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Chapter 2: The Brash Student

Suddenly, he picked up his staff and gave Yamaoka a terrible whack.
Yamaoka jumped up in anger.
Dokuon said: “Since none of these things really exists, and all is emptiness, where does your anger come from? Think about it.”

Dokuon has created a situation, and only situations are revealing. He could have said, “Whatsoever you are saying is just borrowed information.” That wouldn’t have made much difference because the man sitting before him was fast asleep. Just talking would not have brought him out of it; it may have helped him to stay asleep more, he may have started arguing. Rather than doing that, Dokuon did the right thing; he hit hard with the staff - suddenly, because Yamaoka was not ready for it, it came unexpectedly. It was so sudden that he could not arrange his character accordingly, he could not manage a false pose. For a moment - the whack was so sudden - the mask slipped, and the real face came out. Just by talking this would not have been possible. Dokuon must have been very compassionate.

Just for a single moment anger peeped, the real came out - because if everything is empty, how can you be angry? Where can the anger come from? Who will be angry if even a Buddha is not, you are not, nothing is there, only emptiness exists? How, in emptiness, is anger possible?

What Dokuon is doing is bringing this Yamaoka to being from knowledge; that’s what he is doing by whacking. A situation is needed because in a situation suddenly you become real, whatsoever you are. If words are allowed, if Dokuon talks and says, “This is wrong and that is right,” he helps the continuity of the mind. Then a dialogue will be there, but of no use. He gives a shock, he brings you back to your reality. Suddenly all thinking disappears; Yamaoka is Yamaoka, not a buddha. He was talking like a buddha, and just by a hit, buddha disappears and in comes Yamaoka - angry.

Dokuon said: “Since none of these things really exists, and all is emptiness, Yamaoka, where does your anger come from? Think about it.”

“Don’t talk about Buddha; and don’t talk about reality, and don’t talk about truth - think about this anger and from where it comes.”

If you really think about anger, from where it comes, you will reach to emptiness.