Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Layman Pang & Zen Master Shitou


In the year 785, Layman Pang went to see Zen Master Shitou Xiqian and asked him, “What about someone who has no connection with all worldly phenomena?”

Shitou put his hand over the Layman's mouth, and in a flash he had a sudden realization.


One day Shitou said, “I’ve come to visit you. What have you been doing?”

The Layman said, “If you’re asking what I do every day, there’s nothing to say about it.”

Shitou said, “What did you think you were doing before I asked you about it?”

The Layman made up a verse:

"What I do every day is nothing special: 
I simply stumble around. 
What I do is not thought out, 
Where I go is unplanned. 
No matter who tries to leave their mark, 
The hills and dales are not impressed. 
My supernatural power and marvelous activity - 
Drawing water and carrying firewood."

Shitou approved, saying, “So, are you going to be a monk or a layman?"

The Layman said, ''I will do whatever is best.”

It came to pass that he never shaved his head to join the monkhood.

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