When the monk Xiqian came to study with Master Qingyuan Xingsi, the master asked him, “Where have you come from?”
Xiqian said, “From Caoxi.”
The master held up his whisk and said, “Do they have this in Caoxi?” [what's right before and is your eyes?
Xiqian said, “Not in Caoxi, nor even in India [where the Buddha lived
The master said, “You haven’t been to India, have you?” [how can you go to a place to meet the Buddha?
Xiqian said, “If I had been there, it would have been there.” [He's already "there", and "there" is no place to go ... so where is it?
The master said, “If you haven’t been there, how can you say that? Try again!” [Still, you have to get to this "no get to place to get"
Xiqian said, “Master, you should say something. Don’t rely on your disciple for all of it.”
The master said, “It’s not that I mind saying something, but I fear that there will be no one to
carry on my practice.” [If I feed you the answer, you will not learn to speak for yourself
(Xiqian later became the most illustrious disciple of Master Qingyuan)
The monk Shenhui once came to visit Master Qingyuan.
The master asked, “Where have you come from?”
Shenhui said, “From Caoxi.”
The master asked, “What is the essential doctrine of Caoxi?”
Shenhui suddenly stood up strait.
The master said, “So, you’re still just carrying around common clay tiles.” ["your answer is too pat, by the book" You stand there like a frozen statue ... YAWN!
Shenhui asked, “Does the master have any gold here to give people?”
The master said, “I don’t have any. Where would you go to find some?”`[What does the master have to give that people already do not have? Where do you look for it?
Once a monk asked Qingyuan, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from India?”
The master said, “It’s just like this!”
The monk asked further, “What else do you have to teach these days?”
The master said, “Come closer.”
The monk moved closer.
The master said, “Keep this in mind.” [Coming from India, coming closer ... arriving just like this