36 Meeting a Master on the Road

When you meet a master
what will you do?
(The Koan-answer is the picture's caption!)


Walk and say: Good morning!

An explanation of the Koan answer

Take it easy. You meet somebody while you go somewhere. Ok. Continue walking, say "Good morning". What else?

What next?

The background story of this Koan

Goso said: "When you meet a Zen master on the road
you cannot talk to him, you cannot face him with silence.
What are you going to do?"

Lot of people think, a spiritual master is special. I tell you, they are normal. Sometimes they behave a bit strange. Some think, it's part of their job, to surprise or impress people. Ok, let them do. Just say good morning.

In medieval China this would have been an insult. In today’s world its quite normal. Just stay normal.

What next?

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The original Chinese Goang

Wuzu said, "On the path meeting a realized person of the Way,
do not use speech or silence to respond. Just say, what do you use to respond?”

What next?

Traditional Commentaries and .... Poems (Gata)

Mumon's comment: In such a case, if you can answer him intimately, your realization will be beautiful, but if you cannot, you should look about without seeing anything.

Wumen says: If within you are able to respond intimately, you do not hinder happy celebrating. Maybe you are not yet like that? Still, each one must dwell closely to clearly see.

What next?

The Gata

Meeting a Zen master on the road,
Face him neither with words nor silence.
Give him an uppercut
And you will be called one who understands Zen.

On the path meeting a realized person of the Way,
Do not use speech or silence to respond.
A fist obstructs the jaw and splits the face.
Directly fall into the meeting and casually meet together.

What next?