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Great Waves 


In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well-known wrestler called O-namiGreat Waves. 

O-nami was immensly strong and knew the art of wresting. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacherbut in public was so bashful that his own pupils threw him. 

O-nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakujua wandering teacherwas stopping in a little temple nearbyso O-nami went to see him and told him of his great trouble. 

Great Waves is your name,the teacher advisedso stay in this temple tonight. Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallowing all in their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land. 

The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradualy he turned more and more to the feeling of waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea. 

In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditatinga faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder. "Now nothing can disturb you he said. You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you." 

The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After thatno one in Japan was able to defeat him.