If You Meet a Swordsman

A monk asked Mazu, “What is Buddha?”
Mazu said, “Not mind, not Buddha.”

—The Gateless Gate, Case 33

I just returned from our great fall retreat. It was a powerful experience. In some ways, I feel like I am still there, surrounded by the silent silhouettes of the whole sangha. Everyone—deep in meditation.

On returning, this koan and its accompanying verse have been following me around.
They seem to have something to say to me about the whole matter.

Present a sword if you meet a swordsman—
don’t offer a poem, unless you meet a poet.
When speaking, say one-third of it
don’t give the whole thing away at once.

What do they say to you?

—Todd Geist, November 14th, 2023

David Weinstein Roshi


David Weinstein Roshi,
Director of Rockridge Meditation Community



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