"You Have It Now, You
Have It Now"
a story about Hakuin
D. T. Suzuki
story about Hakuin is told by D. T. Suzuki in Essays in Zen
Buddhism, first series (New York: Grove Press, 1961). Hakuin
was one of the most influential figures in Japanese (Rinzai) Zen
Buddhism. D. T. Suzuki was one of the most significant figures
in introducing Buddhism and Zen to the West.
D. T. Suzuki
One day Hakuin (1685-1768)
went to his Master, Shoju, to demonstrate his understanding of
Zen. Engaged by Shoju in fierce dialogue, Hakuin recoiled more
and more and the Master grew seemingly angrier by the minute.
In the end, Shoju threw him over the porch of the house. Hakuin
fell several feet, hitting his head against a stone wall. Shoju
stood over his disciple, laughing mightily, which brought Hakuin
around again. But even then, the old Master berated him, calling
In his desperation, Hakuin seriously
contemplated leaving his Master — a predictable reaction of the
ego resistive to surrender. Then the unexpected happened. During
his begging-round, a woman refused to give him any rice. Absorbed
in thought, he continued standing in front of her house, which
she mistook as a sign of juvenile impudence. She swung a heavy
broom at him, knocking him down on the ground.
When he regained consciousness, he found
that his inner eye had been opened. Overjoyed, he returned to
the monastery. Master Shoju instantly recognized the transformation
in his devotee. He gently slapped his back and said, “You have
it now, you have it now.”