Ch'an Master Hsueh-tou of the Sung dynastry met a Confucian scholar by the name of Tseng-hui.
Tseng-hui asked, "Master, where are you going?"
Tsueh-tou answered very politely, "I am not sure. Maybe I'll go here, or perhaps go there!"
Tseng-hui suggested, "Ch'an Master Shan of Ling-yin Temple is a good friend of mine. I will write a letter of recommendation for you. I'm sure he will look after you."
When he arrived at Ling-yin Temple, Master Hsueh-tou neither showed his letter of recommendation nor asked to see the abbot. He simply joined the other monks.
Three years later, Tseng-hui went to Ling-yin Temple to visit Master Hsueh-tou, but no one in the temple knew who Hsueh-tou was. Tseng-hui could not believe it, so he went to the monks' quarter to see for himself. It took him a long time before he recognized Hsueh-tou, who was amongst the one thousand monks staying at Ling-yin Temple. He asked Hsueh-tou, "Why are you hiding here? Why didn't you go to see the abbot? Did you lose the recommendation letter that I gave you?"
Hsueh-tou replied, "How dare I? I am only a cloud and water (roving) monk. I am seeking nothing, so I don't have any desire to be your messenger."
He took out the sealed letter and returned it to Tseng-hui, and they both laughed heartily. Tseng-hui introduced Hsueh-tou to Abbot Shan, who greatly treasured Hsueh-tou's talent. Later, when another temple needed an abbot, Master Shan recommended Hsueh-tou for the position.