PZI Teacher Archives

Ghosts Howl & Spirits Wail (BCR 59)

KOAN:

If you pour water into water,
it doesn’t get wetter;
wind blowing cannot enter.
The tiger prowls, the dragon walks,
ghosts howl, the spirits wail.

—Xuedou’s Verse in Blue Cliff Record Case 59 (transl. John Tarrant & Joan Sutherland)

Text November 23, 2022

A Blue Cliff Record Journey of Not Picking & Choosing

John Tarrant

It’s kind of remarkable that the Picking & Choosing koan appears four times in the Blue Cliff Record, which contains only one hundred cases. So, what to do with it? When everybody tries to make sense of it, things happen: They get captured and taken off by pirates or drug lords. You’ve got to be careful in Zen.

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