The Sword of Wisdom 167

There are three kinds of donations: giving material wealth, giving Dharma, and giving non-action. Ordinary people give material wealth. Intelligent people give Dharma. People with great wisdom and merit give non-action. The person described in these verses is of the third category. Intelligent people must speak in order to give Dharma, but whether a great Ch'an master speaks or not does not matter. He is still giving. Speaking, he gives; not speaking, he gives.

An enlightened person with great merit can give people anything they need. Jesus Christ was extremely poor, yet those who followed him always had food to eat. If you do not have anything or want anything, then when you need something it will be there. If you were to ask a great practitioner how he is able to do these things, he would answer, "I don't know or understand anything in particular. The power is not mine; it is the power of Mahaprajna, or great wisdom." Great wisdom does not belong to the practitioner. He does not have or want anything. If he claimed to have any power, then it would be pride, not wisdom. Wisdom does not belong to him, or me or you. If it were your wisdom, it would be as limited as you are.

A great Ch'an practitioner may seem right, wrong, unfathomable, even crazy. A Dharma teacher once complained to me about a Ch'an master. "The guy's crazy, " he said. "When you talk about existence, he talks about non-existence. When you talk about self, he talks about no-self. If you begin talking about non-existence, then he talks about existence. You can't win. Everytime you say something, he says the opposite. If I were you, I wouldn't pay any attention to him. He's nuts!"

This particular Ch'an master does not necessarily act that way with everyone, nor does he act like that all the time. It depends on the situation. Sometimes he may seem normal. He may say ordinary things. Other times he may appear to be completely irrational. You cannot judge such a person.