"WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?" by Anthony de Mello
Filed in:Anthony de Mello
The master imprints his wisdom in the heart of his disciples, not in the pages of a book. The disciple might carry this wisdom for thirty or forty years, hidden in his heart, until he meets someone ready to receive it. Such was the tradition of Zen.
The Zen master Mu-nan sent for his disciple Shoju one day and said, "I am an old man now, Shoju, and it is you who will carry on this teaching.
Here is a book that has been handed down for seven generations from master to master. I have myself added some notes to it that you will find valuable. Here, keep it with you as a sign that I have made you my successor. “
"You had better keep the book yourself," said Shoju. "1 received your Zen without the help of written words and I am quite content to let it be that way."
“I know, I know," said Mu-nan patiently. "Even so, the book has served seven generations and it may be helpful to you too. Here, keep it with you."
The two happened to be talking near the fireplace.
The instant the book touched Shoju’s hand he flung it into the fire. He had no lust for written words.
Mu-nan, who was never known to be angry before, shouted, "You must be crazy! What are you doing?”
Shoju shouted back, "You are crazy yourself!
What are you saying?”
The guru speaks with authority of what he himself has experienced. He quotes no books.