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When Dogen came back from China to Japan after having studied Buddhism there, people were eager to know what he had learned. After some pestering, Dogen said, “The eyes are horizontal, the nose perpendicular.”

Case 28: Nansen’s “Dharma That Has Never Been Preached”

Nansen went to see Master Hyakujo Nehan.

Hyakujo asked,

“Is there any Dharma that the sages of the past have never preached to the people?”

Nansen said,

“There is.”

Hyakujo asked,

“What is this Dharma that has never been preached to the people?”

Nansen said,

“This is not mind, this is not Buddha, this is not thing.”

Hyakujo said,

“You did preach like that.”

Nansen said,

“That’s how it is with me. How about you, Master?”

Hyakujo said,

“I am not a man of great wisdom. How am I to know whether there is a Dharma that has been preached or that has never been preached?”

Nansen said,

“I don’t understand.”

Hyakujo said,

“I have already preached to you fully.”

CASE 21. UMMON’S DRIED DUNG

A monk asked Ummon,”What is Buddha?” Ummon answered him, “Dried dung.”

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