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Taigu
07-17-2012, 01:42 AM
Now with the poor cat.

Now with the shocking koan. Are we involved in Cat slicing? Is Zen a way to cut flesh and bones and marrow of poor and inocent animals? The Bible is also filled with these sacrificial stuff, where brother kills his own brother, where even God allows his Son to perish on the Cross.

Are we a blood-thirsty tradition? I don't think so. The point of Nansen is clear. The whole assembly is dead silent. What is silent : their mouth, their head, their heart? When asked to speak, should they necessarily speak? What is required if anything here? Please dig this. Pick up the knife of investigation and have a go at your joints, life-blood vessels, cut down this blind mass of understanding. What is behind?

So Nansen challenges the assembly. "If you can say a word, I won't cut it? The assembly made no response. Nanzen cut the cat in two". What is cutting the cat? Who is doing it? You see, I often do it, I am a cat-cutter if I look at this being a sharp and witty way to represent to represent dualistic thinking. That's all we do, all day, cutting the world into pieces, cutting others from ourselves, cutting here from now, separating mind and body, looking at things or people being good or bad, great and not so great, going at war everyday from morning to evening and preaching peace with our dead lips. The words of reason, the law of men or gods, they all divide, painfully so reality itself. Killing the cat, everything bleeds.

Cutting is wise, cutting is great, cutting into one is the deepest and real answer. The action that cuts everything, even the cutting itself. How do we cut things into one, how do we behold the sword that slashes things into oneness, or rather into neither one, nor two? In our life, how to manifest this. cutting the cat into life, cutting others into oneself and oneself into others? How to we stop with the slaughter of everything and everyone?

Joshu's answer? What is it? Where do we get the real answer from? Where do we speak from when the world bleeds?

The story goes, a cat died. Every week many animals have to die to feed me. I don't kill them myself. I leave that to others. My family was a family of hunters so I grew up with animal corpses laying in the bathroom, wild rabbits, pigeons, even good cuts of dears and wild bores. I left that karma of killing and worshipping guns behind but I did not leave the karma of killing the world, of cutting reality into pieces. And then looking at the mess and wanting to solve the jigsaw puzzle. Not until I met this path. The path made it so clear that I was the war I wanted to erradicate, I was the quarrel, the fight, the noise, the mess...

So how does this practice makes two into one?


gassho


Taigu

Yugen
07-17-2012, 03:35 AM
Not two, not one, but only thinking makes it so.

Gassho
Yugen

Shokai
07-17-2012, 10:53 AM
481gassho1

Shingen
07-17-2012, 12:35 PM
Thank you Taigu. :)

Gassho
Michael

Kaishin
07-17-2012, 03:33 PM
Feed the hungry cat.

Jiken
07-17-2012, 05:55 PM
Taigu said, "but I did not leave the karma of killing the world, of cutting reality into pieces. And then looking at the mess and wanting to solve the jigsaw puzzle."

So how does this practice makes two into one?

Once I stopped trying to answer this I realized there was no question.

Gassho,

Daido

Jinyo
07-18-2012, 08:23 AM
Cut then suture, cut then suture, - a million times over.

Cutting and dividing the absolute and intuition - when they are really one.

Falling through the tear - the miniscule gap created by cutting - falling into
both darkness and light.


Cut,suture,cut,suture - the whole of life.

Gassho

Willow

Taigu
07-18-2012, 12:04 PM
Very very touching words Willow.
But maybe suture and cut are one and the same, when you cut two into one.

Thank you for this amazing fresh mind of yours, our teacher.

Gassho


Taigu

andyZ
07-18-2012, 12:46 PM
Can you cut the reality (the cat) in two? Yes you can, but it's not the reality (or the cat) any more.
If I was in the assembly I've would've just snatched the cat from Nansen – no words are necessary. When you're a parent and your baby is in danger, or your own life is in danger – the instincts kick in, no time for thinking. That's how you cut the life into one – you become the action itself, you're not separate from it.

