Vagbhatas Sutra on When to Drink Water

Wumen Huikai - Ko gathering from the scoreless gate

Wumen Huikai (1229)









Zen has no goals. The purpose of Buddha's words is to enlighten others. That's why Zen has to be goalless. But how do you go through this goalless gate?

Some say that anything that goes through a gate is not the family's real treasure, and that anything made with someone else's help is likely to dissolve and perish. Even such words are like waves on a calm lake or like an operation on a healthy body. Sticking to what others have said and trying to understand Zen through explanations is like a fool who thinks you can hit the moon with a pole or scratch an itchy foot on the outside of your shoe. It's just impossible.

In 1228 I was teaching monks at the Ryusho Temple in eastern China, and at their request, I told ancient koans to stimulate their Zen minds. I used the koans like a man picks up a brick and knocks on a gate with it. After the gate is open, the brick is no longer needed and can be thrown away.

However, my notes have unexpectedly been collected and there are forty-eight koans, each with my commentary in prose and verse. I named the book "The Goalless Gate" with a wish that students might use it as a guide. If a reader is brave enough and inexorably moving forward in his meditation, no delusion can affect him. But if he hesitates for just a moment, he is like someone watching a rider through a small window, and in an instant he has lost him from sight.

The great path has no gates.
Thousands of ways lead to him.
When someone walks through this goalless gate
so he wanders freely between heaven and earth.

Ekai, called Mumon, 1183-1260

Koan No. 1 - Joshu's dog

A monk asks Joshu, a Chinese Zen master:
"Does a dog have Buddha-nature or not?"
Joshu replied: “Mu.” (Mu means something like “nothing” or “not” in Chinese).


In order to achieve zen one must overcome the obstacles of the patriarchs. Enlightenment always comes when the way of thinking is blocked. If you do not overcome the barrier of the patriarchs, or if your thinking is not blocked, then everything you think and do is like a lost ghost. You may ask: what is this, a patriarch's barrier? It is this one word Mu. That is the barrier of zen. When you go through them you see Joshu face to face. Then you can work hand in hand with the whole line of patriarchs. Isn't that very pleasant? If you want to get through this barrier, you have to work with every bone of your body, with every pore of your skin, always filled with this question: What is Mu? And carry them around with you day and night. Don't think this is the usual negative symbol that simply means "nothing". It is not nothing, the opposite of existence. If you really want to overcome this barrier, you have to feel like you are swallowing a hot iron ball that you can neither digest nor spit out. Then your earlier inferior knowledge disappears. As a fruit ripens in summer, so your subjectivity and your objectivity will naturally become one. It's like when a mute had a dream. He knows, but he can't tell it. When you enter this state, the ego's shell is broken and you can shake the heavens and move the earth. You are like a great warrior with a sharp sword. If a Buddha stands in your way, you strike him down; if a patriarch raises an obstacle, you kill him; and you are free on your way of life and death. You can enter any world as if it were your own playground. I want to tell you how to achieve that with this koan:

Concentrate all your energy on this mu and do not allow any interruption. If you enter this mu and there is no interruption, your success will be like a burning candle illuminating the whole universe.

Does a dog have Buddha nature? This is the most serious of all questions. If you say yes or no, you lose your own Buddha nature.

Koan No. 2 - Hyakujo's Fox

When Hyakujo was giving lectures on Zen, an old man attended without being seen by the monks. At the end of every talk, when the monks left, he went too. But one day he stayed after the monks left and Hyakujo asked him, “Who are you?” The old man replied, “I am not a human being, but I was a human being when the Kashapa Buddha preached in this world . I was a Zen master and lived on this mountain. At that time one of my students asked me whether the enlightened person was subject to the law of causality. I replied, 'The enlightened person is not subject to the law of causality.' Because of this answer, with which I demonstrated an attachment to the Absolute, I became a fox for five hundred rebirths, and I am still a fox. Do you want to free me from this state with your Zen words and let me get out of the fox body? Then let me ask you now: 'Is the enlightened person subject to the law of causality?' "Hyakujo said," The enlightened person is one with the law of causality. "With these words of the Hyakujo, the old man experienced enlightenment. "I am released," he said, showing his admiration with a deep bow. “I'm not a fox anymore, but I have to leave my body in my cave behind this mountain. Please, let me be buried like a monk. ”The next day, Hyakujo gave the order from the chief of the monks that a monk's burial should be prepared. "Nobody was lying in the sickroom," wondered the monks. "What does our teacher think?" After lunch, Hyakujo led the monks out and around the mountain. With his stick he took the body of an old fox from a cave and performed the cremation ceremony. That evening, Hyakujo gave a speech to the monks and told them the story of the law of causality. When Obaku heard the story, he asked Hyakujo, “If I understand correctly, a long time ago someone became a fox for five hundred rebirths because he gave a wrong Zen answer. Now I would like to ask: If a modern master is asked a lot of questions and he always gives the right answer, what will become of him? ”Hyakujo said:“ Come very close to me, then I will tell you. ”Obaku went close to Hyakujo and slapped his face with his hand, knowing that this was the answer his teacher wanted to give him. Hyakujo clapped his hands and laughed at that glare. "I thought a Persian must have a red beard," he said, "and now I know a Persian who has a red beard."

