When Yang-shan Hui-chi (807-883), as a young monk, paid a visit to the Ch'an master Hsing-k'ung, there was a monk who asked Hsing-k'ung:
-What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West?
MY COFFIN SIMPLY IS
Once upon a time, in a certain town there was a coffin maker who opened and was running a store where he sold the coffins he made himself to the customers in the neighborhood. The popuplation in the town increased day-by-day.
The more crowded the population, the harder the making living. The harder the making living, the more serious and intensive the struggles and fights for foods, clothes, and medicine. The number of the dead also increased fast.
The more the people were dead the more coffins were made and sold, and of course, the more works to do and the coffin maker got to hire other people to help him in selling and delivering coffins to customers.
Among the number of employees, there were two young men who were muscle and strong handled the devliver coffins to the families of the dead and they wanted to make some more extra money, therefore, they helped the relatives of the dead to put the corpses into the coffins which they sold to them.
Their jobs became more complicated. They both wanted to make it easy for themselves but each of them followed two different ways.
One realized that the sizes of the dead varied and requested his boss - the coffin maker - make coffins in different sizes from which he could select the one which fited best the corpse in each case. Therefore, his relationship to the customers was good.
Unlike this salesman, the other one requested the coffin maker make one-size coffins for him. He did not care the sizes of the dead varied at all.
When the coffin maker heard the request of the man, he was very surprised and asked the man: -How could you make the long and the short fit into the one-size coffins? -It's very simple, sir. If I got some dead body whose legs are longer than my coffin length, I would cut them short to fit it. When I got a dead body whose legs are shorter than it, I would use my hands, one holds and one pulls, making them longer to fit the coffin and my clients should be satisfied. Do you understand what I mean, sir? - I am sorry I do not know what you mean, my young man. Can you explain it to me? - Oh! It's very simple, sir! My coffin simply is, but the dead bodies are complicated. I am trying to make it simple. Do you understand, sir? - I am sorry again, I still don't get it.
Although the owner said that to the man but he made one-size coffins for him and the salesman kept selling and delivering the one-size coffins to his customers for a while until no one bought his one-size coffins anymore with the reason: His coffin simply is!
Told by Ouranus
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