Once, when I was studying in the Seon temple, a man came to have a discussion with my master. My master asked him why he had come. The man replied that he was interested in Zen, because it taught nondualism, unlike Western religion, which was built on dualism. My master responded with the following koan.
A student asked Ch'an Master Yunmen,
A few years later, I was traveling to a Jeet Kune Do retreat in the mountains of California. A van picked us up from the local airport and began a long trek through the countryside to the site of the retreat. None of us in the van had ever met each other, so discussion quickly turned to our mutual training experiences and histories. Some of us had trained under my Sifu for a while, for others, it was the first time. One gentleman had never trained with us before, but was quick to tell us all of his varied martial experience and his history training this military unit or that military unit, and his thoughts on the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, what Bruce Lee got right, and what he understood about the martial arts that he felt Bruce Lee hadn't understood, his opinion on the failings of Brazilian Jiujitsu, his thoughts on Musashi, mushin, and the Book of Five Rings. The rest of us merely sat quiet in his presence as we trekked through the California mountains. By the last day of the training retreat, the gentleman was no longer learning, but sitting on the sidelines, observing. He did not return the following year for further training.
Karma, destiny, dualism, nondualism, what Sijo meant when he said this, what Bodhidharma meant when he said that...all of these things have been discussed, debated, over campfires, over dinner, over Internet forums. Countless words have filled magazine articles and books about concepts like mushin, No Mind. There are books on Brazilian Jiujitsu. There are books on Zen. Constant arguments are waged across the Internet between people claiming to have the true Jeet Kune Do, to paint others as being less knowledgable about what Bruce Lee meant, to claim that knowledge for themselves.
Why did Master Yunmen respond; "Mount Sumeru!"?
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