Case 23: Think Neither Good Nor Evil
The Sixth Patriarch was pursued by the monk Myõ as far as Taiyu Mountain.
The patriarch, seeing Myõ coming, laid the robe and bowl on a rock and said, "This robe represents the faith; it should not be fought over. If you want to take it away, take it now."
Myõ tried to move it, but it was as heavy as a mountain and would not budge. Faltering and trembling, he cried out, "I came for the Dharma, not for the robe.
I beg you, please give me your instruction."
The patriarch said, "Think neither good nor evil. At this very moment, what is the original self of the monk Myõ?"
At these words, Myõ was directly illuminated. His whole body was covered with sweat.
He wept and bowed, saying, "Besides the secret words and the secret meaning you have just now revealed to me, is there anything else, deeper still?"
The patriarch said, "What I have told you is no secret at all.
When you look into your own true self, whatever is deeper is found right there."
Myõ said, "I was with the monks under Õbai for many years but I could not realize my true self.
But now, receiving your instruction, I know it is like a man drinking water and knowing whether it is cold or warm.
My lay brother, you are now my teacher."
The patriarch said, "If you say so, but let us both call Õbai our teacher.
Be mindful to treasure and hold fast to what you have attained."
The Sixth Patriarch was, so to speak, hurried into helping a man in an emergency, and he displayed a grandmotherly kindness.
It is as though he peeled a fresh lichi, removed the seed, put it in your mouth, and asked you to swallow it down.
You cannot describe it; you cannot picture it;
You cannot admire it; don't try to eat it raw.
Your true self has nowhere to hide;
When the world is destroyed, it is not destroyed.