Category Archives: Zen Koans

Zen Koans {43}

Once upon a time, Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, went to an assemblage of Buddhas. By the time he arrived, all had departed except for the Buddha Sakyamuni and one girl. She was seated in a place of highest honor, deep in meditation. Manjusri asked the Buddha how it was possible for a mere girl to attain a depth of mediation that even he could not attain. The Buddha said, “Bring her out of meditation and ask her yourself.”

So Manjusri walked around the girl three times [a gesture of reverence], then snapped his fingers. She remained deep in meditation. He then tried rousing her by invoking all his magic powers; he even transported her to a high heaven. All was to no avail, so deep was her concentration. But suddenly, up from below the earth sprang Momyo, an unenlightened one. He snapped his fingers once, and the girl came out of her meditation.

Zen Koans {42}

One day Hofuku said to his disciples, “When one passes behind the temple, he meets Chang and Li, but he does not see anyone in front of it. Why is this? Which of the two roads is better?” A monk answered, “Something must be wrong with the sight. Nothing is gained without seeing.” The Master scolded the monk, saying, “Stupid, the temple is always like this.” The monk said, “If it were not the temple, one should see something.” The Master said, “I am talking about the temple and nothing else.”