Subjected or not subject? Degrees or Odds on the same cube. Subjected or not subject, both are grave errors.


“The enlightened man is not subjugated.” How can this answer turn a monk into a fox? "The enlightened person is one with the law of causality." How can this answer set the fox free? To understand this clearly, you can only have one eye.

Koan No. 3 - Gutei's Finger

Gutei would raise his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A young servant began to imitate him in it. If anyone asked the boy what his Master had preached about, he would raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He grabbed him and cut his finger off. The boy screamed and ran away. Gutei called after him and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised his own finger. At that moment the boy became enlightened. When Gutei was about to leave this world, he gathered his monks around him. "I received my finger Zen," he said, "from my teacher Tenryu, and in my entire life I have not been able to use it to the full."


The enlightenment Gutei and the boy attained has nothing to do with a finger. If anyone clings to a finger, Tenryu will be so disappointed that he will destroy everyone - Gutei, the boy, and the clinger.

Gutei makes a fool of old Tenryu by freeing the boy with a knife. Compared to the Chinese god who split a mountain with one hand, the old Gutei is a poor imitator.

Koan No. 4 - A beardless stranger

Wakuan complained when he saw a picture of the bearded Bodhidharma: "Why does this guy not have a beard?"


If you want to learn Zen, you have to learn it with your heart. If you have attainment, it has to be true attainment. You yourself have to have the face of the great Bodhidharma to see him. A single glance is enough.

But if you say you met him, you never saw him.

One shouldn't talk about a dream in front of a simpleton. Bodhidharma does not have a beard: that adds stupidity to clarity.

Koan # 5 - Kyogen climbs the tree

Kyogen said, “Zen is like a man hanging with his teeth on a tree over a precipice. His hands do not grasp a branch, his feet do not rest on a branch, and under the tree another asks him: 'Why did Bodhidharma come to China from India?' If the man on the tree does not answer, he fails; and if he answers, he falls and loses his life. So what should he do? "


In such a predicament, the greatest eloquence is useless. If you have memorized all of the sutras, you will not be able to apply them. If you can give the correct answer, and may your past path have been a path of death, you are now opening another path of life. But if you cannot answer, then you should live for many years to come and ask the future Buddha Maitreya.

Kyogen is truly a fool to throw this self-destructive poison into the mouths of his disciples

closes up and lets her tears flow from her dead eyes.

Koan No. 6 - Buddha and the flower

When the Buddha was in the Grdhrakuta Mountains, he twisted a flower between his fingers and held it out to his audience. Everyone was silent. Only Maha-Kashapa smiled at the revelation, although he tried to control his expression. Buddha said, “I have the eye of true teaching, the heart of nirvana, the true aspect of non-form, and the flawless flow of Dharma. This cannot be expressed in words, but is conveyed in a special way beyond teaching. I gave this teaching to Maha-Kashapa. "


The golden-faced Gautama thought he could cheat anyone. He wanted to fool his clever listeners and offered dog meat as mutton. And he himself thought it was wonderful. What if the entire audience laughed? And if Maha-Kashapa had not smiled, how could he have conveyed the teaching? When he says the realization can be conveyed, he is like the shrewd man from the city who deceives the fool, and when he says it cannot be conveyed, why does he acknowledge Maha-Kashapa?

While turning a flower, his mask was removed. No one in heaven or on earth can surpass Maha-Kashapa's smile.

Koan No. 7 - Joshu washes the bowl off

A monk said to Joshu, “I have just arrived at the monastery. Please teach me. ”Joshu asked,“ Did you eat your congee? ”The monk replied,“ I ate. ”Joshu said,“ Then wash your bowls. ”At that moment the monk was enlightened.


Joshu is the person who opens his mouth and shows his heart. I doubt that this monk actually saw Joshu's heart. I hope he didn't mistake the bell for the jug.

It's too obvious, so it's hard to see. A fool once looked for a fire with a lit lamp. If he had known that the flame was fire, the rice would have been ready long ago.

Koan No. 8 - Keichus Wheel

Getsuan said to his students: “Keichu, the first Wagner from China, made two wheels with fifty spokes each. Now suppose you removed the hub that unites the spokes: what would become of the wheel? And if Keichu had done this, could he have been called a wagon master? "


If one can answer this question right away, his eyes are like a comet and his mind is like an exploding flood of light.

If the hubless wheel moves, master or not master, you can stop it. It rotates above the sky and below the earth, in the south, in the north, in the east and in the west.

Koan No. 9 - A Buddha from prehistoric times

A monk asked Seijo, “If I understand correctly, there was a Buddha who lived before the time of narration and sat in meditation for ten cycles of existence, but could not realize the highest truth and thus was not completely liberated. Why was that so? ”Seijo replied:“ Your question is self-explanatory. ”The monk asked:“ Since the Buddha was meditating, why could he not fulfill Buddhahood? ”Seijo said:“ He was not a Buddha. ”


I allow him to realize it, but I do not accept his understanding. When the ignorant attains realization, he is a saint. When a saint begins to understand, he is ignorant.

