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The Jade Belt of Su Dongpo

One day, Zen Master Foyin was giving a lecture about Buddha Dharma in Jinshan Temple. The lecture hall was packed out when Su Dongpo finally arrived. Then Zen Master Foyin said: “It’s all packed out. There’s no seat for you.”

Su Dongpo was always enthusiastic about Zen. Immediately, he replied wittily: “Well, since there’s no seat for me, I would have to take your body of the four great elements and the five heaps as my seat.”

Knowing that Su Dongpo was having a discussion of Zen with him, the Zen master answered, “Mr. Su, I have a question for you. If you can answer my question, then you can take my body as your seat. But if you can’t, we will keep your jade belt as a souvenir here in the temple.” Su Dongpo had always been a pompous man. He soon accepted the bet because he had full confidence in his victory. Then Zen Master Foyi asked: “The four great elements and the five heaps do not constitute any ‘essence’. Where are you going to be seated?” Su Dongpo did not know how to respond.

Our material body is constituted by the four great elements, including solidity, fluidity, heat, and motion, none of which is tangible. Therefore, it is impossible to be seated on these intangible elements. As a result, Su Dongpo lost his jade belt to Zen Master Foyin. Up to the present, the belt still remains in Jinshan Temple.

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