Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chao Chou Strikes Wen Yuan

One day Ch'an Master Chao Chou (J. Joshu, 778-897) saw his disciple, Wen Yuan, prostrating himself before an image of the Buddha. Master Chao Chou struck Wen Yuan with a stick and said, "What the hell are you doing?"
Confused, Wen Yuan replied, "I am bowing to the Buddha: I have done nothing wrong!"
Master Chou said, "What the hell are you doing that for?"
Wen Yuan said, "It's a good thing to bow to the Buddha..."
Master Chao Chou lifted his stick and struck Wen Yuan again saying, "A good thing is never as good as no thing!"

-told by Master Hsing Yun in "Describing the Indescribable: A Commentary on the Diamond Sutra", tr. by Tom Graham.

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