But the best practical

jokes hit someone right in the chink in their flawed armor and go

straight to the heart, leaving the victim changed fundamentally.

Consider:

The master Gutei made a practice of raising his finger whenever

he was asked a question about Zen. A very young disciple began

to imitate him, and every time Gutei raised his finger when he

preached, this boy would raise his finger too. Everybody laughed.

One day Gutei caught him at it. He took the boy's hand, whipped

out a knife, cut off the finger and threw it away. The boy

walked off howling.

"Stop!" shouted Gutei. The boy stopped, and looked at the master

through his tears. Gutei raised his finger. The boy raised his

finger. Then suddenly he realized it wasn't there. He hesitated

a moment.

Then he bowed.

They never tell you what those Zen masters were masters OF, do they?