|born: c. 850
died: c. 920
oshobob The Living Workshop
became a priest at the age of seven,
studying Buddhism and Confucianism. One day,
some years later, when Hogen was on the way
to the lake, it began to rain and he took shelter
in Jizo's temple.
Jizo, who was sitting by the fireplace, asked
Hogen, "Where are you going?"
Hogen replied, "Just wandering from master to
master in search of enlightenment."
"What does that mean?" asked Jizo.
"I don't know," said Hogen.
"Don't know is the most intimate," said Jizo.
The two sat together by the fire, talking of a
treatise on Buddhism, and when they got to a
sentence that read, "Heaven and I are of the
same root," Jizo asked, "Are mountains and
rivers and the great earth different from me or
Shinzan, who was with them, replied, "The
Jizo held up two fingers, and, looking at them
earnestly, said there were two, and then went
It had now stopped raining, and Jizo
accompanied Hogen and Shinzan to the gate.
On the way, in the garden there was a stone,
and pointing to it, Jizo asked a question: "It is
said that in the three worlds, all is mind. Is this
stone in the mind or outside it?"
Hogen answered, "Inside it."
Jizo said, "You people on a pilgrimage, why do
you think that the stone is in your mind?"
Hogen was at a loss and could find no answer,
so he undid his bundle and asked Jizo to help
him resolve the problem.
After a month, Hogen explained his view of
philosophy, but Jizo said, "Buddhism is not
Hogen then said, "I have now got to the point of
avoiding all words and giving up all philosophy."
Jizo said, "If you now explain Buddhism,
everything is accomplished."
At this, Hogen was profoundly enlightened.
These small anecdotes are not just for reading,
are not just to become more acquainted with
different world views. Zen is not possible to
capture in scriptures, in doctrines. By thinking,
by concentration, by contemplation, you cannot
The strangest thing about Zen is that it is hidden
in the seeker, and the seeker is running from
master to master, from philosophy to philosophy
– thinking that by gathering much knowledge he
will be able to understand the truth of existence,
that he will be able to experience the
significance and meaning of life...
Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest,