Hanging by Your Teeth (GG5)

KOAN:

The teacher said, “It’s as though you were up in a tree, hanging from a branch with your teeth. Your hands and feet can’t touch any branch. Someone appears beneath the trees and asks,

‘What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?’

If you do not answer, you evade your responsibility. If you do answer, you lose your life. What do you do?”

—Gateless Gate Case 5