You are on page 1of 327

-roku The Denko

- roku The Denko


or The Record of the Transmission of the Light

-kin Zen Master Keizan Jo

by

Rev. Hubert Nearman, O.B.C., translator, with an introduction by Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett, M.O.B.C., consultant and editor.

SHASTA ABBEY PRESS, MOUNT SHASTA, CALIFORNIA

iv

Introduction

First Edition1993 Second Edition2001

2001 Shasta Abbey

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form except for brief excerpts for purposes of review without written permission from Shasta Abbey, 3724 Summit Drive, Mt. Shasta, California, 96067-9102; (530) 926-4208.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 0-930066-22-7 Library of Congress Control Number: 00-136263

The TransIndic Transliterator font used to print this work is available from Linguists Software, Inc., PO Box 580, Edmonds, WA 98020-0580 USA tel (425) 775-1130.

Introduction

This book is dedicated to all those who truly seek the TRUTH .

vi

Introduction

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We wish to thank all those who have helped in the production of this book.

Introduction

vii

SPECIAL NOTE FOR SECOND EDITION


A number of readers of the first edition have queried why Keizan stopped his account with Dgens Dharma heir Koun Ej and did not continue with his own story or that of his Master Tetts Gikai, who was one of Ejs Dharma heirs. While Keizan does not give any explicit reason, when he began composing the Denkroku in 1300 Ej was already dead, whereas his Master Gikai was still alive, and it would have been unseemly for Keizan to openly discuss his living Masters or his own spiritual experiences. Rev. Hubert Nearman

vii

viii

Introduction

CONTENTS
Special Note Introduction vii xii

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15

Shakyamuni Buddha, The Awakened One The First Ancestor, The Sainted Makakash The Second Ancestor, The Sainted Ananda The Third Ancestor, The Sainted Shnawashu The Fourth Ancestor, The Sainted Ubakikuta The Fifth Ancestor, The Sainted Daitaka The Sixth Ancestor, The Sainted Mishaka The Seventh Ancestor, The Sainted Bashumitsu The Eighth Ancestor, The Sainted Butsudanandai The Ninth Ancestor, The Sainted Fudamitta The Tenth Ancestor, The Sainted Barishiba The Eleventh Ancestor, The Sainted Funayasha The Twelfth Ancestor, The Sainted Anabotei The Thirteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Kabimora The Fourteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Nagyaarajuna

1 5 11 19 23 29 34 40 44 51 55 60 63 69 74

viii

Introduction Contents

ix

Chapter 16 Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24 Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28 Chapter 29

The Fifteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Kanadaiba The Sixteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Ragorata The Seventeenth Ancestor, The Sainted Sgyanandai The Eighteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Kayashata The Nineteenth Ancestor, The Sainted Kumorata The Twentieth Ancestor, The Sainted Shayata The Twenty-first Ancestor, The Sainted Bashubanzu The Twenty-second Ancestor, The Sainted Manura The Twenty-third Ancestor, The Sainted Kakurokuna The Twenty-fourth Ancestor, The Sainted Shishibodai The Twenty-fifth Ancestor, The Sainted Bashashita The Twenty-sixth Ancestor, The Sainted Funyomitta The Twenty-seventh Ancestor, The Sainted Hannyatara The Twenty-eighth Ancestor, The Sainted Bodaidaruma

82 86 92 99 106 109 115 121 125 129 132 135 139 143

Introduction Contents

Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40 Chapter 41 Chapter 42 Chapter 43

The Twenty-ninth Ancestor, The Great Ancestor and Great Teacher Eka The Thirtieth Ancestor, Great Master Kanchi Ssan The Thirty-first Ancestor, Meditation Master Daii Dshin The Thirty-second Ancestor, Meditation Master Daiman Knin The Thirty-third Ancestor, Meditation Master Daikan En The Thirty-fourth Ancestor, Great Master Seigen Gyshi The Thirty-fifth Ancestor, Great Teacher Sekit Kisen The Thirty-sixth Ancestor, Great Master Yakusan Igen The Thirty-seventh Ancestor, Great Master Ungan Donj The Thirty-eighth Ancestor, Great Master Tzan Rykai The Thirty-ninth Ancestor, Great Master Ungo Dy The Fortieth Ancestor, Great Master Dan Dhi The Forty-first Ancestor, The Latter Great Master Dan Kanshi The Forty-second Ancestor, The Reverend Monk Ryzan Enkan

152 158 161 165 169 180 184 191 197 203 212 218 222 226

Introduction Contents

xi

Chapter 44 Chapter 45 Chapter 46 Chapter 47 Chapter 48 Chapter 49 Chapter 50 Chapter 51 Chapter 52 Chapter 53

The Forty-third Ancestor, Great Master Daiy Kygen The Forty-fourth Ancestor, The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei The Forty-fifth Ancestor, Meditation Master Dkai of Mount Fuy The Forty-sixth Ancestor, Meditation Master Tanka Shijun The Forty-seventh Ancestor, Meditation Master Chro Seiry The Forty-eighth Ancestor, Meditation Master Tend Skaku The Forty-ninth Ancestor, Meditation Master Setch Chikan The Fiftieth Ancestor, The Reverend Monk Tend Nyoj The Fifty-first Ancestor, The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen The Fifty-second Ancestor, The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

232 236 246 254 256 261 266 272 278 292 305 306

About the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives About the Monasteries of the Order

xii

Introduction

INTRODUCTION
Having studied the Denkroku for the best part of thirty years, I now feel that the present work is, for me, the definitive translation. The translation of the first fifteen chapters which has appeared in Selling Water by the River and Zen Is Eternal Life was made by one of my teachers and myself; I did not wholly agree with his translation when I was working with him. Thanks to the great scholarship of one of my disciples, Rev. Hubert Nearman (Dr. Mark J Nearman), who has made this very excellent translation, and working with him, I am now, as consultant and editor, able to present a book which I believe to be both spiritually and academically accurate. This translation was, originally, not meant for anything other than private publication since I felt that non-monastic readers ran the risk of losing the exquisite underlying Truth that runs, like a jade thread through a golden needle, throughout the book; on second thoughts, however, I decided to go ahead with the publication since I believe that this translation can truly be of use to all even if they do not fully understand it. This is not a book that the average person will understand, nor, for that matter, will many of the laity. It is a book that was written in the fourteenth century for members of the priesthood who were doing serious and sincere training and who wished to penetrate to the core of spirituality; as such, its meaning is beyond doctrines, practices, ideologies and theories of religion. I make no apology for the great length of some sentences which I know will possibly annoy some American readers, however, if one would understand the kaleidoscopic mind of the true Buddhist, one must be willing to hold a point in stillness whilst seeing all of its ramifications and facets without those ramifications and facets being broken up into separate
xii

Introduction

xiii

sentences in which the point has possibly been lost as a result of the interpolation of a full stop; one should understand that the style of this work is, quite possibly, not going to please the reader. There is no glossary with this translation; those who wish to read it should look for terms used herein to be found in the glossary of Zen Is Eternal Life, however, this book is much too advanced for people who have not thought deeply on the meaning of Buddhist teachings. Keizan Zenji was born in Fukui Prefecture, in 1267, and entered Eiheiji, under Koun Ej, at the age of twelve; thereafter he studied under Tetts Gikai of the same temple. Much of his life was spent in establishing temples, in different parts of Japan, until he became Chief Abbot of Daijji, in Ishikawa Prefecture, where he spent ten years teaching. In 1321, at the request of Jken-risshi, he became Chief Abbot of Shgakuji; he renamed this temple Shgaku-zan Sjiji. Sjiji, which was made an Imperial Prayer Temple under Emperor G-Daigo (13181339), became one of the two head temples of the St Zen Church of Japan, ranking as equal with Eiheiji, and Keizan Zenji became the greatest of the St Zen Ancestors after Dgen Zenji. The main ikon of the St Zen Church shows Shakyamuni Buddha at the top, in the centre, with Dgen Zenji on His right hand and Keizan Zenji on His left, both being slightly below Him. Dgen is regarded as the father of St Zen and Keizan as its mother. Before Keizans advent, St Zen had been confined to a few small monasteries in Japan, none of which were to be found in Kyoto, the spiritual centre of Japan at that time. As a result of Keizans genius, St not only flourished but became the largest of all the Buddhist churches, eventually rivalling the Shin Church in later centuries. Keizan Zenjis writings are highly intuitive. Whereas Dgen was sometimes somewhat like a puritanical father constantly exhorting his children to the utmost sincerity in

xiv

Introduction

their meditation, Keizan, as will be seen from the following translation, was an intuitive genius; Dgen was also very intuitive but expressed it less directly. Keizans works include the Denkroku and the Sankon-zazen-setsu, as well as the majority, if not the entirety, of the ceremonies presently used in the St Zen Church. From the point of view of understanding Buddhism, however, his most important work, by far, is the Denkroku, The Record of the Transmission of the Light. The term Buddha does not imply God any more than do the terms It, Substance and all the other terms we use such as Eternal and Lord of the House. It and all the other terms should be understood as that which, within every fibre of our being, we know as THAT WHICH IS UNBORN, UNCHANGING , UNDYING , UNCREATED , frequently called IT. The doctrines of karma and anatta should be understood from the viewpoint of IT; in the case of the doctrine of karma this means No doer is there who does the deed nor is there one who feels the fruit and, in the case of the doctrine of anatta, that there is no separate, egocentric self outside of the TRUE I, or TRUE SELF, which is the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING . Unfortunately there have been many muddles, especially in the West, as a result of an indiscriminate proliferation of terms used for the indefinable UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING , without their being directly connected up to what the terms Buddha, It and the others above and throughout this book refer to. Some scholars have been so afraid to try and give any definition whatsoever that the whole fabric of what Buddhism is teaching becomes unravelled. One must understand that one must not be afraid of words and one must not become a slave to them. All of the terms above are used to describe IT and can help us to acquire the kaleidoscopic mind that can allow us to know IT, in every sense of the word know, at all times, thus, with the above understanding of their meaning, the proliferation of terms for IT in this book is very

Introduction

xv

important. Because of a common misconception of the doctrine of anatta, the doctrine of no permanent, separate self, the doctrines of karmic consequence and that of rebirth often have been muddled badly; however, if it is understood that, at the very deepest level, there is no self that does the deed nor one that feels the fruit because there is no separate self when one is with the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING , then the muddle is much easier to unravel and we can put rebirth and karmic consequence in their proper perspective. Because of clinging to life as the world understands it, there is rebirth and a constant being born here and dying there. When we know for certain that there is no separate self because we are one with the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING , then there is, indeed, no rebirth on the wheel of becoming. Because of our memories of what happened in this lifetime, there is a time of birth and of actions of this lifetime and of deaths; however, when we understand our oneness with the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING , birth and death are merely positions in time as created by man; they are no longer of importance for to be one with the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED, UNCHANGING is to be in timelessness, eternity. It is we ourselves who cause our own rebirths, born here and dying there as Keizan says, and with us we take our good and bad karma. So long as there is guilt there is karmic repayment, as in the case of the monk and the mushrooms (see Chapter 17). When there is all-acceptance, although the law of karma is inexorable, there is, indeed, no doer who does the deed and no one that feels the fruit. This is to be one with the UNBORN, UNDYING, UNCREATED , UNCHANGING . The following notes will explain my somewhat unusual use of type styles throughout this book. 1. In order to help the reader to know intuitively what I have spoken of above, and thus obtain the maximum

xvi

Introduction

help from this book, I am taking the unusual step of using different type styles here and there throughout it. For example, the name of the Buddha prior to His realization was Siddhartha Gautama: in the first chapter (and only in the first chapter) the name Gautama will always be in ordinary style type; the name Shakyamuni, which refers only to the Buddha after His realization, will always be in italics in this chapter. One would think that the difference in the words would be suffi-cient to make the distinction between this spiritual understanding before and after His realization clear but experience has shown me that this is not so. 2. Verbs, when referring to the state of enlightenment, appear in bold italics and are used in past, present and future form thus: When Shakyamuni saw, sees and will see the morning star. Whenever these three tenses are used in any verb the reader should understand that what is being spoken of here is eternity as it is understood in Buddhism. Buddhist eternity is looked at from a slightly different viewpoint to that of other religions; I have laboured long to try and find how to put this viewpoint into words and have come to the conclusion that the above is the best way I know. Past, present and future are eternity but be careful of getting caught up in the word eternity; eternity may be said to be movement in stillness and stillness in movement both backwards and forwards, upwards and downwards and in all directions. 3. When the word I appears in ordinary type face and within single quotes, it refers to the old, egocentric I; the apparent relationship of this I to the universe prior to the realization of enlightenment is expressed by with. When both I and with appear in italics they

Introduction

xvii

refer to the non-egocentric state and an at oneness with the universe; I hesitate to say an old I and a new I because one immediately gets into opposites. The word I, appearing in one form and then in another, somehow helps me to understand the change that takes place. 4. When small capitals are used, such as in the passage Truly I should not seek for the TRUTH from others, the word capitalized should be understood as pointing to an ultimate REALITY , IT, which is beyond the opposites, and for which there is really no suitable word. Such words indicate something in a flowing, third position. The use of small capitals also implies the presence of a certainty in which faith may be placed; an absolute certainty wherein there can be no shadow of the possibility of the shadow of the thought of a possibility of doubt, a certainty that can only come forth from the UNBORN , UNDYING , UNCREATED , UNCHANGING . Thus in any sentence in which a word in this type occurs, that word should be understood as the most important word and any word in the same sentence that is underlined should be understood as the next most important word. 5. The poem at the end of each chapter should, at some time, be read in sequence with all the others; they will then be perceived as one long, ROLLING OF THE WHEEL OF THE ETERNAL . P. T. N. H. Jiyu-Kennett, Abbess, Shasta Abbey, Mt. Shasta, California. 18th. January, 1993.

xviii

Introduction

FOOTNOTE.

In Chapter 29 there appears the following passage: Bodaidaruma passed nine years without ever preaching in a harsh or critical manner and without being quick to point things out. After the nine years he handed down his skin, flesh, bones and marrow, respectively, to his four disciples Dfuku, Diku, Sji and Eka (C. Tao-fu, Tao-yu, Tsung-chih and Hui-ko) for he knew their spiritual potential had already ripened. His disciple Sji was a woman. Although the Buddha made some disparaging remarks concerning women as a result of the importunity of his aunt, begging that women be admitted to the Order, it should be clearly understood that these remarks did not apply to the spiritual ability of women. In our Orders books the term monk has been used for both male and female members of the priesthood; this is because the term nun, as used in the Christian Church, in no way resembles what is implied in Buddhism as a female monk. Male and female monks trained together in the Mahayana temples of our Ancestors and Dgen Zenji openly admitted that both men and women were spiritually equal. The Japanese for a male Buddhist priest is soryo whilst the word for a female priest is ni-soryo, the ni meaning female. The term unsui is applied equally to both male and female trainees. Whilst I have no objection to using the term nun, and there are many who do so, it would seem to my mind to be a little unwise to use a term which, given what I understand to be the outlook with regard to women in the west as a result of the teachings of the Catholic Church, would seem to imply a spiritually second-class being. The Buddha made it very clear that the spiritual abilities of both men and women were identical: [nanda said,] Lord, if women go forth from the home to the homeless life into discipline of Dhamma,

Introduction

xix

declared by the tathgata, can they realize the fruit of Stream-winning, of Once-returning, of Non-returning and of Arahantship? [The Buddha said,] They can, nanda.
The Book of the Gradual Sayings (Anguttara-Nikya), trans. E. M. Hare, (London: Pali Text Society, 1978), Vol. IV, p. 183.

There are female Zen masters; works are only now appearing on these female masters. Scholars, it would seem, have deliberately avoided speaking of them since they felt people would not be interested.

[Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett died in 1996. For this edition, a few minor editorial changes have been made to her introduction. H.N.]

xx

Introduction

Saint Makakashyo

THE DENKROKU
THE RECORD OF THE TRANSMISSION OF THE LIGHT
Begun on the twelfth day of the first lunar month, 1300, as a result of a request made to Master Keizan for further instruction.

CHAPTER 1.

SHAKYAMUNI BUDDHA, THE AWAKENED ONE.


