首山和尚、拈竹篦示衆云、汝等諸人、若喚作竹篦則觸。Shuzan Oshõ held up his shippei [staff of office] before his disciples and said, "You monks! If you call this a shippei, you oppose its reality.不喚作竹篦則背。If you do not call it a shippei, you ignore the fact.汝諸人、且道、喚作甚麼。Tell me, you monks, what will you call it?"
Mumon's Comment無門曰、喚作竹篦則觸。If you call it a shippei, you oppose its reality.不喚作竹篦則背。If you do not call it a shippei, you ignore the fact.不得有語、不得無語。Words are not available; silence is not available.速道、速道。Now, tell me quickly, what is it?
Mumon's Verse 頌曰拈起竹篦 Holding up the shippei,行殺活令 He takes life, he gives life.背觸交馳 Opposing and ignoring interweave.佛祖乞命 Even Buddhas and patriarchs beg for their lives.
I had been thinking about the shippei as a metaphor for Loughner's mental condition, which, if true, opposes the reality of the interdependence of his condition and those around him and the sources that triggered his ideation.
But Mumon's verse ... well that astounded me. But that's it.
(Update: Or perhaps a better metaphor is the political vitriol, which opposes the interweaving of action and thought. Which makes the last verse that much more meaningful.)