Tag Archives: zen

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.”

Zen Koans {41}

One day, Jizo received one of Hofuku’s disciples and asked him, “How does your teacher instruct you?” “My teacher instructs me to shut my eyes and see no evil thing; to cover my ears and hear no evil sound; to stop my mind-activities and form no wrong ideas,” the monk replied. “I do not ask you to shut your eyes,” Jizo said, “but you do not see a thing. I do not ask you to cover your ears, but you do not hear a sound. I do not ask you to cease your mind-activities, but you do not form any idea at all.

Zen Koans {40}

Sekiso lived and taught on the Southern Mountain, and Kankei lived and taught on the Northern Mountain. One day, a monk came from the Northern Monastery to the Southern Monastery in search of teaching. Sekiso said to him, “My Southern Monastery is no better than the Monastery in the North.” The monk did not know what reply to make. When he returned to Kankei and told him the story, Kankei said, “You should have told him that I am ready to enter Nirvana any day.”

Zen Koans {37}

Dogo paid a visit to his sick fellow monk, Ungan. “Where can I see you again if you die and leave only your corpse?” Dogo asked. “I will meet you where nothing dies,” Ungan replied. Dogo criticized his response saying, “What you should have said is that there is no place where nothing is born and nothing dies and that we need not see each other at all.”