Tianhuang’s “Essential Dharma Gate”
Longtan was making rice cakes for a living. When he met Tianhuang, he bowed and left his household.
Tianhuang said, “Be my attendant. From now on I will teach you the essential dharma gate.”
After one year passed Longtan said, “When I arrived, you said that you would teach me the essential dharma gate. I haven’t received any of your instruction yet.”
Tianhuang said, “I have been teaching you for a long time.”
Longtan said, “What have you been teaching me?”
Tianhuang said, “When you greet me, I join my palms. When I sit, you stand beside me. When you bring tea, I receive it from you.”
Longtan was silent for a while.
Tianhuang said, “When you see it, you just see it. When you think about it, you miss it.” Longtan then had great enlightenment.
Student: “What is the teaching that Tianhuang gave to Longtan?”
Master: “He joined his palms when he was greeted by Longtan and received tea when it was served to him by Longtan.”
Student: “Everybody can do that. You do it every day. Even I can do it. Who in the world couldn’t do it?”
Master: “You are right. Everybody can do it, but few can see and hear it.”
Student: “What is it?”
Master: “I am answering your question now.”
It is not the man who can show it but the man who can see and hear it that is enlightened.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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