On a small island, somewhere in the middle of a tropical ocean, a man found a huge treasure trove of gold coins and precious gems. He was super excited by his find and wanted to grab as much as possible. So he filled his little boat with gold coins and headed out to sea to take his treasure home.
However, the water around the island was shallow and full of reefs and tossed by large waves. On his way out to sea he got caught on the reefs, capsized his boat, and lost his treasure.
He went back to the island and found that there was still lots and lots of treasure to be had. So he reloaded his boat and headed out to sea once again. This time he ran into pirates, some of them he fought off, others stole his treasure. But this wasn't a problem, because every time he went back to shore there was always more treasure to be had. So he started to relax when he realized he couldn’t lose. It became a blast traveling out to the sea and dealing with reefs, pirates, and large waves. Much more engaging than gold and precious gems.
A koan: “How is my hand like Buddha’s hand?”
Response 1. Playing guitar in the moonlight.
Response 2. A woman, who before hearing this koan, saw an exhibit of “Stone Buddhas”, dug up from a cave in China, was struck by how foreign and removed from her life the Buddhas seemed. After holding this koan, Buddha’s hand was now her life today, what she did, and who she talked to during the day. It included feeling isolated and sad. It was all very fleshy now.
Response 3. A woman became aware of how much she loved her body. She loved that her hands could plant flowers, pull weeds and that her body could eat strawberries.