Posted by: Upāsaka | 11/11/2017

Does a Cat Have Buddha-nature?

I’ve begun practicing with a teacher in the Korean Seon tradition and the use of kong-ans (koans) is one of their methods. During my interview with him yesterday I was quite quickly stumped by the following kong-an:

Does a cat have Buddha-nature?

Even if I put aside my own conceptual difficulties with the idea of Buddha-nature and just say that I’ve made an agreement with myself to provisionally understand it as the potential to become liberated I find myself stuck already outside of the kong-an and in the thicket of views. The teacher recounted the following joke as an example of how we might approach these kong-ans:

Why do firemen wear red suspenders? To keep their pants up.

The mind immediately goes to red and fails to see the obvious right in front of it; i.e., that suspenders are meant to keep pants up. Only in this case, I fail to see the obvious answer. We’ve scheduled our next interview for the 1st of December so I have some time to work with this but I have to say I feel completely unmoored and out of my depth. And as scary as that that is I suspect it’s a good thing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



The mud, the lotus and the pale golden blue.

Dirk Pieters

writer, buddhist, yogi / schrijver, boeddhist, yogi

لا إله إلا الله

The Knowledge is Provisions from Allah, May Allah guide us and strength our Iman & Taqwa. Ameen.