To all his monks, he continued, “If you wish to understand my phrase of guest and host, ask the head monks of the two halls,” and came down from the seat.
His comment ‘If you wish to understand my phrase of guest and host, ask the head monks of the two halls’ is known as one of the most difficult koans, which is highly liable to be misinterpreted as Rinzai encouraging his students to ask the head monks directly instead of realising that he was answering the question in person. This is an additional answer which he showed to his monks while thinking that they couldn’t grasp his first answer. This answer is like a sword whose blade is so sharp that it is invisible and we can’t even feel it cutting us. This implies that Rinzai’s answer is so subtle and tricky that we are very likely to be deluded into discriminating by it. The fact is that the master showed guest and host to all his student monks one more time.
Student: “Who is guest and who is host?”
Master: “Guest is host and host is guest.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography