Photo Journal

One man's adventure in photography, poetry, and thought.
© copyright Todd Alan Kraft 2011-2016 All rights reserved.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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Joshu's Dog

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Joshu's Dog

sliced apples
missing from a plate
ask the dog

"Joshu's (Zhaozhou) Dog," or the "Mu Kōan," is the first kōan (teaching riddle) of the Gateless Gate, and asks a simple question: "Has a dog a Buddha-nature or not?" An equally simple answer is offered: "no" ("wú" or "mu"). What many English translations fail to reveal are some of the numerous meanings and usages of the Chinese "wú" ("mu" in Japanese): no, not, nothingness, nonbeing, without, the original nonbeing form, pure human awareness, the gate to enlightenment... (although it is unclear to me which of these meanings predate the kōan). So what did the master mean when he told the monk "no"?

A photograph of my very smart Jack Russell Terrier. Nearly every evening around 7:30, she comes into the kitchen and whines until she gets her treat, if she asks before her time, I tell her "no." The haiku reflects on "Joshu's Dog."

Joshu's Dog with Mumon's Commentary
Wú Article at Wikipedia with Discussion of "Joshu's Dog"
Four myths about Zen Buddhism’s “Mu Koan”

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  • deming Monday, 29 April 2013

    nothing like starting the day in a zen kinda way

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