|born: c. 780
died: c. 850
master: Yaoshan Weiyan (J. Yakusan Igen)
Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment,
Christianity the Deadliest Poison, and Zen the
Antidote to all Poisons, ch. 5
oshobob The Living Workshop
rainy day, monk Gao visited Yakusan, who
commented, “Today it’s quite humid.”
“I will beat this drum,” said Gao.
Ungan said, “There is no leather – what drum do
Dogo added, “There is no drum – what leather
do you beat?”
And Yakusan commented, “Today, the melody is
Once, at the mealtime, Yakusan himself beat the
drum, and monk Gao entered the hall, dancing.
Yakusan dropped the drumstick and asked,
“Which piece is that?”
“This is the second piece,” said Gao.
Yakusan asked, “What is the first piece?”
Gao took the seat, helped himself to some rice,
took the bowl of rice with him and left.
By his gesture he is saying, “First I attained to
no-mind – that was the first piece. Then came
the dance, the celebration – that was the second
But he did not say it. Now he understands the
language of Zen just as Yakusan understands it.
Without saying anything he took the seat of the
master, sat on the seat – this is not expected of
a disciple unless he becomes a master – and
without any fear he took some rice, helped
himself to some rice, took the bowl of rice with
him and left. He did not say a single thing about
the first piece.
Nobody can say. One can act it, one can show it.
It is a gesture. But it is not an absurd anecdote
as ordinarily people will understand. It says that
once you enter into the no-mind the whole of life
is just a dance...
Christianity, The Deadliest Poison, and Zen, the
Antidote to All Poisons, ch. 5