If you tried to pick up a boulder, it would be too heavy. If you tried to pick up a single grain of sand, it would be too small to find. And even if you managed to grab it, you might drop it in your salad—then you have that "sand" taste to look forward to. Yuck.

The koan: "Temper"

A Zen student came to Bankei and complained: "Master, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?"

"You have something very strange," replied Bankei. "Let me see what you have."

"Just now I cannot show it to you," replied the other.

"When can you show it to me?" asked Bankei.

"It arises unexpectedly," replied the student.

"Then," concluded Bankei, "it must not be your own true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you. Think that over."

The enlightenment: After thinking it over, the student punched Bankei in the face.

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." How now?

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