Joshu’s ‘In the east of this village’ (2)

On the way back to his temple, Joshu happened to meet an elderly lady, who asked him, “Where do you live?” Joshu said, “In the east of this village.” Joshu, talking to his students about what had happened on his way back, said to them, “How can you write the ‘east’ that I told the old lady?” A monk wrote ‘east’, and another monk wrote ‘East’. Joshu said, “How foolish you are! You are no better than a nine-year-old boy.” One monk said, “Why do you say so?” Joshu said, “Because both of you know only letters.”

Student: “What was wrong with the two monks who wrote ‘east’ and ‘East’?”

Master: “Joshu’s place is free from directions.”

Student: “Why?”

Master: “Because it is too huge to be put on a map.”


Don’t be so foolish as to ask a passer-by where the universe is.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s