The iron bar of 10,000 miles – Koan 99

No. 99. The iron bar of 10,000 miles

During the campaign of 1331, Wada Tsuneto was an officer at the Kobukuro camp of the Nitta forces, and also a student of Zen. He came on horseback to the Sogon gate of Enkakuji and sought to enter, but the warden at the gate barred his way, saying ‘Do you dismount.’

He refused, whereupon the warden drew his sword and said, in our Zen, there is a saying about racing one’s horse along the edge of a sword. If the gallant officer can race his horse along the edge of my sword, I will agree that he should enter the gate.’

The warrior said: ‘Before I race along it, what is that sword of yours made of?’

The warden said: ‘An iron bar of 10,000 miles.’


(1) What does it mean, this 10,000 miles?

  1. What is this iron bar?

  2. How can you get 10,000 miles with an iron bar?

  3. Find two phrases from the Heart Sutra for the iron bar of

10,000 miles. ,

This became a koan in Kamakura Zen at the interviews of Kizan, the 35th master at Enkakuji.

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