43. Zen in a Beggar's Life

To-Sui was a well-known Zen teacher of his time. He had lived in several temples and taught in various provinces.

The last temple he visited accumulated so many adherents that To-Sui told them he was going to quit the lecture business entirely. He advised them to disperse and to go wherever they desired. After that, no one could find any trace of him.

Three years later one of his disciples discovered him living with some beggars under a bridge in

Kyoto. He at once implored To-Sui to teach him. "If you can do as I do for even a couple of days, I might," To-Sui replied.

So the former disciple dressed as a beggar and spent a day with To-Sui. The following day one of the beggars died. To-Sui and his pupil carried the body off at midnight and buried it on a mountain-side. After that they returned to their shelter under the bridge.

To-Sui slept soundly the remainder of the night, but the disciple could not sleep. When morning came To-Sui said, "We do not have to beg food to-day. Our dead friend has left some over there." But the disciple was unable to eat a single bite of it.

"I have said you could not do as I," concluded

To-Sui. "Get out of here and do not bother me again."