Koan of Names
The master asked her student, “what is a ball?”
“It is round. It rolls, and sometimes bounces,” the student replied.
The master reached into her robe, revealing a perfect sphere. “What is this?” she asked.
The student replied that it was a ball.
“Then it will roll?”
“On even ground,” the student replied.
The master placed the sphere on the ground and kicked it. It split into two perfect halves and did not roll.
The student objected to the trick. It was not a ball after all; it was two halves of a ball stuck together.
The master replied, “I did not name it. The ball did not name itself. You called it a ball because you expected it to roll. So it is with all things.”
The master then chopped the ball into many pieces, until it became dust and dissolved into the wind.
“Names are useful, but they are not truth. The names you create are your ignorance of the world.”