One of my favorite stories. I hope you enjoy it.
A Zen student came to Bankei and said, “Master, I have an ungovernable
temper. How can I cure it?”
“Show me this temper,” said Bankei, “it sounds fascinating.”
“I haven’t got it right now,” said the student, “so I can’t show it to
“Well then,” said Bankei, “bring it to me when you have it.”
“But I can’t bring it just when I happen to have it,” protested the
student. “It arises unexpectedly, and I would surely lose it before I
got it to you.”
“In that case,” said Bankei, “it cannot be part of your true nature.
If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born
you did not have it–so it must have come to you from the outside. I
suggest that whenever it gets into you, you beat yourself with a stick
until the temper can’t stand it and runs away.”