The Master replied, "To attain sudden enlightenment is very difficult. If a student of Ch'an is a man of great capacity and profoundly intuitive, he may grasp a thousand things in a moment and thus become totally enlightened. However, a man of such capacity is hard to find. Therefore the ancient sages said that those of lesser talents should content themselves with their meditations and be pure in thought, for if they aimed at sudden enlightenment they would be entirely lost."
The monk went on: "Besides these, is there any other way that you can help me to be enlightened?"
The Master remarked, "Asking whether or not there is another way to achieve enlightenment creates a disturbance in your mind. May I ask where you come from?" The monk said, "Yu-chou."
The Master asked, "Do you still think of that place?''
The monk answered, "Yes, I often do."
The Master asked, "In that place the people and horses are very numerous in the buildings and in the parks. When you recollect them, do you still recall how many were there?"
The monk replied, "When I try to recollect this, I see nothing at all."
The Master said, "What you understand is still limited by objective conditions. If you want to achieve a level of concentration upon the void only, this is the answer. But if you want absolute freedom, this is not a correct answer. Your understanding of experience is still in the initial stage of Ch'an. Later on you may earn a seat in the monastery and wear a robe. Watch for what will come to you then."
Master Yang-shan came into the assembly and told the audience: "Every one of you should turn his own light inward and look at the Self within. Do not try to remember my words. Ever since the beginningless past you have walked away from your own light and entered into darkness. It is evident that false thinking is deeply rooted in you, and it is very hard to dig out. Many means have been contrived to rid you of your coarse imagination, but they are all like distracting a child with a yellow leaf to stop his crying. What is the use of that? But my teaching is like a shop which offers all sorts of merchandise besides mere gold and jade. The merchandise is sold according to demand. I should like to say that Shih-t' ou has a shop dealing only in pure gold. In my shop I handle all kinds of wares. When a man comes to me for rat excrement, he will get it; when he wants genuine gold, I shall hand that to him."
When the Master ceased speaking a monk stepped forward and said, "As for rat excrement, I do not want it. Please, Master let me have the pure gold."
The Master said, "One who bites the point of an arrow and then tries to open his mouth will never understand.'' The monk made no reply.
The Master went on, "When a man cries out 'Things for sale!' he will do business; but when he does not call out his wares he will have no dealings. If I reveal Ch'an only in its genuine form, no one will be able to go along with me, not to speak of a group of five or seven hundred. But if I talk of Ch'an in this way and that, people will strive for it and collect whatever words I have left. This is just like fooling a child with an empty hand, for there is nothing real in it at all. Although I tell you where enlightenment abides, do not try to locate it with your conscious mind but sincerely cultivate the depth of your original nature. The insight into past, present, and future mortal conditions and their related miracles is not necessary at all because these are only the fringes of reality. What you need now is to be aware of mind and to reach to the source of things. Do not bother about anything else. Just strike toward the Source. In later days you will realize the truth of this yourself. If you have not yet reached the Source, even though you force yourself to learn it, you will never achieve it. Have you not heard what Master Kueishan said? 'When both worldliness and holiness are completely eliminated, Absolute Reality is revealed. Thus the One and the Many are identified. This is the Suchness of Buddha.'"
A monk asked, "What is the distinguishing mark of a patriarch?" The Master used his hand to draw a circle in the air and then wrote the character fu [Buddha] in it. The monk made no comment.
Yang-shan asked, "Where is the abiding place of the real Buddha?" Kuei-shan replied: "Imagine the wonder of no-thought and trace it back to the infinity of the light of the spirit. While thoughts are exhausted and return to their source, nature and appearance are ever abiding. Reality and events are no longer differentiated. Therein is the real Buddha of Suchness." Hearing this Yang-shan was suddenly enlightened, and thereafter he served Master Kuei-shan.