Rinzai 212

When Rinzai was standing by Tokusan as his attendant, Tokusan remarked, “Today I am tired.” Rinzai said, “What is this old fellow mumbling in his sleep?” Tokusan hit him. Rinzai upended Tokusan’s seat cushion. Tokusan retired.


Tokusan tested Rinzai to see whether he could recognise the true-Self without being deluded by words by remarking, “Today I am tired.” Rinzai lost no time in responding by saying, “What is this old fellow mumbling in his sleep?”, which means, “My saying is the very true-Self you meant by saying, ‘Today I am tired’. Being deluded by forms and words is like mumbling during sleep.” Tokusan tested Rinzai again by hitting him, who responded to Tokusan’s hitting by upending Tokusan’s seat cushion.

Student: “I sometimes say, ‘I am tired’. What is the difference between my words and Tokusan’s?”

Master: “He was aware of the one who is not tired while you only know the one who is tired.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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