Nichiren Daishonin teaches: “The mighty warrior General Li Kuang, whose mother had been devoured by a tiger, shot an arrow at the stone he believed was the tiger. The arrow penetrated the stone all the way up to its feathers. But once he realized it was only a stone, he was unable to pierce it again. Later he came to be known as General Stone Tiger.”


Nichiren (1222 – 1282) is the founder of the sect of Japanese Buddhism that bears his name. A firm believer in the unity of faith and social action, he challenged the political and religious order of his day. One of the great prose stylists of Kamakura era, his letters are filled with references to Chinese history and legend and demonstrate an encyclopedic knowledge of Buddhist scripture. Nichiren Buddhists believe it is possible to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo (the title of the Lotus Sutra) with an attitude of intense devotion and faith.

Li Kuang (d. 119 B.C.E.) was a general of the Han Dynasty known for his great physical strength and courage in battle. A gifted strategist, in the earlier part of his career, he led many successful campaigns against the Xiongnu peoples to the north.

When he knew it was stone, the arrow could not penetrate. When he thought it was a tiger, it went through. Same arrow. Two completely different men.

Don’t say corporations are destroying the Earth and there’s nothing you can do about it. Who needs that kind of general? Give me a son or daughter whose mother has been devoured by a tiger, and I’ll show you an arrow to go through stone.

With strength and passion
Anything is possible—
Even stone tigers
Must fall before an archer
Whose conviction is complete.

Green Koans Case 1: Shakyamuni Touches the Earth
Green Koans Case 2: Shantideva’s Sword

Green Koans Case 3: The Great Compassionate One’s True Eye
Green Koans Case 4: One-Page Dharma
Green Koans Case 5: The Person of the Way
Green Koans Case 6: The Green Yogi
Green Koans Case 7: Rain of the Law
Green Koans Case 8: Bashō’s Last Words
Green Koans Case 9: General Stone Tiger
Green Koans Case 10: Joshu’s Oak Tree

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