It is better to realize the mind than the body. When the mind is realized there is no need to worry about the body. When mind and body become one, man is free. Then he doesn't ask for praise.

Koan No. 10 - Seizei alone and poor

A monk named Seizei said to Sozan, “Seizei is alone and poor. Do you want to give him support? ”Sozan asked,“ Seizei? ”Seizei replied,“ Yes, Lord. ”Sozan said,“ You have Zen, the best wine in China, and you have already emptied three cups, and you are still saying , he didn't even wet your lips: "


Seizei went too far. Why? Because Sozan had eyes and knew who he was dealing with. Just like that, I would like to ask: Where and when did Seizei drink wine?

The poorest man in China, the bravest man in China, he can barely feed himself and yet wants to compete with the richest.

Koan No. 11 - Joshu examines a monk in meditation

Joshu went to a place where a monk had retired for meditation and asked him, “What is it? Is what? ”The monk raised his fist. Joshu replied, "Ships cannot stay where the water is too shallow." And he left. A few days later, Joshu went to visit the monk again and asked the same question. The monk replied in the same way. Joshu said, “Well given, well taken, well killed, well saved.” And he bowed to the monk.


The raised fist was the same both times. Why did Joshu not recognize the first fist and approve the second? Where is the mistake? Anyone who answers this knows that Joshu's tongue has no bones and so he can use it freely. But maybe Joshu is wrong. Or maybe through this monk he realized his error. If someone thinks that one person's insight exceeds that of another, he has no eyes.

The light from the eyes is like a comet, and Zen is like lightning. The sword that kills is the sword that saves.

Koan # 12 - Zuigan calls his own master

Zuigan called to himself every day: “Master!” Then he replied to himself: “Yes, Lord.” And then he added: “Get clean!” And again he replied, “Yes, Lord.” “And when that happens is, "he continued," so do not be fooled by others. "" Yes, Lord; yes, sir, ”he replied.


Old Zuigan offers and buys himself. He opens a puppet theater. He uses one mask to call out "Master" and another that answers the Master. Another mask says, “Purify yourself,” and another: “Don't let others deceive you.” If someone clings to one of his masks, he is wrong, and if he imitates Zuigan, he closes himself a fox.

Some Zen students do not recognize the real person behind a mask because they notice the self. The I is the germ of life and death, and stupid people call this the True Man.

Koan No. 13 - Tokusan holds his bowl in his hand

Tokusan walked from the meditation hall to the dining room, holding his bowl in his hand. Seppo's job was to cook. When he met Tokusan, he said, “The gong for eating has not yet been struck. Where are you going with your bowl? ”So Tokusan went back to his room. Seppo told Ganto about it. Ganto said: "Old Tokusan did not understand the highest truth." Tokusan heard of this remark and asked Ganto to come to him. "I heard you don't recognize my zen," he said. Ganto admitted it indirectly. Tokusan didn't say anything. The next day, Tokusan gave the monks a completely new type of teaching. Ganto laughed and clapped his hands and said, “As I can see, our old man actually understands the highest truth. Nobody in China can beat him.


They speak of the highest truth, but neither of them even dream of it, neither Ganto nor Tokusan. Ultimately, they are nothing more than straw dolls.

Whoever understands the first truth should understand the ultimate truth. The first and the last, aren't they the same?

Koan # 14 - Nansen cuts the cat in two

Nansen saw the monks in the east and west halls arguing over a cat. He grabbed the cat and said to the monks, “If one of you says a good word, you can save the cat.” Nobody answered. So Nansen cut the cat in two without further ado. That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him the story. Joshu took off his sandals, put them on his head and went out. Nansen said, “If you had been here, you could have saved the cat.


Why did Joshu put the sandals on his head? If anyone answers this, they will understand exactly how Nansen enforced his award. If not, he should look at his own head.

If Joshu had been there, he would have acted. Joshu takes the sword and Nansen begs for his life.

Koan # 15 - Tozan's three lashes

Tozan went to Ummon. Ummon asked him where he came from. Tozan said: “From the village of Sato.” Ummon asked: “In which temple did you stay during the summer?” Tozan replied: “In the temple of Hogi, south of the lake.” “When did you leave there?” Asked Ummon and was curious how long Tozan would continue to provide factual answers. "August twenty-fifth," Tozan replied. Ummon said, “I should give you three blows with the stick, but today I forgive you.” The next day Tozan bowed to Ummon and asked, “Yesterday you gave me three blows. I don't know why you thought I was wrong. "Ummon said, rebuking Tozan's mindless answers," You are no good. You just wander from one monastery to another: “Before Ummon had finished speaking, Tozan was enlightened.