Upon seeing the morning star, Gautama became Shakyamuni Buddha when He was, is and will be awakened to His TRUE SELF and said, says and will say, I was, am and will be enlightened, together with the whole of the great earth and all its sentient beings, simultaneously. Gautama belonged to the Indian Nisshu (S. Sryavama) line which traced its lineage to the sun; in His nineteenth year He escaped over the palace wall at midnight and fled to Mount Dandoku (S. Daaka) where He shaved His head and spent the next six years engaging in harsh ascetic practices. Ultimately He sat upon the Diamond Throne, which is for realizing enlightenment, whilst spiders spun their webs between His eyebrows and jackdaws took up residence in a nest atop His head; reeds grew about His sitting place as, in tranquillity, He sat erect and immovably still for six years. In His thirtieth year, on the eighth
1

Denkroku

day of the twelfth lunar month, the month of the winter sacrifice, He suddenly realized enlightenment and gave forth the words above like a lion thundering forth its first roar. From then on, for the next forty-nine years, He was never alone even for a single day; with His Kesa and His begging bowl always accompanying Him, He never ceased from expounding the Teaching for the benefit of those who gathered about Him and preached the Dharma at more than three hundred and sixty assemblies. In time, He Transmitted the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW to Makakash (S. Mahkyapa, The Great One of the Tortoise Clan), ITS Transmission flowing down to us even today. Indeed, our practice of the True Teaching, which has poured out through India, China and Japan, is founded upon IT. His lifelong conduct is the standard for His spiritual heirs, heiresses and descendants. Even though He possessed the thirty-two major marks and the eighty secondary signs of a Buddha, He had, beyond question, the appearance of a dear and venerable monk who in no way differed from other people therefore, from the time when He dwelt on earth through the three periods of the Teaching, the true, the counterfeit and the final, those for whom His Dharma is precious model themselves upon His behaviour, experiencing what He experienced without, even for a moment, giving a thought to themselves whilst moving, standing, sitting or reclining. Buddha after Buddha, Ancestor after Ancestor, have Transmitted the TRUE LAW directly from person to person without interruption as His life, as recounted above, clearly indicates. Over forty-nine years, at the more than three hundred and sixty assemblies, His methods for pointing out the matter varied, yet none of His stories, metaphors and turns of phrase strayed from this principle. This I of which He spoke is not Gautama; Shakyamuni Buddha has come forth from this I and it is not only Shakyamuni Buddha who has come forth, the whole of the great earth

Shakyamuni Buddha

and all its sentient beings have come forth from IT as well. When a great net is hauled up from the sea, all the openings in the net are hauled up with it so, likewise, when Gautama became Shakyamuni and realized, realizes and will realize enlightenment, the whole of the great earth and all its sentient beings also realized, realize and will realize enlightenment. Further, not only did, does and will the whole of the great earth and all its sentient beings realize enlightenment, all the Buddhas in the three worlds of past, present and future also did, do and will realize enlightenment. Since this is so, do not hold to a false notion of Gautama becoming Shakyamuni and realizing enlightenment; do not see Shakyamuni Buddha as apart from the whole of the great earth and all its sentient beings. Even though the great earth with its mountains and rivers may flourish luxuriantly in its myriad forms, nothing is excluded from the EYE of Gautama. All of you, too, arise within the EYE of Gautama. Not only do you arise there, you are interchanging with everyone else existing at this very moment, all within all: the EYE of Gautama becomes your very body of flesh, the whole body of each person being a sheer cliff wall that rises straight up for eighty thousand feet. Do not imagine, therefore, that from of old until now there was His bright EYE with people distinct and separate from IT. All of you were, are and will be the EYE of Gautama and Gautamas EYE is the whole body of every one of you. As this is how it is, what shall we call the principle that underlies realizing enlightenment? Let me put the matter to you this way, did, does and will Gautama become Shakyamuni Buddha and realize enlightenment together with you, the community of monks, or did, do and will you all realize enlightenment together with Gautama when he becomes Shakyamuni Buddha ? If you were to say that you all did, do and will realize enlightenment together with Gautama when he became Shakyamuni Buddha or that Gautama, on becoming Buddha, did, does

Denkroku

and will realize enlightenment together with all of you, either answer would in no way be Gautamas realizing enlightenment and you cannot make either be the principle that underlies realizing enlightenment. If what you want is a direct understanding of the principle of realizing enlightenment, you should rid yourself at once of you and Gautama and quickly grasp what the I is. What is together with the I is the whole of the great earth and all its sentient beings. The I of the I and with is not that venerable One Gautama. Examine this point carefully, consider it in detail so that you may clarify what the I is and grasp what with means. Even though you may clarify what the I is, if you fail to clarify what with means, you will be seeing with only one eye. The I and with are neither the same nor different. Indisputably, the skin, flesh, bones and marrow of all of you is entirely with whilst THAT which dwells within as the Lord of the House is the I. HE does not take on skin, flesh, bones and marrow nor is HE bound to the four elements or to the five skandhas. In short, if you wish to make the acquaintance of THE UNDYING ONE WITHIN THE HERMITS HUT, how can you possibly separate HIM from this bag of skin? Do not construct some intellectual understanding of the great earth and all its sentient beings. Even though the seasons change and the great earth with its mountains and rivers differs over time, you must realize that this is nothing but the venerable One Gautama raising His eyebrows and blinking His eyes; it is a matter of a body as exposed as a dewdrop amidst the myriad phenomena which discards all things worldly and does not discard them. As Meditation Master Hgen (C. Fa-yen) said, What is there to discard or not discard? and as Meditation Master Jiz (C. Ti-tsang) said, And what, pray, would you make the myriad phenomena to be? Practise broadly and deeply, therefore, never give up, keep persisting until you succeed. To

The Sainted Makakash

be sure, you must clarify what Gautama, upon becoming Shakyamuni and realizing enlightenment, really means and grasp what your own realization of enlightenment is. Take a careful look at this case as presented at the beginning and, one by one, let your response to it flow forth from your heart without borrowing words from the Ancestors or from anyone of the present day. At our next meeting, express its principle with words that show you have made it to the turning point. This mountain monk feels that he would like to add his own humble words to what is happening in this story. Would you all like to hear them? Unsurpassed in the beauty of its graceful form is the old Plum Tree; Its spiny branches, when the season is ripe, will burst forth in bloom.

CHAPTER 2.

THE FIRST ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED MAKAKASH.


One day, the World-honoured One offered up a flower with a twinkle in His eye; Makakashs face broke out in a smile. The World-honoured One said, I have the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW, the wondrous HEART of nirvana, which I Transmit to Makakash. Makakash belonged to the Brahman caste; his Indian name was Kyapa which means He of the Tortoise or of the Black-toothed Clan whilst here in our country he is known as The Victorious and Esteemed Drinker of Light. When he

Denkroku

was born, a golden light filled the room, its rays pouring into Makakashs mouth, hence the epithet, The Drinker of Light. His body possessed a golden hue and had thirty of the fortunate marks, lacking only the fleshly protuberance (S. ua) upon the crown of his head and the tuft of white hairs between his eyebrows; he first met the World-honoured One in front of the Shrine of Many Sons. No sooner had the World-honoured One addressed him, saying, Welcome, mendicant monk, than Makakashs hair and beard were forthwith removed and a kesa was draped about his body; he was then entrusted with the Eye and Treasury of the True Law. He practised the twelve austerities so as to control worldly desires and let the Mind of Truth show itself, not spending a moment of the twenty-four hours of a day in vain pursuits. The assembly was startled and had misgivings when they saw how terribly emaciated his body had become and how coarse and shabby his robes looked and, as a result, on each occasion when Shakyamuni preached the Dharma, He had Makakash share His teaching seat with Him. From that time he was the most senior monk in the assemblies however, he was not only the senior monk in Shakyamuni Buddhas community, he had also been the non-regressing senior monk in the communities of all the past Buddhas as well. You should know that he is spoken of as an ancient and revered Ancestor so do not group him amongst all those disciples who only pursued the Buddhas words. At the time when, on Vulture Peak (J. Ryjusen; S. Gdraka-giri), before an assembly of eighty thousand, the World-honoured One offered up a flower with a twinkle in His eye, none grasped His frame of mind and all remained silent except for Makakash who alone broke out in a smile. The World-honoured One said, I have the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW, the wondrous HEART of nirvana, the perfectly pure and bright DHARMA-GATE that has no signs of restriction. I have Transmitted IT completely to Makakash.

The Sainted Makakash

The offering up of a flower on that occasion has been passed on from Ancestor to Ancestor; those outside the Ancestral line are never allowed to know about it without good cause. It is not a matter for Scriptural scholars and teachers of philosophical debate, nor is it something for many teachers of meditation to be concerned with for, indeed, the Ancestors knew that such persons do not understand wherein the TRUTH of it lies. Be that as it may, most of todays Transmission case histories do not speak of THAT which occurred at the assembly atop Vulture Peak but rather present the words spoken at the Transmission before the Shrine of Many Sons for what is recorded in such works as The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp and The Record of the Universal Lamp, regarding what was said before the assembly on Vulture Peak, is in error. In the first place, when the Buddha Dharma was Transmitted to Makakash there was this ceremonial, the offering up of the flower, therefore, if you are not an Ancestor or Master who Transmits the Buddha-Mind Seal, you will not understand what is happening on these occasions of offering up the flower, nor will you have clarified for yourselves what this offering up of the flower means. You who know the merits of meditation should meditate deeply upon this and scrutinize the matter carefully until you personally know that Makakash is Makakash and have clarified for yourselves that Shakyamuni is Shakyamuni, then individually Transmit, person to person, the profound, perfectly pure and bright WAY. Let us put aside for the moment the offering up of the flower to clarify what this twinkling in the eye is. There is not a hairbreadth of difference between an ordinary, everyday raising of your eyebrows and winking and Gautamas offering up the flower with a twinkle in His eye, nor is there in any way a hairbreadth of difference between your speaking with a smile and Makakashs face breaking into a smile however, if you have not clarified for yourself what IT is that raised His

Denkroku

eyebrows and blinked His eyes, then Shakyamuni and Makakash remain in India whilst your skin, flesh, bones and marrow remain within your own minds like so many flowers beclouding your eyes and so much dust floating about! Untold aeons will have come and gone but you will still not be libeated so, for aeons to come, you will be swamped by the waves of unceasing births and deaths. Once you become conscious of the LORD OF THE HOUSE then, to be sure, Makakash will be able to wriggle his toes in your sandals. Do you not know that Gautama completely vanished at the very moment when Gautama raised His eyebrows and blinked His eyes and that Makakash realized his TRUE SELF at the very moment when Makakashs face broke out in a smile? This is not the delusion of a personal substantive self! To the contrary, the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW has been completely entrusted to you yourself; therefore, whatever name you give IT, do not call IT Makakashs or Shakyamunis. There is no Dharma to impart to another nor any to receive from anotherthis is what I call the TRUE DHARMA. To express this Shakyamuni held the flower aloft to let it be known that IT was, is and will be immutable and indestructible whilst Makakash broke into a smile to let it be known that IT was, is and will be beyond beginning or end; in this way Master and disciple met face to face and their life-lines flowed into each other. Their perfectly pure, bright, full understanding has nothing to do with thinking in the mind. Beyond doubt, Makakash, through meditation, severed the roots of mentation and entered Cocks-Foot Mountain (J. Keisokusan; S. Kukkuapda-giri) where he was, is and will be waiting for the distant coming of Miroku (S. Maitreya), the Compassionate Sage, which is why Makakash has not yet entered nirvana. O monks, if you devote yourselves to studying the Way by meditating deeply and training hard, you will find that not only

The Sainted Makakash

is Makakash not dead but Shakyamuni, too, continues on unending. Hence, before any of you were born, the TRUTH was, is and will be Transmitted from person to person by a direct pointing to ORIGINAL NATURE and, from the distant past to the very present IT was, is and will be reverberating throughout the universe striking a resonant chord in all trainees wherever they may be. Therefore, O monks, do not yearn for the ancient days of two thousand years ago; if you are prompt to practise the Way right now, Makakash will not enter Cocks-Foot Mountain but can come forth into the world and actually reside here in the Land of the Red Hibiscus; Shakyamunis fleshly body will still be warm today and Makakash will smile anew. If you can reach this state, then you will all be heirs to Makakash and he will receive the Transmission from you for not only does the VERY TRUTH come down to you from the Seven Buddhas but you can discover that you were, are and will be the Ancestors and Masters to the Seven Buddhas. Here, without beginning or end, beyond past, present and future IT will reside, ever Transmitting the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW to all. Accordingly, Shakyamuni likewise received the Transmission from Makakash who now resides in the Tushita Heaven just as you, too, reside immutable within the assembly atop Vulture Peak. Have you not read the verse in the Lotus Scripture which says: Ever do I abide on Vulture Peak As well as in my other dwelling places; Come the time when sentient beings see the aeon spent And great fires consume the world, This land of Mine will be safe and peaceful, Filled with heavenly beings and humans. Vulture Peak is not His only dwelling place, as He said, so how could India, China and our land possibly be left out?

10

Denkroku

The Tathagatas TRUE DHARMA has flowed out through Transmission and not even a single bit of it has ever been lost. Since this is so, this community of ours must be the assembly on Vulture Peak and Vulture Peak must be this community. The Buddhas will appear or disappear in accordance with whether you are diligent or not. Today as well, if you persist in your practice of the Way, thoroughly penetrating into It, the venerable Shakyamuni will forthwith make an appearance. Shakyamuni entered nirvana in the distant past simply because you were not clear about your TRUE SELF. You are already His disciples, children of the Buddha, so why do you kill Buddha? Quickly practise the Way and immediately come face to face with your COMPASSIONATE ONE. As always, the VENERABLE ONE SHAKYAMUNI and you walk, stand, sit and lie down together; HE talks and visits with you without the two of you ever being separated even for an instant. If in this lifetime you do not lay eyes on this VENERABLE ONE, then you will all be thoroughly undutiful beings. Already you were, are and will be children of Buddha so, should you be undutiful, not even the hands of a thousand Buddhas will be able to assist you. Today, as a descendant of the Mahayana tradition of Daij Monastery, I again have some humble words that try to point out the principle in this story. Do you all wish to hear them? Know that hidden deep within the cloud-enshrouded valley There still remains the SACRED PINE enduring through the chill of time.

The Sainted Ananda


CHAPTER 3.

11

THE SECOND ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED ANANDA.


Ananda asked Makakash, My elder brother in the Dharma, when the World-honoured One Transmitted the kesa of gold brocade to you did He pass on anything else? Makakash called out, Ananda! When Ananda acknowledged the call, Makakash said, Chop down the flag pole in front of your temple gate! and Ananda awakened to his TRUE SELF. Ananda was a member of the caste of warrior-nobles in the city of Rajagriha; his father was Lord Kokuhan (S. Droodana, He Who Is as a Valley Stream). Ananda was, in fact, the World-honoured Ones cousin and his name (S. nanda) means He Who Is a Delight or He Who Is a Joy; he was born on the night that the Tathagata realized enlightenment. His classically handsome form and face were without equal in any of the sixteen nations of India and everyone who saw him was filled with joy and delight, whence his name. He was unsurpassed in learning as well as quick in memory and bright, to say nothing of being highly esteemed for his broad learning. For twenty years he was the Buddhas attendant; there was nothing that the Buddha had preached which he could not repeat for he had constantly studied how the Buddha deported Himself. At the same time that Shakyamuni Transmitted the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW to Makakash, He also entrusted (but did not Transmit) IT to Ananda, saying, Please assist him in his Transmission of IT. Because of this, Ananda attended on Makakash for the following twenty years and it was never said of him that he failed to communicate the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW completely and in every way possible.

12

Denkroku

It should be evident that the Way of the Ancestors and Masters is different from the other Buddhist traditions. Ananda was already the one who had heard most of what the Buddha had taught, had broad learning and was quite erudite; many were the times when the Buddha personally expressed His approval of him even though He had not yet Transmitted the TRUE LAW to him since he had not clarified what the foundation of his mind was. At the time when Makakash was assembling the Buddhas legacy of teachings for the benefit of the conclave meeting at Hippara Cave (S. Pipphali, Pepper, Makakashs childhood nickname), Ananda was denied entrance to Makakashs quarters as he had not yet realized for certain. Reflecting upon this in private, Ananda suddenly realized the fruits of arhanthood. When he then sought to enter, Makakash said, If you have now realized for certain, you should be able to enter through a display of your spiritual powers. Ananda made himself very small so that he might enter by the keyhole, that is, his display of genuine humility served as the key to unlock the door for him, and he thus entered Hippara Cave after all. The disciples said to Makakash, As the Buddhas attendant, Ananda heard more of what the Buddha said than any other and has thoroughly retained it; it is just as if it were water that has been poured from one vessel into another without a drop being spilt. We pray that you will invite Ananda to repeat what the Buddha preached. Makakash told Ananda, As the community has chosen you, please ascend the Dharma seat and once again proclaim what He preached. Ananda, keeping to himself that he had received the Tathagatas entrustment, rose upon this request from Makakash, bowed at the feet of the community, ascended the Dharma seat and proclaimed the Teaching, beginning, Thus have I heard: once when the Buddha was residing at. After he had repeated all the Sacred Teachings from the Buddhas lifetime, Makakash asked the disciples whether any of these differed from what the Tathagata

The Sainted Ananda

13

had preached; the disciples answered that they did not differ from what the Tathagata had taught even by as much as a single word. All these disciples were great arhants who had the three forms of clarity, namely, recollection of previous lives, ability to see future births and recognition of the extinction of defilements, and the six spiritual powers, that is, the preceding three plus clairvoyance, clairaudience and knowledge of the thoughts and intentions of others, and did not miss a word of what was said. They were all in agreement that they could not tell whether it was the Tathagata come back again or Ananda preaching; they personally praised him, saying, The waters of the great ocean of the Buddha Dharma have flowed into you. What Ananda proclaimed is, even now, the flowing forth and passing on of what the Tathagata had preached. We know for a fact that this Way of ours does not depend on how much you have heard or on having realized for certain, as this instance should make evident. Ananda attended on Makakash for twenty years but did not have a great awakening to his TRUE SELF until the occasion cited in the opening story. Since he had been born on the night when the Tathagata realized enlightenment, he had not heard the preaching of such Scriptures as the Avatamsaka Scripture; even so, once he had entered the samadhi that a Buddha awakens to, he could relate even what he had not heard directly. His earlier lack of success in entering the Way of the Ancestors and Masters is not one bit different from our own failure to enter it. Long before in the remote past, Ananda had given rise to the heart of true and perfect enlightenment to the TRUTH (S. anuttara-samyak-sambodhi) at the same time as Shakyamuni Buddha had when He was known as the Lord of the Period of Cosmic Emptiness, but Ananda, through being partial to accumulating knowledge, had not yet realized perfect, TRUE ENLIGHTENMENT whereas Shakyamuni Buddha, having devoted himself to training, realized PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT .

