Lion Cub

As Tokusan was working in the garden one day, he saw a monk coming up the road. Tokusan closed the gate. The monk knocked on the gate, and Tokusan asked, "Who is it?" The monk answered, "A lion cub." Tokusan opened the gate. The monk made a bow, and Tokusan jumped on his back as one would jump upon an animal, pinned him down, and said, "You devil! Where have you been?"

The greatness of a Zen Master is determined by his ability to teach according to the capacity of each student. Each student is different, so the teacher prepares to meet each individually. Tokusan was known as a rough teacher, and this brash young monk knowingly came to challenge him. His answer to Tokusan's inquiry ("a lion cub") certainly is forward. It is quite dangerous to let in a lion cub, but Tokusan opened the gate anyway. The monk bowed in token respect, and at that instant Tokusan jumped on his back. The teaching is always different, according to the situation, time, place, and person.


Popular Posts