Do Not Think Good, Do Not Think Not-Good

When he became emancipated the sixth patriarch received from the fifth patriarch the bowl and robe given from the Buddha to his successors, generation after generation.

A monk named E-myo out of envy pursued the patriarch to take this great treasure away from him. The sixth patriarch placed the bowl and robe on a stone in the road and told E-myo: `These objects just symbolize the faith. There is no use fighting over them. If you desire to take them, take them now.'

When E-myo went to move the bowl and robe they were as heavy as mountains. He could not budge them. Trembling for shame he said: `I came wanting the teaching, not the material treasures. Please teach me.'

The sixth patriarch said: `When you do not think good and when you do not think not-good, what is your true self?'

At these words E-myo was illumined. Perspiration broke out all over his body. He cried and bowed, saying: `You have given me the secret words and meanings. Is there yet a deeper part of the teaching?'

The sixth patriarch replied: `What I have told you is no secret at all. When you realize your true self the secret belongs to you.'

E-myo said: `I was under the fifth patriarch for many years but could not realize my true self until now. Through your teaching I find the source. A person drinks water and knows himself whether it is cold or warm. May I call you my teacher?'

The sixth patriarch replied: `We studied together under the fifth patriarch. Call him your teacher, but just treasure what you have attained.'