Later, Issan mentioned this story to Gyosan and asked him, “At that time, was it from Daigu or from Obaku that Rinzai acquired his strength?” Gyosan said, “He not only knew how to ride the tiger, but he also knew how to grab its tail.”
Issan tested Gyosan, his student by asking whether Rinzai had attained his enlightenment from Daigu, or Obaku. Gyosan made a beautiful answer without being deluded by Issan’s words by saying, “He not only knew how to ride the tiger, but he also knew how to grab its tail.” Gyosan meant that Rinzai, having transcended the illusions of Daigu and Obaku, could not only see the true-Self clearly but also reveal it at his will.
Student: “How can I ride the tiger?”
Master: “Can you dismount from it?”
Student: “How can I grab its tail?”
Master: “Let go of it.”
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway