46. How Grass and Trees Become Enlightened

During the Kamakura period, Shin-Kwan studied Tendai six years, then studied Zen seven years, then he went to China, and contemplated Zen for thirteen years more.

When he returned to Japan, many desired to interview him, and asked obscure questions. But when Shin-Kwan received visitors, which was infrequently, he seldom answered their questions.

One day a fifty-year-old student of Enlightenment said to Shin-Kwan, "I have studied the Tendai school of thought since I was a little boy, but one thing in it I cannot understand. Tendai claims that even the grass and trees will become enlightened. To me this seems very strange."

Of what use is it to discuss how grass and trees become enlightened?" asked Shin-Kwan. The question is how you yourself can become so. Did you ever consider that ?" "I never thought of it in that way," marvelled the old man.

"Then go home and think it over," finished Shin-Kwan,