The warden of the monastery had long been in the presence of Master Yuan Yi, yet never once asked for dharma instruction in person.
One day Master Yuan Yi asked the warden,
“Why don’t you come for an interview?”
“Abbot, you don’t know?! I already found the entry point to the Way when I studied at Green Forest.”
“Well, then show me.”
“Someone asked “What is the Buddha?” Master Green Forest said, “Fire seeking fire.””
“Words can be misleading, can you elaborate further?” Master Yuan Yi asked.
“Well, fire seeking fire is like someone who is already Buddha yet still seeks the Buddha.” The warden replied.
“You got it wrong!” Master Yuan Yi said.
The warden was not convinced and left the monastery in anger.
Master Yuan Yi told the assembly, “If he returns, he can still be saved.
Otherwise, he is doomed.”
Halfway across the river, the warden thought to himself. “Master Yuan Yi is the wisdom guide of five hundred practitioners. There is no reason for him to deceive me½” So he returned to the monastery to seek instruction.
Master Yuan Yi said, “This time why don’t you asked me the question and I will answer for you.” “What is the Buddha?” The warden asked. “Fire seeking fire!” At this instant, the warden attained enlightenment.