37 The Oak Tree In The Garden

Why did Bodhidharma came to China?
Joshu said, The oak tree in the garden.

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


The Oak Tree in the Garden.

The background story of this Koan

A monk asked Joshu why Bodhidharma came to China.
Joshu said: "An oak tree in the garden."

What next?

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The original Chinese Goang

Zhaozhou: Because a monk asked, "Compared to what was the intent of the ancestral founder coming from the west?”
Zhou said, "In front of the hall, a cypress tree.

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Traditional Commentaries and .... Poems (Gata)

Mumon's comment: If one sees Joshu's answer clearly, there is no Shakyamuni Buddha before him and no future Buddha after him.

Wumen says:If you face where Zhaozhou’s reply dwells and are able to see intimately, before is without Śākya, afterwards is without Maitreya.

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The Gata

Words cannot describe everything.
The heart's message cannot be delivered in words.
If one receives words literally, he will be lost,
If he tries to explain with words, he will not attain enlightenment in this life.

Words do not open the matter;
Speech does not deliver the function.
Those who hold onto words mourn,
Those who are blocked by phrases are bewildered.

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