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Everyday Life is the Path

Joshu asked Nansen: `What is the path?'

Nansen said: `Everyday life is the path.'

Joshu asked: `Can it be studied?'

Nansen said: `If you try to study, you will be far away from it.'

Joshu asked: `If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?'

Nansen said: `The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.'

At these words Joshu was enlightened.

Mumon's Comment: Nansen could met Joshu's frozen doubts at once when Joshu asked his questions. I doubt that if Joshu reached the point that Nansen did. He needed thirty more years of study.

In spring, hundreds of flowers; in autumn, a harvest moon;
In the summer, a refreshing breeze; in winter snow will accompany you.
If useless things do not hang in your mind,
Any season is a good season for you.

A Zen koan from the classic collection The Gateless Gate. Original transcription by Ben Walter and Adam Fuller of iBiblio.

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