Hello there;
I'm familiar with koans from the zen soto tradition.  I'm opened to hear 
anything that any members have to say about this subject.  Though have to say 
from begining that my interest here is about the insight experience such of 
such koan gives to one.  I understand that insight can vary from person to 
person.  I quite like Bill insight summarising your koan as: "Just this".  
I can only give a kind of superficial description about first sensations and 
passing thoughts while reading your koan.  

First Thought
The slap to the lady: No doubts this comes from a showinist culture in which 
the man is the master and the lady comes below him.
Second Sensation:
Awareness of in and out breathing while sitting down dissolves the  form of the 
opposite sexes femenine and masculine.  On its place appears two zen students 
trying to figure out to give a description of the dharma through the form of a 
slap. But everytime they try to do so it comes out as defectous losing on the 
way its own reality.  
It's an interesting koan which can lead to many different insights including 
that of the deep listening, openeness and disolution of the ego.  However, all 
this written could be well coming through own mental fabrication.

--- On Thu, 7/10/10, phoebepfox <phoebep...@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: phoebepfox <phoebep...@yahoo.com>
Subject: [Zen] New member.
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Date: Thursday, 7 October, 2010, 4:01


Thank you all for this group. I am currently studying a book called "Zen Flesh 
Zen Bones". Does anyone else have this text or is currently reading it? I would 
like very much to study and discuss the Koans in this book and/ or post Koans 
here to be discussed with all.

I am currently working on a Koan with a friend whose interpetation/ 
understanding was so vastly different from my own that I would be very 
interested in the interpetation of others in this group. 

Mokusen's Hand

Mokusen Hiki was living in a temple in the province of Tamba. One of his 
adherents complained of the stinginess of his wife.
Mokusen visited the adherent's wife and showed her a clenched fist before her 
"What do you mean by that? asked the surprised woman.
"Suppose my fist were always life that. What would you call it?" 
"Deformed," replied the woman.
Then he opened his hand flat in her face and asked: " Suppose it were always 
like that. What then?"
Another kind of deformity," said the wife.
"If you understand that much," finished Mokusen, "you are a good wife." Then he 
After his visit, this wife helped her husband to distribute as well as to save. 

My dear friend found the Koan to make them "uneasy".

My thoughts on the Koan were:

saw something completely different in my reading of the Koan. I didn't assume 
any implication of gender roles. (How would the teaching read if it were the 
wife complainng of the husband? Or if it were a mother to a child? a Father to 
a child? - what if it was a bear to it's cubs). 

I interpreted the closed fist as giving nothing at all. The open hand as giving 
everything. Neither the closed or open hand existing in harmony. But what is 
the middle... to distribute and share with all...and to save being not to give 
so much as to have nothing left? I didn't see any violence in the action but an 
oppurtunity to see ones own actions, the actions of another, and the affect on 
the self and others created by the actions taken and expressed. I also say the 
giving nothing, the giving all, and a more harmonious way of doing bath as a 
representation as these ideas as a applied to all things.

Please share you thoughts on this Koan.

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