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Even if I get my tongue cut out, I can’t violate what the nation prohibits.

When a monk asked Master Sukshang, “What’s the meaning of the Patriarch’s coming from the west?”, the master clapped his teeth. The monk didn’t make sense of the meaning and asked Master Goobong, “What’s the meaning of the master’s clapping his teeth?” after Master Sukshang passed away. Goobong said, “Even if I get my tongue cut out, I can’t violate what the nation prohibits.”

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Student: “What’s the meaning of the master’s clapping his teeth?”

Master: “Goobong already said the answer.”

Student: “Why did Goobong say that even if he got his tongue cut out, he couldn’t violate what the nation prohibited?”

Master: “He obeyed well the national law.”

Student: “Why can’t I understand it?”

Master: “Because you violate the national law.”

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Commentary:

What the national law prohibits is not your freedom but your making barriers obstructing your freedom.

 

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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