A Conversation for Satori

The merchant and the beggar

Post 1

Unch (*buuurp*)

A travelling begar arrived at a merchant's stall and asked if he may have a pear. The merchant rudely refused. The beggar struck his stick into the ground and suddenly it set root, blossoming into a beautiful pear tree. All the people in the market began picking pears and soon the tree was bare. The merchant watched in awe as the beggar picked up his stick and left. When he turned to look at his stall, all the pears were gone.

The merchant and the beggar

Post 2

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

Ah so ..the old transmigration of pears trick. No wonder he was a traveller, poor beggar.

The merchant and the beggar

Post 3

Unch (*buuurp*)


Good! (as if I know)

Let me think of another...

smiley - smiley

The merchant and the beggar

Post 4

Unch (*buuurp*)

Nansen cuts the cat in two.

The monks of the East and West Halls were fighting over a cat. Nansen said 'Whoever can say a good word for the cat will save its life.' The monks were silent, so Nansen cut the cat in two.

That evening, Joshu returned to the monastery and Nansen related the story to him. Joshu removed his shoes and put them on his head. As he left, Nansen said 'If you had been there, the cat would have lived.'

My question:

What did Joshu say about the cat?

The merchant and the beggar

Post 5

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

* still thinking *

Is there a time limit on this one...?

* still having trouble picturing the shoes - sandals? *

'On' his head, you say?

* still thinkiing *

The merchant and the beggar

Post 6


what, arent you going to tell us the answer???

The merchant and the beggar

Post 7


possibly 42, but I don't know if that's entirely accurate.

The merchant and the beggar

Post 8

~ jwf ~ scribblo ergo sum

*still thinking*

Yeah, can y' give us a clue then...

*begins to wonder if #171277 is still with us*

The merchant and the beggar

Post 9

Unch (*buuurp*)

(been rather busy amassing riches smiley - smiley )

he says its feet are always on its mind smiley - smiley

picture how carefully a cat walks smiley - smiley

although you can think of your own answers if you wish.

try this:

joshu's stone bridge:

Joshu and the Cat

Post 10


What did joshu say about the cat?

I don't think there is a single key to this answer, any startling revelation. But here are the salient points as I see them:

1 The monks keep a cat to kill mice. This is the nature of their arguement. As buddhists cannot kill, is it okay for them to allow their cat to? Obviously not. It is never permissible to allow killing.

2 The cat being cut in two is very symbolic of the duality of the problem. Right and Wrong. It also represents the situation of the monks being 'divided' in their arguements - and illustrates the folly of this!

3 Joshu putting the sandals on his head can be a simple indication of morning fo rthe cat. Or a comment on the topsy-turvy nature of the problem.

4 If Joshu had been present at the time - it would be he who killed the cat - and Nansen who would have *begged* for him to spare the cat...

.. All the monks had to do was 'say a word'. They where vocal in their arguements about whether keeping the cat was just, but when they needed to 'say a word' to save the cat they where silent.

.. Had Joshu been there, Nansen would have 'said a word' and the cat would have lived.

Is this clear? I hope so, I love this story.

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