T'aego was one of the great masters of the Korean Zen tradition. His wisdom was such that he was able to unify the Nine Mountains schools of Korean Zen into a single order (the Chogye Order, still the largest order of Korean Zen).

He was a prolific writer of essays, talks, and poetry. Here's a poem for your consideration:
How Can I Speak
All phenomena are beyond names and forms
The sounds of the streams and the colors of the mountains are closest
What is closest?
You can only please yourself: how can I speak?

T'aego's poem has a teaching direction, with each line functioning as a koan (Korean: kong-an). Here are questions that might arise from this poem:
1. What does "all phenomena are beyond names and forms" mean?
2. What does "the sounds of the streams and the colors of the mountains are closest" mean?
3. What is closest?
4. How can you speak?

In the Korean Zen tradition, students are often asked to respond to specific questions about a case or story. Some of the questions have a "wide gate," through which several types of answers might pass. Others have a "narrow gate," which would permit only a very precise answer. You might consider each line of T'aego's poem from this perspective.

You can learn more about T'aego in A Buddha from Korea: The Zen Teachings of T'aego, by J.C. Cleary
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