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Chapter 10: Be at the Center

Suibi asked Tanka, “Who was the teacher of all the buddhas?”
Tanka said to Suibi, “You’d better not take yourself so seriously! Use the floor cloth and broom more.”
Suibi took three steps to the rear.
“A blunder!” cried Tanka.
Suibi then stepped forward three paces.
“Another blunder!” said Tanka.
Suibi raised one leg and turned round on the other.
Tanka said, “You’ve got it; you defied the other teachers of all the buddhas!”

A monk said to Ummon, “What is your age, may I ask?”
Ummon replied, “Seven times nine - sixty-eight.”
The monk said, “What do you mean, ‘Seven times nine - sixty-eight’?“
Ummon said, “I took off five years for your sake.”

Myosho was a disciple of Razan. At his first meeting with Razan, he jumped to his feet as soon as he had made his bows, and Razan asked him where he had come from. By way of answer, Myosho asked, “What is it that is happening just at this moment?”
Razan saluted him graciously, and said, “Have some tea!”
Myosho hesitated, and Razan said, “It’s a warm autumn day; why don’t you go out somewhere?”
Myosho sighed, and thought that he had started off full of ambition, and it had all come to this, to nothing.
The next day he tried again, but Razan said, “The feathers are not fully grown and the wings are not strong enough yet; go away!”

Afterwards, when he was enlightened, Myosho did not stay in one spot, but went round the country converting all kinds of people.

Forty years later, when he was about to die, Myosho ascended the rostrum and admonished and instructed the monks. That evening he stretched out his legs and said to the monk-attendant, “Long ago, Shaka Nyorai stretched out both legs, and a hundred treasures of glorious light were emitted. Tell me, aren’t I emitting some?”
The attendant replied, “In ancient times, the Crane Grove; today, your honor!”
Myosho rumpled his eyebrows and said, “Isn’t some fox making a fool of me?” He then recited a gatha, sat in the proper way and quietly and slowly passed away.

Maneesha, before I discuss the beautiful anecdotes of Zen, I have to warn you that in the neighborhood a few idiots are celebrating a slavery - they call it a marriage ceremony. So don’t take them seriously: just as we don’t get disturbed by the bamboos, let these bamboos do whatever they want to do. It is a good test for you to remain silent and attentive.

Suibi asked Tanka, “Who was the teacher of all the buddhas?”

.A very common question in the Zen tradition: one naturally wants to know who was the teacher of the buddhas.

The reality is that a buddha never has a teacher or a teaching. He comes in contact with masters, not with teachers. And to be in contact with masters does not mean learning anything. That very exposure to the masters awakens the flame inside him and suddenly he finds the buddha within.

It is a catalytic transformation. Nothing is said, nothing is heard, and in the silent presence of a master people suddenly realize their buddhahood.

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