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Anthony de Mello

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At the age of sixty-one Master Soyen Shaku passed from this world, but not before he had fulfilled his appointed task-he left for posterity a more varied and more sublime teaching than that of most Zen Masters. It was said that his pupils would sometimes sleep after the midday meal, overcome with lassitude in the summer. Even though he himself never wasted a minute. Soyen never said a word about this failing in his disciples. At the age of twelve he was already studying the philosophical tenets of the Tendai school. One summer day the heat was so oppressive that little Soyen observing that his teacher was away, stretched out and fell into a deep sleep that lasted three hours. He only woke up with a start, when he heard the Master enter: but it was too late; there he lay, sprawled across the doorway. “Please excuse me, please excuse me,” his teacher whispered as he stepped reverently over Soyen’s prostrate body as if it were the body of some distinguished guest. After that Soyen never again slept, in the day time. 🙂