Kaishin
07-18-2012, 03:24 PM
That's how you cut the life into one – you become the action itself, you're not separate from it.

gassho1 .

ScottM
07-18-2012, 05:11 PM
Taigu,

I find myself very confused by this koan...I believe I understand some of its teachings, but I am still left with the simple question: Why did no one simply say, "Stop!" Perhaps the story is never meant to be taken literally, but regardless of what I have been taught I would have said to stop. Again, I'm sure I'm missing the point, but doesn't practice start with compassion? I find it difficult to move forward here.

Gassho,
Dosho

Shohei
07-18-2012, 06:09 PM
Hi Taigu and all!
I have read this several times before this and pondered and cut it up myself a hundred times, worrying too much on what each bit meant (for example, Why in the hell did Joshu his shoes on his head? ) and there I went on, cutting it all up.

Before pondering, the first time I read the Koan, my gut instinct was to have Meow'd as loud as I could, but that still would not "save the cat".

I already divided right there (nothing to split, nothing to stitch, but boy oh boy do I ever need to put down the knife!)

This practice does not make 2 into one or 1 in to 2, but allows both.

Gassho
Shohei

Shingen
07-18-2012, 07:23 PM
Taigu,

I find myself very confused by this koan...I believe I understand some of its teachings, but I am still left with the simple question: Why did no one simply say, "Stop!" Perhaps the story is never meant to be taken literally, but regardless of what I have been taught I would have said to stop. Again, I'm sure I'm missing the point, but doesn't practice start with compassion? I find it difficult to move forward here.

Gassho,
Dosho

I am with you there Dosho ... I too have read in several times and still find my mind going to the literal view ... I think I will sit with it some more.

Thank you Taigu for the challenging opportunity.

Gassho
Michael

Kaishin
07-18-2012, 08:07 PM
Taigu,

I find myself very confused by this koan...I believe I understand some of its teachings, but I am still left with the simple question: Why did no one simply say, "Stop!" Perhaps the story is never meant to be taken literally, but regardless of what I have been taught I would have said to stop. Again, I'm sure I'm missing the point, but doesn't practice start with compassion? I find it difficult to move forward here.

Gassho,
Dosho

My take is that all the monks were so caught up in their intellectual games, searching for that one magic word that would impress Nansen. So, they cut the cat just as much as Nansen. Instead, like Andy said, the best "speech" would have been rushing forward and grabbing the damn cat out of his hands! No intellectualization, just direct action. Save the cat by saving the cat, not with empty words.

I dunno!

Myozan Kodo
07-18-2012, 09:40 PM
Chop chop!
Cut to pieces.
Chop chop!
Cut into shape.

When I cut myself, Me Oww!

Gassho
Myozan

Kevin
07-19-2012, 01:07 AM
Nansen's cat is dead.

Long live Nansen's cat!

Gassho,
Kevin *slice!* Joko

alan.r
07-19-2012, 01:59 AM
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
It's a war on war
There's a war on

You're gonna lose
You have to lose
You have to learn how to die...

You have to die
You have to die
You have to learn how die
if you wanna learn to be alive.

-from one of my favorite poets, Jeff Tweedy.

Cut the cut. Even still sometimes I miss that cat so much.

gassho,
a

Thane
07-19-2012, 07:47 PM
Hi everyone

I too struggled with this koan. On first reading, it is shocking to me, with the violent act apparently described. However, Taigu, you point out that this is a sharp and witty way to point out dualistic thinking. That helps :) Although confusing this is what the koan said to me. The monks, could be me or anyone, are caught up in their opinions about right and wrong and fixing in their minds how the world should be through concepts and ideas. Nansen's challenge to them, is deliberately shocking, to make them think and shake them out of their/our nested enclosures. I think they could have said any word, shirt, food, sand, to make Nansen stop. The point was not to think it through, conceptualise it, just act? The next line really confused me when Joshu puts his sandals on his head. Is it another example , to shock us out of our cosy thinking? His actions again showing that there is no intellectual answer to this, and tries to show we have to live our practice and just be here in the moment? Hence why Nansen says he could have saved the cat, because he just responded and did not intellectulise the question put to him?

