Lion's Roar

HOW OLD IS THIS MOMENT?

THERE IS A CLASSIC KOAN in the Zen tradition, called “Sun Faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha.” In this koan story, Zen master Baso is dying. The head monk comes to visit him and asks Baso, “How are you doing?” Baso replies, “Sun Faced Buddha, Moon Faced Buddha.”

In the Buddhist sutras, it is said that Sun Faced Buddha lives for a thousand years, while Moon Faced Buddha lives for a single day. What Baso is saying is that though he has lived for a long time, still his whole life has been nothing more than a succession of days, or moments, or breaths. Today he is dying, but it is really just like

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