On the Nearness of the Near


(DOORLESS Door) Carrying on in the venerable tradition of the Gateless Gate. (Image sourced from zenflash.wordpress.com.)

(DOORLESS Door) Carrying on in the venerable tradition of the Gateless Gate. (Image sourced from zenflash.wordpress.com.)

If you’ve never encountered the eyebrow- (and brain-wrinkling) phenomenon known as the Zen koan, here’s an example from the classic 13th century compilation called The Gateless Gate or Mumonkan:

Buddha & the Non-Buddhist

A Non-Buddhist said to the Buddha, “I do not ask for words; I do not ask for silence.”

Buddha just sat quietly.

The Non-Buddhist said admiringly, “The compassion of the World-Honored One has opened the clouds of my illusion, and has enabled me to enter on the Way.” Making his salutations, he departed.

Ananda then asked Buddha, “What was it this Non-Buddhist realised, that he so praised you?”

The World-Honored One replied, “A high-class horse moves at even the shadow of the whip.”

You can find more of these Zen koans at Mark T. Morse’s zanily illustrated website thegatelessgate.com.

Happy and bewildering reading! 😀

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