Koan for Dharma Combat - Fall 2020 Training Period
November 25, 2020
Book of Equanimity
Case 80: Ryuge Passes the Chin Rest
Preface to the Assembly
A great sound is rarely heard; a great vessel matures slowly. In the hurly-burly of a hundred chatterings, he plays the fool, patiently letting time pass for thousands of years. Tell me: What kind of person is this?
Attention! Ryuge asked Suibi, “What is the meaning of the Ancestor’s coming from the west?” Suibi said, “Go and get the chin rest for me.” Ryuge brought the chin rest for Suibi, and Suibi then treated him to a blow. Ryuge remarked, “Hit me if you wish, but there’s still no meaning to the Ancestor’s coming from the west.” Later Ryuge asked Rinzai, “What’s the meaning of the Ancestor’s coming from the west?” Rinzai said, “Go get the cushion for me.” Ryuge brought the cushion to Rinzai, and Rinzai treated him to a blow. Ryuge remarked, “Hit me if you wish, but there’s still no meaning to the Ancestor’s coming from the west.” Later still, when Ryuge was living in a temple, a monk said, “Osho, in former times you asked Suibi and Rinzai about the meaning of the coming of the Ancestor. Did they both clarify it or not?” Ryuge replied, “They clarified it alright – but there’s still no meaning to the Ancestor’s coming from the west.”
Cushion and chin rest confront Ryuge.
Having the chance, why aren’t you an adept?
He doesn’t think to clarify it by making quick conclusions.
He’s afraid of their loss of position, and having to go to heaven’s edge.
How can you hang a sword in the vast sky?
Instead, the Milky Way floats a raft.
In the unsprouted grasses, he hides the huge elephant.
In the bottomless basket, he puts the living snake.
Today, everywhere, rivers and lakes – what obstacle is there?
In all great and small harbors are boats and carts.