Story of the Old Calligrapher

Post sayings or stories from Buddhist traditions which you find interesting, inspiring or useful. (Your own stories are welcome on DW, but in the Creative Writing or Personal Experience forums rather than here.)
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Story of the Old Calligrapher

Post by hansen » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:31 pm

A certain Roshi, who is a world-renowned calligrapher, told this, how he had made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Rinzai in China. Upon arriving at the village Lin Chi hails from, the villagers proclaimed "We have a calligrapher here too!"

The Roshi was immediately reminded of the Zen Story "Old Calligrapher. "This is the story:

Once upon a time, an old calligrapher is brought before a monk to give a calligraphy demonstration. From beneath his tattered garments the peasant brought forth an ancient brush, so worn out it only had a few hairs remaining. Encrusted with dried ink, he proceeded to chew on the said 2-3 hairs of the brush with his one remaining incisor.

The monk questioned "How can you write with that brush?"

Old Calligrapher replied: "One tooth full at a time."

as paraphrased by hansen, story by Fukushima Keido Roshi (as I remember it)

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