Not the Wind, Not the Flag

The Wave

The Wave

The Case

The wind was flapping a temple flag, and two monks were having an argument about it.  One said, “The flag is moving.”  The other said, “The wind is moving.”  They argued back and forth but could not reach the truth.  The sixth patriarch said, “It is not the wind that moves.  It is not the flag that moves.  It is your mind that moves.”  The two monks were struck with awe.

Mumon’s Commentary

It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is not the mind that moves.  Where do you see the essence of the patriarch?  If you have a close grasp of the matter, you will see how the two monks, intending to buy iron, got gold, and that what the patriarch impatiently said was a failure on the spot.

The Verse

The wind moves, the flag moves, the mind moves;

All have missed it.

They only know how to open their mouths,

And do not know that their words have failed.

(No. 29, from “The Gateless Gate: The classic book of Zen koans”)

Kansas–Dust In the Wind

Be well, and at peace,

Phil

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