Zen Inklings: Some Stories, Fables, Parables, Sermons, and Prints, with Notes and Commentaries
. Weatherhill . NY/Tokho ,
BQ9265.4.R53 1982 (Carlson Fable Collection, BIC bldg)
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These are provocative stories to awaken insight, I would say. The first is about a monk who achieved satori when he finally gave way completely to doubt and had sex with a prostitute. The Need for Begging (15-17) tells the story of some novices who were embarrassed at the prospect of begging. Their master, after various attempts to persuade them, gave them a particular help to embrace begging: he told the kitchen to stop preparing food for them! The Bones of Buddha (23-24) tells of a wise priest who visited another temple during a very cold spell. After waiting for the priest for hours, he took an axe to the wooden Buddha, and began feeding the broken off wood into the flames to warm himself and the temple. Wise men called his action praiseworthy. The Koan (25-27) describes the successful experience of enduring a koan. Enlightenment seems to come with understanding that the meaning of the koan is not in the koan. I do not think that there are Aesopic fables here. The full-page woodblocks are, as the flyleaf says, their own visual koans.