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OSHO Online Library   »   The Books   »   Joshu: The Lion's Roar
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Chapter 1: Give Him Special Treatment

Joshu, also known as Chao-Chou, was born in 778. When he first met Nansen, Joshu entered the master’s room in the monastery. Nansen was lying down, and his first question to Joshu was: “Where have you come from?”
”From the Jui-hsiang temple,” replied Joshu. (“Jui-hsiang” means holy image).
“Do you still see the holy image?” Nansen asked.
“No, I don’t,” replied Joshu, “I only see the Tathagata lying down.”
At this, Nansen got up, saying, “Are you a monk who has a master or one without a master?”
“With a master,” replied Joshu.
“Who is your master?” Nansen asked.
“Early spring is cold,” said Joshu. “I am so glad that you are well.”
Nansen called the senior monk and said, “Give him special treatment.”

Maneesha, Joshu is one of those exceptional people who become enlightened without any formal initiation. They are nobody’s disciple. It is a very exceptional case. But the story of Joshu is going to be very beautiful. His each statement is so poetic, so pregnant, that unless you listen in utter silence, you will miss its fragrance, its meaning, its penetrating insight into reality.

Joshu is one of the most loved masters in the Zen tradition. There have been great masters, but nobody has been loved so much as Joshu - and he deserved it. His working on people, on disciples, was so soft, so delicate, that only a poet can manage it.a great craftsmanship in carving buddhas out of the stones of humanity.

Every man is just a big rock. It needs a craftsman, a great artist, a sculptor, who with loving hands removes all that is unessential and leaves only that which is absolutely essential.

That absolutely essential is our buddha.

You will see the working of Joshu and you will fall in love with the man, in this anecdote Maneesha has brought.

Joshu, also known as Chao-Chou, was born in 778. When he first met Nansen, Joshu entered the master’s room in the monastery. Nansen was lying down, and his first question to Joshu was: “Where have you come from?”

It has to be understood that the same questions have been asked by different masters to different disciples again and again. They don’t mean exactly what you understand. When Nansen, lying down, says, “Where have you come from?” it does not mean that he is asking Joshu’s address. He is asking his original source. He is asking, “From where have you suddenly appeared into existence? Where have you been before your birth? Where have you been before your parents were born?” Certainly somewhere..

”From the Jui-hsiang temple,” replied Joshu. (“Jui-hsiang” means holy image).

Now there is something to be told to you which is not directly said in this anecdote. There used to be a very ancient temple, Jui-hsiang, meaning holy image - a temple of Buddha. But it has disappeared through natural disaster, in an earthquake. That must have been before Joshu was born. His statement that he is coming from Jui-hsiang temple.and Jui-hsiang temple exists no more!

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