David Bruce: 250 Anecdotes About Religion — Zen; 250 Anecdotes About Religion, Volume 2 — Age, Animals


• Westerners can go to a Zen temple and meditate if they wish, but they must follow the rules, one of which is that they arrive early for meditation. While in Japan, Robert E. Kennedy was meditating at a Zen center when an American Catholic Sister arrived late for meditation. The senior monk stared at her in astonishment, then he picked up his stick — used to hit the meditators when their attention drifts — advanced toward the Sister, raised it above his head, then hit the floor beside the Sister with a loud whack. The Sister began backing away, and again the senior monk raised the stick above his head, then he hit the floor beside the Sister with a loud whack. Now the Sister began running toward the doorway, and the senior monk ran after her and hit the door frame with a loud whack. The purpose of this was not to hurt the Sister, but simply to let her know that one is never tardy for a meditation session. After that demonstration, no one was ever tardy again.

• In the year 1582, some soldiers sought refuge at a Zen temple. When their enemy arrived at the temple and demanded that the soldiers be given to them, the abbot, Kwaisen, refused. Therefore, the enemy locked Kwaisen and the monks under him in a tower, then they set the tower on fire. Inside the tower, Kwaisen gave his final sermon, saying, “For peaceful meditation, we need not go to the mountains and streams. When thoughts are quiet, fire itself is cool and refreshing.” Kwaisen and the other monks died without making a sound.

• A student asked Zen master Qianfeng where the road that leads directly to Nirvana is located. Qianfeng used his staff to draw a line in the dirt in front of him, then he said, “The road begins right here.”


“When any church will inscribe over its altar as its sole qualification for membership, the Saviour’s condensedstatement of the substance of both law and Gospel, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul.” — Abraham Lincoln.



• Author Michael Thomas Ford once spoke before a class of children. One child asked him, “How old are you?” When he gave the answer — 30 — he shocked the children, one of whom marveled, “You’re older than my mom,” and another of whom said, “That’s old.” Afterward, the children’s teacher explained that whenever the children asked her how old she was, “I just tell them I knew God when he was a boy. That shuts them up — except for the ones who want to know if He was a good kickball player.”

• Pope John XXIII once traveled through a Roman tenement where some blankets covered billboards showing a very shapely Italian actress. The Pope noticed this and told the crowd, “It is good that you do this, but you should realize that I am an old man, and if one of my age is thought to be scandalized by pictures like these, what of yourselves and your children?”

• In Haifa, a city in Israel, the walls of the subway cars have stenciled on them these words from Leviticus: “You should rise up before the aged.” In other words: When the subway car is crowded, get up and give your seat to an older person.


• Wesleyan pastor William Woughter was serving at a church called Buena Vista, located in a rural area near Bath, New York, when he retired. This church had the custom of giving the pastor the fruits of the earth on Harvest Day. One Sunday during harvest, the pastor would be kept out of the church until the farmers had brought in the good things of the earth as presents to the pastor. One Harvest Day, a man named Dean Stewart brought in a live turkey, which proceeded to gobble as Pastor William began his sermon. Pastor William looked at the turkey and said, “If you don’t stop that noise, I will make you preach the rest of the sermon.” The turkey stayed quiet until church was over.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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Music Recommendation: Thea Ennen With Dave Ja Vue — “Northside”


Music: “Northside”


Artist: Thea Ennen With Dave Ja Vue

Artist Location: Wisconsin


Music and Lyrics – Thea Ennen 
Piano/vocal – Thea Ennen 
Guitar – Dave Ja Vue 

Price: $1 (USD) for track; $7 (USD) for 9-track album

Genre: Folk. Singer-Songwriter.




Thea Ennen on Bandcamp


Thea Ennen on YouTube