Well that's what it said to me. I think!

Gassho

Thane

Gary
07-20-2012, 06:44 AM
Chop cat, carry sandals.

Taigu
07-20-2012, 07:48 AM
Hi Gary ...[claps]

gassho


T.

Hans
07-20-2012, 09:44 AM
Hello,


I'm in too much of a pseudo-poetry mood these days, which is why I will use a bit of intentionally blunt and slightly sexist prose this time.

When asked to act in a decisive way, the whole sangha failed. Long before the poor cat was cut in two, the members of that congregation had cut off their own balls. They probably kept them next to the out house. If the questions and the authority of an abbott paralyse you so much, best to burn that robe with the cat's corpse. Waking up has nothing to do with pleasing anyone. Scream at Nansen, kick him in the nuts, grab that cat whatever....just don't get stuck in the swamp of trying to please another.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, or so they say.

One cat and loads of pussies. [twisted]


Gassho,

Hans Chudo Mongen

Jundo
07-20-2012, 10:29 AM
Hello,


I'm in too much of a pseudo-poetry mood these days, which is why I will use a bit of intentionally blunt and slightly sexist prose this time.

When asked to act in a decisive way, the whole sangha failed. Long before the poor cat was cut in two, the members of that congregation had cut off their own balls. They probably kept them next to the out house. If the questions and the authority of an abbott paralyse you so much, best to burn that robe with the cat's corpse. Waking up has nothing to do with pleasing anyone. Scream at Nansen, kick him in the nuts, grab that cat whatever....just don't get stuck in the swamp of trying to please another.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, or so they say.

One cat and loads of pussies. [twisted]


Gassho,

Hans Chudo Mongen


This pleases the Abbot.[claps]

Gassho, J

Rich
07-20-2012, 11:08 AM
This is a living functioning reality. Do something, say something to help all beings live, which includes the cat and yourself.

RichardH
07-20-2012, 11:12 AM
Ha...was already going to post this, but now it looks like a bid to please the Abbot.



...Then, just as Nansen was about to draw his blade across the frightened cat, the thickest monk in the room stood up and said. "Master, put down the cat. We will bicker this morning , then go for our midday meal.... you can have a nap". Nansen complied without a thought.


Gassho.

Rich
07-20-2012, 12:58 PM
We are often like the monks. Stuck, not knowing what to do or say. Stuck in our ego or fear. Between a rock and a hard place. How do we deal with this? How can we live with this? Examine this in the present moment. Sometimes action is non action.

Shingen
07-20-2012, 01:56 PM
Hello,


I'm in too much of a pseudo-poetry mood these days, which is why I will use a bit of intentionally blunt and slightly sexist prose this time.

When asked to act in a decisive way, the whole sangha failed. Long before the poor cat was cut in two, the members of that congregation had cut off their own balls. They probably kept them next to the out house. If the questions and the authority of an abbott paralyse you so much, best to burn that robe with the cat's corpse. Waking up has nothing to do with pleasing anyone. Scream at Nansen, kick him in the nuts, grab that cat whatever....just don't get stuck in the swamp of trying to please another.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going, or so they say.

One cat and loads of pussies. [twisted]


Gassho,

Hans Chudo Mongen

Hans ...

Your pseudo-poetry mood is beauty ... wonderful! :)

Gassho
Michael

galen
07-20-2012, 02:56 PM
My take is that all the monks were so caught up in their intellectual games, searching for that one magic word that would impress Nansen. So, they cut the cat just as much as Nansen. Instead, like Andy said, the best "speech" would have been rushing forward and grabbing the damn cat out of his hands! No intellectualization, just direct action. Save the cat by saving the cat, not with empty words.

