Gensha's Blank Paper

Gensha sent a monk to his old teacher, Seppo, with a letter of greeting. Seppo called his monks together and opened the letter in their presence. The envelope contained three blank sheets of paper. Seppo showed these to the monks and asked, "Do you understand?" Since there was no answer, he continued, as if reading, "When spring comes, the flowers bloom; when fall comes, the fruits ripen." When the messenger monk returned to Gensha and told him all that had happened, Gensha commented, "My old man is in his dotage."

Gensha, the successor to Seppo, was an illiterate fisherman until he became a monk. Later, he became a great Master, great enough to criticise his own teacher's Zen. When Gensha heard of Seppo's words, his judgement was: "What diluted lukewarm Zen!" My message was the irreducible essence of Zen. My old teacher must be getting senile."


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