One day when P'ang layman (740-808)was selling bamboo baskets at the market place of Hung-chou. Seeing a monk begging alms, he took out a cash and said:
-Can you tell me how to appreciate alms?
The monk had nothing to say.
In reading scriptures and studying the doctrines, you should turn all words right around and apply them to yourself. All the verbal teachings point to the inherent nature of the immediate mirroring awareness. As long as this is not affected by anything, existent or otherwise, it is your guide. It can shine through all realms, whether they exist or not. This adamantine wisdom, wherein you have your share of freedom and independence. If you cannot understand in this way, then even you could recite the whole canon and all its branches of knowledge, that would only make you conceited. Paradoxically, it shows contempt for Buddhas; it is not true practice.
Ch'an master Pai-chang translated by Thomas Cleary
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