Nanquan Kills a Cat (1)

Nanquan Kills a Cat (1)

Once Nanquan saw the monastics of the eastern and western halls arguing over a cat. He held up the cat and said to the monastics, “If you can say a turning word, I will not kill it.”

No one in the assembly could answer. So Nanquan cut the cat in two. Later he told the story to Zhaozhou. Zhaozhou took off his straw sandals, put them on his head, and walked away.


Student: “What did Nanquan mean by cutting the cat in two?”

Master: “He doused the people with water who were feeling thirsty whilst being in the water.”

Student: “What did Zhaozhou mean by taking off his straw sandals and walking away with them on his head?”

Master: “He doused Nanquan with water.”



A gale is not different from a breeze in that both are air.



©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway


#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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