Ummon fed Tozan good Zen food. If Tozan can digest them, Ummon can have one more member of his family. In the evening Tozan swam around in a lake of good and evil, but at dawn Ummon cracked his nut. But in the end he wasn't all that smart. Now I would like to ask: Did Tozan deserve the three blows? If you say yes, not only does Tozan deserve it, but each of you deserve it. If you say no, Ummon is a liar. If you answer this question clearly, you can eat the same food as Tozan.

The lioness teaches her cubs in a rough way, the cubs jump around and she pushes them down. When Ummon saw Tozan, his first arrow hit only lightly. His second arrow shot deep.

Koan No. 16 - bells and vestments

Ummon asked, "The world is such a wide world, why do you answer a bell and wear ceremonial robes?"


When learning Zen there is no need to follow sound or color or shape. Even if some have gained insight by hearing a voice or seeing a color or shape, it is a very common way. It's not true zen. The real Zen student is proficient in sound, color and shape and realizes the truth in his daily life. The sound comes to the ear, the ear goes to the sound. When you erase sound and meaning, what do you understand? You cannot understand by hearing with your ears. To understand deeply, one should see the sound.

When you understand all things are one, when you do not understand they are different and separate. If you do not understand, all things are one; if you understand, they are different and separate.

Koan No. 17 - The three calls of the imperial teacher

Chu, called Kokushi, the emperor's teacher, called his servant: "Oshin!" Oshin replied: "Yes." Chu repeated to check his student: "Oshin!" Oshin repeated: "Yes." Chu called Oshin: " Oshin! "Oshin replied:" Yes. "Chu said:" I should apologize to you for my shouting, but in reality it is you who should apologize to me. "


When old Chu Oshin called three times, his tongue was rotten, but when Oshin replied three times, his words were brilliant. Chu became decrepit and lonely, and his method of teaching was like holding a cow's head to feed it with clover. Oshin didn't mind showing his zen either. His satisfied stomach had no need to fast. When the land flourishes, everyone is indolent; if the home is rich, the children are depraved. Now I would like to ask you: which one should apologize?

An iron collar without a hole: he has to wear it. This is not easy. His descendants still struggle with it.

Koan # 18 - Tozan's three pounds

A monk asked Tozan when weighing this flax, "What is Buddha?" Tozan said, "This flax weighs three pounds."


Ancient Tozan's Zen is like a shell. The moment it opens you see the whole inside. Still, I ask you: do you see the real Tozan?

Three pounds of flax under your nose, close enough, and the ghost is even closer. Whoever talks about yes and no lives in the right and wrong area.

Koan # 19 - Daily life is the path

Joshu asked Nansen: “What is the path?” Nansen said: “Daily life is the path.” Joshu asked: “Can it be studied?” Nansen said: “If you try to study it, you are far from it . ”Joshu asked,“ If I don't study it, how can I know if it is the path? ”Nansen said,“ The path does not belong to the world of perception, nor does it belong to the world of non-perception. Knowledge is a delusion and non-knowledge is meaningless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, put yourself in the same freedom as Heaven has. You will not call them good or not-good. ”With these words Joshu became enlightened.


Nansen was able to thaw Joshu's frozen doubts instantly when Joshu asked his questions. I still doubt Joshu reached the same point as Nansen. It took him thirty more years of study.

Hundreds of flowers in spring; a full moon in autumn; a refreshing breeze in summer; in winter the snow. If there are no useless things in your mind, then any season is a good season.

Koan No. 20 - The Enlightened Man

Shogen asked: "Why does the enlightened person not stand on his feet and explain himself?" And he also said: "Talking does not have to come from the tongue."


Shogen spoke clearly enough, but how many will understand? If anyone understands, re should come to me and feel my big stick. Because, look, to test old gold you have to see it through the fire.

When the feet of enlightenment move, the great ocean overflows. When this head bends, it looks down at the heavens. Such a body has no place to rest ... Let someone else continue this poem.

Koan # 21 - Dried manure

A monk asked Ummon, “What is Buddha?” Ummon answered him. "Dried manure."


It seems to me that Ummon is so poor that he cannot distinguish the taste of one food from another, or he is too busy to write legible letters. Well, he was trying to keep his school going with dried manure. And his teaching was as good as useless.

Lightning flashes, sparks fly. With a blink of your eyes you missed seeing.

Koan # 22 - Kashapa's preacher mark

Ananda asked Kashapa, “Buddha gave you the gold-interwoven robe of discipleship. What else did he give you? ”Kashapa said,“ Ananda. ”Ananda replied,“ Yes, brother. ”Then Kashapa said,“ Now you can take off my preacher's mark and put up your own. ”


If anyone understands this, he will still see the old brotherhood together; but if not, and may he himself have studied the truth from the pre-Buddhas ages, he will not attain enlightenment.

The point of the question is obscure, but the answer is obvious. How many people, hearing this, will open their eyes? Older brothers call out and younger brothers answer that spring is not the usual time of year.

