born:  c. 780
died:  c. 850

place:  China
Chan master:  Yaoshan (J. Yakusan)
Chan disciples:  none recorded
Li Ao was not a formal Chan disciple in
Yaoshan's monastery, but was a local
government official who came to see the master
from time to time. He is mentioned numerous
times in Zen stories, and is even listed on the
15,000 Zen Master lineage chart as a Zen

Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment,
ch. 3

Christianity the Deadliest Poison, and Zen the
Antidote to all Poisons, ch. 4

The First Principle: talks on Zen, ch. 9

The Goose is Out, ch. 1
         oshobob  The Living Workshop                                        
                                                       Zen Masters
Li Ao
Jap., Riko
A great philosophical official, Riko, once asked
the strange Zen master, Nansen, to explain to
him the old koan of the goose in the bottle.

"If a man puts a gosling into a bottle," said Riko,
"and feeds him until he is full-grown, how can the
man get the goose out without killing it or
breaking the bottle?"

Nansen gave a great clap with his hands and
shouted, "Riko!"

"Yes, Master," said the official with a start.

"See," said Nansen, "the goose is out!"

It is only a question of seeing, it is only a
question of becoming alert, awake, it is only a
question of waking up. The goose is in the bottle
if you are in a dream; the goose has never been
in the bottle if you are awake. And in the dream
there is no way to take the goose out of the
bottle. Either the goose will die or the bottle will
have to be broken, and both alternatives are not
allowed: neither has the bottle to be broken nor
has the goose to be killed. Now, a fully-grown
goose in a small can you take it out?
This is called a koan...

                                The Goose is Out, ch. 1
[There are some wires crossed between Lu Gen Dafu / Rikuko Taifu and Li Ao / Riko with this "goose is out" story. In Osho's two extended versions of the story, one in TGIO itself and one in The First Principle, it is all Riko, with Rikuko nowhere to be seen. But Rikuko does show up in a shorter version of the goose story, and that is in ch 4 of Nansen: The Point of Departure, as Governor Lu Hsuan. In that version, Nansen shouts, "Governor", not "Riko".

Oshobob has both Lu Gen and Li Ao (Rikuko and Riko) as living from c 780 to c 850 CE, so possibly they are both the same person, though their names have different ideograms. But History itself might have conflated them, as the source materials seem to have each, and both as gov't officials. It is surprising he hasn't mentioned this identity overlap.]