Whenever Baizhang gave a talk, an old man was there listening. When the people left, he left too. One day he stayed behind.
“Who are you?” asked the teacher.
The old man said, “It’s true, I’m not a human being. In a previous universe, in a time of a different Buddha, I was the abbot on this mountain. A student asked, ‘Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect?’ ‘No,’ I said, ‘someone like that doesn’t fall under the law of cause and effect.’ Because of this, I’ve been reborn 500 times as a fox. Please, will you say a turning word for me?”
Baizhang said, “You don’t cut the chains of cause and effect.” At these words, the old man had a great awakening.
—Gateless Gate, Case 2 & Book of Serenity, Case 8
Art Sensei Allison Atwill presents on the creation of her painting “Baizhang’s Fox”. This is an ancient koan which asks the listener, “Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect?” Allison describes how a koan chooses her and appears in her dreams and waking life. Each aspect of the koan comes to life on the canvas. June 22, 2011.
Physicist and Physics professor Chris Gaffney gave a talk in Santa Rosa on a Monday evening in July 2013, and this is what he said about it: