PZI Teacher Archives

Zhaozhou Can't Explain (BCR 58)


A student said to Zhaozhou, “You always say that the Great Way is not difficult if you just don’t pick and choose.” 
And Zhaozhou said, “You’re not the first person to ask me that. The truth is I haven’t found a better way to say it.” 

Commentary: Yuanwu says, “Zhaozhou didn’t use shouts the way some people did.”

—Blue Cliff Record Case 58 (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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