"It is the inmost nature of nature to change, and to change absolutely. Nothing can be held back, nothing kept, nothing saved. And however distressing this might seem to us, our survival lies in such radical regeneration, the workings of which are generous beyond the count of loss or gain."
- Lin Jensen
- Lin Jensen
Saturday Zen Service: 10:00am - 11:45am.
Koan of the Week
Gateless Gate #31: "Zhaozhou Sees Through an Old Woman"
A monk once asked an old woman, "What is the way to Taizan?"
The old woman said, "Go straight on."
After the monk had gone a few steps, she said, "This good, honest priest goes off that way, too."
Later a monk told Zhaozhou about this.
Zhaozhou said, "Wait a bit. I will go and see through the old woman for you."
The next day he went and asked the same question, and the old woman also made the same reply.
On returning, Zhaozhou said to his disciples, "I have seen through the old woman of Taizan for you." 23
The old woman just sits in her tent and knows how to plan the strategy, but she still doesn't know how to capture the bandit. Old Zhaozhou was clever enough to steal into the camp and menace the fortress, but he hasn't the air of a magnanimous man. Pondering the matter, we must say they both had their faults. Tell me now, what insight did Zhaozhou get into the old woman?
The question is the same,
The answer is the same, too.
Sand in the rice,
Thorns in the mud.
Zhaozhou Congshen (778-897) was a master of the 10th Generation, descending:
Huineng -> Nanyue -> Mazu -> Nanquan -> Zhaozhou
Koans Zhaozhou appears in: Gateless Gate 1, 7 (Book of Serenity 39), 11, 14 (Blue Cliff Record 63-64, BOS 9), 19, 31 (BOS 10), 37 (BOS 47), BCR 2, 9, 30, 41 (BOS 63), 45, 52, 57, 58, 59, 80, 96, BOS 18, 57.
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