In the early days of the Meiji era there live a well-known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves.
O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.
O-nami fell he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopped in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble.
“Great Waves is your name,” the teacher advised, “so stay in this temple tonight, imaging that you are those billows. You are no longer 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 gradually turned more and more to the feeling of the wave. As the night advanced the waves became huger and huger. 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 meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler’s shoulder. “Now nothing can disturb yon,” he said. “You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you.”
The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.