A monk stepped forward and said, “I can.”
The master took up his stick and handed it to him.
The monk hesitated to take hold of it.
Then the master hit him.
Then, a monk stepped forward and said, “I can.” However, as he couldn’t see through what Rinzai meant when he handed his stick to him, he, just hesitating to take hold of it, failed to make an appropriate response and revealed his fault. Seeing him hesitating, Rinzai hit him. What would you have done if you had been in the monk’s shoes when the master handed his stick to him? Why do you think the master hit the monk? If you think that the master hit him, you are also missing the target. The master gave him both a punishment and a teaching at the same time. You should know that the master threw the monk a rope to escape from the pit where he was struggling.
Student: “How would you have responded if the sick had been handed to you?”
Master: “I’d have taken it and broken it into two pieces.”
Student: “What is the rope the master threw?”
Master: “Hold it.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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