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Five Mountain Zen Koans

Five Mountain Zen Koans

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Published by Gary Cocciolillo
Koans
Koans

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Published by: Gary Cocciolillo on Jan 27, 2013
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04/24/2014

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During a Dharma speech, Zen Master Hyōbongii

posed
a Kōan to the assembly: “Three men are walking.” The first
man says, “I am coming here just like this.” The second man
says, “I never come just like this.” In addition, the third man
says to the other two, “Put it all down!” “Which one is correct?
If you find this, I will hit you thirty times. If you cannot find
this, I will also hit you thirty times. What can you do? Nobody
could answer.”
Then he composed a poem:

write “Wu” in the sky—
there is substance and great function.
meditation and enlightenment are important.
but you must find Bodhidharma’s family tradition.

He then hit the table three times with his Zen stick and
descended from the rostrum.

1. Of the three men, which one is correct?

2. How do you write “Wu” in the sky?

3. What are “substance and great function?”

i

Source: The Whole World is a Single Flower Case # 204.

ii

Xiǎofēng Yuánmíng (1888-1966) 曉峰元明 [wg]: Hsiao-feng Yüan-ming, [Kor]: Hyōbong
Wŏnmyŏng, [Jap]: Gyōhō Ganmyō a Dharma-heir of Mańgong Wŏlmyŏn.

Page 43

4. What is Bodhidharma’s family tradition?

Sŭngsan’s Comment

In the sky, one sun, one moon and many stars. But the
blind man cannot see the sun, the moon or the stars. Hyōbong
asked this question and the three men were responding. The
first man says “I am coming here just like this.” However, this
is making something, he is already there and yet he is also
saying he is here ‘just like this.’ This is obvious so he is
painting legs on the picture of a snake. The second man is
trying to hit the first man by saying, “I never come here just
like this.” However, he does not understand the first man’s
mistake. The third man just says, “Put it all down.” and makes
the same mistake.

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