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17 December 2007 @ 10:06 am
Tao of the Day: Returning to the Experience with a Kind Beating from Grandmother  
Michael (loopback) exposed me to this old Buddhist story this weekend:

When Lin Chi was a young monk, he studied under Master Huang Po Si-Yin in Huang Po Shan (Yi-fong, Jiangxi). During the first three years at the temple, Lin Chi went unnoticed. He minded his own business and did what he was told; his daily schedule included: work in the fields, meditation, helping in the kitchens, and preparing baths for the older monks.

The head monk, Mu Chou, observed and noticed Lin Chi's mindfulness and meditation in action. He was impressed with Lin Chi's humanity and genuineness, and wanted the Master to notice Lin Chi. Since Lin Chi was so honest and simple, he never had anything to ask the Master, and did not make himself the center of attention for no reason. So Mu Chou advised Lin Chi to ask the following question: "What is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?" Lin Chi asked Huang Po this question three times, and each time Huang Po hit him with a six-foot pole. Lin Chi failed to understand the truth in these blows, and decided to leave the monastery. He decided to be a wanderling and learn from ordinary life what he failed to learn in the monastic setting. When he went to take his leave from Master, Huang Po told him not to go far away, but to first go to Master Ta Yu, who will teach him what he needs to know.

Lin Chi went to Ta Yu's monastery and told him what had transpired. Ta Yu then said, "Why, Huang Po was to you as your own grandmother. Why have you come here suddenly, asking me about your faults?" Lin Chi became Enlightened. Up until this moment, Lin Chi had a dualistic perception of Buddhism and teachings, they were ideas in his mind, separate from himself. He had always searched for the truth outside of himself, but now, in a flash, he experienced existence as it is in itself, and he realized the emptiness of thoughts, words, and philosophical explanations.
Kburgunder on December 17th, 2007 06:09 pm (UTC)
What I get from this is, once you've learned the lessons, re-engage to put them into practice...
Immortal (so far): EuroMikeimmortalsofar on December 17th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
That's what I like about Buddhism - you look inside. How can you truly believe and not put it into practice? Beware religions that insist on someone else interpreting for you!

I had a friend who did martial arts who told me the following story:

A novice went to the grand master and asked "Master, when will I be able to defend myself against all attackers?"

The master replied.

"When you are a black belt, if you are on the way to the theater and you are attacked, you will be able to defend yourself.

"Then, when you are a third dan and there is a rough area on the way to the theater you will detour around it.

"When you are a sixth dan you won't go to the theater, you'll stay home and meditate."