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Story of Hospitality


Zen Master Zhongxing was a servant of Zen Master Daowu. One day when he served tea to Zen Master Daowu, Zen Master Daowu pointed to the teacup and asked, “Evil or good?”

He approached Zen Master Daowu, facing him, but said nothing.

“The evil is always evil, and the good always good.” Zen Master Daowu said again.

”I don’t think so.” Zen Master Zhongxing shook his head.

“Then what is your opinion?” asked Zen Master Daowu.

Zen Master Zhongxing grabbed the cup from Zen Master Daowu’s hand, and asked back loudly: “Evil or good?”

“You deserve to be my servant.” Zen Master Daowu clapped and laughed.

Zen Master Zhongxing then saluted Zen Master Daowu as an act of worship.

There is profound truth in Zen Master Daowu’s disclosure of good and evil. Good things said by evil people are still evil; evil things said by good people will turn good. Some people talk about principles every day, only to undermine others’ confidence; however, those who are fond of fighting and scolding are able to convince people of principles. Eminent doctors make arsenic and other poisons good medicine. Therefore, the evil is always evil, and the good always good.

Zen Master Zhongxing believed that everything begins and ends with conditions and causes. If one realizes that, he will not be stubborn, and when he acts accordingly, everything will be good. If one blindly clings to what he has, then everything is evil. Zen Master Zhongxing asked Zen Master Daowu the question based on this belief, and Zen Master Daowu praised and encouraged him delightfully, from which tacit understanding can be seen between them.


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