A Medieval Observer in the Far East - The Koans of Pai-chang Huai-hai

In Zen Pai-chang Huai-hai, also known as Hyakujo, (724-814), was a great Zen master known for Hyakujo's Fox as well as the following "No Ducks" story: Prior to his awakening experience he was a student of the also great Zen master Ma-tsu Ta-chi (709-788). One day while Pai-chang was still his student the two were out walking together and saw in the sky a formation of wild ducks. Ma-tsu asked, "What is that?" Pai-chang said, "Wild ducks." Ma-tsu said, "Where have they gone?" Pai-chang replied, "They have flown away." Ma-tsu then twisted Pai-chang's nose, of from which Pai-chang cried out in pain. Ma-tsu said, "When have they ever flown away, they have been here since the beginning."

 

 

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