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Koan With Your Bad Self
Wu-Jian in the Road
Hijiaro was the finest swordsman in Japan. One day he met Wu-Jian, laying in the road.
"Wu-Jian, why are laying in the middle of the road? That is dangerous."
"Hijiaro, you are the finest swordsman in the land. That is dangerous."
Wu-Jian was then trampled by a horse.

The White Robe
A monk asked Satsuo, "Where is my white robe?"
Satsuo replied, "You wear a brown robe."
The monk thought Satsuo was doubting his ability to see the robe's true nature. In reality, Satsuo had smeared the robe with his own feces.

Yes and No
A student asked Rinzai, "Am I enlightened?"
Rinzai replied, "Yes."
Another student approached and asked, "Am I enlightened?"
Rinzai replied, "No."
The first student then asked, "Rinzai, how do you know who is enlightened?"
Rinzai replied, "Riiiight."

Repairing a Wheel
A monk was busily repairing a wheel when Ryutan came up and asked, "When will the wheel be fixed?"
The monk replied, "In two hours."
Ryutan beat the monk to death with a stick.

The Eagle and the Rat
Two monks were watching an eagle catch a rat.
The first monk said, "The rat is too slow."
The second monk said, "The eagle is very fast."
Wu-Jian overheard and said, "Thanks, Captain Obvious."

Late Meditation
Hogen was meditating late into the night when he suddenly became very aware of his legs.

The Swinging Door
Joshu was about to begin teaching his students when he noticed the door swinging in the breeze. Joshu said, "Can someone please shut the door?"
No one stood.
Joshu then said, "You know, it's not always a test."

Buddha's True Nature
Rinzai said to a monk, "Show me the true nature of Buddha."
The monk stuck out his tongue.
Rinzai replied, "Very good, but Buddha was a little taller."

The Old Master
There is a story about an old Zen master who wore precious jewels and ate nothing but the richest foods. One day a student approached and asked, "How can you attain enlightenment when all you think of is jewelry and your next feast?"
The master replied, "You are the only one thinking of my jewelry and my lavish meals."
The student was immediately enlightened and left.
The master thought to himself, "That was close."

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Copyright © 2005-2013 Graham Cranfield