Entering the Fray
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Entering the Fray book
One day Guishan, after sitting the whole day, gathered his feet in his hands, pointed to his straw sandals, and said to Yangshan, “All hours of the day we receive people’s support. We should not betray them.”i
Yangshan said, “Long ago, in Sudatta’s garden, the Buddha expounded just this.”ii Guishan said, “That’s not enough. Say more.”iii Yangshan said, “When it is cold, to wear socks for others is not prohibited.”iv
All masters throughout time have always looked to guiding and aiding all living beings. They would set up their shops according to their capacities and in response to the imperatives of time, place, position, and degree. Appearing and disappearing in harmony with the occasion, they created countless kinds of expedient means to alleviate suffering. Guishan wanted everyone to know, so he stirred things up by saying, “All hours of the day we receive people’s support. We should not betray them.” Yangshan was an adept, and could not help but respond. Guishan’s intention, however, was unfathomable; he wanted more. Without hesitation, Yangshan again rose to meet the old man’s challenge. But say, what was Yangshan’s meaning?