Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Zen Story of this Week

Little Toyo was only twelve years old. But since he was a pupil at the Kennin temple, he wanted to be given a koan to ponder, just like the more advanced students. So one evening, at the proper time, he went to the room of Mokurai, the master, struck the gong softly to announce his presence, bowed, and sat before the master in respectful silence.

Finally the master said: "Toyo, show me the sound of two hands clapping."
Toyo clapped his hands.
"Good," said the master. "Now show me the sound of one hand clapping."
Toyo was silent. Finally he bowed and left to consider this problem.
The next night he returned, and struck the gong with one palm.
"That is not right," said the master.
The next night Toyo returned and played geisha music with one hand.
"That is not right," said the master.
The next night Toyo returned, and imitated the dripping of water.
"That is not right," said the master.
The next night Toyo returned, and imitated the cricket scraping his leg. "That is still not right," said the master.
For ten nights Toyo tried new sounds. At last he stopped coming to the master. 

For a year he thought of every sound, and discarded them all, until finally he reached enlightenment.
He returned respectfully to the master. 
Without striking the gong, he sat down and bowed. 
"I have heard sound without sound," he said.

3 comments:

Ashish Agarwal said...

What does it mean?

Kirtan Shah said...

This is a koan..
My version of its interpretation would be:
The earlier sounds came out as a result of the involvement of external medium. He wanted to create a sound, hear it and make the master hear.
The sound that he heard out of no sound was already always very much there with no involvement of any external medium whatsoever. Thus he reached enlightenment!

Zen koans are made to be pondered upon.
Some Zen seekers work on only one koan for lifetime and they attain realization.

So keep pondering :)

Ravi Pillai said...

I am Pondering