Kyozan hit the gavel and said:
"The truth of Mahayana is above words and thought!" Why? >
(The Koan-answer is the picture's caption!)
Hit with a hammer.
An explanation of the Koan answer
On one side the answer i straight forward. Just ignore the story. Just look for the action. He hit with his wooden hammer to annouce his teaching. Just imitate the master of a story. He's always right and leads you to enlightenment. (But don't belive that, not even for a second!)
The background story of this Koan
The background of this Koan is related to Buddhist teachings and legends Kyozan is dreaming about. This is the legend.
In a dream Kyozan went to Maitreya's Pure Land. He recognized himself seated in the third seat in the abode of Maitreya. Someone announced: "Today the one who sits in the third seat will preach.".
Kyozan arose and, hitting the gavel, said: "The truth of Mahayana teaching is transcendent, above words and thought. Do you understand?"
It has to sound complicated and sophisticated Like Confucian teachings. But it has no complicated meaning. Not at all.
The original Chinese Goang
Venerable Yangshan dreamed of going to Maitreya's place and being placed in the third seat.
The Arhat having the first seat with the white-gavel said, "Today the acting third seat will speak the Dharma."
Shan thereupon got up with the white-gavel and said, "The Dharma of the Mahayana leaves the four conditions and cuts off the hundred negations. Hear the truth, truly hear.”
Traditional Commentaries and .... Poems (Gata)
I want to ask you monks: Did he preach or did he not?
When he opens his mouth he is lost. When he seals his mouth he is lost. If he does not open it, if he does not seal it, he is 108,000 miles from truth.
Just say, was that speaking the Dharma or not speaking the Dharma?
If you open your mouth, you immediately lose by failure; if you shut your mouth, again you lose by death.
Not open, not shut; one hundred and eight thousand.
In the light of day,
Yet in a dream he talks of a dream.
A monster among monsters,
He intended to deceive the whole crowd.
Clear day; blue sky;
In the middle of a dream he tells a dream
Weird shaping, weirdly shaped,
He deceives and admonishes the whole assembly.