Mazu’s “Meaning of the Ancestor’s Coming from India”
A monastic asked Mazu, “Aside from the four propositions and a hundred negations, please tell me the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from India.”
Mazu said, “I am tired today. I cannot answer your question. Go and ask Citang.”
The monastic asked the same question of Citang.
Citang said, “Why don’t you ask the master?”
The monastic said, “The master has sent me to you.”
Citang said, “I have a headache today, I cannot answer your question. Go and ask Senior Hai.”
The monastic asked the same question of Hai.
Hai said, “Having come to this point, I don’t understand it.”
The monastic went back to Mazu and told him the story.
Mazu said, “Citang’s head is white. Hai’s head is black.”
Student: “Why did Mazu send the monastic to his student Citang instead of answering his question?”
Master: “Because he had a lot of compassion for his student.”
Student: “Why did his two students make a fool of the monastic?”
Master: “They didn’t fool him but loved him as much as Mazu did, but the monastic made a fool of himself.”
Student: “I don’t understand what the compassion was which they showed to the monastic?”
Master: “I have no less compassion for you than they did for the monastic.”
A master who has good students is praised for his good teaching although he makes a fool of them.
A master who has poor students is blamed for making a fool of them although he gives them good teaching.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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