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Joshu Washes the Bowl

A monk told Joshu: `I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.'

Joshu asked: `Have you eaten your rice porridge?'

The monk replied: `I have eaten.'

Joshu said: `Then you had better wash your bowl.'

At that moment the monk was enlightened.

Mumon's Comment: Joshu is the man who opens his mouth and shows his heart. I doubt if this monk really saw Joshu's heart. I hope he did not mistake the bell for a pitcher.

It is too clear and so it is hard to see.
A dunce once searched for fire with a lighted lantern.
Had he known what fire was,
He could have cooked his rice much sooner.

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

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