Koan: A String of White Pearls

Master Dao Qian was the attendant of the abbot, Master Shi Shuang. After Master Shi Shuang’s passing, the community asked the head monk to accept abbotship. Master Dao Qian reminded the assembly, “He must have a grasp of the abbot’s teaching before we can accept him.” The head monk asked, “What is the teaching of the Abbot?” […]

Cover the Eyes

One day, a monk noticed that Zen Master Yao-shan was reading the sutra. “Master, you normally don’t allow us to read sutra. Why are you reading sutra yourself?” The monk asked. “Oh, I read only to cover my eyes.” “So can I do that too?” The monk asked. Master Yao-shan said to the monk: “For you, you […]

Koan: Fire seeking fire

The warden of the monastery had long been in the presence of Master Yuan Yi, yet never once asked for dharma instruction in person. One day Master Yuan Yi asked the warden, “Why don’t you come for an interview?” “Abbot, you don’t know?! I already found the entry point to the Way when I studied […]

I have been rude!

A monk came to Master Pu-An to test his realization. Immediately Master Pu-An hit the monk with a staff, and the monk stepped forward and grabbed it. Master said, “I have been rude!” The monk then took the staff and hit Master Pu-An instead. Master said to the monk, “You are really good, really good!” […]

Missed by a hair-width, separated like Heaven and Earth

One day Master asked the abbot, “How you understand the saying ‘Missed by a hair-width, separated like Heaven and Earth’?” The abbot said, “Missed by a hair-width, separated like Heaven and Earth.” Master: “How can you attain enlightenment with this kind of understanding?” Abbot: “Then how do you Master understand it?” Master: “Missed by a […]