Yakusan's Lecture

Yakusan had not delivered a lecture for some time, so at last the chief monk came to him and said, "The monks miss your lectures." "Then ring the calling-bell." Yakusan said. When all the monks had assembled in the lecture hall, Yakusan returned to his room without having said a word. The chief monk followed him, protesting, "You said you would give a lecture!" Yakusan replied, "Lectures on sutras should be given by scholars of the sutras. Why do you bother this old monk?"

Zen is living life. So every day and every hour in the life of a Zen Master is a living lecture. At Yakusan's monastery the monks missed his lectures. This was a great surprise to Yakusan for he was giving lectures every minute of every day. But the monks did not hear them. If you want an explanation of the sutras, then ask the scholars. A Zen monk who cannot hear the wordless lecture is not worthy to be called a Zen student. How about people today? In the Amida Sutra it is said that mountains, rivers, trees, flowers, and winds are lecturing the Dharma.


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