20 Shogen's Lift a Leg

Shogen said,"Why can a strong man not lift his leg?"
He added: "It's not the tongue that speaks."

(The Koan-answer is the picture's caption!)

shogen

Go around and talk.



An explanation of the Koan answer

There are many names for enlightened people. They are great, strong, clever, pious, old, wise and so on. All of this is wrong for the opposit is also true.
There is no description, no truth, the Koans point out again and again. Only Zen masters make you believe in enlightenment...

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The background story of this Koan

There's no background story for this Koan. It's rather plain like most of the many miscellaneous Koans. This is a Zen-Riddle as well.

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The original Chinese Goang

Venerable Songyuan said, "What is the reason a person of Great Power does not happen to lift their feet?”
He also said, "Speaking does not depend on the tongue going up.”

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Zen Riddle #47-peak :
Why is only one peak not white in winter?
Here's the answer....(Show/Hide)

Want more riddles? Choose one!
#30-melting #26-tongue #7-counting mumonkan



Traditional Commentaries and .... Poems (Gata)

Mumon's comment: Shogen spoke plainly enough, but how many will understand?
If anyone comprehends, he should come to my place and test out my big stick.
Why, look here, to test real gold you must see it through fire.

Wumen says: Songyuan may think he pours out his intestines and empties his stomach, but he is a yawning man shouldering the responsibility.
Although, in spite of the fact one is direct and bends down to shoulder the responsibility,
it is proper and good to come to Wumen’s place and suffer the pain of the stick.
Why? To urge you who desire to know genuine gold to look within the fire.

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The Gata

If the feet of enlightenment moved, the great ocean would overflow;
If that head bowed, it would look down upon the heavens.
Such a body has no place to rest...
Let another continue this poem.

Lifting the feet to walk over rivers and oceans,
Lowering the head to overlook the four Dhyana heavens,
One single complete body without location manifests,
. . . Please, continue this one line.

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