Do I Have Your Portrait?

This koan was offered in Pacific Zen’s Open Temple sitting a few mornings ago, and immediately it resonated with some thoughts, dreams and emails regarding teaching that I have been exploring over the past weeks. This exchange between Dongshan and his teacher was all the more touching to me because it was their last; Yunyan died soon afterward. Traditionally, a teacher would give his student the teacher’s portrait when he formally recognized the student as his successor.