14

Denkroku

You must really understand that pursuit of learning, as evinced here, is an obstacle on the path to enlightenment, which is why it says in the Avatamsaka Scripture, Pursuit of erudition, by analogy, is like a greedy pauper who keeps counting up the treasures of others whilst having not a halfpenny of his own. If you intend to settle the matter of enlightenment point-blank, do not be partial to the pursuit of erudition but forthwith be daring, brave and persistent in your training. Ananda was so certain that something besides the kesa must have been Transmitted to Makakash that he asked, My elder brother in the Dharma, when the World-honoured One Transmitted the kesa of gold brocade to you did He pass on anything else? Makakash recognized that the critical moment had been reached and called out, Ananda! When Ananda acknowledged this, Makakash, in response, said, Chop down the flag pole in front of your temple gate! Responding to his voice, Ananda awakened to his TRUE SELF and the Buddhas Kesa descended naturally onto Anandas head. That golden Kesa is, beyond any doubt, the Kesa that was, is and will be Transmitted by the Seven Buddhas.1 The EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW was not Transmitted to both monks; it was Makakash alone who received Transmission from the Tathagata. Ananda attended on Makakash for twenty years, although he had been entrusted by the Tathagata, before he was given charge of the TRUE LAW and thus Transmitted; as a result, you must understand that our tradition has a Transmission outside of, and apart from, doctrinal teachings, however, in recent times the two have been foolishly considered to be identical. Were Transmission and doctrinal teachings identical, why would Ananda, as an arhant with the three forms of clarity and the six spiritual powers, have received the Tathagatas entrustment (not His Transmission) and be called the Second (not the First) Ancestor? Could anyone now possibly outdo Ananda in desiring to comprehend Scriptural doctrine? Were there someone who surpassed Ananda, we

The Sainted Ananda

15

should have to admit that the comprehended essence of doctrinal teachings is identical with that of our tradition, however, if we should say that the two are simply one and the same, then why would Ananda have bothered to be Makakashs jisha (Abbots attendant) for twenty years and then have the great matter clarified upon hearing the phrase, Chop down your temple flag pole? We must recognize that the comprehended essence of both Scriptures and doctrinal teachings, from the outset, is not to be considered the same as the WAY OF THE ANCESTORS AND MASTERS. It is not that the Buddha was not a true Buddha. Although Ananda served the Buddha as His attendant he had not pierced through to his BUDDHA NATURE , so how could he have Transmitted the MIND-SEAL? You must grasp that realization does not depend on erudition and broad learning. Because you are sharp of mind and keen of ear, you may be able to hear, comprehend and retain all manner of books and sacred teachings without leaving out even a single word but, if you fail to penetrate to their ESSENCE, you are like the one who vainly counts his neighbours treasures. It is not that this ESSENCE does not exist in Scriptures and doctrinal teachings but, regretfully, Ananda had not yet penetrated to IT. How much more do people in China and Japan try to unlock meaning by depending on the words and fail to get to the ESSENCE of Scriptures! You should be well aware that the Buddha Way is not to be treated lightly; Ananda, being thoroughly well-versed in the Buddhas lifetime of sacred teachings, proclaimed them as the Buddhas disciple so who would not go along with what he said? Nevertheless, you should know that, only after he had attended on Makakash as his follower and had his great awakening, did he once again proclaim the teachings and it was just like fire uniting with fire! Clearly, if you want to participate in the true Way, discard your false view of self as well as your old emotions, pride and arrogance and turn the nave mind you had as a child to meeting with the Buddhas WISDOM.

16

Denkroku

As to what is happening in todays story, Ananda had long cherished the notion that there was nothing beyond Makakashs receiving the gold brocade kesa and being the Buddhas disciple however, after having been Makakashs follower and his most intimate attendant, he realized that something more had been communicated. Makakash, recognizing that the time was ripe, called out, Ananda! and, just as an echo follows a cry in a valley, Ananda responded; it was like a spark flying off from a flint. Although Makakash had called out, Ananda! he was not calling Ananda and Anandas responding was not an answer. The matter of chopping down the flag pole in front of the temple gate is as follows. In India the custom was that, when the Buddhas disciples entered into a debate with nonBuddhists, both sides would raise a flag. When one side was bested, their flag was taken down; the defeat was thereby signalled without recourse to sounding drums and bells. In todays story, too, it is as though Makakash and Ananda had raised flags in debate. At this point, were Ananda to emerge victorious, Makakash would have to lower and roll up his flag for, when the one comes forth, the other disappears. In the present story, however, this was not what happened. Makakash is one flag pole and Ananda is another. As long as both are temple flag poles, the UNDERLYING PRINCIPLE will not manifest ITSELF. When one flag pole was, is and will be chopped down, the temples FLAG POLE will manifest. When Makakash instructed Ananda to chop down the flag pole before his temple gate, Ananda had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF because master and disciple had merged in the Way. After this great awakening, Makakash was also chopped down and the mountains and rivers all disintegrated; as a result, the Buddhas Kesa descended naturally onto Anandas head. Based on what is happening in this story, however, do not be content with this glob of red flesh rising

The Sainted Ananda

17

like a wall ten thousand feet high; do not get stuck with being pure and clean! Go on further and know what the ECHO is; all the Buddhas, one after the other, have emerged in the world as Ancestors and Masters and have pointed to IT generation after generation. This is all that matters, IT being Transmitted by IT ; ultimately, it is not what people think it is. Although the globs of red flesh which have manifested as Makakash and Ananda have appeared in the world both as one face and as two faces of THAT PERSON, do not consider that just Makakash and Ananda are of THAT PERSON. Each and every one of you here now is a wall soaring up eight thousand feet, one of the thousand changes and ten thousand transformations of THAT PERSON. If you become conscious of THAT PERSON, you will all, in a twinkling, completely disappear from view so do not seek outside yourselves for a flag pole to chop down. Today, this Japanese descendant of the Mahayana tradition of Daij Monastery wishes once again to append his words. Would you all like to hear them? When the vines have withered, the trees have fallen and the mountains have crumbled away, The valley stream, in cascades, will gush beyond its banks and the very rock will pour forth fire.

1. The following passage appears in the earliest known manuscript copy but is possibly an interpolation as it interrupts the flow of the chapter, however it may have been part of Zen Master Keizans original lecture. There are three theories about this Kesa. The first is that the Tathagata was wearing It when He came from the womb; the second is that It was respectfully

18

Denkroku

presented to Him by His guardian deity from the Heaven of Immaculate Dwelling upon His becoming a monk; the third is that It was a cloak proffered to Him by a hunter after He had leapt over the palace wall to seek refuge on Mount Dandoku. There have been several other types of Buddha kesas as well. The kesa passed on from Bodaidaruma to Skei En (C. Tsaohsi Hui-neng), the Sixth Chinese Ancestor, was a midnight blue cotton robe with an azure blue lining added after Bodaidaruma arrived in China; it is now kept in a small shrine beside the Sixth Ancestors stupa and is considered an important national treasure. This is the very kesa of which Nagyaarajuna speaks in his commentary on the Mahaprajnaparamita Scripture where he says, The Tathagata wore a patchwork robe of coarse cloth. Makakashs gold brocade kesa was a felt robe with gold threads woven into it and is the same as that about which one of the Scriptures says, The Buddhas aunt made with her own hands a wool kesa with gold thread added which she gave to the Buddha. These are just a couple among several kesas. In the Scriptures there are numerous stories, like the following, of extraordinary spiritual effects associated with this kesa. Long ago, the Sainted Bashashita, the Twenty-fifth Ancestor, met with difficulties caused by a wicked king who had the kesa thrown into a fire where it shot forth light rays in five hues. After the fire had died out, the Buddhas kesa was unharmed and the king was convinced that it was indeed the Buddhas robe which will be passed on to Maitreya.

The Sainted Shnawashu


CHAPTER 4.

19

THE THIRD ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED SHNAWASHU.


When Shnawashu asked Ananda, What kind of thing is the fundamental UNBORN NATURE of all things? Ananda pointed to the corner of Shnawashus kesa. Then, when he again asked, What kind of thing is the fundamental NATURE OF THE ENLIGHTENED WISDOM of all the Buddhas? Ananda took hold of the corner of Shnawashus kesa and gave it a pull. At that moment Shnawashu had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Shnawashu (S. avsa, He of Hempen Clothing) was a person from Mathura; in India he was called Shanaka which here means He Who Is Naturally Clothed since he was born fully clad; this clothing later proved cool in summer and warm in winter. When his intention to realize enlightenment arose and he left home to become a monk, his clothing spontaneously changed into a kesa just as in the case of the female monk known as She with the Hue of the Lotus who lived during the Buddhas lifetime. This condition was not restricted to his present life for, in a distant past life, Shnawashu had been a merchant who, out of respect, gave a hundred lengths of woolen cloth to a hundred Buddhas; as a result of this, he was naturally clad over many lifetimes. Although people are unclad during the intermediate existencethat period after people die but before they are rebornShnawashu continued to be clothed even during such times. Shanavasa is a Sanskrit term for a type of fibrous grass we call the nine-branched splendour. Whenever a saintly person is born, this grass sprouts up in virgin soil. At the time of Shnawashus birth, this grass also sprouted up, whence his

20

Denkroku

name; he was born after having dwelt in his mothers womb for six years. Some time before this, the World-honoured One, pointing to a verdant grove, commented to Ananda, This grove is named Uruda (S. Urumaa, Enrobed in Excellence). A hundred years after my death there will be a mendicant monk, Shnawashu by name, who will turn THE WHEEL OF THE LAW here. Shnawashu was born there a century later; he received Anandas Transmission and abided in this grove where, by turning THE WHEEL OF THE LAW, he humbled a fire-dragon. In submitting, the fire-dragon gave the grove as an offering, out of deep respect, just as the World-honoured One had accurately predicted. At first Shnawashu was a hermit who lived in the Himalayas; what happened in todays story occurred at the time when he joined Ananda. His question, What kind of thing is the fundamental UNBORN NATURE of all things? is actually one that no one had ever asked before; it was Shnawashu alone who posed it. Everyone has the fundamental UNBORN NATURE of all things but they do not know that they have IT and so they never ask. Why is IT called the UNBORN NATURE ? Even though the myriad phenomena that comprise the universe are all born from IT, this NATURE is, ultimately, not something that is born which is why IT is called UNBORN NATURE. Therefore everything is completely the fundamental UNBORN NATURE ; a mountain is not a mountain and a river is not a river; this is why Ananda pointed to the corner of Shnawashus kesa. Kesa (S. kaya from which it comes) means muddied colour or the colour of the UNBORN. You should actually not look upon it in terms of colour. One way to regard it is as the colouration of the outer karmic conditions and the inner karmic tendencies of everything from the Buddhas on high down to the mole-crickets, ants, mosquitoes and horseflies. As they are not sounds, forms and colours however, there are no

The Sainted Shnawashu

21

three realms of desire, form and beyond form to abandon and no fruition of the Way to attest to. Although Shnawashu comprehended the matter in this way, he nevertheless put a second question to Ananda, What kind of thing is the fundamental NATURE OF THE ENLIGHTENED WISDOM of all the Buddhas? From the limitless stretch of time of past aeons, this NATURE has been unmistakable but our vision will be fatally obstructed if, at some time, we do not recognize ITS existence. To be clear, therefore, as to the place from whence the Buddhas come, Shnawashu put the question as he did. In order to get him to know that, in response to his call, BUDDHA answers and, in response to his knock, BUDDHA appears, Ananda deliberately took hold of the corner of Shnawashus kesa and gave it a pull; at that moment Shnawashu had his great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Truly, even though this NATURE has been unmistakable from the limitless past, if you do not experience IT at least once, you will not know that you yourself are the mother of the enlightened wisdom of all Buddhas. This is why all the Buddhas, one after the other, have appeared in the world, and the Ancestors and Masters, generation after generation, have pointed IT out. The PROFOUNDLY ALONE DHARMA is not something that you confer on another or receive from another, that would be like searching your face to find your nose. The practice of meditation must be your very own training in enlightenment. When you fully awaken to your TRUE SELF, you will meet that PERSON; if you fail to meet HIM, you will be like a restless, disembodied spirit vainly clutching at reeds or clinging to trees for support. Truly, lest you practise your meditation to no avail and spend your life in vain, you should clarify what todays story of Shnawashu is about. Do not waste your time giving forth opinions on whether things arise independent of cause or are predestined; do not put your own self-centered views or your attachments to the past foremost.

22

Denkroku

Should you entertain the notion that since the Way of the Buddhas and Ancestors selects individuals according to their innate capabilities, there is no place where I am equal to the task, you should know that, of all foolish ideas, this is the most foolish. Who amongst the ancients was a person not born of father and mother? Who did not desire affection or crave fame and gain? Nevertheless, once they had undertaken to practise, to be sure they practised thoroughly. From India to our country, therefore, even though the length of the three periods of teaching, the authentic, the superficial and the degenerate, may differ, the saintly and wise, who have proven fruit of their spiritual realization, rival mountains in greatness and fill oceans; thus, you, who all possess sight and hearing, are no different from the ancients. Wherever you may go, in truth, you are this PERSON and you are Makakash and Ananda; since the four elements have never changed and the five skandhas are still five, how can you possibly be different from the ancients when it comes to the Way? By failing to penetrate to this PRINCIPLE and to carry through with practice in the Way, not only will you, to no purpose, completely lose your human body but you will ultimately fail to realize that there is the TRUE SELF. Having had the Buddha pass on to him that he was not to behave idly in this regard, Ananda took Makakash as a second teacher and also accepted Shnawashu as his disciple for, thereby, the Way of master and disciple was Transmitted. The EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW, the wondrous HEART of nirvana, which has flowed down to us in this manner has in no way differed from when the Buddha was in this world, therefore do not feel bitter or regret that you were not born in the land where the Buddha lived; do not be sad that you never met the Buddha whilst He was alive. Long, long ago you set down good roots in great abundance and created strongly favourable conditions for acquiring spiritual wisdom; as a

The Sainted Ubakikuta

23

result, you are now gathered here into the community of Daij Monastery: truly it is as though you are standing shoulder to shoulder with Makakash and kneeling knee to knee with Ananda. Although we may be host and guest for just this one day, in a later life we will be Buddhas and Ancestors. Do not get all wrapped up in past and present feelings. Do not stagnate in the phenomena of sound, colour and form. Do not pass your days and nights idly. Carefully practise and train in the Way that you may realize the ULTIMATE REALM of the ancients and receive the Seal and prediction of Buddhahood this very day. As I wish to make clear what is happening in the present story, here again are my humble words. Do you wish to hear them? From atop a ten-thousand-foot cliff the WATER WITHOUT SOURCE, Piercing through rock, sweeping away clouds, comes seething and gushing forth; Though scattering the snow and flower petals, making them fly in wild disorder, This CLOTH-LIKE STRIP, pure white as cotton, Is beyond the drab world of dust.

CHAPTER 5.

THE FOURTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED UBAKIKUTA.


Ubakikuta attended Shnawashu for three years before he shaved his head and became a mendicant monk. One day, Shnawashu asked him, Did you leave home to become a monk in body or in mind? Ubakikuta answered, I truly left home to become a monk in body. Shnawashu said, What

24

Denkroku

does the wondrous LAW of the Buddhas possibly have to do with body or mind? whereupon Ubakikuta had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Ubakikuta (S. Upagupta, The Concealed One) was from the kingdom of Dali (S. Ptaliputra) and was a member of the serving caste; he came to train under Shnawashu when he was fifteen and, at seventeen, became a monk. When he was twentytwo, he showed the fruit of enlightenment. Whilst travelling about converting others, he arrived at Mathura and the number that he led into monastic life was extremely large; as a result, the demon palace so trembled and quaked that Mara, The One Who Delights in Destruction, became anxious and fearful. Each time that someone realized the TRUTH Ubakikuta would throw a bamboo tally, that was a hands span in length, into his stone hut which was eighteen ells deep and twelve ells wide, one ell being equal to one forearm. At his cremation these tallies, which he had accumulated during his lifetime of leading others into monastic life, were burned along with his body. The number of those that he had so led was just as great as that when the Tathagata was in the world, therefore everyone called him The Excellent Buddha Who Shows Not One of the Major or Minor Marks. Mara, moved by resentment, watched and waited for some occasion when Ubakikuta was in samadhi so that he, Mara, could exercise all his destructive powers and thereby interfere with the True Law, but Ubakikuta, whilst in samadhi, observed what he was up to. When Mara espied his chance and, stealthily carrying a jewelled necklace, placed it around Ubakikutas neck, the saintly one conceived of a way to subdue him. Rising from his samadhi, he chose the corpses of a human, a dog and a snake and transformed them into a flowering wreath. Speaking gently, he pacified Mara, saying, You have presented me with a jewelled necklace which is truly singular and wondrous;

The Sainted Ubakikuta

25

I have a flower wreath which I wish to give you in recompense. Mara was greatly pleased and stretched forth his head to receive it whereupon it reverted to the three foul-smelling corpses which festered with crawling vermin and maggots. Terribly distressed by this, Mara was filled with loathing and disgust but, though he employed all his destructive powers, he could not get rid of it by either disentangling himself from it or shifting it onto Ubakikuta. Seeking release from it, he rose up through the six heavens of the realm of desire telling all the various celestial lords what had happened as well as calling on the Celestial Lord of Purity, Brahma himself. One after the other, the celestial lords told him, This is a spiritual transformation done by one of the Buddhas disciples who has his Lords ten powers. Since we are ordinary and humble beings, how can we remove it? When Mara said, Then what, pray, am I to do? Brahma replied, You must take refuge with, and surrender your heart to, Ubakikuta; then you will be able to rid yourself of it. Brahma then spoke this verse, offering its merit for Maras benefit, If, due to the mundane, you fall, Then, by means of the mundane, must you rise; Were you to seek to rise by keeping aloof from the mundane, This would ultimately be contrary to TRUTH. Return and seek your deliverance from the disciple with the ten powers. Having received these instructions, Mara departed from the celestial palace and, filled with remorse and repentance, prostrated himself at Ubakikutas feet. The saintly one said, From this time forward will you ever again try to make sport of, or interfere with, the True Law of the Tathagata? Mara replied, I vow not to. I offer the merit of this vow to the Buddhas Way and, for evermore, I will cease from doing what is not

26

Denkroku

good. Ubakikuta said, If this is so, you must, on your own, say openly that you take refuge in the Three Treasures. The demon king, hands in gassh, chanted the Three Refuges thrice and the wreath completely went away. This is how Ubakikuta showed the awesome effects of the Buddha Dharma just as the Tathagata had done during His earthly sojourn. When, at seventeen, Ubakikuta shaved his head, Shnawashu asked him, Did you leave home to become a monk in body or in mind? For Buddhist monks there have always been two ways of leaving home, in body and in mind. Leaving home in body means that they have cast off feelings of obligatory ties and affectionate cravings, separated themselves from home and native place, shaved their heads, dyed their robes, refrained from keeping male or female servants, have become either a male or female monk and thereafter continue to persevere in their practice of the Way twenty-four hours a day. As a result of this, whatever the time, they do not pass it in idleness nor do they wish for anything other than what they have; they do not take satisfaction in being alive or fear death for their minds are as pure and innocent as the autumn moon, their eyes as clear and undimmed as a bright mirror. They do not seek after the ETERNAL or hanker for their BUDDHA NATURE ; they neither sanctify TRUTH nor attach themselves to worldly matters. Behaving in this way, they do not abide in the states that ordinary people stay in or embroil themselves with those of clever and worldly-wise ranks but, indeed, are followers of the Way that goes beyond the human mind. These are the ones who have left home in body. Those who have left home in mind do not shave their heads or dye their robes; even though they reside at home and remain with their worldly toils, they are like lotuses unsullied by the dirt of life or jewels undulled by worldly dust. Even though they may have karmic ties, such as a spouse and children, they look upon them as if they were refuse or dust; they do not give

The Sainted Ubakikuta

27

way to a lustful heart even for a moment nor are they ever covetous. Seeing what is tranquil, whilst living within the clamour of the market-place, they are as the moon hanging in space or a ball rolling around on a tray. Whilst being in the midst of the three worlds, they have a clear understanding of THAT which is beyond time. They have realized that attempting to cut themselves off from, or do away with, defiling passions is what sickness is and see clearly that trying to devise an idea of what ULTIMATE REALITY is is a perversion; nirvana, as well as birth and death, are, for them, but empty flowers of the mind and they are not controlled by attachment to either enlightenment or defiling passions. Such are those who have left home in mind. It was this understanding that lay behind Shnawashus asking Ubakikuta whether he had left home in body or in mind for, if it were not the one or the other, then his leaving home would not be a true leaving home to become a monk, hence Shnawashus question however, Ubakikuta replied, I truly left home in body. In saying this he was not thinking about Mind or expounding on the Buddha Nature or talking about That Which Is Profound and Mysterious; he just knew that what left home to become a monk was a body composed of the four elements and the five skandhas. Without carrying anything around with him, he was able to arrive at the TRUTH and, therefore, clarify for himself what absolute freedom (J. nyoi soku; S. ddi-pda) really is; he had realized IT without seeking for IT and therefore was clear about THAT WHICH IS BEYOND ATTAINING which is why he said that he had left home in body. An explanation is needed, however, from the stand-point of the wondrous LAW of the Buddhas, which is why, in order to point to the TRUTH, Shnawashu had said that none of the Buddhas had left home in body or in mind nor, in fact, should they be viewed or attested to thus; they were, are and will be liberated along with the holy and the mundane, the

28

Denkroku

wise and the foolish. Having dropped off body and mind alike, they are like empty space which has no inside or outside, they resemble the water in the ocean which has neither surface nor interior. Even though the innumerable wondrous principles and the untold Dharma-gates come in a thousand different ways with ten thousand variations, Shnawashu expounded only this one issue. Do not say that the words spoken by Siddhartha at his birth, Only I alone am honoured, refers to His becoming a Buddha since the phrase actually means Only the I alone is honoured. Do not say that there is no coming or going. Who can speak of the time before father and mother were invented or of the time before the period of cosmic emptiness? When you reach this state, you transcend both birth and no-birth and are liberated from both mind and no-mind. IT is like water conforming to the shape of a vessel, like space following the contours of an object: though you may grasp at IT, your hand will never be filled with IT, though you may search for IT, you will find no trace of IT this is the wondrous LAW of the Buddhas. When you reach this stage, Ubakikuta has never existed and Shnawashu has never come about so there is nothing to discuss in terms of movement or stillness, coming or going. Even though there is an is and an is not as well as an other and a self, they are as sounds at the bottom of the ocean or resemble the unboundedness within space. If you do not personally experience this at least once, then even the millions of Dharma Gates and the incalculable number of wondrous principles will be nothing more useful than the streaming of past life karma into consciousness. When Shnawashu thus spoke about this, Ubakikuta immediately awoke to his TRUE SELF just like a raging fire spewing forth from the great earth. Once the thunderclap had resounded, not only were the roots of Ubakikutas hearing severed but the roots of his very life were instantly forfeit. The

The Sainted Daitaka

29

raging fire suddenly blazed up and the Dharma-gate of the Buddhas, along with the true countenance of the Ancestors and Masters, was completely reduced to ashes. When these ashes appeared, they were given the name of the Sainted Ubakikuta; they were as hard as a rock and as black as lacquer. In ridding so many people of their true self, smashing their whole bodies to bits, he idly calculated emptiness by tossing the tallies into his stone hut, and left behind traces of emptiness by incinerating emptiness. Today this descendant of the Mahayana tradition of Daij Monastery feels that he would like to search beyond the clouds for those traces and paste up some words on the azure sky. Would you all like to hear them? With the house demolished and the self oerthrown, no inside or outside remains So where, pray, are body and mind to conceal their forms?

CHAPTER 6.

THE FIFTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED DAITAKA.


Daitaka said, The one who leaves home to become a monk has no attachment to a self or to a world of selves; his Original Nature is not born nor does It perish, this is the way things are in truth. All the Buddhas are also just like this; Their Original Nature has no form or characteristics and Their bodies are no different. Ubakikuta said, You must awaken to your own TRUE SELF ; you must penetrate all the way to IT ! whereupon Daitaka had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF.

30

Denkroku

Daitaka was from the kingdom of Magadha and, just after he was born, his father dreamt that a golden sun shone forth from his house illumining the heavens and the earth with its splendour whilst, before him, rose a huge mountain bedecked with all manner of jewels; atop the mountain a spring gushed forth in great abundance, flowing down in all four directions. When Daitaka called upon Ubakikuta for the first time he recounted the above straightway. Ubakikuta interpreted the dream in this manner, I am the large mountain whereas the gushing spring is your giving rise to that enlightened wisdom and discernment whose Teachings are inexhaustible. The sun streaming forth from the house is your present entering the monastic path; the illumination of the heavens and the earth in splendour represents the pre-eminence of your enlightened wisdom and discernment. Although Daitaka was originally named Kz (S. Gandhahastin, He Who Is Like an Impassioned Elephant), his name was changed to Daitaka (S. Dhtika), which in our country means He Who Is Intimate with the Magnanimity of TRUTH, after receiving this interpretation. Upon hearing Ubakikutas interpretation, Daitaka composed this verse which he recited to Ubakikuta, The towering mountain, bejewelled with the seven gems, Ceaselessly gives forth a spring of discerning wisdom; Flowing out, its flavour is that of the true Teaching Whose power liberates all who are karmically drawn to It. Ubakikuta responded with a verse of his own,

The Sainted Daitaka

31

My Teaching will be Transmitted to you So that you may manifest your great wisdom and benevolence Just as the golden sun shone forth from the house To illumine all heaven and earth with its splendour. Thereupon Daitaka paid reverence to Ubakikuta and became his follower, immediately seeking to leave home and become a monk. Ubakikuta asked him, Since your intention is to leave home to become a monk, are you leaving home in body or in mind? Daitaka replied, I am seeking to leave home for the sake of neither body nor mind. Ubakikuta said, If you are not seeking to leave home for the sake of your body or your mind, who, then, is leaving home? Daitaka answered as in the opening story, and continued until he had his great awakening to his TRUE SELF. One who has truly left home reveals the SELF which is selfless therefore IT is not something to be differentiated in terms of body or mind. This SELF which is selfless is nothing other than the way things are in TRUTH for IT is not something measurable in terms of life or its cessation, hence IT is neither the Buddhas nor sentient beings and is in no way the four elements or any of the five skandhas, to say nothing of the three worlds of time or the six realms of existence, for ORIGINAL NATURE has no form or characteristics. Even though there is seeing and hearing as well as experiencing and comprehending, in the last analysis, IT is neither something that comes and goes nor something that moves or is still. He who has come to see things in this way, that is, the sort of person who has an understanding of Original Nature, is still one who, it must be said, has worked things out on the basis of hearsay. Although Daitaka had resolved matters in this way, Ubakikuta, in order to point this out, said, You must awaken to your own TRUE SELF and you must penetrate all the way to IT ! This resembles the putting of the imperial seal on commercial goods;

32

Denkroku

when you see the royal seal, you know that the object is not poisonous, mislabelled or restricted to official use and is therefore available for anyone to make use of; this is the way things are when the paths of master and disciple coincide. Even though, beyond question, you have understood IT in principle and, without a doubt, have clarified that IT is the Way, nevertheless, only when you have had a great awakening to your TRUE SELF will you, of necessity, realize what IT is for the very first time. If you have never awakened to your TRUE SELF, you will be an outsider with a useless intellectual grasp, one who has not penetrated to his very foundation. If, therefore, you have still not escaped from your own views of what Buddha is and your own opinions of what Teaching is, when will you be free from your bondage to self and other? Even though you do not leave out a single word of what the Buddha bequeathed from His forty-nine years of preaching, do not stumble over a single teaching with regard to the Three Vehicles for carrying someone to the Other Shore and the Five Vehicles of practice which convey one to more karmically favourable rebirths, it would be nigh on impossible to acknowledge you as a real monk if you have never had a great awakening to your TRUE SELF. Even though you may be able to lecture on a thousand Scriptures and ten thousand commentaries so effectively that you get a Buddha to respond by appearing before your audience, make the whole earth tremble and shake for them and cause heavenly flowers to rain down in profusion upon them, you still have the perspective of a lecturer and are not yet a real monk. Do not try to comprehend what a Scriptural phrase, such as the three temporal worlds are nothing but Mind and all phenomena are themselves Ultimate Reality, means; do not try to understand all things have the Buddha Nature or all is absolutely empty and quiescent for then a term like Ultimate Reality will still be involved in some speculative form of

The Sainted Daitaka

33

category; all is empty will be no different from nihilism, all things having the Buddha Nature will resemble the notion of a soul and nothing but Mind will not escape confusion with discriminative thought. If someone, wishing to search after the great matter, seeks for IT within the thousand Scriptures and the ten thousand commentaries, alas, he is like the prodigal fellow in the Lotus Scripture who abandoned his father and ran off in all directions. At the moment, therefore, when each of you, one by one, opens wide the Treasure House and carries out the whole of the GREAT CANON, the Holy Scriptures will naturally be yours. If you do not approach the matter in this way, the Buddhas and Ancestors will be as enemies to you: this is why the monk Godai Hima (C. Wu-tai Pi-mo) said, What deceiving demon urged you to leave home and become a monk? What evil creature counselled you to journey abroad seeking a teacher? Whether you can say what IT is or not, you will perish beneath my staff! Because Daitaka understood in this way he said that his leaving home to become a monk was not for the sake of his body or his mind for, though he had worked out the matter in this way, he was still not a real monk. When Ubakikuta again pointed out the Way to him, he awoke to his TRUE SELF and succeeded in piercing through to the TRUTH. Therefore, O virtuous monks, carefully practise in the Way and be meticulous in your endeavour. Never depend on the written word to unravel meaning or depend on acquired knowledge to discern the spiritual; completely demolish such concepts as Heaven and Earth, the sacred and the mundane and external karmic conditions and internal karmic tendencies, then, even though you move back and forth between past and present, you will meet not the least shred of obstruction and, even though you go seeking wisdom from those above you or give spiritual succour to those below you, there will not be the slightest disparity between the two. Make a hole in emptiness, make

34

Denkroku

waves on the barren earth, catch sight of the Buddhas FACE , experience for yourselves the path of waking to your TRUE SELF, to your own bright ORIGINAL NATURE . Just as a bottlegourd becomes entwined in its own vines and a jewel becomes encircled with a halo of light, so will you, personally and directly, know THAT which lies within the Hall of the Buddhas and Ancestors and immediately realize IT for yourself. I would venture to append my humble words to todays story. Do you wish to hear them? Reach the VERY MARROW and you will know the splendour and clarity of THAT which you have realized; Even so, the master artisan Lun-pien encountered such wondrous subtleties that they lay beyond his expression!

CHAPTER 7.

THE SIXTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED MISHAKA.


One day, Daitaka said, The Buddha said, When one pursues the supernormal powers of a rishi or devotes himself to the study of the Lesser Vehicle, he becomes like someone entangled in, and dragged along by, a rope. Know for yourself that, when you leave such rivulets behind, you immediately arrive at the GREAT OCEAN; by all means, confirm the UNBORN for yourself. Mishaka, as a result, had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Mishaka (S. Micchaka, He Who Knows Pain) came from Central India and was the leader of eight thousand rishis, that is, Indian holy men who live as hermits and cultivate

The Sainted Mishaka

35

supernormal powers. One day, with his followers in tow, he came to pay his respects to Daitaka, saying, Long ago in a previous life we two were born in Brahmas heaven. Upon meeting the rishi Ashita (S. Asita), I received his training in supernormal powers whilst you came in contact with one of the Buddhas disciples who had the ten powers and learned how to practise meditation; after that, our karmic paths diverged and six aeons have now passed since we went our separate ways. Daitaka said, So many aeons have we indeed withstood our separation! How true your words; no falsehood in them. Now you can abandon your pursuit of supernormal powers and return to the Upright Way thereby entering the Buddhas Vehicle. Mishaka replied, In that distant past Ashita made a prediction that after six aeons I would meet a former fellow student and realize the fruits of immaculacy. Now, indeed, we have met face to face, surely this is a karmic connection from our past lives. I humbly pray that you, Reverend Monk, out of your compassion and benevolence, will liberate me. Daitaka ordained him as a monk, giving him the full Precepts. At first the rest of the band of rishis were haughty and filled with conceit but, when Daitaka displayed his great spiritual faculties, they all gave rise to the intention of realizing enlightenment and the desire to become monks; thus the eight thousand rishis became eight thousand mendicant monks. It was on the occasion of their becoming monks and followers of Daitaka that he spoke the words quoted above and, as a result of hearing this, Mishaka realized his TRUE SELF. Even though, through a study of the way of the rishi, you may succeed in prolonging your life and acquire astounding uses of spiritual powers, you will only attain a thorough knowledge of the past eighty thousand aeons and the future eighty thousand but you will never be able to consider anything more remote either before or after then. Even if you train yourself to abide in a state where there are no intentional discriminations and only naturally arising thoughts, or enter into the samadhi

36

Denkroku

that goes beyond all mental thoughts, alas, you will simply be reborn in the celestial world of no perception and become a long-lived heavenly being; although you may have been able to dispose of your corporeal body, you will still be subject to an influx into your consciousness of past life karma and will not be able to come in contact with a Buddha or persevere in the Way. When the effects of this past life karma are exhausted you will fall into the Avichi Hell of incessant suffering, therefore you will be as one entangled in, and dragged along by, a rope, a state which is decidedly not liberation. Those who study the Lesser Vehicle may realize the first, second, third and fourth fruits as well as the self-enlightenment of a pratyekabuddha but this is still training within body and mind, practice of the Way within the duality of delusion and enlightenment. Saintly ones who realize the first fruits become Bodhisattvas who arouse their first intention to realize enlightenment once eighty thousand aeons have passed; those who realize the second fruits become such Bodhisattvas once sixty thousand aeons have passed; those who realize the third fruits become such Bodhisattvas once forty thousand aeons have passed. Pratyekabuddhas enter the Way of the Bodhisattvas once ten thousand aeons have passed; although they return as Bodhisattvas due to good conditions from their past lives, their turning of the wheel of karma has, unfortunately, not ended. This, too, resembles being entangled in, and dragged along by, a rope for they are not a genuinely liberated persons. Even though you actually destroy not only the eighty-eight defilements which arise from opinions and personal concepts but also the subtler defilements as well as untold delusions so that not a speck of dust finds a place to perch or a shred of delusion remains, this is an effort that is tied to phenomena and does not constitute the immaculate fruit of Buddhahood; such spiritual practices as going back to the Root, returning to the Source, waiting for enlightenment and keeping to the rules

The Sainted Mishaka

37

are all completely akin to this kind of effort. O monks, do not long for emptiness or else, sad to say, you will be like those non-Buddhists who fall into the bottomless void of nihilism. Do not tarry in the beginningless past before the period of cosmic emptiness for this is like being a dead person whose vital spirit has still not completely departed. Do not contemplate bringing to a halt the empty flowers of illusory phenomena in order to reach the True Nature of Reality for this is akin to the saintly person who would annihilate ignorance in order to realize enlightenment thereby giving rise to clouds where none exist, creating flaws in that which is flawless; such a one is no different than the person who, having left home to wander in foreign lands, becomes a penniless outsider drunk on the wine of his own ignorance and delusion. Do you believe that, because you are a somebody, there is any need to speak of before birth and after death? What past, present and future exists? For vast aeons there has never, not even for a second, been any disparity; from birth to death there is only THAT WHICH IS; nevertheless, if you do not personally experience IT at least once, you will be led by your senses and their objects into vain delusion without your ever knowing the TRUE SELF ; you will be alienated from THAT which is right before your eyes; you will not know from whence arises body and mind or understand from whence flow out the myriad phenomena; for no apparent reason you will decide to sweep away one thing and desire to seek after another. As a result, you have kept the Buddha busy appearing in the world and have induced the Ancestors and Masters to obligingly confer the Precepts on you but, even though they hand you the Precepts, you remain deluded by your own personal views, replying that you did not know or do not understand. Actually, you are neither in the real darkness of ignorance nor, like a box with its lid, are you in real contact with the TRUTH but idly reside within your own opinions and judgments, discriminating between right and wrong.

