A student came before the master Bankei and asked to be helped in
getting rid of his violent temper.
“Show me this temper,” said Bankei. “It sounds very fascinating.”
“I haven’t got it right now, so I can’t show it to you,” said the
“Well then,” said Bankei,”bring it to me when you have it.”
“But I can’t bring it just when I happen to have it,” protested
the student. “I’d surely lose it again before I got it to you.”
“In such a case,” said Bankei, “it seems to me that this temper is
not part of your true nature. If it is not part of you, it must
come into you from outside. I suggest that whenever it gets into
you, you beat yourself with a stick until the temper can’t stand
it, and runs away.”
This story can be found in a book entitled Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, a translation of a 13th century work entitled Collection of Stone and Sand.
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