Thursday, May 25, 2023

Talking to a Rock

"Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher,
lived alone in a small temple in the country.
One day four traveling monks appeared
 and asked if they might make a fire
in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire,
Hogen heard them arguing about
subjectivity and objectivity.
He joined them and said:
'There is a big stone. Do you consider it
to be inside or outside your mind?'

One of the monks replied:
'From the Buddhist viewpoint everything
is an objectification of mind, so I would
say that the stone is inside my mind.'

'Your head must feel very heavy,' observed Hogen,
'if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind.'"

- "The Stone Mind," Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand)

"Yunyan asked a monk what he was doing.
The monk replied, 'I’ve been talking to a rock.'
Yunyan said, 'Did it nod to you (indicating that it understood you)?'
When the monk didn’t reply, Yunyan answered for him:
'It nodded to you before you even said anything.'"

- Yunyan Tansheng (780-841)

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