Meeting after death – Koan 97

No. 97. Meeting after death

In the second year of Eitoku (1382), on the 25th day of the 11th month Daigaku, the 46th master at Enkakuji, was lying ill, and knowing it was the eve of his departure (he died the next day) had a message sent to the lay pupils who had been with him a long time. One of them, Masumitsu of Namerikawa, came straight away and stood in attendance at the side of the master’s bed (on the ground).

He said: ‘It is only four years till the master reaches the auspicious classical span of eighty-eight years; that should not have been long to wait to leave this world of Samsara. But now having just caught this fever that is going round, there is only a little of the month left to think about it; so I came to see the old master for the crisis.’

He stepped forward quickly and kicked the wooden pillow.

The teacher tested him: ‘The old priest dies, the old official dies. When they have both been cremated and reduced to ashes, when is the time and where is the place that they meet again?’

The warrior made a comment.

The teacher nodded.

TESTS

  1. What does it mean, this meeting again after death?

  2. What was Masumitsu’s comment? Say!

This became a koan at Kamakura at the interviews of Kyuge, the 95th master at Enkakuji.

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