Guishan Brings a Mirror
When Yangshan was abbot of a monastery at Donping, Guishan sent a letter and a mirror to him. During his talk in the dharma hall, Yangshan received the letter, held up the mirror, and said to the assembly, “Guishan has sent a mirror. Tell me, is this Guishan’s mirror or Yangshan’s mirror? If you say it’s Yangshan’s mirror, I say Guishan sent it. If you say it’s Guishan’s mirror, I say it’s in Yangshan’s hand. If you can say a word, I will keep it. If you can’t say a word, I will destroy it.”
Yangshan said this three times. No one in the assembly responded, and Yangshan struck the mirror.
Student: “Why did Yangshan destroy the mirror?”
Master: “In order to let the assembly know the owner of the mirror.”
Student: “Which did the mirror belong to, Guishan or Yangshan?”
Master: “Neither of them.”
Student: “Who in the world is the owner?”
Master: “Both of them also belong to him.”
A king never makes or destroys his things but has them made or destroyed by his servants.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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