Carrying the Bell-staff Around the Meditation Seat

Magoku took up his bell-staff one day and went to Shokyo's temple. There he marched, in solemn ritual, three times around Shokuo's meditation seat, rang the bell once, and stopped, standing upright. Shokyo said, "Very well done." Next Magoku went to Nansan's temple and repeated the ritual. But Nansen said, "No good." Magoku protested, "Your Reverence, Master Shokyo said 'well done,' Why do you say 'no good'?" Nansen replied, "Although Shokyo was right, you are wrong. What you did was a mere shifting of the wind. In the end it would result in your downfall."

Magoku carried the bell-staff around the meditation seat of his brother monks, disturbing their meditation and showing off. Shokyo said "well done." What else can you say to such a rascal? But Nansen stopped the foolishness before it could do Mahoku real harm. All he was doing was "shifting the wind" about as he moved.

So, in life, however strong one looks, however much one shows off by so-called success, be it wealth, prestige, or power, it is merely "shifting the wind." Eventually all end with old age and death.


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