Not going, not coming – Koan 75

No. 75. Not going, not coming

One night of the Rohatsu training week, in the third year of Jowa (1347) at Kenchoji, a senior priest Doshu went to a cave for a night-sitting meditation, and came back at the third watch (about midnight). The monk who was guarding the door of the meditation hall scolded him, saying:

Where have you been all this time?’

He replied in a sutra verse:

Not going, not coming, the primal deep —

Neither in nor out nor in the middle.

The monk on guard said: ‘This sutra-copier has got both his eyes; I suppose I ought to let him come in again.’

(Imai’s note: It was known that Doshu had once copied out the 25th chapter of the Lotus sutra in his own blood.)


  1. What does Not going, not coming, really mean?

  2. If it is not inside nor outside nor in the middle, where is it?

This incident became a koan in Kamakura Zen at the interviews of Jitsuo, the 36th master at Kenchoji.

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