38 The Ox in the Window Lattice

All the ox pass through the window completely
... why the tail cannot pass through?
(The Koan-answer is the picture's caption!)

Goso

Wag your little finger like a tail





The background story of this Koan

Goso said: "When a buffalo goes out of his enclosure to the edge of the abyss,
his horns and his head and his hoofs all pass through, but why can't the tail also pass?"

What next?

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Zen Riddle #38 - difference :
Does a hairs-breath difference equals the distance between heaven and earth?
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#1-bell #13-wet #54-dwelling mumonkan



The original Chinese Goang

Wuzu said, "For instance, a water buffalo (bull ox) passes through the window lattice;
the head, horns, and four hoofs all pass through completely. What is the reason why the tail cannot pass through?”

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Traditional Commentaries and .... Poems (Gata)

Mumon's comment: If anyone can open one eye at this point and say a word of Zen, he is qualified to repay the four gratifications,
and, not only that, he can save all sentient beings under him.
But if he cannot say such a word of true Zen, he should turn back to his tail.

Wumen says:If within you invert, are able to manifest one single eye, and are able to issue one turning word,
you can rise up to declare the four loving-kindnesses and descend to give aid in the three realms of existence.
Maybe you are not yet like that? Then you still must look after and attend to the tail to be able to begin.

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The Gata

If the buffalo runs, he will fall into the trench;
If he returns, he will be butchered.
That little tail
Is a very strange thing.

Formerly, one resisted falling into the moat;
Now, circling back and arriving in retreat due to being destroyed.
This little “baby” tail,
Frankly, is more than strange.

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