Zen Master Baso

Baso was a Zen master of the ninth century. One day he was sitting with his feet across the garden-path.

A monk came along with a wheel-barrow. “Tuck in your feet,” said the monk.

“What has been extended cannot be retracted,” answered Baso.

” What has been started cannot be stopped,” cried the monk and pushed the barrow over Baso’s feet.

The master hobbled to the monastery and seizing an axe called out ” Have any of you seen the rascal who hurt my feet? ”

The monk who had pushed the barrow then came out and stood “with craned head.”

The master laid down his axe.

(The wheelbarrow is here a symbol of the Wheel of Life and Death.)

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