Koan # 23 - Don't think well, don't think no-well

When the sixth patriarch was liberated, he received from the fifth patriarch the bowl and robe which the Buddha had given to his successors and which have been passed on from generation to generation. A monk named Emyo enviously pursued the patriarch to take this great treasure away from him. The sixth patriarch put his bowl and robe on a stone by the road and said to Emyo, “These things symbolize faith. There is no need to fight for it. If you want to take it, take it now. ”When Emyo tried to pick up the bowl and robe, they were heavy as mountains. He couldn't move her. Trembling with shame, he said, “I came because I wanted teaching, not material treasures. Please teach me. ”The sixth patriarch said,“ If you don't think well, and if you don't think not-well, what is your true self? ”With these words Emyo became enlightened. Sweat broke all over his body. He cried, bowed and said, “You gave me the secret words and meanings. Is there any deeper meaning to the teaching? ”The Sixth Patriarch replied,“ What I have told you is not at all secret. When you realize your own true self, the secret is yours. "Emyo said," I was with the Fifth Patriarch for many years, but have not been able to realize my true self until now. Through your teaching I find the source. When someone drinks water, he knows for himself whether it is cold or warm. May I call you my teacher? ”The sixth patriarch replied,“ We ​​both studied under the fifth patriarch. Call him your teacher, but keep what you have gained. "


The sixth patriarch was not a little friendly in such an emergency. It was like removing the skin and seeds from a fruit, opening the student's mouth, and letting him eat the fruit.

You cannot describe it, you cannot imagine it; you cannot admire it, you cannot feel it. It is your real self, there is nowhere to hide. If the world is destroyed it will not be destroyed.

Koan No. 24 - Without words, without silence

A monk asked Fuketsu, “Without speaking, without being silent, how can you express the truth?” Fuketsu remarked, “I always remember spring in South China. The birds sing in the midst of innumerable kinds of fragrant flowers. "


Fuketsu's Zen was like lightning. Whenever the opportunity arose, he would light it up. But this time he didn't, just borrowed an old Chinese poem. Do not worry about Fuketsu's Zen. If you want to express the truth, throw away your words, throw away your silence and tell me about your own zen.

He did not speak grandiose words; before he opened his mouth it was revealed. If you keep chatting, you will never get it.

Koan # 25 - Sermon from the Third Seat

In a dream, Kyozan went to Maitreya's Pure Land. He discovered himself in third place in Maitreya's abode. Someone announced, “Today he who has the third seat will preach.” Kyozan rose and said, tapping his hammer, “The truth of Mahayana teaching is transcendent, it is beyond words and thoughts. Do you understand?"


I want to ask you monks: Did he preach or not? If he opens his mouth, he is lost. If he doesn't open it, if he doesn't lock it, he is 108,000 miles from the truth.

Bright light of the day! In the dream he speaks of a dream. Humbug! Humbug! He deceived all of society.

Koan # 26 - Two monks roll up the curtain

Hogen of Seiryo Monastery was about to give a lecture before dinner when he found that the bamboo curtain that had been lowered for meditation had not been rolled up. He pointed out. Two monks in the audience rose and rolled him up. Hogen, who observed them both in their physical movement, said: "The first monk has it, the second doesn't."


I want to ask you: which of these two monks has it and which doesn't? If either of you has a Zen eye, he will see the fault on the teacher's side. In any case, I am not discussing “have” and “not have”.

When the curtain is rolled up, the wide sky opens, but the sky is not set for Zen. The best thing is to forget the wide sky and withdraw from any wind.

Koan # 27 - It is not mind, it is not Buddha, it is not things

A monk asked Nansen, “Is there a teaching that no master has ever preached before?” Nansen said, “Yes, there is.” “What does it mean?” Asked the monk. Nansen replied, "It's not mind, it's not Buddha, it's not things."


Old Nansen gave away his treasure trove of words. He must have been pretty bad together.

Nansen was too kind and lost his treasures. Verily, words have no power. Even if the mountain becomes the sea, words cannot open another's mind.

Koan No. 28 - Blow out the candle

Tokusan learned Zen under Ryutan. One night he came to Ryutan and asked many questions. Teacher said, “The night is getting old. Why don't you lie down? ”So Tokusan bowed and opened the curtain to go outside, noting,“ It's very dark outside. ”Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle so that he could find his way. Just as Tokusan was taking them, Ryutan blew them out. At that moment, Tokusan's mind opened. "What did you win?" Asked Ryutan. “From now on,” said Tokusan, “I don't want to doubt the teacher's words any more.” The next day, Ryutan said in his lecture to the monks: “I see a monk among you. Its teeth are like the sword tree, its mouth is like the bowl of blood. If you hit him with a hard stick, he will hardly look back at you. One day he will reach the highest peak and carry my teaching there. ”That day, Tokusan burned his comments on the sutras to ashes in a square in front of the classroom. He said, “However mysterious the teachings may be, compared to this enlightenment they are like a single hair against the great heavens. However profound the complicated knowledge of this world, compared to this enlightenment it is like a drop of water against the great ocean. ”Then he left the monastery.


