Here is an attempt at creating a Koan based on a historical exchange. The exchange goes like this:
Zen master Baizhang was walking with Mazu and saw a wild duck fly by.This is a good story to work with, as there is a valuable point here. In the Zen lineage, we don't really want to discuss it. We want to help people to get some insight. So the question becomes: How can we use this story to help people wake up? Although this story is already part of some existing Koan collections, it can be improved with the addition of some questions and a verse.
Mazu said "What is that?"
Baizhang repiled "A wild duck."
To which Mazu asked "Where is it going?"
Baizhang said "It is flying away."
Mazu twisted Baizhang's nose and said "When did it ever fly away?"
The proposed questions are:
- What was Baizhang's mistake?
- If you were Baizhang, how could you answer "Where is it going?"
- When did it ever fly away?
Baizhang, Mazu, and a wild duck
A forest, a swamp, a lakefront?
So many concepts
Put them all down,
How could it ever fly away?
As mentioned, there is a very important point here. It has to do with Sunyata. As Zen practitioners, we don't practice by discussing things endlessly. Instead, we work with each other to help attain and cultivate that which is within us (what Buddhists call Buddha Nature).
So, my question to you is "When did it ever fly away?"