It was at some sort of informal tea that followed on the heels of something formal that had been held at the zendo I then attended. Just talking with him one-on-one was pretty woo-hoo, somehow. I was telling him about how several of us had gone to a New York park to gather ginkgo nuts, which we understood he liked, prior to his visit to the city. We took off the lousy-smelling, orange/brown exterior, baked the nuts within and put them in bowls for the tea. I told him this tale as we stood next to a table on which a bowl of ginkgo nuts rested.
As soon as I finished the small tale, Soen's hand dove into the bowl of nuts, grabbed a fistful, and extended them to me:
As you gave them to me, so I give them to you. Do you understand?He said that.
At the time, I was flummoxed, but then, it was a time when I thought all Zen students had a responsibility to be flummoxed ... all the time. This was the enlightenment game, after all, and no matter for easy-going exchanges or laughter or ... well, you know ... not easy at all. I don't recall what I said in return. Probably bumbled and fumbled until I could get back to serious, flummoxed stuff.
But today, like a puffy cartoon cloud that brings a nice smile with it:
As you gave them to me, so I give them to you.OK. Does it matter who said it?