Q348. Kyogen said, “Let’s suppose a man is hanging by his teeth from a branch of a tree that is leaning over a precipice. His hands grasp no branch, his feet rest on no limb, and under the tree another man asks him, ‘Why did Bodhidharma come to China from the West (India)?’ If the man in the tree does not answer, he misses the question, and if he answers, he falls and loses his life. Now what shall he do?”

A. Student: “How can you both answer the question and save your life?”

Master: “In danger.”

Student: “Who is in danger?”

Master: “You are in danger.”

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Commentary:

Don’t stumble over the lines drawn on flat land by you.

They can’t catch your feet however tangled they are.

Don’t be scared of your shadow.

It can’t harm you however horrible it may look.

©Boo Ahm

 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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