The Stone in Sea of Ise

KOAN:

a. In the Sea of Ise, ten thousand feet down, lies a single stone.
I want to pick up that stone
without getting my hands wet.

b. Here is the stone, inscribed with three lines:

1 The top line is a signature.
2 The right line reads, “Cannot get wet.”
3 The left line reads, “Cannot get dry.”

– PZI Miscellaneous Koans, Case 27

From an 8th century C.E. imperial Japanese song. The Shrine at Ise is the most sacred site of Shinto, Japan’s indigenous religion. It is sacred to foxes. This is one of the few Japanese koans in the curriculum.

Text August 23, 2020

Predicament Koans – John Tarrant 2013

John Tarrant

So, rather than thinking a predicament is something we’ve got to get rid of, it’s just life—and it has its own dynamism. Maybe we have to walk through it, not run the other way. It’s all right to weep about it, or be frustrated and angry. You can’t be someone else, you are who you are. The gateway is yours, not someone else’s. From recording at Summer Sesshin, July 11 2013, Santa Sabina.

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