Gyosan Draws a Line

Isan said to his disciple, Gyosan, "All day you and I were talking Zen. What did we accomplish after all?" Gyosan traced a line in the air with his finger. Isan said, "It was a good thing you dealt with me. You might cheat anyone else."

The teacher, Isan, is trying to test Gyosan's understanding. If Gyosan had said, "We didn't accomplish anything," then they would have wasted their time. If Gyosan had said, "We did accomplish something," he would have fallen into attachment and conceptualisation. But Gyosan avoided the trap. He drew a line in the air. It is reality, but there is no trace of it. All things in this world come and go, appear, and disappear. But a young, inexperienced student might be beguiled by this beautiful demonstration and mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon itself.


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