Overturning the Water Pail

Three monks - Seppo, Kinzan, and Ganto - were in the temple garden. Seppo noticed a pail of water and pointed to it. Kinzan said, "The water is clear, and the moon is reflected." "No, no," said Seppo, "it is not water, it is not moon." Ganto upset the pail.

This mondo (question and answer) ends with a koan. Kinzan states a simple fact: clear water will reflect the moon. Seppo denies this; it is not adequate to describe reality ("not water, not moon"). Each one is correct in his own way, but if either is attached to his idea, trouble will arise. So Ganto kicks over the pail - the object of argument and attachment.


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