Visible Trunk, Autumn Wind

A monk asked Unmon, "When a tree withers and the leaves fall, what about it?" Unmon replied, "The trunk is visible in the autumn wind."

Unmon's school is deep and difficult to understand since its mode of expression is indirect. While it talks about the south, it is looking at the north. In this koan they are talking about the truth of life. When we become aged, all the beauty and strength of youth are gone. However much one tries to hide age, one cannot. The autumn wind is blowing. Lonesomeness is there, and the end of life is near, and one knows it. Do not pretend. Be aware that when the leaves fall, the trunk is clearly visible in the autumn wind.


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