Nanquan’s “Content and Container”
One day Nanquan saw Deng Yinfeng of Mount Wutai coming. Nanquan pointed to a water jar and said to Yinfeng, “The jar is the container. There is water in the jar. Bring the water to this old monastic without moving the container.” Yinfeng took the jar and poured the water in front of Nanquan. Nanquan shut up.
Student: “Why did Yinfeng take the jar to Nanquan although he was told not to move the jar?”
Master: “Because he heard what was not spoken.”
Student: “What was it that was not spoken?”
Master: “What is spoken by you now is based on what is not spoken.”
What is not spoken is hidden in what is spoken.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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