An old teacher had only one successor. After this one disciple had completed his study of the master's teaching, the master called him into his room. "I am getting old," he said, "and as far as I know, my son, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I also have added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship."

"If the book is such an important thing," the student replied, "you had better keep it. I received your teaching without writing and am satisfied with it as it is."

"I know that," said the master. "Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here."

The two happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant the young man felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals.

The master, who never had been angry before, yelled: "What are you doing!"

The other shouted back: "What are you saying!"

Zen Flesh, Zen Bones