Once a division of the Japanese army was engaged in a sham battle, and some of the officers found it necessary to make their headquarters in Gasan’s temple.
Gasan told his cook: ‘Let the officers have only the same simple fare we eat.’ This made the army men angry, as they were used to very differential treatment. One came to Gasan and said: ‘Who do you think we are? We are soldiers, sacrificing our lives for our country. Why don’t you treat us accordingly?’
Gasan answered sternly: ‘Who do you think we are? We are soldiers of humanity aiming to save all sentient beings.’
This story is from the collection of Zen writings titled “Zen Flesh-Zen Bones” which is highly recommended reading for any Martial Artist or simply any person who might seek some wisdom.
Sensei Douglas Mortley once remarked that the life force energy within a single blade of grass is equal to that of any person. Such intangible things as life force energy cannot be measured nor can it be owned. It simply is and the way of Zen is built upon seeing it as being equal amongst all living beings.
Zen can be many things and at times it can even be fiery and fierce. That is when one remembers what they are fighting for.