Ma Tzu was one day teaching a monk. He drew a circle on the ground and said, “If you enter it, I will strike you; if you do not enter it, I will strike you!”
The monk entered it slightly, and Ma Tzu struck him.
The monk said, “The master could not strike me!”
Ma Tzu went off leaning on his staff.
On another occasion, Ho Pang said to Ma Tzu, “Water has no bones, but it easily holds up a ship of a thousand tons; how is this?”
Ma Tzu said, “There’s no water here, and no ship - what am I supposed to explain?”
One day, Impo was pushing a cart, and Ma Tzu had his legs stretched out across the path. Impo said, “Please, master, pull in your legs!”
“What has been stretched out,” said Ma Tzu, “cannot be retracted!”
“What goes forward cannot go backwards!” said Impo and pushed the cart on.
Ma Tzu’s legs were cut and bruised. When they went back, Ma Tzu entered the hall, and said, lifting up an axe, “Come here, the monk who hurt my legs a while ago!” Impo came out and stood before Ma Tzu and bent his neck to receive the strike.
Ma Tzu put down the axe.
Ma Tzu never lost an opportunity to make a point, usually in an enigmatic way. Even during his last illness he made his well-known response to someone who inquired about his health. He said, “Sun-faced buddhas, moon-faced buddhas.”
One day, Ma Tzu climbed Mount Sekimon, the mountain close to his temple at Chiang-si. In the forest he did kinhin, or walking meditation, for a time. Then, seeing a flat place in the valley below, Ma Tzu said to the disciple who had come with him, “Next month, my carcass must be returned to the earth here.” At that, he made his way back to the temple.
On the fourth day of the next month, after bathing, he quietly sat down with crossed legs and passed away.
Ma Tzu had lived at Chiang-si for fifty years and died at the age of eighty.
Maneesha, I have asked you to throw your migraine, and you did it. But you did it too close by, on poor Anando. She is my only link with the world. She is my news media, my television, my radio, my newspapers. I don’t read anything, I don’t hear anything, I don’t see anything on the television. And because we were talking about the empty heart, your throwing was perfectly good – but it reached into the wrong place, in poor Anando. It had to reach her head, but it has reached into her heart.
Her empty heart has received your migraine. Now, there is no such sickness in the whole world, and Doctor Indivar will be in immense difficulty to pull out the migraine from the heart. It is perfectly okay to have the mirror in the empty heart, but it is not right to have a migraine. There exists no medicine for it; Doctor Indivar will have to invent something-and I need her back urgently, because every morning, every evening she is my only contact with the world.