A Zen student came to Bankei and said: "Master, I have an ungovernable
temper -- how can I cure it?"
"Show me this temper," said Bankei, "it sounds fascinating."
"I haven't got it right now," said the student, "so I can't show
it to you."
"Well then" said Bankei, "bring it to me when you have it."
"But I can't bring it just when I happen to have it," protested the
student. "It arises unexpectedly, and I would surely lose it
before I got it to you."
"In that case," said Bankei, "it cannot be part of your true nature.
If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were
born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you
-- so it must come into you from the outside. I suggest that
whenever it gets into you, you beat yourself with a stick until
the temper can't stand it, and runs away."
While anger is happening, if you suddenly become conscious it drops.
Try it. Just in the middle, when you are feeling very hot and would
like to commit murder, suddenly become aware, and you will feel
something has changed: a gear inside -- you can feel the click.
Something has changed, now it is no more the same thing. Your inner
being has relaxed. It may take time for your outer layer to relax, but
the inner being has already relaxed. The cooperation is broken; now
you are not identified.
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