Dharma Deluxe

Can you put a price on the dharma? In this parable, one student finds out the hard way.

Richard Shrobe

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A student came to call on Zen Master Hyang Bong and said, “Please, master, teach me the dharma.” Hyang Bong said, “I’m sorry, but my dharma is very expensive.” “Oh, then how much does it cost?” asked the student. “How much can you pay?” was Hyang Bong’s answer. The student put his hand in his pocket and took out some coins and told him, “This is all the money I have.”

Hyang Bong said, “Even if you offered me a pile of gold as big as a mountain, my dharma would still be more expensive.” The student went off and started practicing. After a few months of hard training, he returned to Hyang Bong and said, “Master, I will give you my life. I will do anything for you. I will be your slave. Please teach me your dharma.” Hyang Bong replied, “Even if you offered me a thousand lives, my dharma is still too expensive.”

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