The Gates of Paradise: ZEN Stories

Narrated by Peter Coyote

A soldier named Nobushige came to Hakuin, and asked: ‘Is there really a paradise and a hell?’

‘Who are you? ‘ Inquired Hakuin.

‘I am a samurai,’ the warrior replied.

‘You, a soldier!’ exclaimed Hakuin. ‘What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar.’

Nobushige became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued: ‘So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably much too dull to cut off my head.’

As Nohushige drew his sword Hakuin remarked: ‘Here open the gates of hell!’

At these words the samurai, perceiving the master’s discipline, sheathed his sword and bowed.

‘Here open the gates of paradise,’ said Hakuin.

Playlists: Zen Koans, Stories, Poems