Case 39: A monk asked Joshu: “I have just entered this monastery. I beg you, Master, please give me instruction.”
Joshu asked, “Have you eaten your rice gruel yet?”
The monk answered, “Yes, I have.”
Joshu said, “Then wash your bowls.”
Description: Yamada Roshi offers his final talk for the 2016 NASZ sesshin on Case 39 from the Shoyoroku, “Joshu’s Wash Your Bowls.” This famous koan is easily misunderstood as either advice for daily living, or as instruction on approaches to our practice and training, rather than as a presentation of the living fact of true nature. Roshi presents us with the basic questions: “Who is it living this everyday life? Who is it eating?” He quotes Descartes’s renowned phrase, “I think therefore I am,” and turns it upside down: “I think, but I don’t exist!” Listen to this closing talk and be inspired by a living Zen Master.
Post Image: Zen bus stop, by Kevin Dooley, CC BY 2.0.
Featured Images courtesy Cherie Manifest.