One day Fuke was eating raw cabbage in front of the meditation hall. Master Rinzai saw him and said, “You have quite the air of an ass.” Fuke began to bray. Rinzai said, “This robber.” Fuke went away, shouting “robber, robber.”
Considering that monasteries make it a rule to have meals in a given place at a given time, Fuke seemed to be eating raw cabbage in front of the meditation hall in order to test other monastics. Then, Rinzai tested him by saying, “You have quite the air of an ass”, which means, “I see through your behaviour. Can you recognise the true-Self I am revealing now without being deluded by words?” Fuke responded without hesitation by braying like an ass. He meant, “My braying is the function of the same true-Self that you are showing me.” Rinzai approved him by calling him a robber.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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