Pu’hua retorted, “What place do you think this is – talking about coarse and fine!”
The next day Rinzai and Pu’hua again attended a dinner. The master asked, “How does today’s feast compare with yesterday’s?”
Pu’hua kicked over the dinner table as before. “Good enough,” said Rinzai, “but how coarse!”
Pu’hua commented, “Blind man! What has buddha-dharma got to do with coarse and fine?” Rinzai stuck out his tongue.
Zen is a very playful religion. Rinzai sticking out his tongue to his disciple must be absolutely unparalleled. No master anywhere in the world would have done such a thing. But Zen accepts with absolute certainty that whatever the master’s action is, it has significance. He is not condemning Pu’hua, but just making a laughingstock of him.
He is saying, “Whichever the place, whether the person can understand or not, you still can make great statements. They fall into the person like seeds. Perhaps not today, but tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, when the rains come the seeds may sprout.” You may not understand today, you may ignore it today, but who knows about your tomorrows? Tomorrow you may suddenly become aware of what a great seed has been sown in your unconscious mind.
So Rinzai’s standpoint is that it does not matter whether the person is capable of understanding it or not. If you have it, share it. Don’t be bothered whether the person deserves it or not.
Everybody intrinsically is a buddha. Sooner or later he will understand it. It may not happen in your life, you may be dead – but the day he will understand it, he will bow down to the earth in deep respect, in gratitude that when he was not even prepared you had delivered to him the very master key which opens all the doors of existence.
He is not agreeing with Pu’hua, whose standpoint is very ordinary and practical. Pu’hua says, “What is the point of saying things to people which are absolutely irrelevant to their mind?”
But even that which is not understood this moment…you may suddenly get it in the middle of the night. Suddenly a great realization may come as you are relaxed and silent, and you will see what you have missed. But it does not matter if you miss in the morning and get it in the evening. Whenever you get it, it is always early.
Rinzai’s standpoint is that of a great master.
I am reminded of Jesus’ once saying – and Pu’hua will agree with that saying – “Don’t go on throwing your seeds; they may fall on stones, they may fall on roads, they may fall on the boundaries of fields where people walk. They may sprout, but still they will be killed. Throw your seeds in the very good soil.”