A Debate for a Lodging
At a Zen temple.
A visitor can stay for the night provided he could win a philosophical debate with any one of the residents.
Two brothers lived at the temple as monks. The elder monk was intelligent. The younger one was stupid and had only one eye.
One evening, a wandering monk came to ask for a night’s lodging. He was prepared to debate.
The elder monk was very tired. He instructed his younger brother,
“Conduct the debate in silence.”
When the debate was over, the visitor went to the elder monk.
“Your brother is remarkable. I’ve lost.”
The elder brother asked for the details.
“Well, I held up one finger meaning the Buddha.
He held up two fingers signifying the Buddha and his teachings.
I held up three fingers to include the practitioners of Buddhism.
He then clenched his fist and shook it right in my face.
That meant all three come from one realization.
Upon acknowledging his defeat, the visitor left.
In came the younger brother, apparently in quite an agitated state.
“Where is he?”
“I heard that you won the debate.”
“I won nothing. But I do want to beat him up.
The moment he saw me, he put up a finger at me, insulting me that I only have one eye.
I was polite and patient. I put up two fingers congratulating him that he has two.
Then that rude man proceeded to further insult me by putting up three fingers. Again telling me that between us we still only have three eyes.
I was at my wit’s end. I showed him my fist to see if he wanted a fight.
That’s when he took off."
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