Once the Master held up his staff and said, “The whole universe, the earth, killing and giving life: all is in [this staff] here.”

A monk then asked, “What about killing?”
The Master replied, “A total mess!”
The monk went on, “And how about giving life?”
The Master said, “[If] you want to be a rice steward . . .”
The monk continued, “What about when one neither kills nor gives life?”
The Master got up and exclaimed, “Oh Great Perfection of Wisdom!”

From Zen Master Yunmen: His Life and Essential Sayings by Urs App © 1994, 2018. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications.

Temple
Get Daily Dharma in your email

Start your day with a fresh perspective

a photo of a Buddhist meditating
Explore timeless teachings through modern methods.

With Stephen Batchelor, Sharon Salzberg, Andrew Olendzki, and more

See Our Courses

Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.

This article is only for Subscribers!

Subscribe now to read this article and get immediate access to everything else.

Subscribe Now

Already a subscriber? Log in.