When Tokusan was still in his own country, he was not satisfied with Zen, even though he had heard about it. He thought. “These southern monks claim that they can teach the Dharma outside of the sutras. You are wrong. I have to teach them. ”So he traveled south. He happened to be stopping near Ryutan's monastery to refresh himself. An old woman who passed there asked him, "What are you carrying heavy?" I've read this sutra, which says, 'The past mind cannot be held, the present mind cannot be held, the future mind cannot be held.' You want tea and refreshments. What mind do you intend to use for this? ”Tokusan was speechless.Finally he asked the woman, "Do you know a good teacher around here?" The old woman referred him to Ryutan, who lived no more than five miles away. So he went to Ryutan in all humility, very different from the way he started his journey. For his part, Ryutan was so gracious that he forgot his own dignity. It was like pouring dirty water over a drunk to clean him up. In fact, it was an unnecessary comedy.

Much better to see the face than to hear the name; much better to hear the name than to see the face. If he saved his nose too, he lost his eyes.

Koan No. 29 - Not the wind, not the flag

Two monks discussed a flag. One said, “The flag is moving.” The other said, “The wind is moving.” The sixth patriarch happened to pass by. He said to them: “Not the wind, not the flag; the mind moves. "


The sixth patriarch said, “The wind doesn't move, the flag doesn't move. The mind moves. ”What did he mean? If you understand this inside out, you will see two monks trying to buy iron and mine gold. The sixth patriarch couldn't bear to see two such fools, so he made such a deal.

Wind, flag, spirit move, the same understanding. When mouths open, everyone is wrong.

Koan # 30 - This mind is Buddha

Daibai asked Baso, "What is Buddha?" Baso said, "This mind is Buddha."


If someone fully understands this, he wears Buddha's clothes, eats Buddha's food, speaks Buddha's words, behaves like Buddha - he is Buddha. Nevertheless, this anecdote has brought the sickness of formality to some pupils. If one truly understands, he will wash his mouth for three days after saying the word Buddha, and he will close his ears and flee after hearing, "This mind is Buddha."

There is no need to look around under the blue sky, in the bright sunlight. Asking what the Buddha is is like hiding a robbery in your pocket and declaring yourself innocent.

Koan # 31 - Joshu is investigating

A traveling monk asked an old woman about the road to Taizan, a famous temple that is said to give wisdom to those who prayed there. The old woman said: “Go straight ahead.” When the monk had taken a few steps further, she said to herself: “He is also an ordinary churchgoer.” Somebody told Joshu this incident, and Joshu said: “Wait until I investigate The next day he went out and asked the same question, and the old woman gave the same answer. Joshu remarked: "I tested this old woman."


The old woman understood how war is planned, but she didn't know how spies sneak into her tent from behind. Old Joshu played a spy and turned the tables, but he was not an able general. They both had their weaknesses. Now I would like to ask you: What was the purpose for which Joshu tested the old woman?

If the question is common, the answer is common. If the question is sand in a bowl of cooked rice, the answer is a stick in soft mud.

Koan No. 32 - A philosopher questions Buddha

A philosopher asked the Buddha: "Do you want to tell me the truth, without words, without wordlessness?" The Buddha was silent. The philosopher bowed and thanked the Buddha and said, "With the kindness of your heart I have cleared up my delusions and entered the true path." After the philosopher left, Ananda asked the Buddha what this man had achieved. The Buddha replied, "A good horse runs in the face of the shadow of the whip."


Ananda was the Buddha's disciple. Still, his insight did not surpass that of the outsider. I would like to ask you monks: How big is the difference between students and outsiders?

To step on the sharp edge of a sword, to walk on frozen ice, you don't need to follow a trail. Walk over the cliffs with your hands free.

Koan No. 33 - No mind, no Buddha

A monk asked Baso, "What is Buddha?" Baso said, "No mind, no Buddha."


If one understands this, then he has passed Zen.

If you meet a fencing master in the street, give him your sword and give a poem to only one poet. When you meet others, only say part of your words. Never give it all at once.

Koan No. 34 - Learning is not the way

Nansen said, “The mind is not Buddha. Learning is not the way. "


Nansen had grown old and had forgotten how to be ashamed. He spoke with a stinky mouth and exposed the scandal of his own house. In any case, there are few who appreciate his friendliness.

When the sky is clear, the sun is shining. When the earth is parched, rain will fall. He opened his heart completely and spoke, but it was useless to talk to pigs and fish.

Koan No. 35 - Two souls

"Seijo, the Chinese girl," remarked Goso; “Had two souls; one was always sick at home, the other was in town, a married woman with two children. Which was the real soul? "


If one understands this, he will know that it is possible to step out of one skin and slip into another, as if staying temporarily in a hotel. But if he cannot understand when his time comes and his four elements separate, he will be like a crab wriggling with many arms and legs in boiling water. In such a frightening situation he might say, "Mumon didn't tell me where to go!" But then it will be too late.

The moon above the clouds is the same moon, the mountains and rivers below are all different. Everyone is happy in their unity and diversity. This is one, this is two.

