Heart of a Buddha

This is an anecdote from the life of the Chinese poet and statesman of the Song Dynasty, Su Dong Po.

One day Su Dong Po was chatting with his good friend, the monk Fo Yin. At a whim Su Dong Po asked: “What do you see when you look at me?” The monk replied: “A Buddha.”

Then the monk asked Su Dong Po: “What do you see when you look at me?” Su Dong Po, being rather mischievous, gave Fo Yin a wry smile and said: “A pile of shit!”

After talking a bit more, the two parted ways. When Su Dong Po got home, he told his wife about this conversation and was expecting the lady to praise his wittiness. His wife laughed and said: “What a fool you are!”

Su Dong Po was puzzled and urged his wife to explain. She said: “You see Fo Yin as a pile of shit, because your heart is a pile of shit. Fo Yin sees you as a Buddha, because he has the heart of a Buddha.”


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