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Waste of Talent

Master Shenzan was extremely smart and he used to study Chanin Dazhong Temple of Benzhou City (now known as the city of Fuzhou, in Fujian Province). With no progress in finding the right way, he went on a journey in pursuit of grand masters and enlightenment. After spending years studying Buddhism from Master Baizhang, he went back to Dazhong Temple, where he cultivated Chan every day and reached a much higher state of mind.
One day, he came across an elder monk studying Buddhist sutras by the window, while a honeybee hummed persistently against the old window paper, striving to get to the light outside.
Upon seeing this, Shenzan blurted out, “Such a wide world lies out there, but you turned to the old paper instead. Heaven knows when you can reach a bright future!”
Amazed by his words, the old monk put down the sutra and asked, “Did you meet some grand masters during your journey? I find your speech and manners have changed a lot since you came back. What happened?”
Shenzan told him about his experience with Master Baizhang and then concluded, “I would never have achieved enlightenment without his advice.”
The old monk then gathered all of the monks in the temple and respectfully asked Shenzan to explain the Dharma for them. Offered such a rare opportunity, Shenzan went to sit on the Buddhist throne with a hossu in his hand. Staring into the distance, he recited the Buddhist Verse Bee Humming against the Window:

With the front door open wide,
Turning to the window would be so unwise.
With only book piles in mind,
Where to find the enlightenment of thy?

This verse reveals the flexible wisdom and wit of Chan. People who spend years studying piles of outdated books without stepping outside his chamber will only end up wasting their own talent.

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