Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Koans and the moon

The master Ryokan lived in a poor little hut on a mountainside. One moonlit night he came home and found a burglar looking for something to steal. But Ryokan was a hermit who owned nothing.

Poor fellow, he said to the robber. You have come a long way and found nothing. But I don't want you to leave me empty-handed. Please take my clothes. And Ryokan stripped, and handed the clothes to the robber.

Poor fellow, said naked Ryokan, going outdoors again when the inconsiderate robber had left, How I wish I could have given him this wonderful moon.

-- from Zen Buddhism, An Introduction to Zen with Stories, Parables and Koan Riddles Told by the Zen Masters, The Peter Pauper Press


  1. But...but...didn't the burglar already have that moon?
    Or wait- is that the point?
    I am so dense.

  2. A fine illustration as to why I am not Buddhist. I would have smacked the crap out of the burglar, tied him up with panty hose and set him out in the middle of the road informing him that if he ever came back he would have a red dot on his forehead and it would not be a bindi.



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