Zen Boxes: Art Installation: 1 Don't be Asshole

Huike's sliced off arm hanging in a cage 

"You're still thinking about Huike slicing off his arm and then standing around having a conversation. Unlikely, isn't it? It is however an aspect of the story that has been extremely powerful for Chinese and Japanese Zen masters and students. I remember Joshu Dainen roshi once becoming very moved when he was speaking of this, almost at the edge of tears with depth of feeling. I asked, 'Do you really think he cut off his arm?' He said, 'Don't be asshole. Of course not. Not the point.' The point for him was that, if he had been the kind of student that Huike was right from the beginning, things would have been much easier for both him and his Teacher, Daiji Tenku roshi."

Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi,
"Bodhidharma's Eyes, teisho 5: A Fine Blend of Teas",
October 11, 2000, Daruma-ki O-sesshin

  • metal presentation case for a watch (6 ½" by 3" by 2")
  • artificial pearl
  • doll's arm with red acrylic paint
  • fishing line
  • paper tag