Panshan's "Cut a Fine Piece"

Main Case

"Once Zen master Baoji of Panshan (Ningji) went to the marketplace and overheard a customer speaking to the butcher. The customer said to the butcher, 'Cut a fine piece for me.'

"The butcher threw down his knife, folded his hands and said, 'Sir, is there any piece that is not fine?'

"Upon hearing these words, Panshan had an awakening."


"Panshan unexpectedly stumbles upon something extraordinary. Although the butcher does not look like a lion, he nevertheless roars like one. But tell me, what awakened Panshan? Haven't you heard the Diamond Sutra's saying, 'All things are equal: not some things high and other things low?' This being the case, why then are the Rocky Mountains high and the Catskill Mountains low?

"You should understand that no thing ever falls short of its own completeness. Wherever it stands, it never fails to cover the ground. Since the totality of existence is contained in each and every thing, what is the origin of scale that you use to evaluate it? See into it here and you'll have seen into Panshan's awakening."

Capping Verse

"If you speak of gain and loss,
you are a person of gain and loss.
Don’t you see? The tall one is a tall buddha,
the short one is a short buddha."


1. What is he doing stumbling around the marketplace?
2. Clam guts open up, revealing pearls.
3. I wonder, what is it that he has awakened to?''