Once, in a discussion session on the Shurangama Sutra at the Chung Tai Buddhist Institute, a monk brought up a famous Chinese koan.
A monk asked Chan Master Zhaozhou, “What is the essence of the Dharma?” The Chan Master replied, “The cypress tree in front of the courtyard.”
The disciple asked, “But Shifu, I don’t understand, why is the essence of the Dharma the cypress tree in front of the courtyard?” All the disciples held their breaths in anticipation.
The Master firmly responded, “It indeed is the cypress tree in front of the courtyard.”
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