Nanyue Huairang
Jap., Nangaku Ejo
South Mountain    Wisdom Offer
born:  677
died:  744

place:  China
Chan master:  Huineng (J., Eno)
Chan disciples:  Mazu (J. Baso), Qingyuan (J.
Shitou (J. Sekito)
Surname: Du
posthumous name: Dahui (Great Wisdom)

Nanyue is the name of the mountain area on
Hengshan mountain range in Hunan Province,
where this master lived and taught for over 30
Mazu and Shitou (J. Sekito) also studied
here--basically all Zen lineage comes out of these
masters. You can see some photos at
Fuyan Zen
Temple, with Nanyue's stupa.

Zen: The Quantum Leap From Mind to No-mind, ch.

Ma Tzu: The Empty Mirror, ch. 1, ch. 2, ch. 3

God is Dead: Now Zen is the Only Living Truth, ch. 4
        oshobob  The Living Workshop                                        
                                                 Zen Masters

When Shitou received the precepts, his master,
Qingyuan, asked him, "Now you have received the
precepts, you want to learn the Vinaya, don't you?"

Shitou replied, "There's no need to learn the

Qingyuan asked, "Then, you want to read the book
of Sheela?"

Shitou replied, "There's no need to read the book of

Qingyuan asked, "Can you deliver a letter to
Nanyue Heshang?"

Shitou said, "Certainly."

Qingyuan said, "Go now, and come back quickly. If
you come back even a little late, you will miss me. If
you miss me, you cannot get the big hatchet under
my chair."

Soon Shitou reached Nanyue. Before handing over
the letter, Shitou made a bow and asked, "Heshang,
when one neither follows the old saints nor
expresses one's innermost soul, what will one do?"

Nanyue said, "Your question is too arrogant. Why
don't you ask modestly?"

To which Shitou replied, "Then it would be better to
sink into hell eternally and not ever hope for the
liberation that the old saints know."

Shitou, finding that he and Nanyue were not attuned
to each other, soon left for Qingyuan without giving
Nanyue the letter. On his arrival, Qingyuan asked,
"Did they entrust something to you?"

Shitou said, "They didn't entrust anything to me."

Qingyuan said, "But there must have been a reply."

Shitou said, "If they don't entrust anything, there is
no reply." Then he said, "When I was leaving here,
you added that I should come back soon to receive
the big hatchet under the chair. Now I have come
back, please give me the big hatchet."

Qingyuan was silent.

Shitou bowed down and retired.

The silence of Qingyuan was his acceptance of
Shitou, his courage. He knew that the letter had not
been delivered, that there had not been any reply,
although Shitou had not mentioned the letter. Shitou
simply said, "They did not entrust anything to me, so
how can there be any reply?"

Qingyuan saw the man, that he has the quality and
deserves to be enlightened. His silence was his
hatchet. He was saying, "When you come I am going
to cut your head with a hatchet."

And now he reminded him, "Now I have come back,
please give me the big hatchet”. Cut my head. Do
whatsoever you want to do, I am ready.

Qingyuan was silent. In that deep silence is the
transfer, the transmission of the lamp. It is not a
question of language, it is a question of a transfer of
energy. Just simply in that silence the flame jumped
from Qingyuan to Shitou...

God is Dead, Now Zen is the Only Living Truth, ch. 2
Chinese simplified:  南岳怀让
Note:  In his original English talks,
Osho used the Japanese
pronunciations of the Chinese names
used in these stories, to a large extent.
In his books the names were
romanized using Japanese
romaji. In
the instances where Osho used the
original Chinese names, they were
romanized in the books using the old
Wade-Giles system, now seen very
infrequently in world wide usage.

The stories shown on this website will
attempt to revert to the more accurate
original Chinese identification, using
modern Chinese
pinyin romanization, if
the people and places are Chinese. If
they are Japanese, then Japanese
romaji will be retained.