Chinese Texts, Koans

Master Ma-tsu and Original Mind

"Strange words and extraordinary actions" were the hallmark of 8th century Ch'an master Ma-tsu (also written as Mazu Daoyi) whose teaching methods involved the kind of unorthodox actions that became associated with certain forms of Zen, especially Rinzai. Ma-tsu was particularly fond of holding up his fly whisk, shouting and hitting his students, in order… Continue reading Master Ma-tsu and Original Mind


The Koan of Baso’s Very Mind

Baso's Very Mind is the 30th case or koan in the Mumonkan, The Gateless Barrier, a collection of koans compiled in the 13th century by Rinzai master Wumen Huikai (known as Mumon Ekai in Japan). The 48 koans in the collection are all sourced from well-known scenes and moments through the history of Zen that… Continue reading The Koan of Baso’s Very Mind


The Ultimate Path is Without Difficulty

  Chao Chou, teaching the assembly, said, "The Ultimate Path is without difficulty; just avoid picking and choosing. As soon as there are words spoken, this is picking and choosing", "this is clarity." This old monk does not abide within clarity;┬ádo you still preserve anything or not?" At that time a certain monk asked, "Since… Continue reading The Ultimate Path is Without Difficulty