Overnight Open Thread

stayfrosty2/18/2010 4:59:14 am PST

This quote really reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Temple of the Golden Pavillion by Yukio Mishima.

There’s a Zen koan in there called “Nansen Kills a Cat”, the (interpreted) meaning(s) of which foreshadow the entire story. It’s amazingly brilliant and to anyone interested in Buddhist philosophy, psychology, or Japanese history (as it’s based on a true story)—or even a just a good read—and I cannot recommend the book enough.

Once the monks of the eastern and western Zen halls in Nansen’s temple were quarreling about a cat. As he saw this, Nansen held up the cat and said, “You monks! If one of you can say a word, I will not slay the cat.” No one could answer. Nansen cut the cat in two.

Nansen told Joshu what had happened, and asked him for his view. Joshu thereupon took his sandals, put them upon his head and went away. Nansen lamented, and said sorely, “If only you had been there, I could have spared the cat.”