38

Denkroku

Do you not realize that all of you respond when called to and go where you are pointed toward? This is not something that arises from discriminative thought or from the natural responses of consciousness for, beyond question, the you is THE LORD OF THE HOUSE . That LORD has neither countenance nor bodily features yet there is no time when HE ceases to move. As a result, this LORD comes forth and is given the name of body. After this body has appeared, the four elements and the five skandhas, the eighty-four thousand pores and the three hundred and sixty bones join together and the you is a body just as a jewel has its sparkle or a sound is armed with its echo. Therefore, from the coming into birth to the going into death, there is never a moment when you lack anything, never a moment when you have any excess. With such birth and death as this, though you are born, your birth has no beginning, though you die, your death leaves no traces; you are no different from waves in the ocean which rise and fall, leave behind no mark yet never cease in their rising and falling: they subside yet, in their subsiding, they go to no special place; such is the ocean, large and small waves arise ceaselessly. THE LORD OF THE HOUSE is no different; never does HE cease in HIS moving. HE manifests HIMSELF as skin, flesh, bones and marrow and uses HIMSELF as the four elements and the five skandhas. HE manifests as peach blossoms and green bamboo as well as the apprehension of TRUTH and the clarification of what ORIGINAL NATURE is. HE works in all sorts of sounds, colours and forms and is apprehended in different ways through seeing and hearing. HE functions as wearing clothes and eating food and operates as speech and action. HE divides and, though divided, is not separated from HIMSELF ; HE appears and, though visible, is not limited to any physical form or by any characteristic. HE resembles a stage illusionist performing his various illusory arts or as someone giving rise to divers images in a dream. Within a mirror ten thousand forms may

The Sainted Mishaka

39

go through a thousand changes and a myriad transformations but, if you do not know that it is still only a mirror and therefore vainly pursue supernormal powers or devote yourself to the study of the Lesser Vehicle, you have no chance of being liberated. O monks, nothing fetters you, so what need is there to be released? From the first there has been no delusion or enlightenment, no bondage or liberation. Is this not what the UNBORN is? Is this not what the GREAT OCEAN is? Where are there any rivulets? All lands, countless as the particles of dust or as the atoms in those particles, are the OCEAN OF THE DHARMAREALM. The flowing forth of valley streams, the cascading of waterfalls, the snaking of rivers are all but lively shifts on the surface of this OCEAN. There is no rivulet to abandon, no GREAT OCEAN that need be gained. As this is the way it is, all of Mishakas misunderstandings straightened out on their own and his former opinions, all at once, changed; he abandoned his pursuit of supernormal powers and became a monk which is nothing more than an emergence of his past life karma. If you practise in this way, come what may, so that what is in your mind corresponds with what you say, it will truly be like old and dear friends meeting face to face, SELF nodding to SELF. All of you will swim together in the OCEAN OF ORIGINAL NATURE without ever, not even for an instant, being separated or estranged from each other. If you are, in truth, so deeply moved that you explode into awareness, then this must be your past life karma manifesting itself. Do you not see this? As Great Master Baso (C. Ma-tsu) said, No sentient being has, for untold aeons, ever left the samadhi of DHARMA NATURE . Since we are always in the samadhi of DHARMA NATURE , we wear clothes and eat food, converse and make respectful replies, for the functioning of the six sense organs and the carrying out of all activities are, without exception, nothing but the DHARMA NATURE . Hearing what he is saying, do not take it to mean that

40

Denkroku

sentient beings have an existence within a Dharma Nature. To distinguish between Dharma Nature and sentient beings is like distinguishing between water and waves; we may use the words water and waves in our speech but, really, how much difference is there between the two? This morning, in order to explain what is happening in this story here are, once more, my humble words. Do you in the community wish to hear them? Even though there may be an everyday purity, silt-clear as a rivers water in autumn, How can it possibly compare with a luminous spring night, the moon softened by haze? Many are the houses where people thus speak, yearning for a spotlessly clean life But, however much they sweep this way and that, their hearts are still not emptied and clear.

CHAPTER 8.

THE SEVENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BASHUMITSU.


Bashumitsu placed his wine cup before Mishaka, prostrated himself and then arose whereupon Mishaka asked him, Is this VESSEL yours or mine? Whilst Bashumitsu was reflecting on this, Mishaka said, If you consider the cup to be mine, it is your Original Nature; if, on the other hand, the vessel is yours, it is fitting that you receive my Teaching. Upon hearing this Bashumitsu awoke to his UNBORN ORIGINAL NATURE . Bashumitsu (S. Vaumitra, He Who Is an Excellent Friend) was from Northern India, a member of the Harada clan (S. Bhradvja, Those as Swift as a Skylark); always

The Sainted Bashumitsu

41

immaculately dressed and with a wine cup in hand, he would wander about the villages humming or whistling. As people were wont to call him bizarre, he did not tell them his name. When Mishaka was travelling about converting others, he arrived in Northern India where he saw an auspicious goldenhued cloud rising above the citys parapets. Mishaka addressed his followers saying, This is the aura of a man of the Way, undoubtedly the Noble One who will inherit my Teaching. He had barely finished speaking when Bashumitsu arrived and asked him, Do you know what I have in my hand? Mishaka replied, It is an unclean vessel since it stands against the ONE THAT IS IMMACULATE . Bashumitsu placed his wine cup before Mishaka and what is related above happened up to the point where Bashumitsu awoke to his UNBORN ORIGINAL NATURE . At that moment the wine cup suddenly vanished. Mishaka said, If you tell me your name, I will undertake to describe the past life causes that lay at the root of our meeting. Bashumitsu answered in verse, For aeons beyond reckoning Up to my present birth in this land, My family name has been Harada, My personal name Bashumitsu. Mishaka said by way of explanation, My Master Daitaka told me that, when the World-honoured One was travelling through Northern India, He told Ananda, Within this country, three hundred years after my parinirvana, there will be a saintly one whose family name is Harada and whose personal name will be Bashumitsu; he will become the Seventh Ancestor in the lineage of the Meditation tradition. As the World-honoured One deigned to predict this of you, you should, in response, leave home and become a monk. Upon hearing this, Bashumitsu said, I recollect that once, during a former aeon, I acted as a donor who presented a Tathagata with a jewel. That Buddha made me a prediction saying, You will continue the saintly line

42

Denkroku

within the Dharma of Shakyamuni Buddha during His fortunate aeon. Bashumitsu promptly took his place as the seventh in the line of Ancestors. Before Bashumitsu had encountered Mishaka he had carried his wine cup around with him throughout the whole of the day without ever letting go of it. In truth, it was an expression of him for he felt he could not possibly do without this cup morning or night; he made liberal use of it: indeed, he was that cup! This is why, at the very start of his training under Mishaka, he asked, Do you know what I have in my hand? Even though you already comprehend what mind is enlightenment really means and are clear about what body is Buddha signifies, you are still an unclean vessel and, therefore, as an unclean vessel, you are, without doubt, standing against the ONE THAT IS IMMACULATE . Even though you know for certain that IT has existed from the past to the present and have discovered for yourselves that, from the first, IT is sufficient, you are all unclean vessels so what is this past you speak of or this present? What is this beginning that you talk of or this yet to come? Such personal views, of necessity, stand against the ONE THAT IS IMMACULATE . Once Bashumitsu heard of, and realized, the superiority of this PRINCIPLE , he put down his wine cup as an expression of his return to the ONE THAT IS IMMACULATE . Because of this, Mishaka asked him, Is this VESSEL yours or mine? This is actually not a question about something being in the past or the present nor is it separate from a spacial perspective of something that comes and goes. At this moment can one say whether IT is mine or yours? Whilst Bashumitsu was reflecting on its being neither mine nor yours, Mishaka said, If you consider the cup to be mine, then it is your Original Nature (hence it is not Mishakas VESSEL), if, on the other hand, the vessel is yours, then you shall receive my Teaching, (therefore it is not Bashumitsus CUP). The VESSEL is neither mine nor yours. This is why

The Sainted Bashumitsu

43

the cup is not the VESSEL and why it disappeared from their sight. What is happening in this story, from beginning to end, is truly not something that people today can readily grasp. Even though you train and train until you arrive at that place where not even the Buddhas, Ancestors and Masters have the power to reach, you will still be an unclean vessel and, of necessity, will stand against the ONE THAT IS IMMACULATE . When it comes to the truly PURE ONE , the term immaculacy is inadequate as well as the word vessel. This is why the paths of Master and disciple coincided; the road they traversed was freed of obstacles. Because of this you shall receive my Teaching but, because your ORIGINAL NATURE is yours, there is not a single thing to receive from someone else, not a single thing to be accorded to another. When you have meditated in this way and penetrated deeply into the matter, you can speak of master and disciple; the disciple climbs up above the head of the master whilst the master descends to the disciples feet. At that moment there are not two separate beings and nothing to be differentiated between them. This is why it was nigh on impossible for them to speak of the cup since the cup had disappeared from their sight as an expression of their traversing this path. Today, too, if you can reach this stage, there is no body or mind existing from the past, therefore it is difficult to talk of existing across time from the past to the present; how much less can we speak of birth and death, coming and going! How can there ever have existed skin, flesh, bones and marrow? Truly, this is the realm where emptiness congeals into a single mass without front or back, inside or outside. Today again I wish to take up what is happening in the previous story by appending my humble words. Do you in the community want to hear them?

44

Denkroku

He is like the bell at the break of an August morning which, being struck, reverberates and echoes forth. On such a Festival for the Dead as this, who needs an empty wine cup?

CHAPTER 9.

THE EIGHTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BUTSUDANANDAI.


Upon meeting Bashumitsu, Butsudanandai said, My reason for coming here today is to debate with you as to what Truth is. Bashumitsu responded, Good sir, when there is a debate, then there is no TRUTH ; when there is TRUTH , then there is nothing to debate. If you propose to debate as to what TRUTH is, then there cannot be a debate. Realizing that Bashumitsus TRUTH had bested him, Butsudanandai awoke to the principle of the UNBORN. Butsudanandai (S. Buddhanandi, He Who Is the Joy of the Buddhas) was from Kamala and belonged, like Shakyamuni, to the Gautama clan; upon the crown of his head was a fleshy protuberance (ua); Shakyamuni had one also. His cleverness in debate was unrestrained. Bashumitsu, whilst travelling about converting others, arrived at Kamala to propagate Buddhism. Butsudanandai stood in front of Bashumitsu, who was on his teaching seat, and said, I am called Butsudanandai and my reason for coming here today is to debate with you as to what Truth is. Bashumitsu responded, Good sir, when there is a debate, then there is no TRUTH ; when there is TRUTH , then there is nothing to debate.

The Sainted Butsudanandai

45

Real TRUTH is not debatable and genuine debate is not concerned with TRUTH; therefore, if you attempt to debate as to what TRUTH is, you end up with neither TRUTH nor debate. This is why Bashumitsu said, If you propose to debate as to what TRUTH is, then it will not be a true debate. Ultimately there is not a single thing to consider as TRUTH , not a single thing to debate. For the Buddha there were not two ways of talking, that is, one for expressing TRUTH and one for debating opinions. Seeing the words uttered by the Buddha is seeing the body of the Buddha; to see this Buddha body is to understand what the Buddha spoke with His own tongue. Therefore, even though He taught that ORIGINAL NATURE and the phenomenal world are not two separate entities, this teaching is still not His debating as to what REALITY is. Even if someone asserts that nothing changes, this assertion will still not be the TRUTH . Even though you may say that IT is beyond any words of description or any principle to be manifested, this is still not piercing to the TRUTH. Although He taught that TRUE NATURE is what is REAL and ORIGINAL NATURE is what is ABSOLUTE , this is not debating. Even though you say that the mind and the objects it lights upon have been transcended, this is still not debating what REALITY is. Even if the mind and its objects have not been transcended, this again will not be TRUTH therefore, although He explained the meaning of guest and host and of are one and are the same, this again is not true debating. Even the noble Monjus (S. Majuri) teaching, without using words or speech in the Vimalakirti-Nirdesha Scripture, was not some proclaiming of what REALITY is, nor was the noble Yuimas (S. Vimalakirti) sitting in silence some meaningful discussion of TRUTH. It is as though, having reached this point, Monju was confused over what he saw and Yuima over what he should say. Even less did Sharihotsu (S. riputra), with all his unsurpassed enlightened wisdom and benevolence, or Mokkenren (S. Maudgalyyana; P. Moggallna) with all his

46

Denkroku

unequalled transcendent faculties, ever see this TRUTH even in their dreams; they were just like someone born blind who sees not the colour and shape of things. The Buddha Himself said that BUDDHA NATURE is something that shravakas and pratyekabuddhas do not even dream of. In the chapter on The Tathagatas Nature in the Nirvana Scripture the Buddha says, O good disciples, a BUDDHA NATURE such as this only a Buddha can know; it is beyond the ken of shravakas and pratyekabuddhas. Bodhisattvas in any of the Ten Abiding Places of Bodhisattvic Wisdom, upon seeing a crane far off in the distance, may be uncertain and confused as to whether it is water or a crane that they see. Even though, after giving the matter considerable thought, they conclude that, yes, it is indeed a crane they see, still they lack certainty. In the same chapter of the Nirvana Scripture the Buddha says, O good disciples, consider the analogy of a parched man crossing a vast plain who, spurred by his thirst, wanders off in all directions seeking water when suddenly he sees, far off, a clump of bushes wherein roosts a white crane; the man, in his delirium and agony, is unable to distinguish whether it is a pool of water or a clump of bushes; peering more sharply he sees that it is indeed a white crane and that it is a clump of bushes. O good disciples, any Bodhisattva in the Ten Abiding Places of Wisdom who catches a glimpse of the Tathagatas NATURE and thereby has some knowledge of IT is just like this man. Bodhisattvas in the Ten Abodes are still not completely certain that they have seen BUDDHA NATURE .

The Sainted Butsudanandai

47

In the same chapter of the same Scripture the Buddha says, Even though Bodhisattvas in the Ten Abodes have seen the Tathagatas NATURE within their own beings, again it is still not absolutely clear to them that they have done so. Whilst the Tathagata preaches and, knowing that their own
NATURE exists, such Bodhisattvas say in delight, For untold

aeons we have transmigrated through births and deaths; our failure to discern THAT which eternally abides has been due to our bewilderment and delusion about THAT which is beyond self. Again, in the same chapter of the same Scripture, the Buddha says, Although they are within the Ten Abodes, they still cannot see the BUDDHA NATURE in all respects. Once the Tathagata has explained the matter, they are able to see a little of IT ; once Bodhisattvas and Mahasattvas succeed in seeing IT, then they exclaim with deep and selfless feeling, How exceedingly wondrous IT is! O World-honoured One, we have undergone untold births and deaths, constantly bewildered about THAT which lies beyond self. Even though you say that you have cut yourself free from seeing and hearing, forgotten about body and mind, stayed aloof from delusion and enlightenment and kept clear of defilement and purity, you cannot see this TRUTH even in your dreams, therefore do not seek IT by turning toward emptiness or search for IT in forms, to say nothing of hunting for IT in Buddhas and Ancestors! O monks, for vast aeons up to this very day, how many cycles of birth and death have you passed through? How many times have body and mind come to arise and disappear? On the other hand, you may feel that the coming and going of this cycle

48

Denkroku

of birth and death is but a dream, an hallucination, a phantasm. How comical! What kind of fairy tale is this? In the first place, is there any person that comes and goes through birth and death? What does real human existence mean? What are you referring to as a dream, an hallucination, a phantasm? Do not conceive of existence as a sham or as a reality. If you reach a state where you think of it as a sham or as a reality then this is false through and through. It is imperative that you resolve this prime matter by penetrating deeply into IT through meditation; do not deceive yourself by imagining that such a place is to be reached by equating IT with emptiness or with absoluteness. Even though you are certain about ITS being like untroubled water pure and clear, or like the empty sky unstained with pollution, you have still not succeeded in clarifying what this PLACE is. The Reverend Monk Tzan (C. Tung-shan), who trained under Isan (C. Kuei-shan) and Ungan (C. Yun-yen), said that, when he suddenly became one with the myriad phenomena, everything in the whole universe preached the Dharma; nevertheless, this was still not good enough. As a result, Ungan, out of his compassion, urged him on, saying, You must take care to attend to this great matter. As a consequence, he separated himself from Ungan for a while since doubt still remained; whilst on his way to other parts, he was crossing a river when he saw his reflection in the water and promptly realized the TRUTH whereupon he composed this poem: Truly I should not seek for the TRUTH from others For then IT will be far from me; Now I am going alone. Everywhere I am able to meet HIM ; HE is ME now, I am not HIM . When we understand this, We are instantaneously with the TRUTH .

