Zen Koan Meeting your Master

in

Case:

A wandering monk was walking down the road when he met a Zen master. The monk bowed three times, knelt, and then rose. “Excellent,” said the master, and the two became student and roshi.

Some years later the monk found himself wandering again in search of a master. A master met the monk along the path and the monk bowed three times, knelt, and then rose. “Wrong,” said the master.

Pointer:

In ancient times life was uncertain and misfortune always a step away. Wandering along the path one had to be awake and ready for a sudden rainstorm in the middle of a sunny afternoon.

Buddha held a flower. Mahakashyapa smiled. Excellent!

Only a fool smiles at every flower.

Discussion:

In The Great Chain of Causation as taught by Buddha, each moment is a result and a cause in the destiny stream, and so each moment is pivotal to one’s quality of life.

There is no point to be gained, and perhaps dangerous to be had, by meeting this moment with last moment’s response.

There is no point to be gained, and perhaps dangerous to be had, by meeting this moment with a future response.

Politicians, warlords, and statesmen, would do well to study Zen.

To study Zen means to live beyond all formal learning. No scriptural canon will suffice. Zen has a long hoary history and canon, yet the teachings of Buddha himself tell us that Zen is a transmission beyond that which is fixed or written. This is sometimes expressed in quotes such as: “Drop it;” “If you see the Buddha coming down the road, kill him;” or “Burn the Buddha.” All of this because the value to be had in a universe empty of independence but filled with a relationship can only sustain truth and reality from moment to moment.

Every moment is genuine and to live in harmony with one’s destiny stream is to accord each meeting of every moment a genuine response. Like Buddha’s flower and Mahakashyapa’s smile, one can only respond and then drop it – do not obstruct, and move along the path.

Resolution:

“Master,” said the wandering monk, “this is how I met my last roshi.”

“Do I look like your last roshi?”

“No, Master.”

“Was it along this road?”

“No, Master.”

“Drop it!” the master shouted.

The monk was immediately enlightened. He sat down in the middle of the road. Removing one shoe he balanced the shoe on his head.

“Excellent,” said the master, and the two became student and roshi.

What nonsense this is!

Leave a Comment

Related Posts

The Three Poisons in Buddhism

If you are practicing the Mahayana path of Buddhism which can also be dubbed as “Tibetan Buddhism,” you will be taught about the “Three Poisons.”  The Three Poisons of Buddhism ... Read MoreThe Three Poisons in Buddhism

What is Dharma

Strictly, ‘Dharma’ is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘to carry or hold’. At first glance this meaning tells us nothing; it offers us nothing to carry and less to hold onto! ... Read MoreWhat is Dharma

The History and Significance of Amitabha

Amitabha is a celestial Buddha who is described in the scriptures of the Mahayana, or Greater Vehicle, school of Buddhism. This school of Buddhism lays great emphasis on the Buddha’s ... Read MoreThe History and Significance of Amitabha

What are the four Noble Truths

Buddhism is often seen as esoteric; especially by individuals who live outside of Asia. This is a shame because there is nothing exotic about Buddha’s philosophy. The tenets of Buddhism ... Read MoreWhat are the four Noble Truths

An Explanation of the Middle way in Buddhism

Buddhism was born as a religion during the sixth century when a young man named Siddhartha Guatama achieved enlightenment while meditating under a tree. Siddhartha became known as Buddha, or ... Read MoreAn Explanation of the Middle way in Buddhism