Sunday, September 10, 2006

Just this...


A monk told Joshu, "I have just entered this monastery. I beg you to teach me." Joshu asked, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?" The monk replied, "I have." "Then," said Joshu, "Go and wash your bowl."
At that moment the monk was enlightened.

Mumon's Comment:
Joshu opened his mouth, showed his gall-bladder (true mind) and the depth of his heart. If this monk did not really listen to and grasp the truth, he indeed mistook the bell for a pitcher.

He made it so simple and clear,
It might take a long time to catch the point,
If one realizes that it's stupid to search for fire with a lantern light,
The rice would not take so long to be done.

Suzuki Shosan's response to a practitioner who asked about this koan was amazingly brilliant: in giving a down to earth answer advising the practitioner just to mindfully go about is everyday business and not to engage in any kind of meta-speculation beyond that, (and never, in fact, explicitly referring to this koan), Shosan provides one of the most profound, yet down to earth explorations of this koan ever.

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