I dunno!

Matt..... does that save the damn cat?

Kaishin
07-20-2012, 03:02 PM
Matt..... does that save the damn cat?

I dunno!

Show me your speech.

galen
07-20-2012, 03:15 PM
Thank you Taigu.


Just stay with the cut.

As there could have been a shout to cut, there could have been a shout to not cut.

Just stay with the cut.. infinitely. No indecision decision. No judgement by the mirror of projection, judgement.

Totally immersion into the cut seemingly Is the Way. The rest is thinking and not breathing. To cut or not to cut, to speak or not to speak. Nothing is needed... just be the cut!


Now getting back to my projection......... [scared]


gassho2

galen

Kaishin
07-20-2012, 06:07 PM
P.S. Welcome to Treeleaf, galen! Please do take a moment to share a bit about yourself with everyone (if you haven't already, I might have missed it): http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?9866-Greetings-by-new-folks-(July)
_/\_

Risho
07-21-2012, 02:21 AM
Damn this is a tough one, but I agree with just dping something. I catch myself waiting to help until I feel ready or good enough to do something. But thats just my ego. I get pissed when I'm not recognized. This is crippling at times. That all has to be dropped to just act.

Was that catcut with Manjushris sword?

Gassho

Risho

Ps thank you for all of your awesome posts

RichardH
07-21-2012, 03:47 AM
I get pissed when I'm not recognized. This is crippling at times. That all has to be dropped to just act.


Hey. Risho.... everybody does to some degree sometimes.. I spent years riding the wheel of fortune as an artist... being the star of the show "gifted" etc.. then down the other side to "out of style".... then back up. One year a gallery opening with people lined up to get in... media and so forth. Another year standing alone eating cheese and drinking too much wine.. then back again.. round and round... somebody,nobody,somebody,nobody..... it is insane, and crippling, and typical. No zazen= an insane wheel of fortune. Zazen= being sane.. getting off the wheel. That old wheel of becoming... samsara.


Gassho, kojip

Taigu
07-21-2012, 08:50 AM
Thank you Kojip forthese true and sincere words.

Gassho

Taigu

Myoku
07-21-2012, 01:16 PM
So how does this practice makes two into one?

No two to make it into one; not even one. What puzzles me most is the question what i would have said (being part of the assembly)...I dont know it.
Gassho
Myoku

galen
07-21-2012, 07:19 PM
I dunno!

Show me your speech.

Hi Matt,

I do not have a speech, my comment was just what hit me at the time. It was not meant so much to call you out as it was my wondering from your post, is there a cat that needs saving. It seemed at the time, in your "I dunno!" [monk], my question at the worst, would further provoke your thinking into your own quandary. Isn't that what Its all about?? It was me also thinking out loud, so to speak.... what needs to be saved. Its seems this saving, catching, holding onto, also keeps us stuck. Is there any need for jumping up, or down, for that matter. The koan seemed like it also might be telling/showing/representing, just sit there and witness; breathe, and then everything will fall in place or it won't. Most of us in our lives don't even realize there is a gap or cut that needs closing, and this seemed to represent that. Just knowing there is a difference or there is not, brings some liberating awareness, in and of itself.

As far as knowing more about me :eek:, when you click on our names here, it takes us to the personal profiles of each of us. And when I click on yours, it tells us as much about you as you know about me [smile] (had to kid you there). I live in a very conservative state like yourself (a blessing in a way, to Way), St.George Ut, and I guess I am just living the dream/illusion and delusion, on my way to some liberation of this small self. Personally (and i am sharing with everyone here, when i could have sent you a personal EM) and this is probably weird (again), I feel we might know more about each other by reading posts, and maybe some dharma dueling/bantering, then reading something about a persons own illusional self. But I guess this self portrait (illusional phenomena) is also part of the process of being on the other side of the cut; which side, which cut? Just staying with the cut, looking both ways is liberation in and of Itself! Not many of the world of phenomena, even realize there is a gap or cut........... is there? Does it really matter?

