The Hidden Lamp

‘Once a monk on pilgrimage met an old woman living alone in a hut. The monk asked, “Do you have any relatives?”
She said, “Yes.”
The monk asked, “Where are they?”
She answered, “The mountains, rivers, and the whole earth, the plants and trees, are all my relatives.”‘

In Florence Caplow’s commentary (all of which is worth reading), she says, ‘The Zen stories are quite clear: if you want to truly meet a teacher, you have to ask a question… You must understand that is is the asking that matters, not the answer. Because every real asking, every real meeting comes from the place where the Buddha glimmers in the depths. In the asking is the answerer, and in the answer is the asker. And in the meeting of the two, there are mountains, rivers, and the whole earth.’

I would perhaps add that the monk’s question may not have been that fierce, but the woman’s answer came from the depths.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Hidden Lamp

  1. I’m holding this Koan close to me – wide and deep. And I kinda do understand – ‘It is the asking that matters, not the answer’, at times.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s