away immediately, put his palms together, knelt down and saluted Zen Master Hakuin with his head: “Thank you for your guidance, Master. Please forgive my recklessness.”

Zen Master Hakuin said softly: “This is heaven.”


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