Joshu went to a hermit’s and said, “Anything here? Anything here?” The
hermit lifted up his fist. Joshu said, “The water is to shallow to
anchor here,” and went away. He went to another hermits’s, and said
“Anything here? Anything here?” The hermit lifted up his fist. Joshu
said, “Freely you give, freely you take away. Freely you bestow life,
freely you destroy,” and made a profound bow.
Both stuck up there fist; why is one accepted, and the other rejected?
Just say, where is the source of the confusion between the two? If, in
regard to this you can speak a word of understanding, then you realize
that Joshu’s tongue has no bone in it. Now he raises up, now he dashes
down, in perfect freedom. But though this is so, remember that the two
hermits also saw through Joshu. Further, if you imagine that there was
a comparison of superiority and inferiority to be made in regard to
the two hermits, you have not an open eye. Neither have you an open
eye if you suppose there is no deference of superiority and
inferiority between the two hermits.
His eye is a shooting star;
The movements of his soul are like lightning.
He is a death dealer,
A life-giving sword.
As translated by R.H. Blyth