Baizhang’s “Fundamental Principles of the Great Matter”
One day Master Baizhang, addressing his assembly, said, “Plough the rice field for me, and I’ll instruct you in the fundamental principles of the great matter.” After the monastics had ploughed the rice field for the master, they said, “Now Master, please instruct us in the fundamental principles of the great matter.”
The master spread open his arms.
Student: “What did the Master mean by spreading open his arms?”
Master: “He spread his arms instead of opening his mouth again because his opening his mouth had not worked a while before.”
See what is common between Master Baizhang’s addressing his assembly and his spreading his arms and you will be able to laugh at the master.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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