Anyone walking about Chinatowns in America with observe statues of a stout fellow carrying a linen sack. Chinese merchants call him Happy Chinaman or Laughing Buddha.
This Hotei lived in the T'ang dynasty. He had no desire to call himself...
If you would like to have some "black bean zen" which someone is spreading here, please go to some local bookstore or go to some oneline book sellers such as AMAZON.COM or BN.COM... purchase some English translation of Zen stories or koans whichever they might be called, and spend some time to read and chew them as long as you like - for example, a couple of days or weeks or months or years or this lifetime of yours or many lifetimes - and see if they could enlighten you or not. Try it, if you'd like. But do not bring any of them here and show and boast it to this deluded old man, because he himself had chewed this kind of "black beans" at least for ten years in his lifetime and knew this pretty well. When you read them you will feel very good, it would make you think that you were a Dogen, a Hakuin, an Ikkyu,... a Rinzai, a Tozan, an Obaku, a Hakujo, a Joshu, a Matsu... However, when you stop reading them, everything of old will go back you as quick as it can! The deluded old man gives you his words here.
Here is a list of some of them:
-Zen, a Chinese Heritage - translated by Andy Furgerson. -Zen Flesh Zen Bones - translated by Nyogen Sensaki & Paul Reps. -Essays in Zen Buddhism (3 volume set) by Daisetz T. Suzuki. -A History of Zen (2 volume set) by Henrich Dumoulin. -Zen Records of Joshu, Obaku, Rinzai... -The Blue Rock Records & The Book of Ease - both translated by Thomas Cleary. Many and many more but the deluded old man can't list them all here. Get the great enlightenment by chewing those kinds of black beans! Good luck!
P.S. One more thing: If you would like to bow in order to showing your respect to everything in the way someone is trying to explain here, just walk out of your door and bow and bow to anything you might see or meet on your road such as a cat, a dog, a mouse, a worm, a man, a woman, a tree, a plant, a bush, or dust or soil or rock, or a vehicle, like you car...etc... and see what will happen! This deluded old man was born and grew up in Asia, he witnessed how all of this was performed by many people over there, and he himself did that too, but he does not think of bowing in this way. He doesn't mean that if you don't bow to them then you despise them or you should bow to them to respect them! Some Zen masters did bowed to them in order to help some person in some special situation. They did not do that to show respect to them like a totemist as someone just guessed so from book reading. The real meaning of bowing in Asian tradition is to banish one's arrogance, a method of practice to eliminate the "self" or the "me" of the practicer. That's all. Does any thing or any animal ask you to bow to show your respect to it or to break or kill it to show your contempt to it? All of this kind of thoughts are from human mind's wrong thinking and attributed to things, animals. So, please do not misunderstand about this.
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