Etiquette and Hell

One day the Prince Governor of [the] Prefecture came with the royal princes and scholars to visti the temple. Reamining seated, the Master inquired, “Great Prince, have you understanding of this? The Prince replied, “No, I cannot grasp it.”

The Master said, “Since my youth I have kept a vegetarian diet and my body is already aged. Even if I see people, I have no strength to descend from the Ch’an seat.”

The Prince felt great admiration for the Master. The next day he sent a general to the Master with a message, and the Master came down from the seat in order to receive him.

Afterwards the Master’s attendant said, “Master, you did not come down from the Ch’an seat even when you saw the great Prince coming to visit you. Why did you descend from it for the general who came to see you today?” The Master replied, “My etiquette is not your etiquette. When a superior class of man comes, I deal with him from the Ch’an seat; when a middle grade of man comes, I get down to deal with him; and for the dealings with men of low grade, I step outside the temple gate….”

Someone asked, “Master, will you enter into Hell?” The Master said, “[I'll be] the first to enter it.” The man said, “Why should a great and good Ch’an master enter Hell? The Master said, “Who would transform you through the teaching if I had not entered it?”

1 Stars2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(Rate it!)

Personalized recommendations

(As you rate more content, we tailor the recommendations just for you)

Recommended Zen stories

Recommended articles

Recommended quotes

Want to remember your ratings for next time? Save your profile!
Existing users: Log in here!