|born: c. 810
died: c. 880
Chan disciples: ...
| oshobob The Living Workshop
Zen Master Gutei made a practice of
raising his finger whenever he explained a
question about Zen.
A very young disciple began to imitate him, and
whenever anyone asked the disciple what his
master had been preaching about, the boy
would raise his finger.
Gutei got to hear about this, and when he
came upon the boy as he was doing it one day,
he seized the boy, whipped out a knife, cut off
his finger, and threw it away.
As the boy ran off howling Gutei shouted,
The boy stopped, turned round, and looked at
his master through his tears. Gutei was holding
up his own finger.
The boy went to hold up his finger, and when
he realized it wasn't there he bowed.
In that instant he became enlightened.
Too severe! But the man Gutei must have
been very, very compassionate. Only out of
compassion you can be so hard. Difficult to
understand, because we think that cruelty,
hardness, is always there where there is no
compassion. No – then you will not understand
an enlightened person. An enlightened person
will not be hard on you if he has no
compassion – why bother? But he will be hard
on you because he bothers, he is worried
about you, he wants to help you. And less than
that won't do...
No Water, No Moon, ch. 5