After I read my first book on Zen, I phoned the temple to inquire about meditation schedules. To my surprise the Roshi himself answered the phone. Instead of telling
me the times meditation was available he asked me,
“Why do you want to come? Are you sick?”
“No, I’m not sick”
“Then, you shouldn’t come. I have a very contagious desease.”
” What’s its name?”
“I don’t know, maybe it has no name.”
” How is it caught?
“If you look at me you’re in mortal danger, if you touch me you’ll die.”
I laughed. “When can I come?”
When I saw him in person, I reminded him of the conversation.
He laughed.” Yes, it’s a matter of time now. Nothing can save you.”
“How long do you think I’ll last?” I joked.
He shook his head. “A long time. You’re a thinker,
they take a long time to die. Very painful.
He shook his head again, “Not good!”