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A story from the Sayings of Rinzai:

Master Fuke was always walking the streets, ringing his hand bell. One day in the market Fuke was begging everybody he met to give him a robe. Everybody offered him one, but he didn't want any of them. Master Rinzai bought a coffin, and when Fuke returned, said to him: »There, I had this robe made to measure for you.« Fuke shouldered the coffin, and went back to the street market, shouting: »Rinzai has bought me a new robe! I will go now to the East Gate, to enter transformation!« The mob in the market all followed him because they wanted to see what would happen, a great throng of them. Fuke said: »No, I won't change today. Tomorrow, I will go to the South Gate, to enter transformation.« It went on that way for three days, until nobody believed it anymore. On the fourth day, Fuke went alone outside the city walls, and laid down in the coffin. He asked a traveling merchant who happened to pass by to nail down the lid.

Of course when the merchant reached the market he told everybody about the strange thing that had happened to him, and the people in the market rushed there. When they opened the coffin, they found that the body had vanished without a trace. But high up in the sky, they heard his bell ringing.


Master Fuke was the founder of the eponymous and influential Fuke School of Zen, since extinct. In Japan, the school was noted for its characteristic monks, the komusō, who wore a sort of straw baskets over their heads, and played the shakuhachi instead of a bell.

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