Deshan’s “Neither Asking nor Not Asking”
Deshan said to the assembly, “If you ask, you have missed it. If you don’t ask, you have also missed it.” Then a monastic stepped forward and made a bow. Deshan hit him. The monastic said, “I haven’t even asked yet. Why did you hit me?” Deshan said, “What difference would it make if I had waited till you spoke?”
Student: “Why did Deshan hit the monastic?”
Master: “Because he didn’t ask him.”
Student: “Should he have asked him?”
Master: “He would have been hit even if he had asked him.”
Student: “What should he have done?”
Master: “He should have hit the master before being hit by him.”
‘Ask’ is an imaginary line.
Even though you think that you will not ask, you are still caught by the illusion of ‘ask’.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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