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Qinglin’s “Dead Snake on the Path”

Qinglin’s “Dead Snake on the Path”
Zen master Qinglin was once asked by a monastic, “What happens if I take a shortcut on the path?”
Qinglin said, “A dead snake lies in the great road. I warn you, don’t step on its head.”
The monastic said, “What happens if I step on its head?”
Qinglin said, “You will lose your life.”
The monastic said, “What happens if I don’t step on it?”
Qinglin said, “There is no way to go around it.”
The monastic said, “What happens at such a time?”
Qinglin said, “You miss it.”
The monastic said, “Where shall I go?”
Qinglin said, “The grass is deep. There is no place to look for it.”
The monastic said, “Master, you too should be careful.”
Qinglin clapped his hands and said, “This is all poisonous.”

Student: “What is a shortcut on the path?”
Master: “You are on it.”
Student: “What is a dead snake?”
Master: “Why don’t you step on it on the spot?”

Commentary:
A shortcut is rather a thorny thicket, and a beautiful road with flowers on both sides is rather a barrier.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography http://ow.ly/i/IGAWy

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