Ch'an Master Tan-hsia went to visit Ch'an Master Hui-chung. When Tan-hsia arrived, Hui-chung was resting. Tan-hsia asked Tan-yuan, Hui-chung's disciple, "Is the Ch'an Master at home?"

Tan-yuan had just started to practice Ch'an and wanted to show off. Hence, he replied, "He is here, but he is not receiving any visitors."

Tan-hsia said, "Why not?"

Tan-yuan got carried away and remarked, "Even if you had the eyes of the Buddha, you could not see him."

Tan-hsia sighed and said, "A dragon gives birth to a dragon, and a phoenix gives birth to a phoenix."


When Hui-chung woke up, Tan-yuan reported to the Master about Tan-hsia's visit nd their conversation. After hearing the story, he gave his disciple twenty lashes and ousted him from the temple.

When tan-hsia heard what Hui-chung did, he was greatly impressed and said , "Hui-chung is a true Ch'an master."


Ch'an is not something which we should boast. Tan-yuan received twenty lashes for flaunting, while Tan-hsia praised Hui-chung for ousting Tan-yuan from the temple. This demonstrates that a true Ch'an adept makes no discriminations which is indeed the true art of Ch'an.


(Source: Hsing Yun's Ch'an Talk, Book 2)