Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Nanyue Huairang [W-G: Nan-yueh Huai-jang / J: Nangaku Ejo]

                Nanyue Huairang had been a student of Huineng and, in turn, became the teacher of Mazu Daoyi. One day he came upon Mazu seated in meditation. Huairang asked him, “What is it that you’re trying to accomplish by sitting like this?”
                Mazu replied, “I want to attain Buddhahood.” 
                Huairang nodded his head, then, without a word, picked up a piece of broken tile which was lying on the ground and began to rub it vigorously.  He kept this up so long that Mazu eventually inquired, “Master, if I may ask, what are you doing?”
                “I’m polishing this tile to make it into a mirror.”
                “But no amount of polishing will turn a tile into a mirror!”
                 “Neither will any amount of meditation, as you practice it, make you into a Buddha.” 
                “What should I do then?” Mazu asked.
                “If you were driving a cart and it stopped, what would you do?  Would you strike the cart or the ox?”
[Nanyue Huairang – Zen Masters of China: 79, 84]

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