Alone and Poor

A monk named Seizei asked of Sozan, "Seizei is alone and poor. Will you give him support?" Sozan said, "Seizei?" Seizei responded, "Yes, sir." Sozan commented, "You have Zen, the best wine in China, and already have finished three cups, and still you are saying that your lips are not even wet."

Poverty is the ideal of the Zen monk - nothing to possess, nothing to depend upon, no place to live. He is completely free, and the whole world belongs to him. When Seizei says that he is alone and poor, he means that he is living the Zen life. Sozan, a Zen Master, knows Seizei inside and out. He knows Seizei is enlightened and is attached to his shallow enlightenment. So he takes Seizei to task, pulling off his mask of pretension and loosening his attachment at the same time.


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