Teaching Buddhism – Koan 72

No. 72. Teaching Buddhism

One day Nobuchika came to Jufukuji at Kamakura to have an interview with Butchi Enno, known as Kengai. Nobuchika said:

Tenryu teaches . Buddhism by a single finger. But this old warrior on the battlefield, even if he lost both his arms, can teach Buddhism by one leg’, and saying this, he lifted up his right leg.

The teacher seized it and pushed it away, saying:

And when you have no leg, what will you use to teach Buddhism with?’

The warrior lifted his eyebrows and blinked his eyes.

The teacher said: ‘And when you lose your eyes, what then?’

Nobuchika made to open his mouth, but the teacher seized him and covered his mouth, saying, ‘When you lose your mouth, then what?’

The old warrior could not make a reply.


Preach Buddhism for this warrior.

This incident became a theme in the interviews of Gassan who was the founder of the Keiinan sub-temple at Jufukuji.

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