Possessed of Insight

Chinso, a very high government official, came to visit the scholar-monk Shifuku. As soon as Chinso entered the study, Shifuku inscribed a circle in the air with his finger. Chinso objected, saying, "I have just arrived; I have not even had time to sit down. Why do you make mysterious signs?" At this, Shifuku rose and closed his study door to insure privacy for himself and his new disciple.

When Shifuku drew a circle in the air, he was testing his visitor. There are many ways to reat. One understands and responds to a teacher according to one's understanding. One may not understand at all or one may pretend to understand. Chinso reacted naturally and honestly; he did not understand. Shifuku saw his potential as a Zen student. When Shifuku closed the door, it signified that Chinso was accepted as his disciple.


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