Panshan’s “Cut a Fine Piece”
Once Zen master Panshan went to the marketplace and overheard a customer speaking to the butcher. The customer said to the butcher, “Cut a fine piece for me. The butcher threw down his knife, folded his hands, and said, “Sir, is there any piece that is not fine?” Upon hearing these words, Panshan had an awakening.
Student: “How could Panshan have an awakening upon hearing the butcher saying, ‘Sir, is there any piece that is not fine?’?”
Master: “He saw the fine piece.”
Student: “Why couldn’t the butcher and the customer have an awakening even though they saw the same thing?”
Master: “Everybody can see it, but few can recognise it.”
Student: “What is the fine piece?”
Master: “It can’t be cut.”
The fine piece is sometimes hard, sometimes soft, sometimes tough, sometimes tender, sometimes strong, sometimes weak, sometimes long and sometimes short but it can’t be cut or broken.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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