Creative Enlightenment

Ancient Words of Wisdom Zen Stories

The Last Poem of Hoshin

The Zen master Hoshin lived in China many years. Then he returned to the northeastern part of Japan, where he taught his disciples. When he was getting very old, he told them a story he had heard in China. This is the story: 

One year on the twenty-fifth of December, Tokufu, who was very old, said to his disciples: “I am not going to be alive next year so you fellows should treat me well this year.” 

The pupils thought he was joking, but since he was a great-hearted teacher each of them in turn treated him to a feast on succeeding days of the departing year. 

On the eve of the new year, Tokufu concluded: “You have been good to me. I shall leave you tomorrow afternoon when the snow has stopped.”

The disciples laughed, thinking he was…

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