On this particular day, he, by some accident, extended his walk beyond the suburbs, and desirous to contemplate the nature of the rustic scenery
, he, with listless step, came up to a spot encircled by hills and streaming pools, by luxuriant clumps of trees and thick groves of bamboos. Nestling in the dense foliage stood a temple. The doors and courts were in ruins. The walls, inner and outer, in disrepair. An inscription on a tablet testified that this was the temple of Spiritual Perception. On the sides of the door was also a pair of old and dilapidated scrolls with the following enigmatical verses.
Behind ample there is, yet to retract the hand, the mind heeds not, until.
Before the mortal vision lies no path, when comes to turn the will.
“These two sentences,” Yü-ts’un pondered after perusal, “although simple in language, are profound in signification. I have
previous to this visited many a spacious temple, located on hills of note, but never have I beheld an inscription referring to
anything of the kind. The meaning contained in these words must, I feel certain, owe their origin to the experiences of some
person or other; but there’s no saying. But why should I not go in and inquire for myself?”
Upon walking in, he at a glance caught sight of no one else, but of a very aged bonze, of unkempt appearance, cooking his rice.
When Yü-ts’un perceived that he paid no notice, he went up to him and asked him one or two questions, but as the old priest
was dull of hearing and a dotard, and as he had lost his teeth, and his tongue was blunt, he made most irrelevant replies.
Yü-ts’un lost all patience with him, and withdrew again from the compound with the intention of going as far as the village public
house to have a drink or two, so as to enhance the enjoyment of the rustic scenery. With easy stride, he accordingly walked up to
the place. Scarcely had he passed the threshold of the
public house, when he perceived some one or other
among the visitors who had been sitting sipping their wine on the divan,
jump up and come up to greet him,
with a face beaming with laughter.