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Don’t Give Me The Finger

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3. DON’T GIVE ME THE FINGER

(GUTEI’S FINGER)

 

Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger.

Gutei heard about the boy’s mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called and stopped him. When the boy turned his head to Gutei, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was enlightened.

When Gutei was about to pass from this world he gathered his monks around him. “I attained my finger-Zen,” he said, “from my teacher Tenryu, and in my whole life I could not exhaust it.” Then he passed away.

 

MUMON’S COMMENT

Enlightenment, which Gutei and the boy attained, has nothing to do with a finger. If anyone clings to a finger, Tenryu will be so disappointed that he will annihilate Gutei, the boy, and the clinger all together.

 

MUMON’S VERSE

Gutei cheapens the teaching of Tenryu,
Emancipating the boy with a knife.
Compared to the Chinese god who pushed aside a mountain with one hand
Old Gutei is a poor imitator.

 

HOKYO’S COMMENT

 

 

HOKYO’S COUPLET

The finger grasps nothing without the hand,
My hands now empty hold the universe.

 

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2. I AM NOT A HUMAN BEING

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4. STUDY WITH YOUR HEART

 

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I AM NOT A HUMAN BEING

A Commentary on The Gateless Gate

©℗2020 Hokyo Jisetsu Walter Bitner
Illustrations ©2020 Carol-Margaret Bitner

 

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