Zen NO DUCKS Story, submitted by Fred Leeds

A story is told of Ma Tsu and Pai Chang. The two are walking along together when some wild ducks fly by. Ma Tsu asks what they are, and Pai Chang says “Wild ducks.” The master then asks “Where have they gone?” Pai Chang replies “They have already flown away.” Ma Tsu proceeds to twist Pai Chang’s nose and says: “When have they ever flown away, they have been here since the beginning.”

ALEX: All of us might not quite “get” deeper implications of this tale without some help. We see questions of permanence, ephemera, identity and appearance, to name but a few. Fred and I wanted to provide a link, first one I found, with supplementary explanation:

LINK: The Koans of Pai-chang Huai-hai

DISCUSSION:

FRED: The stories of Chinese Zen masters such as Ma-tsu and Pai-chang are revealing and very telling, though directly realizing their intent usually requires meditation. It is like understanding a poem without further explanation, seeing its beauty as already one with its truth. The Zen masters place a high value on immediacy of expression because it reveals the level of one’s realization. One of the main goals of that realization, as I understand it, is to become supremely comfortable in your own skin, to see your place in the universe as at once beautiful and inevitable, as that of the stars and the sea. A Zen master I once met with told me to experience myself, that I might forget myself, to view myself, just I am, as one with all things.

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