Here’s a koan that seems easier to understand than many others.

Tokusan was studying Zen under Ryutan. One night he came to Ryutan and asked many questions. The teacher said: “The night is getting old. Why don’t you retire?”

So Tokusan bowed and opened the screen to go out, observing: “It is very dark outside.”

Ryutan offered Tokusan a lighted candle to find his way. Just as Tokusan received it, Ryutan blew it out. At that moment the mind of Tokusan was opened.

It is not my intent to explain koans here, but it seems clear that if we believe that someone can hand us a candle that can light the way and that will lead us to enlightenment, we are mistaken.

Realizing that there is no candle is an important step in the journey and in opening your mind.

The Gateless Gate: All 48 Koans, with Commentary by Ekai, called Mumon


The Gateless Gate: All 48 Koans, with Commentary by Ekai (Mumon)

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