Nanquan was once on the mountain, working. A monastic came by and asked him, “Which is the Way that leads to Mt. Nanquan?”
Nanquan raised his sickle and said, “I bought this sickle for thirty pence.” The monastic said, “I am not asking about the sickle you bought for thirty pence. Which is the Way that leads to Mt. Nanquan?”
Nanquan said, “It feels good when I use it.”
Student: “Why did Nanquan raise his sickle and say, ‘I bought this sickle for thirty pence’ when he was asked the Way to Mt. Nanquan?”
Master: “Don’t misunderstand him. He didn’t say that.”
Student: “What did he say?”
Master: “He said, ‘I bought this sickle for thirty pence’.”
Nanquan hands the monastic a cup of dainty tea.
The monastic only sees the cup without seeing the tea in it.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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