The Apple Koan

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The Apple Koan

Once there was a Master and a small group of monks, who lived in a beautiful place called Green Valley, famously known for its  apples, which they grew to sustain their community.

One day at the end of a very long meditation sesshin, the Master gave a teisho, a brief talk. He walked to the Buddha altar, grabbed an offering apple and took a big bite out of it. Then he asked the assembly, “What is Buddha Nature?”

After a long pause, the head monk replied: “Buddha Nature is like a bite out of an apple. It is savoring the sweet nature of the Dharma through the sutras”

Another monk rose and said. “Buddha Nature is the apple, and the bite our zazen.”

Still another monk responded; “ Both the apple and the bite are Buddha Nature that we must experience to reach enlightenment.”

Then, there rose a young lay monk at the back of the hall. He was the boy who mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms and peeled vegetables in the kitchen. He walked up to the Master, grabbed the apple and through it out the window. “Buddha Nature,” he said.

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