Obaku and the Wine-Guzzlers

Obaku addressed the monks, "You guzzlers of wine! If I had gone on as many pilgrimages as you in search of Zen, wherever should I be today? Don't you know that in all this land there is no Zen teacher?" A monk came forward and said, "But surely there are those who reform the disciples and govern them. What about them?" Obaku said, "I didn't say there was no Zen, merely that there is no teacher of Zen."

Obaku was the successor of Hyakujo and he was also Rinzai's teacher. He was indeed, a great Zen Master. His remarks are a warning to the monks, many of whom go from one Zen centre to another in search of Zen. They will never find Zen by looking in this way. For one who does not seek truly, there are no teachers anywhere to be found. Obaku says there are no teachers, for, in truth, Zen cannot be taught. One must look within; there, is Zen. When one lives Zen, there are many teachers.


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