Mumonkan, Case 13: Tokusan Carries His Bowl

Teisho presented by Arno Hess on 21/05/2023 at the Pathway Zen Zenkai at Spring Hill, QLD, Australia.


One day Tokusan came down to the hall carrying his bowls. Seppô asked him, “Old Master,
the bell has not yet rung nor the drum sounded. Where are you going with your bowls?”
Tokusan immediately went back to his room.

Seppô told this to Gantô. Gantô said, “Great Tokusan though he is, he has not yet realized the
last phrase.” Hearing of this, Tokusan sent his attendant to summon Gantô and then asked
him, “Don’t you approve of this old monk?” Gantô secretly whispered his intention. Tokusan
remained silent. Sure enough, the next day when Tokusan ascended the rostrum, his talk was
quite different from usual. Gantô went to the front of the Zen hall and rubbing his hands
together, laughed loudly and said, “Wonderful! How happy I am that our Old Man has
realized the last phrase. From now on he’ll be subject to no one on earth.”


If you grasp the first phrase,
You will realize the last phrase.
The last phrase and the first phrase,
They are not this one phrase.

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