Koan # 36 - Meeting a Zen Master on the Street

Goso said, “When you meet a Zen master on the street, you cannot speak to him and you cannot face him in silence. So what do you want to do? "


In such a case, if you can answer him inside, your realization will be very beautiful. If you can't, you should look around without seeing anything.

If you meet a Zen master on the street, do not greet him with words or silence. Hook him on the chin and you will be called one who understands Zen.

Koan No. 37 - A buffalo goes through the fence

Goso said: "When a buffalo leaves the enclosure and goes to the edge of the abyss, it brings its horns and its head and its hooves through, but why not its tail too?"


If someone has the right eye for this and says a Zen word, he is ripe to repay the four gifts; and not only that, he can save all sentient beings below him. But if he cannot utter such a true Zen word, he should return to his tail.

If a buffalo runs away, it will fall into the ditch; when he returns he will be slaughtered. That little tail is a very strange thing.

Koan No. 38 - An oak in the garden

A monk asked Joshu why Bodhidharma came to China. Joshu said: "An oak in the garden."


If one clearly understands Joshu's answer, there is no Shakyamuni Buddha before him and no future Buddha after him.

Words cannot describe everything. Words cannot convey the message of the heart. If someone takes words literally, he is lost. If he tries to explain with words, he will not get enlightenment in this life.

Koan No. 39 - Ummon's wrong way

A Zen student said to Ummon, “The splendor of the Buddha illuminates the whole universe.” Before finishing the phrase, Ummon asked, “You're quoting someone else's poem, aren't you?” “Yes,” the student replied. "You're on the wrong track," said Ummon. Later another teacher, Shishin, asked his students, "At what point did this student leave the right track?"


If one perceives Ummon's special dexterity, he will know at what point the student left the track and he will be a teacher of men and gods. If not, he cannot even perceive himself.

If a fish encounters the fishhook and is too greedy, it will be caught. If he opens his mouth, his life is already lost.

Koan No. 40 - Knocking over a bowl of water

Hyakujo wanted to send a monk to open a new monastery. He told his students that he would entrust it to whoever would best answer a question. He put a bowl of water on the floor and asked: "Who can say what this is without naming it?" The chief monk said: "Nobody can call it a wooden shoe." Isan, the monk's cook, pushed the bowl with him around his foot and went out. Hyakujo smiled and said, "The chief monk has lost." And Isan became the master of the new monastery.


Isan was good enough, but Hyakujo tricked him. Eventually he gave up an easy job and took on a difficult one. Because look, he's taken off his comfortable hat and put iron shackles on himself.

He gave up the cookware, he defeated the babbler. Even though his teacher placed an obstacle in front of him, his feet knocked everything over, even the Buddha.

Koan # 41 - Bodhidharma stills the mind

Bodhidharma sits facing the wall. His future successor stands in the snow and holds out his severed arm to Bodhidharma. He cries: “My mind has no peace. Master, still my mind. ”Bodhidharma says:“ If you bring this mind to me, I will still it. ”The successor says:“ If I seek my mind, I cannot hold it. ”Bodhidharma says:“ Then it is already breastfed. "


This toothless ancient Hindu Bodhidharma came to China thousands of miles across the sea from India as if he had something wonderful to offer. It's like swell without wind. After years in China, he gained only one student, and that one lost his arm and was disfigured. Unfortunately, he has had mindless students since then.

Why did Bodhidharma come to China? Monks discussed this for four years. All the confusion that has followed since then has come from this teacher and his student.

Koan No. 42 - The girl comes out of meditation

At the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, Manjusri went to the gathering of Buddhas. When he got there, the conference was over, and each Buddha had returned to his own Buddha-land. Only one girl was still immobile in deep meditation. Manjusri asked Shakyamuni Buddha how it was possible for this girl to reach this stage that even he could not reach. "Get them out of their samadhi and ask them yourself," said the Buddha. Manjusri walked around the girl three times and clicked his fingers. She was still in meditation. So with the help of his miraculous powers he took her to high heaven and tried as best he could to call her, but to no avail. Buddha Shakyamuni said, “Even a hundred thousand manjusris could not disturb them, but down on earth, beyond twelve hundred million countries, there is a bodhisattva, Mo-myo, seed of delusion. When he comes here, she will awaken. ”No sooner had the Buddha finished speaking than this Bodhisattva jumped up from the earth, bowed to the Buddha and offered him his worship. The Buddha instructed him to wake the girl. The bodhisattva stepped in front of the girl and clicked his fingers, and at that moment the girl came out of her deep meditation.


That was a bad play by old Shakyamuni. I would like to ask you monks, if Manjusri, who was supposed to be the teacher of seven Buddhas, could not get this girl out of her meditation, how could a bodhisattva who was just a beginner? If you understand this deeply, you can enter into the great meditation while at the same time living in the world of delusion.

One couldn't wake her up, the other could. Neither of them was a good actor. One wears the mask of a god, one the mask of the devil. If both had failed, the drama would still be a comedy.

