Here is an old koan story about the persistence of good things.
When Enkakuji temple was destroyed by fire in 1374, the library was completely consumed, and the Buddhist and Confucian texts which its founder had brought from China were reduced to ashes. Priests of a nearby shrine came to Enkakuji, concerned about the tragic loss of these Tang and Sung dynasty texts.
Fumon, the master of Enkakuji, said to them, “None of the texts has been burned.”
“Then where are they?” asked a priest doubtfully.
The teacher drew a circle and said, “They are in here.”
The priests did not understand, and one of them asked, “Would you show us the Tang edition of the Mahavairochana sutra?”
Fumon held up one hand. The priests did not know what to make of this.
Another of them asked, “Will you show us the later translations of the Lotus Sutra?” Fumon held up one hand.
A Confucian scholar asked to see a copy of the Four Confucian Classics, and Fumon again held up one hand.
Then a teacher of the Shingon school asked, “What is this supposed to mean?”
Fumon said, “The covers got burned, but you can still hold the texts in your hand.” (Translated by Legget, Sutherland)
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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