Isan kicked the bottle
During his stay under Master Hyakujo, Isan was a monk responsible for cooking. When Master Hyakujo wished to send a monk to found a new monastery, he told the chief monk and all other monks that he would choose the one who would demonstrate himself as the best among them. Then Master Hyakujo brought out a water bottle, put it down and said, “You cannot call it a water bottle. Then, what will you call it?” The chief monk said, “One cannot call it a wooden stick.” Then, when Master Hyakujo turned to Isan, Isan kicked the bottle and walked away. Master Hyakujo laughed and said, “The chief monk lost to Isan.” He made Isan the founder of the new monastery.
Student: “Why did the master send Isan to found the new monastery although he just kicked the bottle without saying a word?”
Master: “Because his action was louder than the chief monk’s words.”
Isan showed how to deal with the universe whereas the chief monk talked only about the water bottle.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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