Dongshan and Shenshan Cross the River

Zen master Sengmi of Shenshan crossed a river with his dharma brother Dongshan.

Dongshan said, “Don’t make a mistake with your steps and slip into the current.”

Shenshan said, “If I make a mistake with my steps, then I won’t live to cross the river.”

Dongshan said, “What is the state without mistakes?”

Shenshan said, “Crossing the river with the elder.”



Student: “Who is the elder whom Shenshan said he crossed the river with?”

Master: “He is sitting with you.”

Student: “Who do you mean? Why can’t I see him?”

Master: “Because you slipped into the current.”



One man is enjoying swimming and the other man is drowning in the same river.


©Boo Ahm


All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway


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

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