Zen

Rinzai 50

An old master said: Yajnadatta thought he had lost his head. When he ceased from his frantic looking for it, he had nothing further to seek. 

Venerable ones, just be your ordinary selves and refrain from fanciful imaginings. 

 

Commentary: 

Once upon a time there was an empty shrine deep in the mountains in China. It had been deserted for a long time because it was known for being haunted. A master decided to reside there. One night a ghost whose name was Yajnadatta appeared before the master and asked a favour of him. The master, never embarrassed at all, asked what he could do for him. Yajnadatta, lamenting his difficult fate, confided to the master, “Sir, I lost my head a long time ago. How can I find my lost head?” Then, the master said, “If you had no head now, how could you speak to me like this? Is your mouth separate from your head?” On hearing this, he ceased looking for his head. ‘Yajnadatta’ can be compared to those who make vain efforts to seek the true-Self externally, chasing fanciful illusions of the Buddha, without realising that they are the Buddha itself.  

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Student: Where is the Buddha? 

Master: Where are you? 

 

©Boo Ahm 

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway 

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