Transmitting the Light

‘The eighteenth patriarch was the Venerable Gayashata. He served the Venerable Sanghanandi. One time, he heard the sound of the wind blowing the bronze bells in the temple. Sanghanandi asked Gayashata, “Are the bells ringing or is the wind ringing?” Gayashata replied, “It is neither the bells nor the wind; it is my Mind that is ringing.” The Venerable Sanghanandi asked, “And who is the Mind?” Gayashata replied, “Because both are silent.” Sanghanandi said, “Excellent, excellent! Who but you will succeed to my Way?”

From Keizan’s commentary: ‘People hearing this story all get it wrong, saying, “It is certainly not the wind ringing, it is only the Mind ringing, and this is why Gayashata answered the way he did.” When the universe was still in its primordial, undivided state, can you say it is not the ringing of bells? Therefore Gayashata said, “It is my Mind that is ringing.”…
If you want to understand what this Mind is, you must understand, “It is my Mind ringing.” The form of this ringing is as lofty as soaring mountains and as deep as the ocean. The luxuriant flourishing of grass and trees, and the clarity of your eyes are all forms of the Mind’s ringing.’

Perhaps we will have some of the subsequent versions of this story to follow. In the meantime, I wonder why Sanghanandi thought he could call it ‘my’ Way?

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