Don’t you see how Master Te-shan used to haul out his staff the moment he saw monks enter his gate, and chase them out? When Master Mu-chou saw monks come through his gate, he would say, “The issue is at hand; I ought to give you a thrashing!”

How about the rest? The general run of thieving phonies eat up the spit of other people, memorizing a bunch of trash, a load of garbage, then running off at the mouth like asses wherever they go, boasting that they can pose questions on five or ten sayings. Even if you can pose questions from morning till night and give answers from night till morning, on until the end of time, will you ever even dream of seeing? Where is the empowerment for people?’ (Sayings of Yunmen)

Ah, the bracing contrariness of the old Chinese teachers. What is he really saying here, though? Don’t get distracted by the invective – I think the last question is the one to chew on.

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