Carp fish becomes a Dragon
A Zen legend known as Koi-no-Takinobori in Japan. The legend tells if a carp can swim, against all odds, up a waterfall known as the “Dragon Gate” at the headwaters of China’s Yellow River, then the successful carp turns into a dragon.
The story symbolizes
the virtues of courage, effort, and perseverance, which correspond to the nearly impossible struggle of humans to realize Buddhahood. The story is given a central place in Zen as an analogy to training. Trying to swim upward, analogous to Rinzai's teaching of (Character) Rising Upward. Making the final leap against the current and turmoil finally to reach the clouds.
The eastern gate in a temple is also called the Dragon Gate, the most important gate on the grounds, formal ritual instalment of an abbot the most important event in a temple's ritual takes place at the Eastern Gate. Entering through the Dragon gate is also another phase for Awakening.
MINISTER Shuh's Dragon
Minister Shuh was a man who loved dragons. He studied dragon lore and decorated his home with paintings and statues of dragons. He would talk on and on about dragons to anyone who would listen. He was in fact the Emperor's Minister for Dragons, because he was such an expert.
One day a dragon heard about Minister Shuh and thought, how lovely, this man would trully appreciate me. It would surely make him happy to meet a true dragon.
The kindly dragon flew to Minister Shuh's house and went to the window of his house, to find Minister Shuh asleep. But when Minister Shuh awoke and saw the dragon at his window, he screamed in terror and fell down dead.
It seems an expert is not always what he seems. We should not practice Zen like this, becoming experts of something we have never seen, but rather we should bring our training to life.
Jizo Bodhisattva is the Boddhisattva of Monks, Mothers, Childen and Travelers and others. A Boddhisattva is one who follows the way but sets aside thier own interest to help other's find the way also. Jizo is an important Bodhisattva in Zen, embodying what it means to live the Mahayana (Great Vehicle) way.
Zen does not place emphasis on 'Other', or 'Outside', we all must find the Truth ourselves, but we can all do with a little help at times. This is Jizo Bodhisattva, the Bodhisattva who travels through many worlds, just as we must in our lives.
In the end the only way to Zen is experience, Zen is a deep and old tradition perhaps older than Buddhism it's self, so here are some inpirations we hope to help you along the way and to help you to understand the aim of Zen.