WHO IS IN THE WELL?
When Yang-shan Hui-chi (807-883), as a young monk, paid a visit to the Ch'an master Hsing-k'ung, there was a monk who asked Hsing-k'ung: -What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West? Hsing-k'ung replied: -Suppose there is a man in a thousand foot deep well, if you could get him out without using an inch of rope, then I would tell you the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West. The monk said: -Recently the priest Ch'ang of Hunam was talking in this way or that for people, too. Hsing-k'ung then called Yang-shan: -Novice, take this corpse out of here. Later, Yang-shan took this up to Tan-yuan and asked: -Sir, how could you get that man out of the well? Tan-yuan said: -Idiot! Who is in the well? Yang-shan did not understand. Later he asked Kuei-shan the same question. Kuei-shan immediately called out [Yang-shan's name]: -Hui-chi! Yang-shan responded: -Yes! Kuei-shan said: -He's out. At this, Yang-shan was greatly awakened. He said: -At Tan-yuan I got the essence; at Kuei-shan I got the function.
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