Su Dongpo (蘇東坡) is a renowned poet and scholar back in the Song dynasty of China. He had a close friendship with a Buddhist monk named Fo Yin, and the two would often tease and rag on each other, especially on matters of philosophy and religion.
One day the two men was hanging out and meditated together. After they were done, Dongpo looked deeply at the monk, and asked, “How did you see me when I was meditating?” To this the monk replied, “Why, you looked dignified, like the Buddha!”
Dongpo was pleased with this response. The monk Fo Yin then asked him the same question, to which Dongpo proudly answered, “Why, you looked like a pile of shit, sitting there all prim and proper!”
To this response the monk said nothing, and simply smiled faintly. Dongpo was even more pleased with this turn of event, thinking that he had bested the monk. Indeed, his witty insult had left the man speechless!
He left for home, happy and smug as can be. When he reached home, he proudly shared the story with his sister, who was also known to be a clever and intelligent person. However the sister did not seem to approve of the story, and instead laughed at him.
Confused, Dongpo inquired as to why. The sister then explained, “Brother, the monk had the Buddha in his heart, so when he looked at you he saw someone wonderful and dignified like the Buddha. Going by what you said, you have a pile of shit in your heart so you see only shit when you look at other people.”
Dongpo was perturbed.