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What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s sitting for nine years?

A monk asked Master Ja-myung, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s sitting facing the wall for nine years?”

Ja-myung answered, “There was no reward despite many years of effort.”

The monk asked the same question of Master Yang-ki, who answered, “He didn’t know Chinese because he was an Indian. The monk asked the same question of Master Hoe-dang, who responded, “He had no blanket to cover himself in spite of cold weather.”

Student: “Each of three masters made a different answer to the same question. Which is a right answer?”

Master: “All their answers are wrong.”

Student: “What is the right answer?”

Master: “It was not said.”

Commentary:

Calamity comes in taking what was not said as what was said.

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

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