Jizo coming out of the Hall – Koan 9

When Nitta Yoshisada’s soldiers were burning the country-side in 1331, they attacked the Kamakura temples with fire, and Kenchoji was set alight. It is said that the monk in charge of the main hall put the great image of Jizo on his back and carried it to safety. The Jizo was sixteen foot in height and breadth, and weighed over 800 pounds. The doors of the Buddha-hall made an opening of only eight foot. How did the monk carry the Jizo out through that opening?


(1) Surely all of you are men of mighty strength? Now try and see! Carry on your back an 800-pound Jizo.

(2) How do you carry out a sixteen-foot image through an eight-foot opening? Say!

This began to be used as a koan at the interviews of Master Ichigen, the 115th teacher at Kenchoji.



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