Zen Koans Explained: "Time to Die"S

Sochi, or "so-chi," is not just the site of the Olympic games—it's also an expression in the tradition of Zen, meaning "so (much) chi (or qi)." I write the preceding sentence on a piece of paper, then eat it, while shouting "Worldstar!" Was it ever true?

The koan: "Time to Die"

Ikkyu, the Zen master, was very clever even as a boy. His teacher had a precious teacup, a rare antique. Ikkyu happened to break this cup and was greatly perplexed. Hearing the footsteps of his teacher, he held the pieces of the cup behind him. When the master appeared, Ikkyu asked: "Why do people have to die?"

"This is natural," explained the older man. "Everything has to die and has just so long to live."

Ikkyu, producing the shattered cup, added: "It was time for your cup to die."

The enlightenment: You little shit.

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." Lean in, off, the abyss.

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