Tuesday, June 07, 2005

More Layman Pang Stories

Layman Pang attended a reading of the Diamond Sutra. When the speaker reached the phrase, "No self. No other," Layman Pang called out, "Speaker! If there is no self and no other, then who is lecturing and who is listening?" The speaker was dumbstruck.

Layman Pang said, "I'm just a common person, but I'll offer you my crude understanding." The speaker said, "What is the Layman's idea?" Layman Pang answered with this verse:

No self, no other,
Then how could there be intimate and estranged?
I advise you to cease all your lectures.
They can't compare with directly seeking truth.
The Diamond Wisdom nature
Erases even a speck of dust.
"Thus I have heard" and "Thus I believe"
Are but so many words.

Layman Pang was leaving his acquaintance Yaoshan, so Yaoshan had ten "Zen guests" accompany Pang to the main gate. (During this era, Zen monks often stayed at temples that were not Zen, and thus they earned the name "Zen guests.") The Layman pointed to the falling snow and said, "Good snowflakes. Each one not falling any other place."

At that time, a Zen monk named Chuan asked, "Where do they fall?" The Layman struck him.

Chuan said, "Even a layman should not act so rudely!"

Pang said, "A so-called 'Zen guest' saying such a thing! Yama [the king of hell] will never release you!"

Chuan said, "What do you mean?"

Pang hit him again, saying, "You have eyes like a blind man and your mouth speaks like a mute."

Later, Xuedou said, "When he asked the first question I would have made a snowball and hit him with it."

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