Unmon's Staff

One day Unmon said to his disciples, "This staff of mine has transformed itself into a dragon and has swallowed up the universe! Oh, where are the rivers and mountains and the great earth?

This koan demonstrates the importance of single-pointedness and the power of concentration. Unmon holds his staff high, with full strength, above the eyes of his disciples and speaks of it as if he were holding a live dragon. The group's whole attention is focused on the staff. Unmon has captivated his audience with his staff, and outside of this staff nothing exists. It really has swallowed up the whole universe. When one does something - anything - it should be done with one's whole life, as though nothing else existed. Each day should be lived as if it were the only day in the universe.


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