A Garden of Medicinal Flowers

A monk asked Unmon, "What is the Dharma Kaya [the formless, timeless, spaceless ultimate]?" Unmon replied, "A garden of medicinal flowers." The monk then said, "Is that all I need to understand?" Unmon replied, "If that isn't enough, then you will have to see the Golden-haired Lion."

Unmon's koans are beautiful but often difficult to understand. When the monk asked about ultimate reality, Unmon pointed to the flower garden near which, perhaps, they were standing. The words themselves have nothing to do with the true answer. They are only figures of speech. When Gensha was asked the same question, he replied, "Drops of puss." Engo said, "I see the golden Buddha statue in a pile of garbage." The Dharma Kaya is everything and anything if one sees it with the eye of truth. However, if the monk does not have eyes to see the simple truth, he had better resort to the Golden-haired Lion, a legendary Chinese beast.


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