Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mumonkan, Koan 30: Baso's "This Very Mind is the Buddha"

Zen Master Baso
Daibai asked Baso, "What is the Buddha?"  Baso answered, "This very mind is the Buddha."

My first reaction was that this wasn't a koan. It's a question and an answer without any riddle or ambiguity. However, as I thought about it, I found myself considering the exchange itself. The question is an odd one to ask, since answers of this kind cannot be given to someone. Certainly not verbally.

If Zen could be transmitted verbally, I suppose this would be the way to do it. However, this answer doesn't give Daibai anything...even though it is correct. What he is asking about - what he seeks - must be found and experienced on one's own, not imparted in this manner.

Taking this line of thought to it's logical conclusion, asking such a question of another person in hope of gaining knowledge or instruction is wrong-minded.

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