Zen Story: Heaven & Hell
Hakuin, the fiery and intensely dynamic Zen master, was once visited by a samurai warrior.
“I want to know about heaven and hell,” said the samurai. “Do they really exist?” he asked Hakuin.
Hakuin looked at the soldier and asked, “Who are you?”
“I am a samurai,” announced the proud warrior.
“Ha!” exclaimed Hakuin. “What makes you think you can understand such insightful things? You are merely a callous, brutish soldier! Go away and do not waste my time with your foolish questions,” Hakuin said, waving his hand to drive away the samurai.
The enraged samurai couldn’t take Hakuin’s insults. He drew his sword, readied for the kill, when Hakuin calmly retorted, “This is hell.”
The soldier was taken aback. His face softened. Humbled by the wisdom of Hakuin, he put away his sword and bowed before the Zen Master.
“And this is heaven,” Hakuin stated, just as calmly.