Zen Koans Explained: "Calling Card"

We all know that "zen" is both a word and an idea. But what about "zenp?" Nope. That's just a meaningless sound. But what if that sound meant: "a frog?" See? Nowwww, you're getting it.

The koan: "Calling Card"

Keichu, the great Zen teacher of the Meiji era, was the head of Tofuku, a cathedral in Kyoto. One day the governor of Kyoto called upon him for the first time.

His attendant presented the card of the governor, which read: Kitagaki, Governor of Kyoto.

"I have no business with such a fellow," said Keichu to his attendant. "Tell him to get out of here."

The attendant carried the card back with apologies. "That was my error," said the governor, and with a pencil he scratched out the words Governor of Kyoto. "Ask your teacher again."

"Oh, is that Kitagaki?" exclaimed the teacher when he saw the card. "I want to see that fellow."

The enlightenment: The teacher welcomed his guest in. "Kitagaki, eh? You know, that's also the name of the Governor here."

"Ha. Yes. Well. That's me."

"Is it? Oh... is that what your card said?"

"Yes, well, I crossed it out, because, you know, zen and all..."

"Oh, not at all. So funny. I thought the card said 'Kitagaki, Grover of Kyoto.' I was like, 'do I look like I want to sit around talking to a Sesame Street character? I'm a busy man!' I thought it was so weird."

"Honestly, this isn't the first time this has happened. The font they gave me on these new cards is just... when I saw it, I was like, 'Is this Comic Sans? Did I click the box for Zapf Dingbats by accident? Am I going crazy here?' First and last time I use that printer, believe me."

"Funny, funny. Well, anyhow. Since you're here let's discuss the slaves."

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." I'm okay, you're potato.

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