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Rabbi Yashua and Dongshan

Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi came upon Elijah the prophet while he was standing at the entrance of Rabbi Simeron ben Yohai’s cave…

He asked Elijah, “When will the Messiah come?”

Elijah replied, “Go and ask him yourself.” 

“Where is he?” 

“Sitting at the gates of the city.”

“How shall I know him?”

“He is sitting among the poor covered with wounds. The others unbind all of their wounds at the same time and then bind them up again. But he unbinds them one at a time and binds it up again, saying to himself, ‘Perhaps I shall be needed: if so I must always be ready so as not to delay for a moment’”

Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi went to the Messiah and said to him: “Peace unto you, my master and teacher.”

The Messiah answered, “Peace unto you, son of Levi.”

He asked, “When is the master coming?”

“Today,” he answered.

Rabbi Yoshua returned to Elijah, who asked, “What did he tell you?”

“He indeed has deceived me, for he said ‘Today I am coming’ and he has not come.”

Elijah said, “This is what he told you: ‘Today if you would listen to his voice.’”

[Images of Pastoral Care, “The Wounded Healer,” Henri Nouwen, edited by Robert Dykstra p. 76]


Master Dongshan once taught the assembly, “Concerning realization-through-the-body of going beyond buddha, I would like to talk a little.”

A monk asked, “What is this talk?”

The master said, “When I talk you don’t hear it.”

The monk asked, “Do you hear it, sir?”

The master said, “Wait till I don’t talk, then you hear it.”

[Moon in a Dewdrop, p 203 Weitsman and Tanahashi]