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: “Why did Nanquan cut the cat in two?”
Master: “Because you saw it.”
Student: “Why did Zhaozhou take off his straw sandals, put them on his head and walk away?”
Master: “Because you didn’t see him.”
It’s because you killed the cat that mice are swarming here and there.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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