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Chapter 6: The Christian Propaganda Machine

Ungan anticipated that Hyakujo would be reluctant for him to leave, but Hyakujo said, “That’s right. An old saying runs: ‘Parents give me birth - friends give me growth.’”

“It is perfectly good. You can go. I have given you birth, now find friends who can help you to grow.” This is a beauty in Zen: no competition. Hyakujo does not know about this master Yakusan - they lived seven hundred miles apart, their monasteries were far away - but there is no question of fear. It is always good. Ungan will learn something. Yakusan may have a different angle of approach, and that will make him richer. Hyakujo said, “That’s right. An old saying runs: ‘Parents give me birth - friends give me growth.’”

Do you understand why I call myself your friend? Parents have given you birth, now I am going to give you growth. Only friends can give you growth, because they don’t have any conditions, their love is unconditional. They don’t ask anything in return, not even gratitude. “You don’t have to stay with me” - you have stayed long enough, you are ready to move - “Now you can go!”

A letter from Hyakujo with him, Ungan left immediately for Yakusan’s monastery.

The sutra:

Once, when Ungan was in Yakusan’s presence, the master said to him, “What does Hyakujo Osho usually teach?”

He does not know anything about Hyakujo, but still a great respect: “Osho.” Hyakujo, that great man, that great master, “What does he teach?” He has become “Osho” because he has allowed Ungan to go, without any interference: “There is no need. I am an enlightened master, where are you going?” No, Hyakujo simply said, “It is perfectly good. You go. Be as rich as possible. Learn from as many masters as possible. It is a question of truth, not of belonging to me. You are not my possession. I love you, I want you to grow higher than me, I want you to be richer than I am. Take every opportunity - never miss it.”

This statement and the letter made Yakusan call Hyakujo “Osho.” The man is certainly great.

“What does Hyakujo Osho usually teach?”
Ungan replied, “He says, ‘Go beyond three phrases.’”

What are the three phrases? All Buddha’s scriptures are divided in three sections, called tripitak, three baskets. These are called in Zen, three phrases.