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Bankei Zen -From the Gyogo Ryakki

Bankei Zen -From the Gyogo Ryakki

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Published by Frederic Lecut

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Published by: Frederic Lecut on Feb 01, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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uring the [Great Training Period at the Ryomonji], there was an incident in which some moneywas lost in the Fudo Hall.
One day, when the Master ascended the lecture seat, a monk cameforward and said: "I am such-and-such a person of such-and-such province and a student at thesuch-and-such temple. This winter I have been practicing in the Fudo Hall. A monk in the place next tomine lost his traveling money, and because I was in the seat beside his, he suspected me of taking it.The rumor has spread through the entire hall, and I beg your Reverence to conduct an inquiry."
The Master asked: "Did you steal anything?"The monk replied: "At a unique religious gathering like this, such a shameless act would nevereven cross my mind!"The Master told him: "Then everything is all right."The monk said: "Yes, but at this meeting, monks are gathered from all over Japan, and I'mworried that if there is no inquiry, I'll be given a bad name throughout the country. I beseech yourReverence's kind understanding."The Master said: "If there's an inquiry, the guilty one will have to come out—is that all righttoo?"The monk then declared: "It's I who have shown the very worst kind of shamefulness, beingself-centered and arrogant in a case like this after I'd listened to your wonderful teaching every day!"And, shedding tears of gratitude, he withdrew.
1. Fudo (SKT: Acala) is a wrathful Buddhist deity particularly popular in Japan. The Ryomonji's FudoHall was erected in 1676.
 Handling delinquents
hen the Master was in retreat at the Jizoji, Sekimon Osho
of the Ryomonji sent [the monk]Tenkyu
to call on him and inquire after his health.
When he met the Master at thetemple gate, Tenkyu delivered a message from Sekimon, saying: "At the Ryomonji are anumber of novices who are remiss in their duties and rude in their behavior, upsetting the decorum ofthe temple. It was thought that if they were to go someplace else—the Nyohoji, perhaps, or the Korinji —they might change their ways, and I wished to ask your Reverences opinion."
When Tenkyu had spoken, the Master summoned Shuin, Sokaku and myself,
and, repeatingfor us the gist of the message Sekimon had sent with Tenkyu, said: "What's known as a Zen temple isestablished precisely to bring together wicked fellows such as these, winning them over throughpersonal contact and making them into good men. But, without any such attitude, completely lacking incompassion, you want to dispose of wrongdoers elsewhere, to have them go and create disturbancesomeplace else! Is a person like that fit to be abbot of a Zen temple? When one whose heart is withoutgenerosity or compassion becomes abbot of [my] temple, it is the beginning of the end for myteaching!"After this severe upbraiding, everyone, whether it was the abbot, the temple officers or the Master'spersonal attendants, was afraid to complain to the Master about the behavior of the monks.
* Osho is a general term of respect for Buddhist monks, similar to "Reverend," but may have the addedmeaning of teacher or abbot. Sekimon Somin (1642-1696) was a Dharma heir of Bankei who became the thirdabbot of the Ryomonji.** Tenkyu Shihaku (d. 1722). A disciple of Bankei.*** A letter of this period (1692) addressed to Bankei from Lord Kyogoku's wife indicates that Bankei wassuffering from pains in the feet which prevented him from standing.*** Itsuzan Sonin, the compiler of the present work. The others are Bankei's disciples Reigen Shuin (1653-1718) and Taikei Sokaku (d. 1719). These three, sometimes referred to as the "three jisha (attendants)," served asBankei's close attendants during his last years.

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