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November 02, 2008


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I need to sit with this one.

Kudzu Fire


Barry Briggs

Hi Molly and Kudzu Fire,
Thanks for your comments. I like this story about Chao-chou. At the time that this story must have occurred, Chao-chou would have been over 80 years old (he didn't start teaching until age 80). His interactions with women were sometimes questionable (see earlier stories posted on Zen Women) but in this case, he's merely testing the old woman. Turns out that the old woman was no fool.

In my view, the point of this story is that we must bring our awareness to every moment. Neither Chao-chou nor the old woman was asleep. In fact, each actor was probing the other to see if they were awake in that very moment. The old woman got the better of the situation, but Chao-chou probably only laughed.

Thanks again for your comments!


This is a great story! Reminds me the importance of a daily practice! :)



Hi Uku,
Reminds me of the importance of waking up right now. Then we can meet Chao-chou and give him a slap!

Your friend in the Dharma,


Chao-chou went hunting rabbits and found an old tigeress laying in wait. She saw the snare, did he?

Barry Briggs

Hi Bill, the whole world is populated with old women whose eyes are wide open. Even Chao-chou could not always cope. So how will we?

Thanks for your comment!

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About Zen Women

  • The role of women in the development of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism is poorly known. There have been imaginative attempts to construct a female lineage during the Tang Dynasty, but documentary records are quite limited. While reading through the case records over the past decade, I've noted stories involving female practitioners. This weblog compiles those stories in a single location.
  • May these posts benefit all practitioners.


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American Zen


  • I extend grateful appreciation to my daughter, Susie, who designed this site; to Zen Master Seung Sahn, for crossing the ocean; and to all beings for their never-ending encouragement and teaching.
  • May we together attain enlightenment and save all beings from suffering.

Women Teaching Zen