Phap Hien was a Vietnamese Zen master. He lived in the late 5th century and early the 6th century. When he was a young monk at the Phap Van Temple he met Vinitaruci (?-594) who was one of the successors of Seng-tsan, the Third Patriarch...
IT IS LIKE TO BECOME A THIEF
Once upon a time, there were a father and a son of a family in a busy city. The father was a very skillful thief in the city. He was getting older and older and worried about his son, who was still rather young and knew nothing about his great art, would not be able to take care of himself and the great art will be missing when he dies. Afterall, the time was coming.
One late night, he made his son came along with him to a rich family at the center of the city. They hid themselves in a bush in the backyard of the rich family and were waiting until there were no more people by-passed on the street and all the members of the family were in deep sleep. And both of them started digging and digging and made a narrow and short tunnel passed under the wall and opened up inside the house. Both of them finally were in there. They saw many antique expensive things, and jewery, and diamonds, and gems... sitting on the desks in the treasure-room. The father took some jewery and diamonds, then quitely walked to the tunnel. The son was still picking up some more and did not know his father was gone until he was ready to be gone with him.
But there were many loud noises was made by his father outside the wall to wake up the people in the house. He was so upset with his father's actions but he could not do anything stop him.
Meanwhile, the homeowner lit up lamps and tried to find thieves. He knew he could not escape right away, and his eyes glanced around in seconds, he saw a big box with a lid on. Immediately, he opened the box and put himself in there and covered the lid gently to avoid making any noises. He kept himself as silent as he could in the box. When one of the people held a lamp coming close to him. He opened the lid, came out, blew out the lamp and ran back to the tunnel. People were running after him in his direction but he was faster than they were and he got into the tunnel quickly.
When he got out the tunnel and on the wayside he came to a well which he had seen before he got in the house. He picked up a rather big stepstone near the well and threw it into the well make a sound like a man falling into it. People now got to the spot and thought that the thief should be falling into the very deep well and would be drowsy and dead in a short time and they got back into the house and got more sleep.
When the son was back to his house, his father was very glad to see his son back home in safe. The son was still very upset with his father and complained: -Why did you do that to me? You wanted me arrested there? His father quietly said: -Congratulations! My son. From now on you are able to take care of yourself. So, I will not worry about you anymore."
The art of teaching and learning in Zen is something similar to this art. No Scriptures, no Bible could help you in a situation like that. You are on your own in any situation you'd be in. At that moment you are wisdom and wisdom is you.
Re-told by ChonTri
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