In the seventh month of the same year, I registered at Tiantong [Monastery]. While I was there, that cook came to meet me and said, „At the end of the summer retreat I retired as cook and am now returning to my home village. I happened to hear a disciple say that you were here; how could I not come to meet you?“
I jumped for joy and was very grateful. In the ensuing conversation that I had with him I brought up the karmic conditions of written words and pursuit of the way that we had discussed previously on the ship. The cook said, „The study of written words is to understand the purpose of written words. Exertion in pursuit of the way requires an affirmation of the purpose of pursuing the way.“ I asked him, „What are written words?“ The cook answered, „One, two, three, four, five.“ I also asked, „What is pursuit of the way?“ He said, „In the whole world, it can never be hidden.“
Although there was a great variety of other things that we discussed, I will not record them at this point. The little I know about written words and understand about pursuing the way is due to the great kindness of that cook. I told my late teacher Myôzen about the things that I have just related here, and he was very happy to hear of them.
Later I saw a verse that Xuedou wrote to instruct the monks:
One letter, seven letters, three letters, or five;
Investigating myriads of images, one reaches no basis.
In the depth of night, the moon sets into the dark sea;
Seeking the black dragon’s pearl, one finds there are many.
What that cook said some years before and what Xuedou expresses in this verse clearly coincide. More and more I understand that the cook was a true man of the way. But in the past what I saw of written words was one, two, three, four, five. Today what I see of written words is also six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
You disciples who come after me, thoroughly contemplate there in accordance with here and thoroughly contemplate here in accordance with there. If you make this kind of effort, you will be able to obtain in written words the Zen of a single flavor. If you are not like this, you will be subjected willy-nilly to the poison of the Zen of five flavors, and when it comes to arranging the monks‘ meals, you will not be able to do it skillfully.
I have heard of former cooks and witnessed present ones, with my eyes and with my ears. Concerning this position, there are written words and there are principles of behavior; truly, it can be called a central one! Even if one has the title of head of meals, one’s mental attitude should still be the same as this.