51. Sour Miso

The cook monk, Dai-Ryo, at Ban-Kei's monas tery decided that he would take good care of his old teacher's health and give him only fresh miso, a paste of soy beans mixed with wheat and yeast that often ferments. Ban-Kei noticing that he was being served better miso than his pupils asked, "Who is the cook to-day?"

Dai-Ryo was sent before him. Ban-Kei learned that according to his age and position he should eat only fresh miso. So he said to the cook, "Then you think I shouldn't eat at all." With this he entered his room and locked the door.

Dai-Ryo, sitting outside the door, asked his teacher's pardon. Ban-Kei would not answer. For seven days Dai-Ryo sat outside, and Ban-Kei within.

Finally in desperation an adherent called loudly to Ban-Kei, "You may be all right, old teacher, but this young disciple here has to eat. He cannot go without food for ever!"

At that Ban-Kei opened the door. He was smiling. He told Dai-Ryo, "I insist on eating the same food as the least of my followers. you become the teacher, I do not want you to forget this."