Koans

Ordinary Mind is the Way

This koan is an exchange between Master Nansen and his student Joshu that would have taken place in China around the 9th century. Their dialog concerns the nature of the Way and how to attain it. Nansen advises his student that ordinary mind is the key, but that it is not something he can seek… Continue reading Ordinary Mind is the Way

Book Excerpts, Koans

Nansen Kills the Cat – Koun Yamada

This famous koan from the Mumonkan or The Gateless Gate, tells the story of Nansen killing a cat that a group of monks were arguing over in a monastery, an action that elicited a bizarre response from another monk, Joshu. This particular translation of the koan comes from Koun Yamada's book of teachings on the… Continue reading Nansen Kills the Cat – Koun Yamada

Koans

Gutei’s Finger

'Gutei's Finger' is the 3rd 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 Master… Continue reading Gutei’s Finger

Koans

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