Encho was a famous storyteller. His tales of love stirred the hearts of
his listeners. When he narrated a story of war, it was as if the listeners
themselves were on the field of battle.
One day Encho met Yamaoka Tesshu, a layman who had almost embraced
masterhood in Zen. "I understand," said Yamaoka, "you are the best
storyteller in our land and that you make people cry or laugh at will.
Tell me my favorite story of the Peach Boy. When I was a little tot I used
to sleep beside my mother, and she often related this legend. In the
middle of the story I would fall asleep. Tell it to me just as my mother
Encho dared not attempt to do this. He requested time to study. Several
months later he went to Yamaoka and said: "Please give me the opportunity
to tell you the story."
"Some other day," answered Yamaoka.
Encho was keenly disappointed. He studied further and tried again.
Yamaoka rejected him many times. When Encho would start to talk Yamaoka
would stop him, saying: "You are not yet like my mother."
It took Encho five years to be able to tell Yamaoka the legend as his
mother had told it to him.
In this way, Yamaoka imparted Zen to Encho.