Going and Returning

A monk asked his Master, "What do you think of a monk who goes from the monastery and never returns?" The teacher replied, "He is ungrateful." The student then asked, "What do you think of a monk who goes out of the monastery but comes back again?" The teacher said, "He remembers the kindness."

The monastery is the spiritual home where one attains realisation. When an individual enters the monastery, it is because of the teacher there, not because of the building or the institution itself. The teaching, or Dharma, has no form or colour, so how is this colourless, formless teaching seen and understood? It is understood through the character of the teacher, called Zenjishiki, which means "good knowledge." When one attains realisation by meeting the Zenjishiki, he and the teacher are one in the Dharma, so there is really no going or returning. There is no graduation in Zen.


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