One day the master and Fuke went to a vegetarian banquet
given them by a believer. During the meal, the master asked
Fuke: " 'A hair swallows the vast ocean, a mustard seed contains
Mt. Sumeru' — does this happen by means of supernatural
powers, or is the whole body (substance, essence) like this?"
Fuke kicked over the table.
The master said: "Rough fellow."
Fuke retorted: "What place is this here to speak of rough and
The next day, they went again to a vegetarian banquet. During
that meal, the master asked: "Today's fare, how does it compare
Fuke (as before) kicked over the table.
The master said: "Understand it you do — but still, you are a
Fuke replied: "Blind fellow, does one preach of any roughness or
finesse in the Buddha-Dharma?"
The master stuck out his tongue.
One day the master and the two old teachers Kayo and
Mokuto were sitting in the hearth pit of the meditation hall. The
master remarked: "Every day Fuke plays the fool in the street
markets. Does anyone know whether he is a vulgar fellow or a
Before he had finished speaking, Fuke came in. The master asked
him: "Are you a vulgar fellow or a sage?"
Fuke replied: "Say it yourself whether I am a vulgar fellow or a
sage." The master gave a Katsu.
Fuke, indicating each with his pointing finger, said: "Kajo's style
of the newlywed bride, Mokuto's grandmotherly Zen, Rinzai's
little servant — all three have the single eye."
The master remarked: "This robber."
Fuke left, shouting "robber, robber."
One day Fuke was eating raw cabbage before the meditation
hall. The master saw him and said: "You have quite the air of an
ass." Fuke began to bray.
The master said: "This robber."
Fuke went away, shouting "robber, robber."
Fuke always used to roam about in the street markets, ringing
a bell and shouting: "When it comes in brightness, I hit the
brightness. When it approaches in darkness, I hit the darkness.
When it comes from the four quarters and eight directions (of
space), I hit like a whirlwind, and if it comes out of the empty
sky, I thrash like a flail."
The master made one of his attendants go there, instructing him
to grab Fuke while speaking and ask him "If it does not come in
any of these ways, what then?"
Fuke freed himself from the grasp of the attendant and said:
"Tomorrow is a vegetarian banquet in the monastery of Great
The attendant returned and told the master, who remarked: "I
was always intrigued with this fellow."
One day at the street market Fuke was begging all and sundry
to give him a robe. Everybody offered him one, but he did not
want any of them.
The master made the superior buy a coffin, and when Fuke
returned, said to him: "There, I had this robe made for you."
Fuke shouldered the coffin, and went back to the street market,
calling loudly: "Rinzai had this robe made for me! I am off to the
East Gate to enter transformation" (to die)." The people of the
market crowded after him, eager to look.
Fuke said: "No, not today. Tomorrow, I shall go to the South
Gate to enter transformation." And so it went for three days,
until nobody believed it any longer.
On the fourth day, and now without any spectators, Fuke went
alone outside the city walls, and laid himself into the coffin. He
asked a traveler who chanced by to nail down the lid. The news
spread at once, and the people of the market rushed there.
On opening the coffin, they found that the body had vanished,
but from high up in the sky they heard the ring of his hand bell.
The master left Issan. Gyosan went with him to see him off,
and said: "If later on you go north, there will be a place for you."
The master said: "How should that happen?"
Gyosan said: "Just go there. Later there will be someone to help
you, elder brother. That someone will have a head but no tail, a
beginning but no end."
When the master later went to the prefecture of Chin, Fuke was
already there and helped the master when he started teaching.
But soon after the master had settled in there, Fuke cast off his
body and vanished.
No cometary from me on these, I just like the stories and felt compelled to share them today.
With great gratitude to Irmgard Schloegl