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Buddhadharma : Winter 2007
buddhadharma| 27 |winter 2007 The purpose of Master Linji’s work is to help us cease all our seeking and come back to ourselves in the present moment. That’s where we can find everything we’re looking for, whether it’s Buddha, perfect understanding, peace, or liberation. The Record of Master Linji is divided into two parts: Zen battles and evening talks. The teach- ings that Master Linji gave in the morning, the Zen battles, were given in the form of questions and answers, which often read like riddles. In the afternoon or evening, he would give explanation teachings, sharing the dharma and telling stories. These talks give principal ideas that can guide your practice and also help you better understand the Zen battles. The Zen battles are skits. One role is the teacher, the “host.” The other role is the student, the “guest.” The host is the one who knows what’s going on and the guest is the one who comes to learn. Sometimes they switch roles: the guest plays the role of the host, and the host plays the role of the guest. Sometimes both play the guest or the host. In the time of Master Linji, a Zen student would step up and face the Zen master in order to ask a question and to find out from the master if his understanding was ripe yet. This required a certain bravery on the part of the student. Sometimes there would be victory, sometimes defeat. Sometimes the battles would lead to destruction. Sometimes both guest and host would be victorious. A Needle Woman, New York, 1999 – 2000 kiMsooja