Friday, October 8, 2010

A Meeting of Two Masters

Sometime in the early 1970’s, two Buddhist masters met in Cambridge, Massachusetts. One of them, Kalu Rinpoche, was a renowned Tibetan meditation master who had spent many years in solitary retreat in the remote mountain caves of Tibet. The other was Seung Sahn, a Korean Zen master who had recently come to the United States and was supporting himself by working in a Province, Rhode Island, Laundromat, slowly planting the seeds of Zen in the minds of those coming to wash their clothes. At this now famous meeting on enlightened minds, Seung Sahn held up an orange and, in classic Zen dharma combat fashion, demanded, “What is this?”

Kalu Rinpoche just looked at him, wonderingly.

Again Master Seung Sahn asked, “What is this?”

Finally, Rinpoche turned to his translator and asked, “Don’t they have oranges in Korea?”

--Joseph Goldstein, One Dharma, The Emerging Western Buddhism