When Rinzai came to see Obaku, the latter at once mentioned the above dialogue with the cook. The master said, “The cook does not understand. Please, say a word that can get him enlightened, and then he asked, “Isn’t that rather a lot of rice?” Obaku said, “Why not say, tomorrow they’ll have to eat still more.” Rinzai said, “Why talk of tomorrow, eat it now at once!” Saying this, the master slapped Obaku, who replied, “What madman has come here to stroke the tiger’s whiskers!” Rinzai gave a Katsu and left.
When Obaku talked to Rinzai about the dialogue with the cook, Rinzai, sensing Obaku’s intention to test him, asked Obaku to say something that could get the cook enlightened whilst copying the cook’s answer. As soon as Obaku responded to Rinzai’s request by saying, “Why not say, tomorrow they’ll have to eat still more” Rinzai, seeing through his meaning, revealed the true-Self by slapping Obaku and showed that he was not deluded by illusions such as ‘past’, ‘present’ and ‘future’ by saying, “Why talk of tomorrow, eat it now at once!” Obaku admitted that Rinzai’s answer was excellent by saying, “What madman has come here to stroke the tiger’s whiskers!”
Student: “Why did Rinzai slap his master Obaku?”
Master: “Because you didn’t see the one who showed respect but saw the madman?”
All water from the same well tastes alike.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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