The Lion's Roar of Distant Thunder, Iron Flute 44. Nan-ch‘üan Rejects Both Monk and Layman

A monk came to Nan-ch‘üan, stood in front of him, and put both hands to his breast. Nan-ch‘üan said, "You are too much of a layman." The monk then placed his hands palm to palm. “You are too much of a monk,” said Nan-ch‘üan. The monk could not say word. When another teacher heard of this, he said to his monks, "If I were the monk, I would free my hands and walk away backward."

MASTER GENRO'S COMMENT: If I were Nan-ch‘üan, I would say to the monk, "You are too much of a dumb-bell," and to the master, who said he should free his hands and walk backward, “You are too much of a crazy man.” True emancipation has nothing to hold to, no color to be seen, no sounds to be heard. A free man has nothing in his hands. He never plans anything, but reacts according to others’ actions. Nan-ch‘üan was a skillful teacher. He loosed the noose of the monk’s own rope.

MY VERSE: Hear! Hear! The lion's roar of distant thunder!
When the thunder sounds, 
it's time to dash indoors or risk getting bone-wet.

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