The Sainted Butsudanandai

49

Through his understanding the matter in this way, he immediately became, as Ungans heir, the root and foundation of the Tzan line. Moreover, not only did he comprehend that the whole body of the universe preaches the Dharma, but also that the temple pillars and the votive lanterns, as well as every particle of dust, do so; every moment in time does so, every atom does so. Although he said that he had come to realize that everything in the three worlds preaches the Dharma, there was still that PLACE which he had not yet reached and so was urged on by Ungan. People today comprehend through their personal opinions and views that the mind is Buddha or the body is Buddha whilst failing to grasp what the Way of the Buddha is! They see the Way merely as blossoms opening in the spring or as leaves scattering in autumn or think about it as all things are abiding in their natural Dharma state. These views are laughable for, were this what the Buddha Dharma is, why would Shakyamuni have appeared in the world or Bodaidaruma come from the West? From the Venerable Shakyamuni down through the Ancestors and Masters of Tang China and those since, there has been no distinction of rank among the Buddhas and Ancestors. Which did not have a great awakening to his TRUE SELF ? If every one of them had understood what TRUTH is by merely relying on the written word, or considered TRUTH to be a matter for debate, how many Buddhas and Ancestors would there have been? If you discard such notions and train yourself to penetrate to that PLACE , you will quite naturally succeed in becoming one of the Buddhas and Ancestors. Above all, if you do not awaken to your TRUE SELF and pierce through to the Way of the Buddhas and Ancestors, you will not be a REAL PERSON, hence do not abide in absolute purity or in the bright clarity of the immaculacy of emptiness. This is why the Reverend Monk Sensu (C. Chuan-tzu) said, There is a PLACE that has no whereabouts in which to store

50

Denkroku

oneself and do not store a self in that PLACE which has no whereabouts. For thirty years I stayed on Medicine Mountain and was clear only about this one thing: absolute purity is, indeed, not a place in which to store yourself. Although you may say that you have transcended both the mind and the objects it lights upon, still, as Sensu said, do not store yourself in such a place. To reiterate, there is no need to argue over things past and present or debate about delusion and enlightenment. When, through meditation, you have penetrated to IT, there are no walls in all the ten quarters to fall down, no barrier gates in any direction. Everywhere IT is stripped bare and is pure as a dewdrop, therefore act with the utmost care and do not be precipitous. This morning I have some humble words that attempt to break open what is happening in this story. Do you wish to hear them? Subhuti and Vimalakirti did not reach IT through their conversations And Moggallana and Shariputra saw IT as though blind. If anyone personally wishes to understand the meaning of this, When will a pinch of salt to season the experience not be suitable?

The Sainted Fudamitta


CHAPTER 10.

51

THE NINTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED FUDAMITTA.


Fudamitta heard Butsudanandai say in verse, When your speech is congenial with the LORD of your heart, Even the tender affection of parents cannot begin to compare with it; When your actions are in accord with the WAY, The hearts and minds of all the Buddhas will be so also. Should you seek outside yourself for some flesh-and-blood Buddha, He will bear no resemblance to you; Should you wish to perceive your own BUDDHA NATURE , IT will be neither comparable to, nor separate from, His. Thereupon Fudamitta had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Fudamitta (S. Buddhamitra, He Who Is a Friend of the Buddhas) was a member of a merchant family in the country of Deiga (S. Daigya). When Butsudanandai was travelling about converting others, he went by the merchants house in the city of Deiga and saw a white light rising from the top of that dwelling so he said to his followers, There certainly must be a holy person within this house. Untoward words have never passed his lips and thus he is truly a vessel for the Mahayana; knowing that contact would be polluting, he has not permitted his feet to tread through dirt; he will be my Dharma heir. No sooner had he finished speaking than the aged head of the family came out to greet him, saying, What is your wish? Butsudanandai replied, I am seeking an attendant. The old man responded, I have but one child who is already fifty years old and has never spoken an untoward word or taken a wayward

52

Denkroku

step. Butsudanandai said, If he is as you say, then he is truly the disciple I seek. When Fudamitta saw Butsudanandai and his father talking and heard what they said, he suddenly rose to his feet and then, whilst making a prostration, recited the following verse, If my father and mother are not the closest to me, With whom then would I be the closest? If the Buddhas are not those with whom I should tread the Way, With whom then am I to congenially tread the path? Butsudanandai replied with the poem quoted above. Upon hearing that wondrous poem Fudamitta immediately took seven steps and Butsudanandai said, Long ago this child of yours once met a Buddha and made compassionate vows that were great and far reaching; because the renouncing of the loving affections of his parents has been too painful for him even to consider, he has not spoken an untoward word or taken a wayward step. Ones father and mother are truly not ones PARENT and the Buddhas are not the WAY; if you wish to know THAT which is genuinely closest to you, IT is not something to be compared with a father or mother; if you wish to know what the WAY really is, IT is not something that needs learning from the Buddhas. Why is this so? Because you do not need to borrow anothers eyes and ears to see and hear with and others do not need to employ your hands and feet with which to make their movements. Sentient beings are such as they are, Buddhas are such as They are; the former studying the latter, or the latter studying the former, is ultimately not what closeness is. How could such activity possibly be considered the WAY ? Because Fudamitta was maintaining and preserving such a principle, nothing improper passed his lips and his foot took no wayward step whilst some fifty years went by; truly a vessel of

The Sainted Fudamitta

53

Mahayana, he had no wish to abide where contact could defile him. If my father and mother are not the dearest to me were, indeed, your very words, Fudamitta, and they go hand in glove with your mind. In saying If the Buddhas are not the WAY for me you succeeded in not taking a false step, this is indeed your practice and accords with the WAY for to seek outside oneself for a flesh-and-blood Buddha is forthwith not the way to practise. This is why the Ancestors and Masters have carried on our tradition by not depending on texts but directly pointing to ORIGINAL NATURE in another and realizing Buddhahood through seeing their own NATURE. As a consequence they have no other method than to get people to realize IT by directly pointing to IT personally on a one-to-one basis. They proceed simply by having people sit in order to cut the roots of discriminative thinking completely and let the moss grow round their mouths. This does not mean that speech is taboo or silence is to be extolled; it is nothing other than trying to get you to realize that your ORIGINAL NATURE is THAT WHICH IS . ORIGINAL NATURE is like clear water or empty space, pure and still, interpenetrating all things without the least obstruction; there is not a single thing to be revealed outside your own ORIGINAL NATURE , not a single particle of dust to hamper your own TRUE NATURE . ITS brilliance completely surpasses that of any gem; do not liken ITS luminosity to that of sun and moon, do not compare ITS eye with the sparkle of a fiery gem. Have you not seen where it says, The brightness of peoples own brilliance is like the shining of a thousand suns. Those in the dark search for IT outside themselves whereas those who are bright do not even think to look within. Think about this at some quiet and relaxed time: there is nothing to consider within as close, nothing to consider outside as far away. Although it has been this way from past to present, do not let yourself become arrogant or willful. This is why, in all

54

Denkroku

kindliness, Butsudanandai and Fudamitta met each other face to face; in such a way they merely encountered each other which is why they had so few disciples. Clarify this by means of todays story, which is not saying that you must arrive at IT as the result of confirmed practice or that you must investigate IT thoroughly through training and study; to put it simply, your ORIGINAL NATURE is intimate with you and you, beyond any doubt, are the WAY. There is no need to seek for some flesh-andblood Buddha outside yourself, no need to search for some abstract Buddha. There is really no need to ask with whom you are at one or from whom you are separated since, ultimately, there is no being at one with or being separated from. Even though we may speak of IT as body, IT is not separate from us; even though we may speak of IT as Original Nature, IT is not something united with us. Although you arrive at such a realization, do not search for ORIGINAL NATURE outside your body. Even though we are born and die, come and go, this is not something our minds and bodies do. All Buddhas have realized THAT WHICH IS and always attest to IT in the three periods of past, present and future; all Ancestors realize THAT WHICH IS and have thus appeared in the three countries of India, China and Japan. Because all of you good monks will also realize THAT WHICH IS , do not behave outside the proper limits of the Precepts or get confused about what is going on throughout the day and night since the twelve conditions of dependent origination are the turning of the Wheel of the Law. When you reach this REALM, your rebirths through the five other realms of existence are nothing but the revolving of the axle of the Great Vehicle. Receiving the karma from the four forms of birth is undoubtedly the workings of the TRUE SELF. Even though we talk of something being sentient or non-sentient these are different names for the same thing just as the Japanese words me and manako both mean eye: even though we speak of sentient beings and Buddhas the

The Sainted Barishiba

55

difference between them is as that between the Japanese words kokoro and i both of which signify mind; do not think that kokoro is superior since it sometimes signifies ORIGINAL NATURE and i is inferior since it sometimes signifies the discriminative mind. How can you possibly hold the word manako in contempt because it refers to the organ of sight whilst esteeming me which sometimes means spiritual insight? In the last analysis, this REALM is neither some territory delimited by the sense organs and their objects nor some region mapped out by the thinking mind and its ideas. Everyone is, without exception, nothing but the WAY and there is nothing that has ever been other than ORIGINAL NATURE . This morning here again are my humble words which try to point out what is happening in this story. Do you in the community wish to hear them? Do not say that speech or silence is the way to manifest the wondrousness of the HEART For how can your sense organs and their objects ever possibly defile your own SELF NATURE ?

CHAPTER 11.

THE TENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BARISHIBA.


Barishiba faithfully attended on Fudamitta for three years without ever resting. One day Fudamitta was reciting a Scripture and lecturing on the UNBORN; upon hearing this, Barishiba realized enlightenment. Barishiba (S. Prva, He Whose Ribs Remain Upright) was from Central India; his name was originally Nansh

56

Denkroku

(S. Durjata, He Whose Birth Was Difficult); just before he was born, his father dreamt of a white elephant with a jewelled seat on its back; in the seat lay a lustrous pearl the light of which illumined monks and laity, male and female; upon his awakening, his son was born. Fudamitta arrived in Central India whilst travelling about teaching others. At the time a wealthy elder, whose name signified He Who Is a Fragrant Canopy, came with his son and, reverently bowing to Fudamitta, said, My son was in the womb for sixty years, hence he was named He Whose Birth Was Difficult. I once met a rishi who told me that my son was no ordinary person and thus would undoubtedly become a vessel for the Teaching. Now that I have met you, a sainted one, it is proper that he leave home and become a monk. Fudamitta shaved the sons head and gave him the Precepts. Barishiba did not give rise to his resolve to realize enlightenment until he had been in the womb for sixty years and then matured for an additional eighty years for a total of one hundred and forty years; he was already a very old man when he became a very old monk. This is why, when he undertook to arouse his resolve, everyone rebuked him, saying, Since you are already a very old person, why waste your time trying to leave your footprints in the clear stream of the Sangha? After all, there are two types of monks; those who train through meditation and those who chant Scriptures. You are not fit to do either. When Barishiba heard these disparaging remarks made by worldly people he made a vow to himself, saying, I have left home to become a monk; until I have thoroughly studied and mastered the Three Treasure Houses of the Canon and have realized the three types of spiritual clarity, I will not let my ribs touch my mat. Pledging himself in this way, he studied and recited the Scriptures during the day and then meditated, or spent time in reflective recollection, during the night without ever drifting off into sleep.

The Sainted Barishiba

57

When he first undertook to leave home and become a monk an auspicious light illumined wherever he sat and, as a consequence, he felt as though the twenty-one fragments of the Buddhas remains were before his very eyes. Because of his diligent devotion he forgot all about his fatigue during the three years it took him to thoroughly study and master the Three Treasure Houses of the Canon and open himself up to the three types of spiritual clarity. Then one day, whilst Fudamitta was reciting a Scripture and lecturing on the UNBORN, Barishiba realized enlightenment; ultimately he was ranked as the Tenth Ancestor. Understand that Barishiba forgot his fatigue because of his diligent devotion. He studied and recited the Scriptures, as well as meditated and recollected, doing all of this as the meritorious undertakings of a Buddha and Ancestor. The Ancestors and Masters always recited Scriptures as well as lectured on the UNSURPASSED , Scriptures here referring to the genuine Mahayana Scriptures. In like manner Barishiba would never recite anything if it was not a Mahayana Scripture even though it was something that the Buddha had expounded. He never had recourse to a Scripture that was not completely faithful to the TRUTH: true Mahayana Scriptures do not expound on sweeping oneself clean of defiling dirt or talk of ridding ones mind of erroneous concepts. Of necessity, completely faithful Scriptures not only thoroughly clarify abstract principles as well as subtle points of meaning, they also make completely clear the Great Matter that teaches one how to practise. By making completely clear the Great Matter I mean that they explain in full detail how the various Buddhas gave rise to Their resolve to realize enlightenment, how They realized the nirvana of enlightened wisdom and how They preached both the Three Vehicles for conveying sentient beings to the Other Shore, the Five Vehicles for conveying them to their karmic rewards and what the times and places were wherein They lived, as well as the

58

Denkroku

names They went by among other things. This is what being completely faithful means. Be aware that this is what Buddhist Scriptures are like. Even though you can utter a phrase or show familiarity with some principle, it would be all but impossible to acknowledge you as a Buddha and Ancestor if you do not see a whole lifetime of study through to the end, therefore forget your fatigue through your diligent devotion, withdraw from the mundane by giving rise to your resolve to realize enlightenment, abstain from debating and theorizing about training, pursue your meditation and practice with care, examine everything in detail, persist day and night, raise your resolve and awaken your strengths, fully discern why the Buddhas and Ancestors have long cherished the desire to appear in the world and clarify the purpose for which you are responsible. Becoming a Buddha and Ancestor means that never, in your whole life, do you have to say that you did not penetrate to the PRINCIPLE or that you did not make every effort in the great practice. In recent times the Way of the Buddhas and Ancestors has become unfashionable and, inasmuch as practice and study have consequently lost their verity and credibility, there are those who feel that it is enough just to be familiar with some term or well versed in some principle; such trainees are undoubtedly of the same ilk as those arrogant braggarts on Vulture Peak who walked out whilst the Buddha was preaching. Stand in dread of such people! Have you not seen the passage where ry Enan (C. Huanglung Hui-nan) says, The Way is like a mountain which, as you climb it, seems higher and higher; virtue is like an ocean which, as you enter into it, seems deeper and deeper. By entering into what is deep you reach the bottom, by climbing what is high you reach the top; not until then will you be a true disciple, a child of Buddha. Never casually neglect your body and mind since everyone is, through and through, a vessel for the Teaching. Every day is a favourable day!

The Sainted Barishiba

59

You will be someone who penetrates all the way to IT or not simply on the basis of whether you practise carefully or not; it is not a question of someone being chosen or some time being more propitious as you should realize from todays story. Barishiba was already very old, old by being more than a hundred and forty years but, because his resolve was unrivalled and, in his devotion, he forgot about his fatigue, he ultimately brought the training and study of his lifetime to a conclusion. As the story says, he served Fudamitta unswervingly for three years without resting despite his truly pitiable old body. Since people nowadays, especially as they grow older, become disinclined or negligent, you should identify with such former venerable and wise ones of times long past and not look upon winters cold as How cold it is! or summers heat as How hot it is!; do not dwell on whether your life will suddenly be cut off or wonder whether you are mentally up to going on. If you do your training in this way and do it well, then you will be someone who really trains, someone who practises the Way. If there is true training and practice of the Way, which of you will not be a Buddha and Ancestor? As said earlier, Barishiba recited Scriptures but reciting Scriptures does not simply mean reciting Them aloud or holding a copy of Them in your hand whilst skimming through the pages; reciting in the Hall of the Buddhas and Ancestors is not some mechanical manipulation of sounds or an occasion to wander off into the dark womb of inattention; it is vital that you recite Scriptures by arousing enlightened wisdom and discernment at every point and by bringing Their light and clarity to the foundation of your mind at all times. When you comport yourself in this way twenty-four hours a day as though you were not concerned with anything else, then you cannot help but penetrate to the very core of ORIGINAL UNBORN NATURE . Have you not realized that, although we come to be born, there is nowhere that we come from and, although we depart in death, there is, again, no place into which we go? We emerge

60

Denkroku

in life in the here and now and then completely pass away from everywhere. As this rising and passing away is not neglected for a single moment, what we call birth is not birth nor is death death however, as trainees and students, do not let birth and death get trapped in your heads, do not let your seeing and hearing estrange you from your TRUE SELF. Even though IT becomes seeing and hearing as well as sound, shape and colour, IT is your own brilliantly luminous TREASURE HOUSE . When you let loose this brilliance through your eyes, you bathe the Buddha body and Buddha land in splendour; when you set this luminosity free through your ears, you can hear the sounds and voices of the Buddhas at work; when you let the radiance pass out through your hands, you change yourself as well as others; when you let it pass out through your feet, you put yourself into action, now stepping forward, now stepping back. Again today I would like to append my humble words in the interest of pointing out what is happening in this story. Do you wish to hear them? Turning page after page, oh how many volumes of Scripture there are! Dying here, being born there, is but chapter and verse.

CHAPTER 12.

THE ELEVENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED FUNAYASHA.


