Ch'an Master Yin-feng decided to take his leave of Ch'an Master Ma-tsu Tao-i. The latter asked, "Where are you going?"
Yin-feng answered, "I am going to study under the guidance of Master Shih-tou Hsi-chien of Nan-yueh."
Ma-tsu remarked, "The stone path is slippery."
Then Yin-feng said, "The bamboo pole and wooden stick are with me, and I will play them by ear."
Ma-tsu gave Yin-feng permission to leave, and Yin-feng went from Kiangsi to Hunan to pay his respects to Master Shih-tou.
Yin-feng walked around the Ch'an platform once, shook his monk's staff, and asked, "What is your teaching?"
Master Shih-tou ignored him. After a long time, Shih-tou said, "Good heavens! Good heavens!"
Yin-feng could not understand his meaning and had nothing to say in reply.
Having no other alternatives, Yin-feng returned to Master Ma-tsu and told him what had happened at his meeting with Master Shih-tou.
Master Ma-tsu told him, "Go back, and when Master Shih-tou says, 'Good heavens! Good heavens!' you should reply, 'Hiss, hiss.'"
Yin-feng went to Nan-yueh once more and again asked, "What is your teaching?"
Without any hesitation, Master Shih-tou exclaimed, "Hiss, hiss!"
Yin-feng was again at a loss for words and returned to report to Master Ma-tsu.
Master Ma-tsu consoled him by saying, "I told you that the stone path is slippery!"
(Source: Hsing Yun's Ch'an Talk, Book 2)