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Why did Nansen cut the cat in two?

Why did Nansen cut the cat in two?

One day Nansen saw the monks of the eastern and western halls fighting over a cat. He seized the cat and said, “If any of you can say a right word, you can spare the cat. Otherwise I will kill it.” No one could answer. So, Nansen cut the cat in two.

That evening Joshu returned and Nansen told him what had happened. Joshu thereupon took off his sandals and, placing them on his head, walked away. Nansen said, “If only you had been there, you could have saved the cat.”

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Student: “Why did Nansen cut the cat in two?”

Master: “Because his students thought as you do now.”
Student: “Why did Joshu take off his sandals and place them on his head?”
Master: “Because he thought as Nansen did.”

Commentary:
Nansen was never so cruel as to kill a living thing.
Joshu was never so crazy as to put his sandals on his head.
Cutting the cat in two is to taking off his sandals and placing them on his head as father is to dad.

©Boo Ahm
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway http://ow.ly/i/vB4b3

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