The Meditation Arm-rest

Ryuge asked Master Suibi, "Why did Bodhidharma come West?" Suibi said, "Pass me that meditation arm-rest." No sooner did Ryuge do so than Suibi hit him over the head with it. Ryuge said, "Strike me as you will, that still does not answer my question." Next, Ryuge went to Master Rinzai and asked the same question. Rinzai said, "Please give me that meditation mat." Ryuge handed the rolled-up mat to Rinzai, who promptly struck him with it.

Ryuge was an ardent young monk and wanted desperately to attain enlightenment. Since he did not get the answer he wanted from Suibi, he went to Rinzai at another temple and asked the same question. Neither Master, Suibi nor Rinzai, talked to each other on this subject, but their method of answering Ryuge was identical. It is interesting to see the two enlightened minds working in the same way. It seems both Masters were suggesting meditation by hitting Ryuge with meditation equipment. But Ryuge had a one-track mind. He kept expecting to hear a direct answer. There is no one ready-made answer in life. Each must find his or her own answer.


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