Episode 189: Koan 1 – The Simplest Thing

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A Koan 公案 is a story, dialogue, question or statement which is used in Zen practice. Today we will start a new series in our podcast of koans.

I am not a Buddhist, and by no means I understand the world or have more life experiences than anyone who is listening. But hopefully by sharing these koans we can all have some inspirations and understand ourselves better.

The koan today is from the book The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp 景德传灯录, a work consisting of biographies of Zen patriarchs and Buddhist monks from the Song dynasty in the year 1004.

The dialogue is between Vinaya Master YouYuan 有源律师(Vinaya Master are masters that focuses on the discipline and precepts. )and Zen Master DaZhuHuiHai 大珠慧海禅师 from the Tang dynasty 唐朝.

 

公案1-2

 

Vinaya Master YouYuan asked, “monks practice Zen. Do they work hard?”

Zen Master DaZhuHuiHai said, “working hard.”

Vinaya Master YouYuan asked, “how?”

Zen Master DaZhuHuiHai said, “they eat when they are hungry and sleep when they feel sleepy.”

Vinaya Master YouYuan asked, “every human being is like this. How do you call this working hard?”

Zen Master DaZhuHuiHai said, “it’s different?”

Vinaya Master YouYuan asked, “what’s the difference?”

Zen Master DaZhuHuiHai said, “people don’t actually eat when they eat. They think a lot of things in their heads. People don’t sleep when they sleep. They struggle. That’s the difference.”

 

Mentioned:

景德传灯录 The Jingde Record of the Transmission of the Lamp

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