died: c. 820
oshobob The Living Workshop
monk had come to see Kisu and after a very
brief stay was making his departure.
Kisu said, "Where are you going?"
The monk replied, "I'm going all over the place
learning the five flavors of Zen."
Kisu said, "Yes, there are the five flavors of Zen
in various places, but here I have only one."
The monk asked, "And what may be your one-
Kisu struck him.
The monk said, "I understand! I understand!"
Kisu said, "Tell me what! Tell me what!" and as
the monk began to speak, Kisu struck him again.
At another time, a monk asked Kisu, "What is
"If I tell you," said Kisu, "will you believe me?"
The monk replied, "The master's words are so
momentous, how could I not believe them?"
Kisu said, "Simply, you are it."
The monk asked, "How can we maintain this
Kisu said, "If your eye is just a little clouded,
flowery illusions are rampant."
The monk was enlightened at this.
But are you enlightened at this? It is so simple;
you don't need any education, you don't need
any teaching, you don't need any culture. You
are already there. From the very beginning of
time, you are eternity in the moment.
If you don't become enlightened, it is simply
postponement. There is no hurry – you can
become enlightened tomorrow or in another life.
But remember, unless you become enlightened
you cannot get out of your misery, your
tensions, your anguish, your meaninglessness.
You cannot attain the splendor that is your
This. This. A Thousand Times This: The Very
Essence of Zen, ch. 13