Koans, The Masters

The Ultimate Path is Without Difficulty


Chao Chou, teaching the assembly, said, “The Ultimate Path is without difficulty; just avoid picking and choosing. As soon as there are words spoken, this is picking and choosing”, “this is clarity.” This old monk does not abide within clarity; do you still preserve anything or not?”

At that time a certain monk asked, “Since you do not abide within clarity, what do you preserve?”

Chao Chou replied, “I don’t know either.”

The monk said, “Since you don’t know, Teacher, why do you nevertheless say that you do not abide within clarity?”

Chao Chou said, “It is enough to ask about the matter; bow and withdraw.”


– Case #2 from ‘The Blue Cliff Record’