The copy – Koan 80

No. 80. The copy

The head monk of Daitetsudo training temple came to Gyokuzan, the 21st master at Kenchoji, and saluted him. He then asked whether he might copy out the sermons on the Rinzairoku which had been given by Daikaku, the founder of Kenchoji.

The teacher sat silent for a good time, and then said: ‘Have you copied it?’

Why,’ said the head monk, ‘I have not yet had the loan of it.’

The teacher replied: ‘Rinzai’s Zen is communicated from heart to heart — what should you want with writing? If you feel you want to have something in writing, take Mount Ashigara as the brush and Yui shore as the inkstone, and make your copy.’

The head monk gave a Katzu! shout and said: ‘I have made my copy.’


  1. How can the writing of the founder be copied by a shout?

  2. Try a Katzu! yourself and make proof of it.

This incident became a koan in Kamakura Zen with the interviews of Kosen, the 38th master at Kenchoji.

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