The cook monk Dairyo, at Bankei’s monastery, decided that he would take good
care of his old teacher’s health and give him only fresh miso, a basic of soy
beans mixed with wheat and yeast that often ferments.
Bankei, noticing that he
was being served better miso than his pupils, asked: “Who is the cook today?”
Dairyo was sent before him. Bankei learned, that according to his age and
position he should eat only fresh miso. So he said to the cook: “Then you think
I shouldn’t eat at all.” With this he entered his room and locked the door.
Dairyo, sitting outside the door, asked his teacher’s pardon. Bankei would not
answer. For seven days Dairyo sat outside and Bankei within.
Finally in desperation an adherent called loudly to Bankei: “You may be all
right, old teacher, but this young disciple here has to eat. He cannot go
without food forever.”
At that Bankei opened the door. He was smiling. He told Dairyo: “I insist on
eating the same food as the least of my followers. When you become the teacher I
do not want you to forget this.”