Drum Mountain and the phases of life:
Da Mo took a monk’s spade and went with Shen Guang to the Drum Mountain in front of Shaolin Temple. The Drum Mountain is so called because it is very flat on top. Da Mo’s unspoken message to Shen Guang was that Shen Guang should flatten his heart, just like the surface of the Drum Mountain. On this Drum Mountain Da Mo dug a well. The water of this well was bitter. Da Mo then left Shen Guang on the Drum Mountain. For an entire year, Shen Guang used the bitter water of the well to take care of all of his needs. He used it to cook, to clean, to bathe, to do everything. At the end of the first year, Shen Guang went down to Da Mo and again asked Da Mo to teach him. Da Mo returned with Shen Guang to the Drum Mountain and dug a second well. The water of this well was spicy. For an entire year, Shen Guang used the spicy water for all of his needs. At the end of the second year, Shen Guang went back down to Da Mo and asked again to be taught. Da Mo dug a third well on the Drum Mountain. The water of this third well was sour. For the third year, Shen Guang used the sour water for all of his needs. At the end of the third year, Shen Guang returned to Da Mo and agains asked to be taught. Da Mo returned to the Drum Mountain and dug a fourth and final well. The water of this well was sweet. At this point, Shen Guang realized that the four wells represented his life. Like the wells, his life would sometimes be bitter, sometimes sour, sometimes spicy and sometimes sweet. Each of these phases in his life was equally beautiful and necessary, just as each of the four seasons of the year is beautiful and necessary in its own way.
On the discovery of green tea while wall-staring
As he sat in deep concentration, Bodhidharma abruptly realized that in an agonizing instant of fatigue, he had closed his eyes and dozed off to sleep. In anger at his weakness, he savagely tore at his eyes in self disgust, ripping out his eyelids and flinging them to the ground. As the leaf like lids of flesh lay bloody in the dirt, they sprouted miraculously into tea plants. Instinctively, Bodhidharma reached over and plucked a few leaves from the bushes to chew and suddenly felt as “one who awakens.” His mind clear and focused, he resumed his meditation.