I dunno! gassho1

Take care my new friend,
galen

RichardH
07-21-2012, 10:10 PM
Thank you Kojip forthese true and sincere words.

Gassho

Taigu

Thank you, Taigu.

The wheel turns regardless, so long as I breath, and is no problem per se.

Gassho, kojip

Jinyo
07-21-2012, 11:05 PM
Very very touching words Willow.
But maybe suture and cut are one and the same, when you cut two into one.

Thank you for this amazing fresh mind of yours, our teacher.

Gassho


Taigu

Taigu - I'm still falling through the gap wondering if suture and cut are one and the same.
I keep coming back to the fluidity of cutting and sewing the kesa - the significance of Buddha's
patched robe. What you suggest feels right.

Thank you for your thoughts/teaching

Gassho

Willow

Risho
07-22-2012, 05:33 AM
Kojip, thanks for your respone; i didn't have a chance to respond last night.

AlanLa
07-22-2012, 03:07 PM
Ok, this just hit me as I reread the koan. If you have siblings roughly your age you probably had this experience. You and your brother (or sister) were fighting over a toy and mom came in and said if you can't play nice or together then I am taking away your toy. And you and your brother (or sister) kept fighting until mom came up and snatched the toy away from the two of you. And you both cried. Mom is Nansen and you and your brother (or sister) are the monks.

If I put myself in the place of those monks, this is how I experience this event/koan. I am in the east dorm and we are pissed at the west dorm's cat for some reason. It all started with some little event that no one can even recall anymore because now it's just a big feud, a running argument about that damn cat! Our egos are heavily involved now, so deeply involved that we can't see the silliness of the argument because of our deep desire to WIN the argument. Nansen sees this and says what he says to us feuding monks. We are so shocked that we don't know what to say. All he is asking is for us to speak from our hearts in order to save the cat, but we have lost our hearts as we have lost our way. And so we stare at him dumbly, and he thus cuts the cat to shock us back to the reality of here and now, the reality of life and death as just demonstrated to us quite dramatically. Life is too short to be caught up in ego arguments about a cat, a cat that is now dead, so better to get back to work. That's my take away. As for Joshu's sandals, his putting them on his head shows that he is not all wrapped up in his ego and can let the whole thing go. Speaking from the heart doesn't have to be serious; it can be silly, too.

We are all guilty of saying things like, "If I was there I would've ..." It's easy to judge from afar, but when you are IN the situation, wrapped up IN the event, we generally behave like the small beings that we are. We've all been there after the fact, but to be there in that moment clearly and mindfully - when it is our very lack of clarity with abundant mindlessness that got us in that moment - well, that's the whole koan, isn't it? How can we speak from our heart when our ego is all wrapped in something else? We can, and we do. When situations demand it, sometimes we do. For me, this koan is saying I should do so a little more often. And how do I get better at that? Practice, practice, practice.

galen
07-22-2012, 04:53 PM
Ok, this just hit me as I reread the koan. If you have siblings roughly your age you probably had this experience. You and your brother (or sister) were fighting over a toy and mom came in and said if you can't play nice or together then I am taking away your toy. And you and your brother (or sister) kept fighting until mom came up and snatched the toy away from the two of you. And you both cried. Mom is Nansen and you and your brother (or sister) are the monks.

If I put myself in the place of those monks, this is how I experience this event/koan. I am in the east dorm and we are pissed at the west dorm's cat for some reason. It all started with some little event that no one can even recall anymore because now it's just a big feud, a running argument about that damn cat! Our egos are heavily involved now, so deeply involved that we can't see the silliness of the argument because of our deep desire to WIN the argument. Nansen sees this and says what he says to us feuding monks. We are so shocked that we don't know what to say. All he is asking is for us to speak from our hearts in order to save the cat, but we have lost our hearts as we have lost our way. And so we stare at him dumbly, and he thus cuts the cat to shock us back to the reality of here and now, the reality of life and death as just demonstrated to us quite dramatically. Life is too short to be caught up in ego arguments about a cat, a cat that is now dead, so better to get back to work. That's my take away. As for Joshu's sandals, his putting them on his head shows that he is not all wrapped up in his ego and can let the whole thing go. Speaking from the heart doesn't have to be serious; it can be silly, too.