Koan # 43 - Shuzan's short stick

Shuzan held up his short stick and said, “If you call this a short stick, you are contradicting its reality; if you do not call this a short stick, you are ignoring the fact. So what do you want to call it? "


If you call that a short stick, you are at odds with its reality. Unless you call this a short stick, you are ignoring the fact. It cannot be expressed in words, and it cannot be expressed without words. Now quickly say what it is.

Holding up the short stick, he gave an order of life or death. Interwoven positively and negatively, it is about the life of the Buddhas and patriarchs themselves.

Koan No. 44 - Baso's stick

Baso said to his students: “If you have a stick, I will give it to you. If you don't have a stick, I'll take it from you. "


If there is no bridge over the river, the stick will help me. When I go home on a moonless night, the stick goes with me. But if you call this a stick, I will shoot an arrow into hell like an arrow.

With this stick in my hand I measure the depths and shallows of the world. The stick supports the heavens and strengthens the earth. Wherever he goes, that is where the true teaching is spread.

Koan # 45 - Who is he?

Hoen said, “The past and future Buddha, they are both his servants. Who is he?"


When you can clearly see who he is, it is like meeting your own father on a busy street. There is no need to ask anyone whether your knowledge is real or not.

Don't fight with someone else's bow and arrow. Do not ride another's horse. Don't talk about someone else's mistake. Do not interfere in someone else's work.

Koan # 46 - Forward from the top of the stake

Sekiso asked, “How can you go forward from the top of a hundred foot pole?” Another Zen master said, “One who sits on the top of a hundred foot pole has come to a certain height, but still does he not deal freely with Zen. He should go forward from there and appear with his whole body in the ten parts of the world. "


It can step one step at a time, or it can rotate freely on the top of a pole. In any case, it should be recognized. However, I would like to ask you, monks, how do you plan to advance from the top of this stake? Pay attention!

The man who lacks the third eye of insight clings to the measure of a hundred feet. Such a person will jump down there and kill himself, like one blind man leads astray other blind man.

Koan No. 47 - The Three Gates of Tosotsu

Tosotsu set three obstacles and let the monks pass through. The first obstacle is studying Zen. In studying Zen, the goal is to see one's own true nature. Now where is your true nature? Second, when one realizes his true nature he is free from birth and death. But if you close your eyes to the light and become a corpse, how can you free yourself? Third, when you are freeing yourself from birth and death, you should know where you are. So your body is now dissolving into the four elements. Where are you?


Whoever crosses these three obstacles will be a Master wherever he is. Whatever happens to him, he will turn it into zen. Otherwise he will live on poor food and not even have enough for himself.

Instant recognition sees time endless. Endless time is like a moment. When one understands the endless moment, one realizes the person he sees.

Koan No. 48 - A Path from Kembo

A Zen student asked Kembo: “All Buddhas of the ten parts of the universe go the one path of nirvana. Where does this path begin? ”Kembo raised his walking stick and drew the sign one in the air and said,“ Here it is. ”This student went to Ummon and asked the same question. Ummon, who happened to be holding a fan, said: “This fan extends to the thirty-third heaven and comes up against the nose of the deity ruling there. It is like the kite carp of the Eastern Sea that knocks over the rain cloud with its tail. "


One teacher dives into the deep sea and digs up the earth and stirs up dust.The other goes to the top of the mountain and creates waves that almost touch the sky. One holds on, the other gives away. Each one supports the deep teaching with a single hand. Kembo and Ummon are like two riders, one of whom cannot surpass the other. It is very difficult to find the perfect one. Frankly, none of them know where the path begins.

Before the first step is taken, the goal is achieved. Before the tongue moves, the speech is over. More than shining intuition is needed to find the beginning of the right path.

Koan No. 49 - Amban's Addendum

Amban, a lay student of Zen, said, “Mumon has just published forty-eight koans and called the book Goalless Gate. He criticizes the words and actions of the old patriarchs. I think he's very vicious. He's like an old donut seller who tries to catch a passerby and stuff his donuts down his throat. The customer cannot swallow or spit the pancakes, and this causes suffering. Mumon bothered everyone enough, so I think I should add one more as a bonus. I wonder if he can eat this stuff. If he can and digests it properly, that's fine, but if not, he has to put it back in the pan with his forty-eight and bake everything again. Mumon, you eat first before someone else does: “According to a sutra, the Buddha once said, 'Stop, stop. Do not speak. The highest truth is not even conceivable. '"


Where did this so-called teacher come from? What is it like when you can't even think it? Suppose someone talked about it, what would become of it? Buddha himself was a big talker, and in this sutra he contradicts himself. That is why later people like Mumon appeared in China and made useless donuts and molested the others. What should we do there? I want to show you. Then Amban folded his hands and said, “Stop, stop.

Don't speak. The highest truth is not even conceivable. And now I want to make a small circle on the sutra with my finger and add the five thousand other sutras and Vimalakirti's Gateless Gate - they are all in the circle. "

If someone tells you that fire is light, do not pay attention to it. When two thieves meet, there is no need to introduce yourself: they recognize each other without question.