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Zuigan Calls His Own Master

Zuigan called out to himself every day: `Master.'

Then he answered himself: `Yes, sir.'

And after that he added: `Become sober.'

Again he answered: `Yes, sir.'

`And after that,' he continued, `do not be deceived by others.'

`Yes, sir; yes, sir,' he answered.

Mumon's Comment: Old Zuigan sells out and buys himself. He is opening a puppet show. He uses one mask to call `Master' and another that answers the master. Another mask says `Sober up' and another, `Don't be cheated by others.' If anyone clings to any of his masks, he is mistaken, yet if he imitates Zuigan, he will make himself fox-like.

Some Zen students do not realize the true man in a mask
Because they recognize ego-soul.
Ego-soul is the seed of birth and death,
And foolish people call it the true man.

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

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