The True Man of No Title

Rinzai once said to his monks, "A titleless man lives upon flesh and blood, going out or coming in through the gateways of your face. Those who have not witnessed this fact, discover it this minute!" A monk stood up and asked, "Who is this titleless man?" Rinzai suddenly came down from his seat, seized the monk by his robe, and exclaimed, "Speak! Speak!" The monk was dumbfounded, so Rinzai slapped him, saying, "This titleless man is good for nothing."

A formless, colourless (titleless) man living upon flesh and blood is a contradiction in the first place. Since he is formless and colourless, this titleless man can come and go any place, but Rinzai says he comes and goes through your eyes, ears, nose, and senses - a further contradiction. When the monk asks, "Who is this titleless man?" Rinzai responds, in effect: "I thought this was the true man of no title, but he is nothing but an attached and deluded man after all." Out of compassion, Rinzai tries hard to awaken the monks from their dreams.


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