Zen Koans Explained: "Killing"

Over there—what's that? It's Zen. "But I don't even know what you were pointing at," objects the unenlightened slob (you). My son! That is precisely the point. Open your mind. Meet your new friend, Mr. Wisdom.

The koan: "Killing"

Gasan instructed his adherents one day: "Those who speak against killing and who desire to spare the lives of all conscious beings are right. It is good to protect even animals and insects. But what about those persons who kill time, what about those who are destroying wealth, and those who destroy political economy? We should not overlook them. Furthermore, what of the one who preaches without enlightenment? He is killing Buddhism."

The enlightenment: When he got home that night, Gasan looked up "killing" in the dictionary, his lips moving silently as he read. "I guess those people who spoke against killing were really talking about murder, specifically," he said. "Huh."

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." In time, in time.

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