We are all guilty of saying things like, "If I was there I would've ..." It's easy to judge from afar, but when you are IN the situation, wrapped up IN the event, we generally behave like the small beings that we are. We've all been there after the fact, but to be there in that moment clearly and mindfully - when it is our very lack of clarity with abundant mindlessness that got us in that moment - well, that's the whole koan, isn't it? How can we speak from our heart when our ego is all wrapped in something else? We can, and we do. When situations demand it, sometimes we do. For me, this koan is saying I should do so a little more often. And how do I get better at that? Practice, practice, practice.

Wow............. thank you, Alan. Thanks for sharing That!

gassho2

galen

galen
07-22-2012, 05:09 PM
Taigu - I'm still falling through the gap wondering if suture and cut are one and the same.
I keep coming back to the fluidity of cutting and sewing the kesa - the significance of Buddha's
patched robe. What you suggest feels right.

Thank you for your thoughts/teaching

Gassho

Willow

Thank you, Willow..... for sharing your suture/cut symbolism of the dilemma this koan presents. If I may..... it seems your wondering, falling into gap take, puts you in a great position to have no further concern on this matter. It seems you have yourself centered in the gap/cut looking both ways/sides, and that is over half Way through this so-called battle. It may be, that this awareness alone will resolve itself with little or no more intellectualizing it from your gap position. Just being in the center with your awareness of being there, says a lot from my limited vantage point. Thank you for this. [claps]

gassho2

galen

Heisoku
07-22-2012, 10:24 PM
How can we speak from our heart when our ego is all wrapped in something else? We can, and we do. When situations demand it, sometimes we do. For me, this koan is saying I should do so a little more often. And how do I get better at that? Practice, practice, practice.

Thanks Al this hits my problem on my head. I would be so wrapped up in trying to think of a zen thing to say. Nansen had to cut the cat in the end to show the reality, the bone and marrow. Even so I still wouldn't know what to say.
Now? Well I still don't know as I'd have to be in that situation, but it wouldn't be 'whatever', more like 'stop that cat!'

Risho
07-23-2012, 02:39 AM
Holy shit Alan, thank you for that. I didn't think of it in that light. :)

Gassho

Risho

galen
07-23-2012, 03:34 PM
P.S. Welcome to Treeleaf, galen! Please do take a moment to share a bit about yourself with everyone (if you haven't already, I might have missed it): http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?9866-Greetings-by-new-folks-(July)
_/\_

Thanks Matt...... for the link, will get caught up to that soon.

gassho2

galen

Kyonin
07-23-2012, 10:24 PM
Cat is reality, reality is cat.

We cut it in two with sharp swords only to see us mending it back.

Gassho,

Kyonin

Shogen
07-25-2012, 08:06 AM
Now with the poor cat.

Now with the shocking koan. Are we involved in Cat slicing? Is Zen a way to cut flesh and bones and marrow of poor and inocent animals? The Bible is also filled with these sacrificial stuff, where brother kills his own brother, where even God allows his Son to perish on the Cross.

Are we a blood-thirsty tradition? I don't think so. The point of Nansen is clear. The whole assembly is dead silent. What is silent : their mouth, their head, their heart? When asked to speak, should they necessarily speak? What is required if anything here? Please dig this. Pick up the knife of investigation and have a go at your joints, life-blood vessels, cut down this blind mass of understanding. What is behind?

