Master Juzhi, whenever he was asked what the Buddha is, held up one finger.
A young monk in his assembly was asked by someone when the master was away, “What kind of essential dharma does your master teach?”
The young monk held up one of his fingers.
When Juzhi heard about it, he cut off the young monk’s finger with a knife.
The monk cried out in pain and began to run away.
Juzhi called the monk.
As the monk turned his head, Juzhi held up a finger.
At this moment the monk had realisation.
When Juzhi was about to pass away, he said to the assembly, “I inherited Hangzhou Tianlong’s one-finger Zen and have not exhausted it throughout my entire lifetime. Do you want to understand it?” He then held up a finger and died.
Student: “Why did Juzhi, whenever he was asked a question, hold up one finger.”
Master: “Because he had no other fingers.”
Student: “Why did Juzhi cut off the young acolyte’s finger with a knife?”
Master: “Don’t blame the master for your cruelty. He transmitted his finger to the young monk.”
The reason why you are suffering is that you cut the finger.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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