Monday, 18 April 2016

Daito Kokushi [Shuho Myocho]

The retired Emperor Hanazono heard a rumor that a Zen master of exceptional ability had come to the city of Kyoto where, instead of establishing himself at one of the city’s temples, he had chosen to live among the derelicts and beggars residing under the Gojo Bridge.  The emperor was intrigued by the story and asked his informant if there were any way he could identify which of the beggars was the modest Zen Master.  All the informant could tell him was that it was rumored the master was particularly fond of honeydew melons. 
             Hanazono disguised himself as a fruit peddler and pushed a cart laden with melons to the region by the bridge.  As the residents gathered around him, he held up a ripe melon and announced, “I will give this melon freely to anyone who can come up to me and claim it without using his feet.”
One of the beggars immediately challenged him, “Then give it to me without using your hands.”
             It was as much the gleam in the eye of the beggar as his reply which told Hanazono that he had found the Zen teacher he was seeking.  His name was Shuho Myocho.  He would later come to be known as Daito [Great Light] Kokushi [National Teacher].

[Shuho Myocho – Zen Masters of Japan: 90-96]

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