That’s where Rinzai differs, and any great master will differ. Kingyu had many more disciples than Rinzai, because the masses could understand him more clearly. He was following in a way the formalities of the masses. He expects Rinzai also…
He says to Rinzai, “In an encounter between host and guest” – he thinks he is the host, which formally he is, and Rinzai is a guest, which formally he is – “each should observe the customary formalities.”
There Rinzai does not agree, and no great master can agree. Traditional formalities? Then what is Zen all about? It is the revolution against the formal. It is all for the spontaneous, not for the customary.
“Where are you from, and why are you so rude?”
He is not rude. On the surface he will appear rude to anybody, but he is exactly expressing his position. When he struck three times on the stick, he told his host, “Try to understand that a greater master is here. You are only a formal teacher.”
Those three strikings on the stick show that from now onwards, “Formally, you are the host; but in existence I am the host, you are the guest.” What is true on the surface is not necessarily true at the center.
Rinzai is saying, “A master has come to a disciple.” He has made it clear by striking the stick of Kingyu that from now onwards, “While I’m here, I am the master.” He is not being rude, he is simply being straightforward, and that is the quality of an authentic master.
Kingyu asked him, “Where are you from, and why are you so rude?” He could not understand the behavior, although the behavior is clear. The master has struck three times on Kingyu’s stick, and he is sitting in his seat in the assembly hall.
Rinzai is saying, “You are a mere teacher, you are not yet a master. Whatever you know is mere knowledge, it is not your own existential experience.”
“What are you talking about, old Osho?” answered Rinzai. Osho is a very honorable word. Just in a single word he has said, “I have not been rude; I have just declared that I have come here.”
“What are you talking about, old Osho? You are old and you are well respected by me, but that does not mean that you know the truth. You have strived hard your whole life, you disciplined yourself, you have been training yourself, but you have not yet got the point. I respect you, your old age, your lifelong effort.
“I am not rude, but truth has to be said even if it appears to be rude. What are you talking about, old Osho?”