|photo: Professor Gary Lee Todd|
Sometimes there are references in koans which, not understood, make it difficult to interpret them. So a little background:
- The World-honored one is the Buddha
- The giving of the golden robe refers to transmission of Zen
- The flagpole - The flag is raised when a master is about to teach
- Koan 6 (The Buddha Holds Out a Flower) describes the transmission of Zen from the Buddha to Kashyapa (called Mahakashyapa in that koan). The picture here is a wooden sculpture of his head from the Tang Dynasty.
In any case, this koan once again highlights that satori or Zen is something reached by a person, not given to them by an instructor.