What importance does Zen give to the writings of Tipitaka ?

Answer from Master Kosen

Every master read it and often uses the stories as metaphors.
This is a story which could easily serve as an answer to the two
preceding questions.
In the past (nearly every story begins with `in the past' and speaks
nearly always of the Buddha's former lives, as he were a bodhisattva)
In the past, thus, the people living in a kingdom near the borderline
did not know the asses ; they heard someone say that the milk of the
she-ass was excellent, but nobody knew what it was. So these men found
an ass and wanted to draw it. The first one tried drawing its head,
another one the ear, another the foot, and a last one began drawing
the genitals ; and more, each one thought that he would be the first
to get the milk and drink it. All these people tired themselves out
striving without obtaining anything, except for the last one who
cried `satori' when he saw milk flowing out the sex of the ass. It's no
use saying that he made himself the laughing stock of everybody...
* Retour: Kosen online

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Boddidharma, buddhist monk

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