Collected by the author over many years, these stories from the Yoga and Zen traditions are the flint and steel that strike a spark that lights up the mind with insights that one should ponder daily to bring to light ever deeper meaning. They may be similar in intent to Zen Koans – but they are rather different in content.
In many Zen Koans someone says or does something extraordinarily inappropriate, which catches your attention just because it’s extraordinary –but afterwards the light from them has to be applied to daily life. In contrast, the stories here are often ordinary incidents from ordinary lives (not that there aren’t some extraordinary ones too!) that nevertheless open the mind’s eye to the vast potential for realization and inspiration to be found in daily life.
The pictures featured throughout this book were brushed by Jacques Allais in the Suiboku style, in which he was an acknowledged expert. The innate beauty of this ancient monochrome ink-painting technique lies in its subtlety of expression, in which infinitely more is suggested than is drawn on the page – making it the perfect vehicle for focusing meditation practice as well as an ideal complement to the stories in this book.