Saturday, 16 January 2016

Yanguan Qian [W-G: Yen-kuan Ch’i-an / J: Enkan Sai’an]

                 An inquirer asked Yanguan Qian, “Who was the Buddha?”
                Yanguan replied by requesting of his visitor, “Would you please pass me that water-pitcher.”    
                The inquirer looked around, saw the pitcher, and passed it to the master.  Yanguan poured himself a cup of water and then asked the visitor to replace the pitcher.  The visitor did so, then, thinking that perhaps Yanguan had not heard his original question, put it again: “About the Buddha—who was he?”
                “Oh, yes,” Yanguan said.  “Well, you know, he’s been dead a long time now.”

[Yanguan Qian – Zen Masters of China: 19, 140,149]

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