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Master Huangbo’s Encounter with a Strange Monk

Master Huangbo met a monk on his journey on Tiantai Mountain. They talked and laughed, as if they had been friends for many years. Master Huangbo observed the monk carefully and found that he had piercing eyes and an unusual appearance. They went ahead together until their way was blocked by an overflowing stream. Master Huangbo put aside his walking stick, took off his bamboo hat and then just stood there, while the monk intended to cross the overflowing stream with him. Master Huangbo said, “If you want to go across, please go ahead by yourself.” The monk lifted up his robe and then walked on the water, as though it were dry land. He looked back at a distance and said to Master Huangbo, “Come on... Come on.”
Master Huangbo scolded, “You egoist! If I had known you were such a strange person, I would have chopped off your legs.” Having heard Master Huangbo’s words, the monk sighed, “You’re truly a Mahayana Dharma vessel.” Then he vanished.
The reason why Master Huangbo scolded the strange monk walking on the water is because life is not only about being sober and clear, but also being ordinary.
The overflowing stream will recede in time, so just stand there and wait for a moment. It is unusual and abnormal to cross an overflowing stream. It is strange and selfish to walk alone on the water as easily as walking on the ground, rather than use a bridge or ferry to get everyone across. Life is not about being abnormal, and an egoist is not a hero. The monk tempted Master Huangbo to cross the stream together in an abnormal and selfish way, acting like a monster. Master Huangbo was not swayed, so he was called a Mahayana Dharma vessel.

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