Longshan met Dongshan and Shenshan when they were traveling together. Seeing a vegetable leaf floating down a valley stream, Dongshan said, “There must be a Zen practitioner deep in this mountain.” They followed the stream up and met a hermit.

The hermit Longshan said, “There is no path in this mountain. How did you two get here?”

Dongshan said, “Let’s put aside the matter of no path. Venerable, from where did you enter?”

Longshan said, “I did not come following clouds or water.”

Dongshan said, “How long have you lived in this mountain?”

Longshan said, “I am not concerned about the passing of spring or autumn.”

Dongshan said, “Did you live here first, or did the mountain live here first?”

Longshan said, “I don’t know.”

Dongshan said, “How come you don’t know?”

Longshan said, ” I did not come here for humans or devas.”

Dongshan asked further, “Why have you been living in this mountain?”

Longshan said, “I saw two clay oxen struggling with each other until they fell into the ocean. Ever since then, all fluctuations have ceased.”‘ (Shinji Shobogenzo)

To borrow from another story (or perhaps another version of this story) a hermit who lets a vegetable leaf get away from him is not going to be good for much.

One thought on “Longshan

  1. If I could complain for a moment: how is a hermit living in the wilderness on a remote mountain supposed to maintain his mental faculties. He has absolutely no structure in his life. He has to contend with the elements and the wild animals. He has no human company to lift him up. But I bet he would say that we were the ones that were missing out.


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