Let me tell you a story. You will, won't you? Of course. You fail to realize that your passive "letting" of me is akin to a fierce tiger allowing itself to be led by a leash. And that is where our story begins—inside the urethra of a tiger.

The koan: "Reciting Sutras"

A farmer requested a Tendai priest to recite sutras for his wife, who had died. After the recitation was over the farmer asked: "Do you think my wife will gain merit from this?"

"Not only your wife, but all sentient beings will benefit from the recitation of sutras," answered the priest.

"If you say all sentient beings will benefit," said the farmer, "my wife may be very weak and others will take advantage of her, getting the benefit she should have. So please recite sutras just for her."

The priest explained that it was the desire of a Buddhist to offer blessings and wish merit for every living being.

"That is a fine teaching," concluded the farmer, "but please make one exception. I have a neighbor who is rough and mean to me. Just exclude him from all those sentient beings."

The enlightenment: "Really now. What are you— a child?" said the exasperated priest.

"You seem to be exasperated," replied the farmer, smiling beatifically. "Which of us is truly enlightened, I wonder?"

The priest's eyes widened. "Are you the Buddha?"

The farmer faced the camera and made a goofy face. "I don't know, am I?" The audience laughed. (He wasn't.)

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." Flower leave.

[Photo: Shutterstock]