Many people out walking have stepped on snakes, and recoiled in horror. How many of those people tried instead "leaning in" to the step, so that the pressure on the snake was increased, snapping his spine more cleanly? Only a select few.

The koan: "The Giver Should Be Thankful"

While Seisetsu was the master of Engaku in Kamakura he required larger quarters, since those in which he was teaching were overcrowded. Umezu Seibei, a merchant of Edo, decided to donate five hundred pieces of gold called ryo toward the construction of a more commodious school. This money he brought to the teacher.

Seisetsu said: "All right. I will take it."

Umezu gave Seisetsu the sack of gold, but he was dissatisfied with the attitude of the teacher. One might live a whole year on three ryo, and the merchant had not even been thanked for five hundred.

"In that sack are five hundred ryo," hinted Umezu.

"You told me that before," replied Seisetsu.

"Even if I am a wealthy merchant, five hundred ryo is a lot of money," said Umezu.

"Do you want me to thank you for it?" asked Seisetsu.

"You ought to," replied Uzemu.

Why should I?" inquired Seisetsu. "The giver should be thankful."

The enlightenment: "Nah," replied Uzemu. "Give me my shit back."

"I was just playin," Seisetsu said hastily. "Thank you very much!"

"I got you!" said Uzemu. "You said the giver should be thankful! You changed up just for money? That's not very zen at all. Give me my shit back."

Seisetsu was like "Dammmm." He had to admit he'd been punked.

But he kept the money anyhow because he was a good fighter which is all that really matters.

This has been "Zen Koans Explained." Like a walk into a bucket.

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