Tanka Osho was so good at playing with the bead, sometimes hiding it and sometimes revealing it that all students who came to him were scolded by him.
‘Tanka Osho was so good at playing with the bead, sometimes hiding it and sometimes revealing it that all students who came to him were scolded by him’ means that he was so good at hiding and revealing the bead, the true-Self that all students who came to him would be scolded for failing to recognise the true-Self he showed to them. There is an example that shows well how good he was at playing with the bead.
Once he lodged in a temple overnight. He was provided with a cold room. It was so cold during the night that he couldn’t stand the cold. He tried to get some firewood only to fail, so he chopped up a wooden Buddha statue and burnt it to heat his room. All the monastics of the temple, including the head monk, were so surprised that they lost their tongues. Then, the head monk shouted with anger, “What are you doing?” He answered, “I’m looking for beads.” The head monk responded, “How foolish you are expecting to get beads by burning a wooden Buddha statue!” Tanka Osho asked back, “What is the use of keeping a wooden Buddha statue without beads?” This, as one of best known koans, is a good lesson that we should not be deluded by illusions of the Buddha.
Student: “Why did Tanka Osho say that he was looking for beads while aware that they were not there?”
Master: “In order to show the real bead.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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