Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow...
四十三 首山竹篦 | hide chinese .
show chinese | 首山和尚、拈竹篦示衆云、汝等諸人、若喚作竹篦則觸。
Shuzan Osho held up his shippei [staff of office] before his disciples and said, "You monks! If you call this a shippei, you oppose its reality. 不喚作竹篦則背。
If you do not call it a shippei, you ignore the fact. 汝諸人、且道、喚作甚麼。
Tell me, you monks, what will you call it?"
Mumon's Comment 無門曰、
If you call it a shippei, you oppose its reality. 不喚作竹篦則背。
If you do not call it a shippei, you ignore the fact. 不得有語、不得無語。
Words are not available; silence is not available. 速道、速道。
Now, tell me quickly, what is it?
Holding up the shippei,
He takes life, he gives life.
Opposing and ignoring interweave.
Even Buddhas and patriarchs beg for their lives.