Whilst Funayasha stood in gassh before Barishiba, the latter asked, Where do you come from? Funayasha answered, My mind travels nowhere. Barishiba then asked, Where do you reside? Funayasha replied, My mind resides

The Sainted Funayasha

61

nowhere. Barishiba asked, Then things are not settled for you? Funayasha said, It is just as it was for all the Buddhas. Barishiba said, You are not all the Buddhas, moreover it is a mistake to refer to anyone as all the Buddhas. Hearing this statement, Funayasha trained diligently with it for three weeks until he recognized for himself the DHARMA NATURE OF THE UNBORN ; he then announced to Barishiba, It is a mistake to regard anyone as all the Buddhas and to regard you as a Sainted One. Barishiba approved of this and Transmitted the True Teaching to him. Funayasha (S. Puyayaas, He of Virtuous Renown) was of the Gautama clan in the country of the City of Flowers (i.e., Patna); his father was Hshin (S. Ratnakya, He Whose Body Is a Treasure). Barishiba, upon his arrival in Patna, sat down beneath a tree to rest and, pointing his right hand at the ground, said, When this earth takes on a golden hue, a Saintly One will come and join us. No sooner had he finished speaking than the ground changed to a golden colour and, at that very moment, Funayasha, the son of a wealthy man, stood in gassh before Barishiba and what is related in this story occurred whereupon Barishiba said in verse, This earth has changed to a golden hue That we might recognize the coming of a Holy One Who will doubtless sit beneath the Bodhi Tree of Wisdom Where enlightenment will flower as he realizes PERFECTION . Funayasha replied in verse, The Master sits on gold-tinted ground, Always preaching the authentic TRUTH. May He turn His light to illumine me And help me enter samadhi. Barishiba, aware of Funayashas motives, guided him in his leaving home to become a monk and gave him the full Precepts.

62

Denkroku

In this story Funayasha was, from the first, a Holy One which is why he said, My mind travels nowhere, my mind resides nowhere just as with all the Buddhas. This is, however, still a dualistic view for he understood the situation as My mind is like this and all the Buddhas are likewise so. This is what prompted Barishiba to drive off the ox from the plowman and snatch away the food from the ravenous man, that is, to separate him from what he deemed most precious. Since even people who have had a genuine realization are still unable to help themselves, how much less can they depend on all the Buddhas! This is why Barishiba said, You are not all the Buddhas. This is not something that you can know through acquired knowledge and reasoning or discern by the absence of some characteristic or other; it is not something that you can comprehend even if you had the wisdom of all the Buddhas, nor is it something that your own intellect can fathom. This is why, after hearing Barishibas statement, Funayasha sat in training and practised walking meditation for three weeks without letting the matter rest. The day finally came when all conditions ripened and he awoke; beyond question he forgot about my mind and was freed from attachment to all the Buddhas; this is what is called recognizing for yourself the DHARMA NATURE OF THE UNBORN . He had finally penetrated to THIS PRINCIPLE and, in order to express his realizing of that unbounded state which is without anyone inside or outside, he said, It is a mistake to regard anyone as all the Buddhas and to regard you as a Sainted One. The Way of the Ancestors and Masters is not something that can really be reached by reasoning or discerned with the discriminative mind, hence, do not consider that Dharma-Body or Dharma Nature or the myriad phenomena are nothing but the One Mind adequately express IT ; do not speak of IT as unchanging, do not hold in your mind that IT is immaculacy to say nothing of conceiving of IT as emptiness or working out

The Sainted Anabotei

63

in your head that IT is the Supreme Principle. When the holy and wise ones of all our Buddhist traditions, upon fully arriving at this state, reverted to the nave mind that they had as a child and once again let loose the light of clarity upon the foundation of their minds, they directly passed onto the entry road and quickly smashed to bits their own personal views. You can grasp this through todays story. Because Funayasha was already a Holy One, the ground changed upon his arrival; the unseen force of his virtue had the power to create a stir in things. Even so, he still trained for three weeks before he reached this awakened state. Therefore good monks like you must clearly discern IT and not describe the essential point of our tradition as reliance on middling virtues, small insights or personal opinions and feelings. If you are extremely careful you will realize IT for the first time. Again, this morning, I gratefully offer my humble words in the hope that you may comprehend what is happening in this story. Do the community wish to hear them? My ORIGINAL NATURE is not the Buddha nor is IT you, And all my comings and goings abide therein.

CHAPTER 13.

THE TWELFTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED ANABOTEI.


Anabotei asked Funayasha, I want to know Buddha but what precisely is Buddha? Funayasha said, So you want to know what BUDDHA is; THAT which does not know is BUDDHA. Anabotei asked, Since Buddha does not know, what knows what Buddha is? Funayasha responded, Since you do not know BUDDHA, what knows that it does not know?

64

Denkroku

Anabotei said, This is what being like the teeth in a saw means. Funayasha said, This is what being a felled tree means adding, What does the teeth in a saw mean? Anabotei replied, That you and I are lined up together as equals, Master. What does the felled tree mean? Funayasha said, You have been sawn free by me. Anabotei awoke at once to his TRUE SELF. Anabotei was from Harana (S. Vrai); he was also called He Who Is Superior in Meritorious Effort because he was unsurpassed in all manner of virtuous deeds in both the worldly and the monastic sense. When he went to train under Funayasha, the first thing he asked was, I want to know Buddha but what precisely is Buddha? Funayasha replied, So you want to know what BUDDHA is; THAT which does not know is BUDDHA. In your training the very first matter that you must reflect on, and inquire into, is what BUDDHA is. All the Buddhas in the three worlds of past, present and future, as well as the numerous generations of Ancestors and Masters, are all referred to as persons who pursued the question of what BUDDHA is; those who do not inquire into what BUDDHA is are called nonBuddhists. HE is not something to be sought through the saying of the word or something to be hunted for in forms or through characteristics, nor will it do to think of BUDDHA in terms of the thirty-two major and eighty minor auspicious marks. This is why Anabotei asked, I want to know Buddha but what precisely is Buddha? Pointing right at him, Funayasha replied, So you want to know what BUDDHA is; THAT which does not know is BUDDHA. THAT which does not know refers, of course, to none other than Anabotei himself for how could it possibly be anyone else? Be it at a time before you knew HIM or at the time when you know HIM , there will be no special way that HE will be nor will HE have some different appearance for, from the beginning

The Sainted Anabotei

65

of time to the present, HE has been as this: Sometimes HE possesses the thirty-two major marks, accompanied by the eighty minor marks of a Buddha, takes on the three heads and eight arms of a quardian deity or is submerged in the five signs of corporeal decay and the eight forms of emotional distress of a dying celestial being; at other times HE is covered in hair and crowned with horns like some animal or is burdened down with iron chains and trussed up with iron shackles like some being in hell. HE continually dwells in the Three Worlds of desire, form and beyond form, shouldering the responsibility for the way HE comes forth, emerging from, and disappearing within, HIS OWN NATURE , taking on different faces. When HE comes to be born, we do not know who HE is; when HE passes away in death, we do not know who HE was. Although we try to give HIM some shape and form, HE is not something that can be manufactured by us; although we try to content ourselves by giving HIM a name, HE is not something that can be created by us. This is why, from aeon to aeon, HE is never known; even though HE accompanies us, going hand in hand with us, HE is never wholly discernible. Hearing this story, many interpret it by saying, Whatever is knowable to us will be different from what Buddha is; what we cannot know or discern will surely be what Buddha is. Such people are going from one form of darkness into another. If this is what Funayasha meant by not knowing BUDDHA, why, pray, did he point it out in such a complicated manner? Because this is simply not the way the matter is, Funayasha pointed directly to the right way by saying, THAT which does not know is BUDDHA. Since Anabotei was still not clear about this and interpreted what had just been pointed out to him as referring simply to the conventional notion of not knowing, he said, Since the Buddha does not know, what knows what Buddha is? to which Funayasha again pointed the matter out by saying, Since you do not know BUDDHA, what knows that it does not know? HE is not something to search for outside of

66

Denkroku

yourself. How can you possibly say that the statement, THAT which does not know is BUDDHA is incorrect? Anabotei said, This is what being like the teeth in a saw means. Funayasha said, This is what being a felled tree means, adding, What does the teeth in a saw mean? Anabotei replied, That you and I are lined up together as equals, Master. What does a felled tree mean? Funayasha said, You have been sawn free by me. Anabotei awoke at once to his TRUE SELF. You are truly no different from those two, nor am I; Funayasha opened up the matter fully and gave it out to all. Neither you nor I need to receive a speck of it; neither you nor I have the smallest fragment that we need to lend; this is why we are lined up together as equals just like the teeth in a saw, and this is also why, when Anabotei described their relationship as being just like the teeth in a saw, Funayasha said, This is what being a felled tree means for, in the vast unbounded darkness, nothing at all need be known; not a speck is added by the master, not a fragment of knowing is borrowed by the disciple. One is just like a felled tree, or a temple pillar, in its mindlessness for, ultimately, there is nothing that needs to be discriminated about; this is why Funayasha, understanding the matter in this way, said, This is what being a felled tree means. However, having had the explanation put to him in this manner, Anabotei still had a lingering potential for defiling passions to arise for he did not understand what the master meant. Out of his compassion, Funayasha, once again in order to help Anabotei, asked what the teeth in a saw meant and Anabotei answered, That you and I are lined up together as equals, Master. At this point, in order to thoroughly understand what the Way is, he asked, What does being a felled tree mean? Funayasha again gave him a helping hand by saying, That you have been sawn free by me. The path of master and disciple had merged, erroneous thoughts and feelings past and

The Sainted Anabotei

67

present had been destroyed and, making a pathway through his dreams, Anabotei had marched forward into the UNBOUNDED which is why Funayasha said, You are sawn free by me. Reaching this juncture, Anabotei was immediately freed from the stagnation of mindlessness and, leaving the cavern of brilliant clarity, he awoke to his TRUE SELF. Ultimately he was ranked as the Twelfth Ancestor. Funayasha told his monastic community, In ancient times this Noble One was the king of Bishari (S. Vail). In that kingdom were a tribe of people who, like horses, went about quite naked. The king, through his spiritual powers, divided his body up to make silkworms, that is, he used whatever resources he had to produce silk, so that the people might be given clothing. He was later reborn in Central India and given the name of Anabotei (S. Avaghoa, He Who Gave Voice to the Horses or Naked People) since the people, moved by their gratitude, had given such voice to their grief at his previous passing. The Tathagata made a prediction about him, saying, Six hundred years after my parinirvana there will be a virtuous and worthy person named Anabotei in Bishari who will break down and humble those who follow mistaken paths. Humans and celestial beings far and wide will he ferry to the Other Shore and they will be beyond count. He will be a successor to me and help others to convert. Now is that very time! So saying, Funayasha transmitted the Tathagatas EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW to Anabotei. Do not rashly consider this story to mean either that we will not realize TRUTH unless we perceive HIM or that HE cannot be perceived. Even though you do not perceive HIM, look carefully when you are meditating as if you had not yet been conceived in your mothers womb, that is, before dualistic thinking arose, otherwise you will not succeed even if you feel the features on the face of a Buddha or an Ancestor, nor will you succeed even if you search the faces of humans, demons or animals. HE is not

68

Denkroku

something that is either unchanging or fluctuating or that is ever empty; it is not a matter of HIS being inside or outside nor is it one of distinguishing between absolute and relative. If you perceive beyond doubt that HE is your own ORIGINAL FACE , then, even though HE may appear as an ordinary living being, a sainted one or splits into outer karmic circumstances and inner karmic tendencies, all comes and goes with HIM, rises and disappears with HIM. This is like the arising of waves on the oceans surface; though swelling up more and more, they never increase by even a single drop of water; though subsiding more and more, they lose not a drop of water. Among humans and celestial beings HE may be called, for the time being, the Buddha, a demon or a beast. This is as though the faces of all sentient beings were, for the nonce, manifest upon a single face but, if you think that any specific face is the face of BUDDHA, you are mistaken. When it comes to setting up a method for teaching and helping others to convert, there is a knocking by the disciple and an answering by the master. We cultivate our samadhi as if all were fantasy and do the work of a Buddha as if in a dream; this is why the Indian methods of conversion through nonattachment and all-acceptance have flowed down unbroken through the three countries of India, China and Japan, thus turning ordinary people into sainted ones. If you really turn yourselves around and do your training in such a manner, then you will be neither ignorant of, or estranged from, your faults nor be deluded about your own life and death. You will truly be a REAL MONK . Today I have some humble words to illustrate what this story is offering to you. Do you want to hear them? In the country village the peach blossoms did not know that they were red Yet they taught Ling-yun how to arrive at certainty.

The Sainted Kabimora


CHAPTER 14.

69

THE THIRTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED KABIMORA.


One day Anabotei was speaking about the OCEAN OF
BUDDHA NATURE , saying, Mountains, rivers and the great

earth all arise in accordance with IT ; the three forms of clarity and the six spiritual powers manifest themselves by proceeding from IT. Kabimora, upon hearing this, awoke to the TRUTH . Kabimora (S. Kapimala, He Who Is as the Bodily Excretions of a Monkey) was from Patna, the City of Flowers; at first he was a non-Buddhist with three thousand followers and was well versed in non-Buddhist teachings and doctrines. Anabotei was in Patna, turning the marvellous Wheel of the Law, when an old man, who was standing right in front of Anaboteis seat, suddenly fell to the ground. Anabotei said to the assembly, This is no common, ordinary person for there is certainly something different about him. No sooner had he finished speaking than the old man disappeared from sight and, in the twinkling of an eye, a radiant, golden-hued person sprang up from the ground only to change again, now becoming a young girl. Pointing her right hand at Anabotei, she recited a verse to the assembly, I prostrate myself before this saintly elder Who surely has received the Tathagatas approval; He must now, in this very place, Proclaim the foremost TRUTH . Having finished her recital, she disappeared from sight. Anabotei said, The daemon is about to come forth again to test his powers against mine. A moment later, a violent wind, with heavy rains, arose and the heavens and earth were thick with

70

Denkroku

their darkness. Anabotei said, This is indeed a sign that the daemon has come. I certainly should suppress him. Accordingly he pointed to the sky and a huge golden dragon appeared displaying such awesome powers that it set the mountains to trembling. Anabotei solemnly sat in samadhi and, by and by, the daemons activities died out. A week later a tiny bug, no larger than a mite on a mosquitos eyelash, appeared and hid itself beneath Anaboteis seat. Anabotei caught it in his hand and, pointing to it, said to the assembly, This is what a daemon changes himself into when he wants to hear, and thus steal, my Teaching. He let the creature go so that it might depart but the daemon was unable to move. Anabotei spoke to it, saying, If you take refuge in the Three Treasures, you will obtain spiritual powers. The daemon resumed his original shape and, bowing before Anabotei, was contrite. Anabotei asked him his name and how many followers he had. The daemon replied My name is Kabimora and I have three thousand followers. Anabotei said, What change can you bring about when you employ your powers to the fullest? Kabimora answered, It is a very small matter for me to change the vast ocean into what I will. Anabotei said, Can you change the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE ? Kabimora replied What do you mean by the Ocean of Buddha Nature? I am not yet familiar with that term. Anabotei then expounded on the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE for his benefit, saying, Mountains, rivers and the great earth all arise in accordance with IT ; the three forms of clarity and the six spiritual powers manifest themselves by proceeding from IT. Kabimora, upon hearing this, awoke to the TRUTH . Truly, from the time when the old man fell to the ground up to the moment when he became a tiny bug, the daemons display of his daemonic powers was truly measureless; he even said that transforming the vast ocean was extremely easy to do. Even though, by manifesting his daemonic powers again and

The Sainted Kabimora

71

again, he could change an ocean into mountains and mountains into an ocean, he still had no knowledge of even the term Ocean of Buddha Nature, much less could he change IT ! Furthermore, in that he had no inkling of THAT which mountains, rivers and the great earth really were, Anabotei explained to him that these were transformations of the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE and that IT was also the three forms of clarity and the six spiritual powers. SAMADHI takes countless forms, such as the samadhis mentioned in the Shurangama Scripture and the Shurangama Samadhi Scripture, as well as those that give rise to the six spiritual powers, such as the divine eye of clairvoyance and the divine ear of clairaudience; these samadhis have neither beginning nor end; the world is full of them and is, in fact, them themselves. When IT raises up mountains, rivers and the great earth, SAMADHI changes ITSELF into earth, air, fire and water and transforms ITSELF into mountains, rivers and vegetation. IT also changes ITSELF into skin, flesh, bones and marrow and transforms ITSELF into a body with a head and four limbs; there has not yet been even a single action or a single phenomenon that comes from elsewhere. Throughout the twenty-four hours of the day no effort that is made is cast aside as useless and none of the features in ones personal appearance, which have come into existence over untold births and deaths, is to no purpose. There is no limit to what our eyes may see or our ears hear and, no doubt, even the wisdom of a Buddha may be incapable of measuring the extent of such seeing and hearing for how can they fail to be transformations created by the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE ? All things, even all the dust motes, are boundless, in no way reducible to number or extent; they are the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE which is why they are as they are. To see your present body is to see ORIGINAL NATURE ; to know ORIGINAL NATURE is to attest to your body since body and ORIGINAL NATURE are

72

Denkroku

truly not two separate things. How can you distinguish between BUDDHA NATURE and characteristics? Kabimora, whilst within non-Buddhist ways, revealed daemonic powers of transformation none of which were apart from his BUDDHA NATURE , nevertheless, he did not personally know that IT was what Anabotei called the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE; he had doubts about himself and mistrusted others as a result. Since he did not understand the true nature of what exists, he had no awareness of THAT which is fundamental to existence and used all his powers to play games. When his daemonic powers were finally exhausted, he found it nigh on impossible to create his transformations; he then renounced his willfulness and took refuge in another, putting an end to his competitiveness by giving expression to the TRUTH . Even though you intellectually grasp what is meant by mountains, rivers and the great earth, do not get vainly bound up in sounds, colours and forms. Even though you have clarified what your own ORIGINAL NATURE is, do not confine yourself in learned knowledge; learned knowledge is nothing but a face or two of the Buddhas and Ancestors, just as walls, cliffs, tiles and pebbles are. ORIGINAL NATURE has nothing to do with knowledge learned from seeing and hearing; IT is not connected with either movement or stillness however, from the perspective of the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE , of necessity, movement and stillness, coming and going, are never excluded from IT ; skin, flesh, bones and marrow are made manifest at the appropriate time. To speak from the standpoint of THAT which is the FUNDAMENTAL , whether IT manifests as seeing and hearing or as sound, colour and form, such phenomena do not arise from anything other than IT, therefore, when we strike empty space, reverberations are created and all sounds are thus made manifest. When you transform empty space, all things are made manifest and thus are forms differentiated. Do not think that empty space is devoid of forms or sounds. Once you have

The Sainted Kabimora

73

reached this stage and are probing deeply into the matter, you will not consider IT as emptiness or as existence nor will you regard IT as something invisible or visible or as something that is self or other. What is it that you call other? What is it that you consider to be I? IT is as the absence of every single thing within empty space; IT resembles all the waves appearing on the great ocean; this has never changed from the past to the present. How can coming and going possibly be paths that diverge on their own? When IT makes ITSELF visible, not a single speck of anything has been added and, when IT has concealed ITSELF, not a single hair is lost. When the mass of elements are combined, they become these bodies of ours; when phenomena are utterly destroyed, we speak of them as the WHOLE OF ORIGINAL NATURE. Do not seek outside yourself to clarify what the Way is or to confirm ORIGINAL NATURE . Quite simply, when the breath and light of ones own FUNDAMENTAL GROUND manifests itself, others may call it the face of a human, a daemon or a beast. Sepp (C. Hsueh-feng) said, If we wish to comprehend this matter, it is as if there were an ancient mirror inside us. When those who are foreign come, they are reflected in it; when our own come, they are reflected in it. All are fantasy figures within SAMADHI, going on without beginning or end, therefore, when mountains, rivers and the great earth arise, they all appear in accordance with IT ; when the three forms of clarity and the six spiritual powers are manifested, they also proceed from IT. Do not view a single inch of the great earth as lying outside your own ORIGINAL NATURE ; do not add even a single drop of river water from outside the OCEAN OF BUDDHA NATURE . This morning I again wish to append my humble words in response to this story. Do you want to hear them? (Some time passed before Keizan spoke.)

