The monk hesitated. The master released him and said: “What a
shit-stick this True Man of no Status is!” Then he withdrew to his quarters.
Unfortunately, the monk failed to grasp the master’s meaning despite the master’s unsparing effort. The master, having compassion for the monk, answered his question by saying, “What a shit-stick this True Man of no Status is!”
‘A shit-stick’ originates from a dialogue between a respectable master Woon-moon and a monk. When a monk asked him, “What is the Buddha?”, the master answered, “A dry shit-stick.” When the master said, “A dry shit-stick”, he meant two things: revealing the Buddha and telling people not to follow words. This is because the word ‘Buddha’ is no better than a useless label, a name like ‘a dry shit-stick’ that is just an imaginary line.
Likewise, master Rinzai revealed the True Man of no Status in person and advised the monk not to be deluded by the words ‘True Man of no Status’ at the same time.
Student: “Why did Rinzai talk as if the True Man of no Status, the true-Self were the same as a shit-stick?”
Master: “Because a shit-stick, in essence, is not different from the True Man of no Status.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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