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Chapter 11: What’s in a Name?

Kyozan Asks Sansho’s Name
Kyozan asked Sansho, “What is your name?”
Sansho said, “Ejaku.”
Kyozan said, “Ejaku is my name!”
Sansho said, “My name is Enen!”
Kyozan laughed heartily.

Setcho put it like this:

Both grasping, both releasing - what fellows!
Riding the tiger - marvelous skill!
The laughter ends, traceless they go.
Infinite pathos, to think of them!

What’s in a name?

And the second question:

It was such a relief when you had Niskriya hit me the other night both for being “right” as well as being “wrong.”
The relief at finding that right and wrong have no place here lasted until last night when I managed to label my being intellectual “wrong,” and the whole silly game started up again.
How exquisite it must be to live in a world where there is no right and no wrong.

Maneesha, name and form are the two most important things to be understood, because we live in the world of name and form. Both are illusory, both are invented. Both are mind-made, man-manufactured. Reality has no name and no form. If this is understood, then this small Zen dialogue will not be difficult to understand.

It is very extraordinary of Kyozan to ask Sansho’s name. Both are enlightened, awakened people. It is extraordinary, because to ask the name is to ask about the illusory and the non-essential.

To ask about the name is to ask about the invented, not the existent.

You were born without a name.

Do you have a name?

The name is just given to you - you never had any name. It is just a label, you can change it any moment you want. It has no substantiality in it; hence a great master like Kyozan, asking another master of the same category, Sansho, his name, is a very extraordinary dialogue.

Kyozan asks Sansho, “What is your name?”

Apparently in this dialogue you will not be able to find any great philosophy. Because our whole education is intellectual, is based on name and form, we take it for granted that everybody has a name.

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