136. The koan story that tells of Eka cutting off his arm presents us with images of great distress, great commitment, and great determination. As with so much koan literature, it goes in for deliberate shock effects. It is not meant to be taken literally. It presents us with a set of exaggerated metaphors for the sort of commitment and determination required if we are to follow the way of Zen. As the 'Evening Call' reminds us: 'Life and death is a grave matter, all things pass quickly away, so that each of us must remain completely alert. Never neglectful, never indulgent'. So how committed are we? What have we given up? What price have we paid to undertake the practice of Zen?