Have We Really Achieved Tolerance and Magnanimity?

In the Song Dynasty, Su Shi worked as a local official in the Guazhou area on the north side of the river, opposite Jinshan Temple, which was on the other side of the river. Su Shi often had discussions with the Jinshan Temple's abbot, Master Foyin, about Zen and the Tao.

One day, Su Shi felt that he had made a big improvement in his cultivation of Zen, and immediately took up his pen to write a poem about it. He then dispatched his assistant to hire a boat to cross the river and take his poem to Master Foyin. The poem read, "Salute to the sky in the sky and the bright light that shines on the world; the eight winds cannot move me and I solemnly sit in the purple and golden lotus flower" ("Eight winds" refers to the eight kinds of circumstances, such as interests, fads, defamation, fame, praise, ridicule, hardship and happiness.)

After Master Foyin read the poem, he took up his brush pen, wrote a word on the back of the poem, and asked Mr. Su's assistant to take it back.

Mr. Su thought that Master Foyin would speak highly of his realm and understanding of Zen and cultivation, so he quickly opened up the paper and only to see one word, "Flatulence!"

Su Shi was so upset that his face was blue and he immediately hired a boat to cross to the other side of the river to argue with Master Foyin. When he got to the opposite bank, he saw that the door of Master Foyin's temple was tightly closed. He guessed that Master Foyin must have been scared away. When he walked up to the closed temple door, he saw a small note. He went closer to read the note that said, "Didn't you say you aren't moved by the eight winds? Why did you jump across the river with flatulence in the wind!?"

Su Shi was so ashamed that he immediately turned around, got in the boat with his face covered, and quietly returned home.

Don't we also often behave like this? Whatever we do, we want to hear other people's praise and we are often pleased with ourselves without realizing it! When other people point it out to us, we feel very upset and refute them instinctively!

We all want to say that we are tolerant and magnanimous. When we look back, have we really achieved that?

Other People's Problems Come from Our Hearts

Su Shi in the Song Dynasty and the abbot of Jinshan Temple, Master Foyin, often discussed Zen and the Dao together. One day, they sat in meditation, facing each other. After Su Shi finished his meditation, he saw Master Foyin sitting so straight with a cassock on and could not help laughing.

Master Foyin asked why he laughed. Su Shi said, "Look at you. You sit there, looking like a pile of cow dung" and then laughed. Master Foyin also laughed.

Su Shi also asked, "What do you think I look like?"

Foyin immediately said, "You sit there very straight with compassion on your face, looking like a Buddha!"

Su Shi felt extremely happy and when he got back home, he excitedly told his sister, Su Xiaomei, about this.

Xiaomei looked at her complacent brother and said, "He thinks you look like Buddha because he has Buddha in his mind and thus he sees everyone as a Buddha. You think he looks like cow dung because you only have cow dung in your mind!"

When I think about accusations among our practitioners, isn't this a similar situation? We find people around us who have problems and everyone is unpleasant, so we keep complaining every day! Isn't that similar to what Su Shi saw in Master Foyin?

When we have conflicts with others, are they caused by the cow dung in our hearts? If we have pure and compassionate hearts, will we still think others look like cow dung? It turns out that on many occasions, other people's problems come from our hearts.