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My Dharma Is Too Expensive

The Korean Zen tradition uses this wonderful story as a kong-an:

Once a student came to Zen Master Hyang Bong and said, "Master, please teach me the Dharma."

Hyang Bong said, "I'm sorry, but my Dharma is very expensive.''

"How much does it cost?"

"How much can you pay?"

The student put his hand into his pocket and took out some coins. "This is all the money I have."

"Even if you offered me a pile of gold as big as a mountain.'' said Hyang Bong, "my Dharma would still be too expensive."

So the student went off to practice Zen. After a few months of hard training, he returned to Hyang Bong and said, "Master, I will give you my life, I will do anything for you, I will be your slave. Please teach me.''

Hyang Bong said, "Even if you offered me a thousand lives, my Dharma would still be too expensive.''

A bit dejected, the student went off again. After several more months of hard training, he returned and said, "I will give you my mind. Will you teach me now?"

Hyang Bong said, "Your mind is a pail of stinking garbage. I have no use for it. And even if you offered me ten thousand minds, my Dharma would still be too expensive."

Again the student left to do hard training. After some time he came to an understanding that the whole universe is empty. So he returned to the master and said, "Now I understand how expensive your Dharma is.''

Hyang Bong said, "How expensive is it?"

The student shouted, "KATZ!!!"

Hyang Bong said, "No, it's more expensive than that.''

This time when he left, the student was thoroughly confused and in deep despair. He vowed not to see the master again until he had attained a deep awakening. Eventually that day came, and he returned. "Master, now I truly understand: the sky is blue, the grass is green. Now will you teach me?''

"No, no, no," said Hyang Bong. "My Dharma is even more expensive than that."

At this, the student grew furious. "I already understand, I don't need your Dharma, you can take it and shove it up your ass!"

Hyang Bong smiled. That made the student even angrier; he wheeled around and stomped out. Just as he was going out the door, Hyang Bong called to him, "Oh you!"

The student turned his head.

''Don't lose my Dharma," said Hyang Bong.

Upon hearing these words, the student was enlightened.

Source: Ox Herding


(These stories have been extracted from various sources solely for enjoyment and are not meant to infringe any copyright laws)