Rinzai 199

Rinzai asked a monk, “Sometimes a Katsu is like the precious sword of the Vajra king; sometimes a Katsu is like a golden-maned lion crouching on the ground; sometimes a Katsu is like a probing pole for fishing to which a grass bushel is fastened to cast shade; and sometimes a Katsu is not used as a Katsu. How do you understand that?” When the monk was on the point of answering. Rinzai gave a Katsu.


The key point of Rinzai’s question is “All things are different from each other, and nothing is the same as anything else. However, everything is the same in essence and nothing is different from anything else. In the same way, a Katsu can seem to have diverse appearances and uses, but the essence of it is the same. Do you know this principle?” When the monk, failing to respond to the question immediately, was about to say the answer he had figured out with his best effort, Rinzai showed him a right answer by giving a Katsu.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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

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