Fachang asked Mazu, “What is the Buddha?”
Mazu told him, “The mind just as it is is the Buddha.”
The statement was sufficient to bring Fachang to awakening.
Fachang secluded himself in a straw-roofed hermitage on Damei—or Plum—Mountain.
When Fachang had been living in the mountains for many years, Mazu became curious about how his practice was progressing. He sent a student to seek out Fachang and ask him why he was living in isolation.
“My Master, Mazu, told me that this very mind, just as it is, is Buddha. And for that reason I’ve made my dwelling here in these mountains.”
“But our master no longer teaches that,” the student said. “Now he says, ‘no mind, no Buddha’.”
“Mazu is a senile old dotard who enjoys bewildering others,” Fachang replied. “He can say whatever he wishes, but I still say this very mind is Buddha.”
When the student returned to Mazu and reported Fachang’s disrespectful comment, Mazu was unoffended, noting, “The plum, indeed, is ripe.”
Damei Fachang – Zen Masters of China: 148-50