Mayu, Zen master Baoche, was fanning himself. A monk approached and said, “Master, the nature of wind is permanent and there is no place it does not reach. Why, then, do you fan yourself?”
“Although you understand that the nature of the wind is permanent,” Mayu replied, “you do not understand the meaning of its reaching everywhere.”
“What is the meaning of its reaching everywhere?” asked the monk again. Mayu just kept fanning himself. The monk bowed deeply.
The actualization of the buddha-dharma, the vital path of its correct transmission, is like this. If you say that you do not need to fan yourself because the nature of wind is permanent and you can have wind without fanning, you will understand neither permanence nor the nature of wind. The nature of wind is permanent. Because of that, the wind of the buddha's house brings forth the gold of the earth and makes fragrant the cream of the long river. [Aitken & Tanahashi]
Master Ho-tetsu of Mt. Mayoku was using a fan. At that time, a monk came in and asked him, “[It is said that] the nature of air is to be ever-present, and there is no place that air cannot reach. Why then does the Master use a fan?”
The Master said, “You only know [the abstract idea] that the nature of air is to be ever-present, but you have not understood the fact that there is no place the air cannot reach.”
The monk said, “What is the meaning of the principle ‘There is no place the air cannot reach’?”
At this, the Master just [carried on] using the fan. The monk prostrated himself. The real experience of Buddhism, the vivid behavior of the Buddhist tradition, is like this. Someone who says that because [the air] is ever-present we need not use a fan, or that even when we do not use [a fan] we can still feel the air, does not know ever-presence, and does not know the nature of air. Because the nature of air is to be ever-present, the behavior of Buddhists makes the Earth manifest itself as gold, and ripens the Milky Way into delicious cheese. [Nishijima]
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