Fayan took the high seat before the midday meal to preach to his assembly.
Raising his hand he pointed to the bamboo blinds.
Two monks went and rolled them up in the same manner.
Fayan said “One gains; one loses.”

Wumen comments:

Tell me, which one gained? Which one lost?
If you have the eye regarding this, you will see where Fayan failed.
But I must warn you strictly against arguing gain and loss.

Win/lose, right/wrong, gain/loss: It’s all in the same territory.

What is Fayan doing in that territory, saying that one gains and one loses? Doesn’t he know better? Is that how Fayan failed? Assuming he does know better, what is he talking about then? Could he be talking about the way things are constantly coming and going, the transitory nature of existence? The comment raises the question about which one gained and which one lost. What if it’s not talking about the two monks? Who else could it be talking about?

Then there’s that little detail about it happening before the midday meal and I wonder how that has survived over the millennia.

What do you think?

—David Weinstein, April 30th, 2024

David Weinstein Roshi



David Weinstein Roshi, Director of Rockridge Meditation Community


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