So Nansen challenges the assembly. "If you can say a word, I won't cut it? The assembly made no response. Nanzen cut the cat in two". What is cutting the cat? Who is doing it? You see, I often do it, I am a cat-cutter if I look at this being a sharp and witty way to represent to represent dualistic thinking. That's all we do, all day, cutting the world into pieces, cutting others from ourselves, cutting here from now, separating mind and body, looking at things or people being good or bad, great and not so great, going at war everyday from morning to evening and preaching peace with our dead lips. The words of reason, the law of men or gods, they all divide, painfully so reality itself. Killing the cat, everything bleeds.

Cutting is wise, cutting is great, cutting into one is the deepest and real answer. The action that cuts everything, even the cutting itself. How do we cut things into one, how do we behold the sword that slashes things into oneness, or rather into neither one, nor two? In our life, how to manifest this. cutting the cat into life, cutting others into oneself and oneself into others? How to we stop with the slaughter of everything and everyone?

Joshu's answer? What is it? Where do we get the real answer from? Where do we speak from when the world bleeds?

The story goes, a cat died. Every week many animals have to die to feed me. I don't kill them myself. I leave that to others. My family was a family of hunters so I grew up with animal corpses laying in the bathroom, wild rabbits, pigeons, even good cuts of dears and wild bores. I left that karma of killing and worshipping guns behind but I did not leave the karma of killing the world, of cutting reality into pieces. And then looking at the mess and wanting to solve the jigsaw puzzle. Not until I met this path. The path made it so clear that I was the war I wanted to erradicate, I was the quarrel, the fight, the noise, the mess...

So how does this practice makes two into one?


gassho


Taigu

Compassion.
gassho, Shogen

Ekai
07-26-2012, 03:39 PM
So how does this practice makes two into one?

For me, this practice doesn't make two into one but helps me see that everything is one. Seeing through the delusions, attachments and the ego to simply just be. Letting go of the ego allows for clear seeing and the capacity to respond with compassion and wisdom rises. If the monks could see that everything is one and were willing to let go of their egos, maybe they would have responded with compassion towards the cat by telling Nansen to stop instead of being crippled by their dualistic views and fears of not looking good in front of the teacher and the other monks.

Just my 2 cents anyway.

Gassho,
Ekai

Jundo
07-26-2012, 04:50 PM
This Koan resonates for me with the prior Koan in the collection, the Zen Master Fox. Was Nansen subject to Karma for killing this cat, or free of Karma all along?

YES! For never a cat to cut in two, and never a "two" or a Nansen from the start. However, if Nansen murdered the cat, Nansen must pay the price nonetheless.

At times in Buddhist history, swordsman and soldiers used such absolutist reasoning to say that killing human beings in war was also free of Karma ... that there ultimately was no one to kill, no sword and no killer. So, this doctrine is very dangerous, and we must be careful. We must remember that there is also a price to pay in any act of violence.

That is why I do not think that Nansen, as an Ordained Buddhist Priest, actually killed the cat (if the story is even a historical event). Buddhist Priests are sometimes iconoclasts, but there are certain lines even a priest won't step over (and even though, in old China, cats may have been thought of as no more than pests and vermin ... about like killing a rat in the kitchen). Thus, cutting the cat in two is figurative ... or better said, the cat and the whole world are cut in two (divided this from that, self from other, life from death) by the arguing monks who cannot pierce Wholeness. If a monk had spoken the right word of Wholeness, the cat would be saved from death ... for in Wholeness, no birth no death and no cat to save. It is much as we vow to "Save All Sentient Beings" in part by teaching Sentient Beings that there are no Sentient Beings in need of saving from the start! The sword cuts into One!

Joshu spoke such a demonstrative word of Wholeness by placing his shoes on his head. Some say this is a sign of mourning the dead in old China, mourning the poor blind monks as much as the cat. Some say that Joshu's meaning is that the arguing monks were seeing things upside down ... like being worn by a pair of shoes instead of wearing them. In any case, Joshu spoke Wholeness in a world of birth and death, saved the cat ... never in need of saving.

