Yakusan Holds Zen

The governor of a state said to Yakusan, "I understand that all Buddhists must possess Sila [precepts], Dhyana [meditation], and Prajna [wisdom]. Do you keep the precepts? Do you practise meditation? Have you attained wisdom?" Yakusan replied, "This poor monk has no such junk around here."

"You must have a profound teaching," the governor said, "but I do not understand it." "If you want to hold it," Yakusan continued, "you must climb the highest mountain and sit on the summit or dive into the deepest sea and walk on the bottom. Since you cannot enter even your own bed without a burden on your mind, how can you grasp and hold my Zen?"

Some people are simply curious - about Zen, Christianity, Yoga. They want to know what someone else has practised or attained. Such people are bystanders or onlookers. They are not truth-seekers. Yakusan, perhaps, was annoyed by the governor's question; for, in fact, his whole life was the practice and realisation of the three attributes. But Yakusan answered in typical Zen style: "no such junk around here." Today's world contains many people who are nervous, anxious, and, like the governor, unable to sleep soundly due to mental burdens. Zen is no idle matter. It is the way to a life of peace and harmony. But if one sincerely wishes to know Zen, one must climb the highest mountain, dive into the deepest sea.


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