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101 Zen Stories

A Collection of Zen & Pre-Zen Writings

Tosui's Vinegar

Tosui was the Zen master who left the formalism of temples to live under a bridge with beggars. When he was getting very old, a friend helped him to earn his living without begging. He showed Tosui how to collect rice and manufacture vinegar from it, and Tosui did this until he passed away.

While Tosui was making vinegar, one of the beggars gave him a picture of the Buddha. Tosui hung it on the wall of his hut and put a sign beside it. The sign read:

Mr. Amida Buddha: This little room is quite narrow. I can let you remain as a transient. But don't think I am asking you to be reborn in your paradise.

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