When Rinzai was at the High Seat, a monk asked, “What about the edge of the sword?”
The master cried out, “Dangerous, dangerous!”
The monk hesitated.
The master hit him.
The question ‘What about the edge of the sword?’ asked by the monk is the same as ‘What is the true-Self like?’ since the sword symbolises true-Self, which is also called the sword of wisdom. To answer the monk’s question, the master showed the sword by crying out, “Dangerous, dangerous!” At the same time, by saying, “Dangerous, dangerous!” he implied that the sword can be dangerous when the monk doesn’t recognise it while holding it in his hands, as though a three-year-old child is playing with a sharp knife without realising what it is that he has in his hands. As expected, the monk hesitated and was at a loss for a response since he failed to see the sword Rinzai showed, or missed what the master meant. Then, master Rinzai had the kindness to give him another answer by hitting him. He was so compassionate that he not only showed him the sword but also hit him with it this time. You should know that if you didn’t see the sword, the true-Self, on hearing the master cry out, “Dangerous, dangerous”, you were already cut by the sword.
Student: “What is the sword of wisdom like?”
Master: “Take a close look.”
Student: “I don’t know what you mean. What is it like?”
Master: “Dangerous, dangerous!”
Student: “Why do you say, ‘Dangerous, dangerous’?”
Master: “Because you are wielding the sword now.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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