Koan 19

“Crow with no mouth” — Ikkyu, 1394 – 1481


Can a crow with no mouth caw? Does a crow with no mouth have a craw? Is a crow with no mouth a crow? A crow with no mouth is a crow with no mouth; it is what it is whatever it is.

Crows are exceptionally intelligent birds. They can solve complex problems, use tools, and even recognize human faces. They are also highly adaptable and thrive in various environments. They are keen observers and can consider alternative strategies to realizing their goals. Crows represent wisdom.

Wisdom cannot be conveyed with words. Hence, a crow has no mouth, as “he who speaks does not know, he who knows does not speak.” — Lao Tzu.