So – Koan 63

No. 63. So

In the first year of Tokuji (1306), on the eighteenth day of the fifth month, Priest Musho, aware of impending death, shouted a Katzu! and cried:

All the Buddhas come so,

All the Buddhas go so;

How all the Buddhas come and go Now I teach: So.


What does so mean?

(Imai’s note: His posthumous name was Hokai. He went to Sung China, where he received the dharma from Master Sekkai, and on returning founded a subtemple at Jdchiji. When he was at Jochiji he patiently received Zen inquirers, but if they asked directly about Zen he used to reply with the one word: So, and resolutely refused to engage in wordy Zen. His death poem presents the word So and this collection of Kamakura koans heads this one with the title So.)

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