Gassho, J

galen
07-26-2012, 06:06 PM
Thank you, Jundo, nice!

"Thus, cutting the cat in two is figurative ... or better said, the cat and the whole world are cut in two (divided this from that, self from other, life from death)"...... and seemingly dividing our self from Self, maybe the most important aspect to being this Wholeness.

"It is much as we vow to "Save All Sentient Beings" in part by teaching Sentient Beings that there are no Sentient Beings in need of saving from the start!"...... already in your knowingness, Jundo, of course, the Ultimate saving All Sentient Beingness is at the highest form of Enlightenment, it can only happen by saving ourSelf first and foremost; nothing that you can learn here from me [morehappy], just sayin.

Thank you for this insightful teaching !!


gassho2

galen

Risho
07-27-2012, 03:54 AM
Interesting about saving sentient beings. When I first start things I'm an eager beaver. I want to be what I'm idealizing so badly! If I could just be a Zen practitioner, like the carefree masters in the texts I would be free of problems! I've got to save those sentient beings! But after ideals have faded and the reality of practice blossoms saving sentient beings by trying to help is arrogant and presumptuous. Most of the time its about not being such an a-hole. Its really the simple things like not ripping someones head off because they said the wrong thing. Perhaps they are having a bad day and I could share a smile.

Sorry for the rambling. Thanks Jundo

Gassho

Risho

BrianW
08-01-2012, 07:29 PM
Hi all,

I must say that I’m with Dosho on having some difficulty getting “gummed up” with the issue of compassion for the cat. In the reading the author makes the statement, “ Hundreds and thousands of animals are killed every day, but none of these deaths is a sacrifice for our liberation. Nansen sacrificed the life of one cat for the liberation of hundreds of millions of beings.” Sorry, but that really bothered me and I have been “stuck on it” for the last couple weeks.

Thank you Jundo for adding,

That is why I do not think that Nansen, as an Ordained Buddhist Priest, actually killed the cat (if the story is even a historical event). Buddhist Priests are sometimes iconoclasts, but there are certain lines even a priest won't step over (and even though, in old China, cats may have been thought of as no more than pests and vermin ... about like killing a rat in the kitchen).

I really enjoyed Willow and Taigu's back and forth on Willow's cut/suture metaphor.

And Alan.r, I too am a Wilco fan....nice quote relating to our reading. Perhaps this next one is not directly related, but I can't help myself from adding:

"I would like to salute
The ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
Filling up shopping bags"

Gassho,
Jisen/BrianW

ScottM
08-01-2012, 08:50 PM
Thanks Brian...this really helped me too. I had trouble getting past Nansen, in my mind, essentially saying, "Say something boys or I'll commit murder!" I might have been a bit stunned too and would have been rather shocked that my teacher killed an innocent being. But of course we have to see beyond that (not one, not two) and our human conditioning (both good and bad) gets in the way sometimes.

Gassho,
Dosho

Shugen
08-02-2012, 06:08 PM
I've heard this koan so many times, it's good to get under the surface. I'm very literal minded, so have trouble with these things. It seems I'm either over thinking everything or ignoring everything. Cutting, cutting - "this is important, that isn't".

Ron




Shugen

galen
08-02-2012, 09:00 PM
I've heard this koan so many times, it's good to get under the surface. I'm very literal minded, so have trouble with these things. It seems I'm either over thinking everything or ignoring everything. Cutting, cutting - "this is important, that isn't".

Ron




Shugen


Ron,

Boy can I relate. About 30 years ago when I became a searcher and was more into what they call metaphysical type concepts, I was often told I was to much in my head..... thinking to much and over analyzing everything, and while that has been tempered, its still there. Maybe thats why we are here, and I am sure there are a few here who have been going through the same thing. It could be more of an Americanized problem with our culture. The middle road/ground is some times the hardest thing to navigate, when no navigation is needed.

_/\_

galen