Kicking the Drinking Water Jar

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During his stay under Master Hyakujo, Isan was a cooking monk. As Master Hyakujo wished to send a monk to found the new monastery called the Great Mount I, Maser Hyakujo told the chief monk and all other monks that he would choose the one who would demonstrate himself as the best among them. Then Master Hyakujo brought out a drinking water jar, put it down and said, "You cannot call it a water jar. Then, what will you call it?" The chief monk said, "One cannot call it a wooden stick." Then, when Master Hyakujo turned to Isan, Isan kicked the jar and walked away. Master Hyakujo laughed and said, "The chief monk lost it to Isan." He made Isan the founder of the Great I-san Monastery.
Mumon's comments:
Master Isan had indeed rare courage, but he could not jump out of Master Hyakujo's trap. After examination of the outcome, Isan took over the heavier burden for the easier job. Why? Look, Isan took off the cook's headband and put himself in steel cuffs (of the founder of the monastery).
Throwing away strainers and cooking spoon, Isan kicks the jar and settles the disputes. Unhindered by the multiple hurdles,
He gives a kick on the toe,
Even Buddha becomes pieces.


from The Gateless Gate, released April 7, 2017



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