He could see the great insight of Kyozan.
At another time, Kyozan was living in Sekitei Temple in Koshu. A monk came up to him and said, “Master, do you know Chinese characters?”
“As far as befits my position,” responded Kyozan.
I have to remind you that Chinese or Japanese or other Far Eastern languages don’t have any alphabet. They have only characters. It is very difficult to understand those languages unless you are born there because you need to know thousands of characters to read even an ordinary newspaper, and those characters are very symbolic.
One friend showed me a Chinese character. I tried in every way to work out what this character could be but I had to accept failure. The man said, “It is a very simple character, but unless you know there is no way to discover it.”
It is just a symbolic roof with two symbolic women. Neither can you figure out that these are women and this is the roof…. And the man told me, “This character means constant quarrel: two women under one roof; but it also means battle, fight, war.”
He had been learning Chinese for almost thirty years, but he was still not confident about the ancient scriptures.
So when the monk asked, “Do you know the Chinese characters?” Kyozan responded, “As far as befits my position. I cannot say I know Chinese characters, I can only say I know a few characters which are needed for my work.”
The monk then circled Kyozan once in the anti-clockwise direction and asked him, “What character is this?”
Kyozan drew the character for the number ten.
One wonders – why number ten? Moving around you anti-clockwise, why should it mean ten?
I have tried hard. My own understanding is, all the languages of the world have ten digits as the basis of their mathematics, and those ten digits come from the ten fingers of man.
Man started counting on his fingers. I still do! And howsoever hard I try, at the most I reach to the third finger. By the time I reach the fourth I have forgotten whether it is fourth or fifth….
This character within an anti-clockwise movement can simply mean that you will be limited to the small numbers – up to ten. You cannot go further than that. If you want to go further you will have to move clockwise – that is how existence is moving. Anti-clockwise, you will be stuck with your own fingers.