In the Blue Cliff Record, Case 32, a monk named Jo asks Master Rinzai, “What is the essence of Buddhism?” In response, Rinzai grabs the monk and slaps him. Why?

I gave a talk about this koan at the Village Zendo, March 11, 2018. I explain what all the hitting and slapping is about in Zen. There’s a lesson in this story, about sustaining our own meditation practice over the long haul.