A certain disciple of a Daoist master believed himself to have attained a thorough view from Dao and thus set off on his own to wander the world. After many years of wandering and itinerate teaching he returned to his former teacher with the secret hope of besting him in the presentation of his attainment.
Recognizing his former disciple, the old master asked him what he had learned of the essence of the Daoist vision over the years of his wandering.
"All is well!" exclaimed the disciple.
"Rice bag!" shouted the master. "Here you now stand dim of eye and sparse of teeth and hair, and this is all you have learned of Dao!?"
Shattered, the disciple hung his head, streaming tears upon his robe. When at last he had composed himself, he beseechingly asked, "Master, what then is the essence of the Daoist vision?"
"All is well!" exclaimed the master.
At that very moment the disciple vanished into Unity.
This is an adaptation of the 17th koan of the Mumonkan.
What is the difference between "All is well" and "All is well"? They are the same, yet an unbridgeable chasm yawns between them.
And these tears; for what does he shed these tears? For his failure to realize Dao. What did he realize when he truly realized that all is well?
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