The lotus strainer – Koan 79

No. 79. The lotus strainer

Yasunaga, a government official and a student of Zen, came to the Dragon Flower of the Golden Peak (the Shinsaiin hall in Jochiji temple) to pay his respects to priest Musho there.

He told him: ‘These days the followers of Nichiren are saying that in the present degenerate Latter Days, the water of the dharma in the Buddha ocean has become polluted. It is so contaminated that the impurity must be strained off before it is drunk. The only pure water is what has been purified by being strained through the Lotus sutra, and this is the dharma taught by Nichiren. Is what they are saying right?’

The priest said: ‘Strain off the lotus.’

TESTS

  1. How would you strain off the lotus?

  2. When you have strained and drunk, say how you find it: cold or hot?

This incident became a koan in Kamakura Zen at the interviews of Toin, the 10th master at Zenkoji.

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