The Zen Experience

The Zen Experience

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Excerpt: ... meeting your kinsman slay your kinsman, and you attain emancipation. By not cleaving to things, you freely pass through.5 After his enlightenment, he had many exchanges with Huang-po in which he came off ahead as often as not. It is also interesting that many of the interactions involved the manual labor of the monastery, an indication of the significance of work in Ch'an life. One famous joust between Lin-chi and Huang-po went as follows: One day Master Lin-chi went with Huang-po to do some work in which all the monks participated. Lin-chi followed his master who, turning his head, noticed that Lin-chi was carrying nothing in his hand. "Where is your hoe?" "Somebody took it away." "Come here: let us discuss something," commanded Huang-po and as Lin-chi drew nearer, he thrust his hoe into the ground and continued, "There is no one in the world who can pick up my hoe." However, Lin-chi seized the tool, lifted it up, and exclaimed, "How then could it be in my hands?" "Today we have another hand with us; it is not necessary for me to join in." And Huang-po returned to the temple.6 This story can be interpreted many ways. John Wu says, "Obviously he was using the hoe as a pointer to the great function of teaching and transmitting the lamp of Ch'an. . . . This was a symbolic way of saying that in a mysterious manner the charge was now in his hands."7 However, as Freud once remarked concerning the celebrated phallic symbolism of his stogie, "Sometimes, madam, it's just a cigar," and one suspects that in this little slapstick episode, the hoe might possibly be just a hoe. Another exchange between Huang-po and Lin-chi may have more dialectical significance. According to the story: One day Huang-po ordered all the monks of the temple to work in the tea garden. He himself was the last to arrive. Lin-chi greeted him, but stood there with his hands resting on the more

Product details

  • Paperback
  • 185.42 x 241.3 x 7.62mm | 226.8g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236736591
  • 9781236736598
  • 1,834,301