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Someone asked Yunmen, “How about when one makes a hole in the wall in order to steal the neighbor’s light?
Yunmen replied, “There it is!”

Last time we hung out with Yunmen he was exhorting us to forget about the light. Now he seems to be encouraging us to steal it, what’s going on here? What is this wall he is talking about between neighbors? How do I make a hole in that wall?

That we perceive a wall between us and others is the fundamental delusion that causes us difficulty. Perhaps Yunmen is bringing our attention to that fact. If there is no wall, my neighbor’s light is my light because my neighbor is me. If that is true then how can stealing be possible, other than stealing from ourselves, which in fact is what we do.

Yunmen’s reply, “There it is!” Leaves me wondering what the “it” is. Is it the light? Is it the wall? We have to hit the wall of our thinking in koan meditation practice and Yunmen is facilitating that. Reaching the point where thinking just doesn’t help and further that it becomes obvious to us that it less than doesn’t help.

Perhaps Yunmen was pointing to the way we tend to look outside of ourselves for the light. On another occasion one of his students began to quote a famous poem. When Yunmen interrupted the student and asked if he was quoting that famous poem and the student said yes, Yunmen said, “You have misspoken.” Did he say that because the student was quoting someone else’s words? Stealing someone else’s light? However you answer, you have misspoken.

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