Hachiman asks to hear the dharma – Koan 2

When Daikaku was living at Kenchoji temple, the old pines by the lake — which is in the form of a heart — began to bend of themselves. The monks wondered, and asked the teacher about it. The teacher said:

The god Hachiman comes; he treads on the pines as he comes to ask me about the dharma. And so the pines are bowed.’

(Imai’s note: This has to be understood in a Zen sense.)


  1. What did Daikaku really mean by saying that the god trod on the pines and so they became bowed?

  2. Right now the god Hachiman is treading on this old back as he comes to ask about the dharma, and so my back is bowed. O monks of the congregation, do you know how to hear the dharma in your spiritual experience?

This incident became a koan in Kamakura Zen from the time of the interviews of Nanzan, the 20th teacher at Kenchoji.

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