74

Denkroku

Upon the vast expanse of water the billowing waves are set free to dash up and meet the sky; Always immaculate is the water of this OCEAN ! How can IT ever possibly change?

CHAPTER 15.

THE FOURTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED NAGYAARAJUNA.


One day, when Kabimora paid a visit to the Lord of the Naga-dragons at the latters invitation, he received the wishfulfilling Nyoi Pearl. Nagyaarajuna said to him, This Pearl is the most treasured thing in the world; does it have a form or is it formless? Kabimora replied, You only know what having form or not having form is; you do not understand that the PEARL has neither form nor is without form, furthermore, you have not yet grasped that the PEARL is not a pearl. Upon hearing this, Nagyaarajuna was profoundly enlightened to TRUTH . Nagyaarajuna was from Western India and was also known as He with the Strength of a Naga-dragon and He Who Has Overcome the Naga-dragons. At the time when Kabimora arrived in Western India, having already become a monk and had the Teaching Transmitted to him, there was a prince named Unjizai (S. Meghevara, He Who Is Lord of the Clouds) who, out of respect for Kabimoras reputation, invited him to the palace so that he might present the sainted one with various offerings. Kabimora said, The Tathagata taught that a mendicant monk was not to socialize with ruling families, ministers of

The Sainted Nagyaarajuna

75

state and other people of powerful influence. The prince said, Just north of my capital is a large mountain in which there is a cave. Would the Master be able to practise His meditation there? Kabimora said yes and, accordingly, travelled several miles into the mountains where he chanced upon a huge python. As Kabimora proceeded straight on without turning his head to take a look, the python came after him and coiled itself around the monks body. Kabimora gave the Three Refuges to the python who departed after hearing Them. When Kabimora was just about to enter the cave, an old man, wearing plain white clothes, came out from the cavern and, with hands in gassh, made a deep bow. Kabimora said, Where do you live? The old man replied, Long ago I used to be a mendicant monk who greatly enjoyed his peaceful solitude and lived in obscurity within a mountain forest. From time to time a novice monk would come asking for instruction but, as I regarded answering questions to be a nuisance, I would give rise to indignant and angry thoughts. After my death I was reborn in the body of a python and have lived in this cave for nigh on a thousand years, now, having chanced to meet you, O Sainted One, I have heard your Teaching of the Precepts and have accepted Them therefore I have come simply to offer you my thanks. When Kabimora asked him whether there were any others who had taken up residence on the mountain, the man answered, A few miles north of here there is a huge tree that gives shelter and protection to five hundred great Naga-dragons. The lord of that tree is called Nagyaarajuna (S. Ngrjuna, He Who Is a Sheltering Tree for Naga-dragons). He is continually giving teaching for the benefit of his dragon community. I also go just to hear and receive his teaching. Kabimora then called on Nagyaarajuna amidst his assembly of followers. Nagyaarajuna came forth to greet him saying, The deep mountains are solitary and deserted except for the dragons and pythons that reside here. Why does a great, sainted

76

Denkroku

and supreme one like you turn his holy feet in our direction? Kabimora replied, I am not a supreme one but someone who has come to pay a visit to a virtuous and worthy person. Nagyaarajuna fell silent as he wondered to himself, Could this master have realized certainty and clarified what the Eye of the Way is? Is this great and holy one heir to the genuine Vehicle? Kabimora said, Although you are talking things over in your mind, I already know what your thoughts are. Just handle the matter of your becoming a monk. Why concern yourself over whether I am sainted or not? After Nagyaarajuna heard this, he thanked Kabimora contritely and asked to become a monk. Kabimora therewith had him free himself from his defilements; his community of five hundred Naga-dragons received the full Precepts as well. Subsequently Nagyaarajuna became Kabimoras follower and, after four years had passed, Kabimora paid an invited visit to the Naga Lord who bestowed on him the wishfulfilling Pearl. When Nagyaarajuna asked him about this Pearl being the most treasured thing in the world, what is recounted above occurred up to the moment when Nagyaarajuna realized the TRUTH. Ultimately he became ranked as the Fourteenth Ancestor. Nagyaarajuna had followed non-Buddhist ways in his studies and possessed wondrous spiritual powers; he was continually going to the Naga-dragon palace to see the Scriptures and writings of the Seven Buddhas: by just looking at their titles he understood the spirit and essence of these Scriptures and customarily taught these to his five hundred dragon followers. The Naga Lords Nanda and Upananda, as well as the others in the Naga palace, were indeed all equally enlightened Bodhisattvas. At the behest of the former Buddhas, they had respectfully enshrined all Their various Scriptures; when the present Great Master Shakyamunis Scriptural teachings have exhausted their effectiveness in transforming humans and

The Sainted Nagyaarajuna

77

celestial beings they too will be collected together in the palace of the Nagas. Even though Nagyaarajuna had great and awesome powers and was continually visiting the great Lords to converse with them, he was not a true follower of the Way for he had only studied as a non-Buddhist does, but once he had taken refuge in Kabimora he was truly a great person with enlightened vision. People think of Nagyaarajuna not only as the Fourteenth Ancestor of our Ancestral tradition but also as an ancestor and master of various other Buddhist families; Shingon consider him their original ancestor and Tendai do likewise. Yin-yang fortune-tellers and silk producers, among others, also regard him as the fountainhead of their practices but these are all various arts that he engaged in much earlier and which he abandoned after he entered the Ancestral ranks; even though disciples of these arts claim him as their founder, they are companions in sorcery or bestial types who, fancying that they are Nagyaarajuna, confuse and mix up truth with error being unable to distinguish jewels from stones. Nagyaarajunas Buddha Dharma was properly Transmitted only to Kanadaiba after he had discarded all other traditions; you can infer this from todays story. Although Nagyaarajuna guided the learning of an assembly of five hundred dragons, still, when Kabimora arrived, he came out, bowed low to greet him and then tried to put the Master to the test. For a while Kabimora was guarded and did not disclose his TRUE NATURE . Nagyaarajuna fell silent wondering to himself whether Kabimora was a great, sainted one who had inherited the genuine Vehicle. Kabimora said, Just handle the matter of your becoming a monk. Why concern yourself with whether I am saintly or not? whereupon Nagyaarajuna was filled with shame which led to his becoming Kabimoras heir. You should be clear about this from todays story.

78

Denkroku

Nagyaarajuna said, This Pearl is the most treasured thing in the world. Does this jewel have a form or is it formless? Actually, from the outset, Nagyaarajuna knew about Kabimoras receiving the Pearl; his wondering whether it had form or not was due to his holding on tightly, out of his confusion, to the duality of the existent versus the non-existent and this is why Kabimora said what he did. Truly, even if it had been a worldly jewel, when it comes to speaking of TRUTH , IT is neither existent nor non-existent; IT is simply the PEARL . The wondrous, inborn pearl that hung between the brows of the powerful champion wrestler, the pearl that was hidden within the folds of a Universal Monarchs turban, the pearl that was held tight within the fleshy folds of the dragon kings neck and the pearl that was sewn into the lining of the drunken mans cloak, are what people think of as jewels and it is difficult indeed for them to tell whether such things have form or not; we should understand that these pearls are all worldly gems and not at all THAT which is the most treasured within the Way. How much less are such people able to grasp that this PEARL is not a pearl? Truly you must understand clearly! Gensha (C. Hsuan-sha) said. The whole of everything is the PEARL but whom should I let know this? He also said, The whole universe in all ten directions is this single, lustrous PEARL . Truly, IT is not something that can be discerned from the vantage point of humans or celestial beings, however, even were it some worldly pearl, it is not something that comes from outside but makes its appearance completely from within peoples own hearts. Because of this Shakra, Emperor of the Heavens, has made use of it as the wish-fulfilling Pearl or Mani-jewel. If you can employ this Jewel when you are sick, your illness will be cured forthwith; if you swallow this Jewel when you are anxious, beset or sad, the worry will ebb away on its own. The manifesting of spiritual faculties and transformations depend on this Jewel; among the seven treasures of a

The Sainted Nagyaarajuna

79

Universal Monarch there is a Mani-jewel; all rare and precious treasures issue forth from it and its use is inexhaustible. In this way there are the differences as well as the superior and inferior aspects that follow upon the karmic consequences of being a human or a celestial being. The wish-fulfilling Pearl among humans has also been called rice since we consider that to be a treasured jewel. When compared with the jewels of a celestial being, rice is considered something manufactured or produced, however, we still consider it to be a jewel. When the Buddha Dharma becomes extinct, the Buddhas remains will become treasured, wish-fulfilling Jewels, pouring down on everything and turning into rice to succour sentient beings. Even though IT may manifest as the Buddha-body, as rice, as the myriad phenomena or as a single, tiny pellet, when your own ORIGINAL NATURE manifests ITSELF, IT becomes your fathom-high body, a figure with three heads, some form covered with hair and crowned with horns or any, and all, manner of thing in the whole universe; thus it is imperative that you discern that PEARL OF THE HEART. Do not wish for peaceful solitude or desire to hide yourself away in some mountain forest as monks of yore did. Truly this was a mistake that those not yet enlightened made in earlier times; it is also a mistake that those not yet enlightened are still making in our day. They say that, because rubbing shoulders with others and being involved with various forms of social intercourse keep them from being tranquil, they wish to retire to a mountain forest and placidly meditate and practise the Way all by themselves. Saying such things, many sequester themselves on mountains and in valleys arbitrarily doing their practices and, for the most part, veering off onto false paths. This happens because they do not know what TRUTH is and have vainly put themselves first. They also say, Meditation Master Daibai Hj (C. Ta-mei Fa-chang) sat in the smoke from his

80

Denkroku

pine fire doing his meditation with an iron pagoda atop his head which, should he nod off, would waken him by its falling; Meditation Master Isan Daien (C. Kuei-shan Ta-yuan) cultivated the Way deep within the mountain clouds and mists along with tigers and wolves; we too should train and practise in like manner. This is truly laughable. You should understand that these ancients had all realized enlightenment and received the Seal and prediction of their future Buddhahood from true masters so, for a while, they trained in this way in order to ripen their understanding of what they had awakened to as they awaited the right circumstances for offering their Teaching. These events occurred after Daibai had received the true Seal from Baso (C. Ma-tsu) and Isan had been Transmitted by Hyakuj (C. Pai-chang); they are not what the deluded see them to be. Ancients such as Inzan (C. Yin-shan) and Razan (C. Loshan) never lived alone prior to their realizing enlightenment. They displayed such exemplary conduct during their lifetimes that they have left their names to posterity; they were clear-eyed and great, sainted men, REAL PERSONS who had realized TRUTH . If you fail to practise what you should practise or reach what you should reach whilst living in some mountain recess, you will be just as the monkeys are that live there; this is the epitome of one whose heart has not realized enlightenment. If their EYE OF ENLIGHTENMENT is not clear and bright, those who do their training in the harmonization of mind and body in isolation become shravakas or pratyekabuddhas and will destroy the seed of their future Buddhahood. A destroyed seed is one that has been overroasted; they have let the seed of their Buddhahood die; therefore, O good monks, carefully do your training in the monastery, continue to practise with your spiritual teacher over a long period of time, become thoroughly clear about the great matter for which you train until you have, beyond doubt, completely and clearly discerned your TRUE SELF and then, for a while later on, deepen your spiritual roots

The Sainted Nagyaarajuna

81

and tighten up your training that you may become a successor to the former generations of Ancestors. Eihei Dgen, the founder of our lineage, has admonished us against living alone lest people stray onto false paths. His successor, Koun Ej, said, My disciples, do not live alone. Even if you have realized TRUTH , you should do your training in the monastery; how much less should those who are still studying the practice live alone. Those who would turn their backs on this admonition are not true branches and leaves of my tradition. Meditation Master Engo (C. Yuan-wu) said, After the ancients reached the purpose of their training they went off to live in stone huts deep in the brambled mountains and ate their rice cooked in stub-footed iron pots, forgetting about the world of humans for ten or twenty years, taking their leave of the workaday world of dust and dirt. Nowadays we dare not crave for this. ry Enan (C. Huang-lung Hui-nan) said, After you have become old guarding the Way whilst living in some mountain forest, how will you compare with those who have led multitudes into the monastery? In recent times all masters have had no fondness for solitary living. How much less are peoples talents inferior to those people of long ago! Simply stay in the monastery, do your training and keep up your practice. There is a story of a man of long ago who, recklessly enjoying only his peace and quiet, was negligent in this way of living alone; when novice monks came to seek instruction from him, he did not answer what should be answered and gave rise to indignant wrath. Truly, if your body and mind are not yet in harmony, you must realize that you should not live alone and apart from your spiritual teacher. Even though you preach the Dharma as Nagyaarajuna did, you will only reap the karmic consequences of this. O monks, because of your putting down good roots in great abundance, you can now surely hear the Tathagatas True Law; do not become the intimate of rulers of nations and their great

82

Denkroku

ministers, do not take pleasure from solitary living, simply devote yourself to the workings of the Way and concentrate on penetrating to the SOURCE of the Dharma. These are the true Transmission words of the Tathagata. Today I have some humble words to offer you about this story. Do you want to hear them?
ITS solitary light, wondrously vast,

is never darkened For the wish-fulfilling MANI-JEWEL shines forth illumining everywhere.

CHAPTER 16.

THE FIFTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED KANADAIBA.


This is what happened when Kanadaiba had his first audience with Nagyaarajuna, the Noble One. No sooner had Kanadaiba entered the gate than Nagyaarajuna realized what an astute person he was so he dispatched his jisha to fetch a bowl filled to the brim with water and place it in front of where they were sitting. Nagyaarajuna gazed at it, held up a needle which he plunged into the water and then offered the bowl to Kanadaiba. Their eyes met and Kanadaiba, in great joy, realized his ORIGINAL NATURE . Kanadaiba (S. Knadeva The Single-eyed Deva) was a man from Southern India; he was of the merchant caste and, above all, sought after profitable actions which he combined with a delight in persuasion. Nagyaarajuna had arrived in Southern India to teach and guide others after having realized the TRUTH; many of the people in this area put their trust in profitable actions so, when they heard him expounding the

The Sainted Kanadaiba

83

wondrous Teaching, they said amongst themselves, Actions that produce profitable effects are what are of primary importance in the world; he speaks, to no purpose, of some Buddha Nature. Who can lay eyes on that? Nagyaarajuna said, If you wish to see BUDDHA NATURE , you must first rid yourselves of your self-pride. Someone asked, Is this Buddha Nature something large or something small? Nagyaarajuna answered, BUDDHA NATURE is neither large nor small, broad nor narrow; IT is beyond profit or recompense and IT is undying and unborn. Once they had heard of the superiority of this PRINCIPLE they completely reverted to their beginners mind. Among them was the highly perceptive Kanadaiba who sought an audience with Nagyaarajuna and, as stated above, realized his ORIGINAL NATURE in great joy. Following this Nagyaarajuna offered half his preaching seat to Kanadaiba just as Shakyamuni had shared half His with Makakash on Vulture Peak. Nagyaarajuna, whilst remaining seated for his expounding of the Teaching, manifested the appearance of the lunar orb. Kanadaiba addressed the assembly, saying, Behold the saintly Nagyaarajuna! By displaying the form of BUDDHA NATURE he points IT out for us. How do I know this? Because the samadhi that goes beyond aspects is, in form, like a full moon, and the term Buddha Nature signifies THAT which is utterly clear, pure and immaculately luminous. After Kanadaiba had finished speaking, Nagyaarajuna concealed the circular form. Kanadaiba now took his seat beside Nagyaarajuna and spoke in verse, His body displayed the form of the perfectly full moon By means of which the BODY of the Buddhas is shown; Expounding the Dharma has no fixed shape But one must still take pains to make clear that IT is neither sound nor form.

84

Denkroku

In consequence of these events it is difficult to distinguish master from disciple; their life-lines interpenetrate. What is happening in this story is in no wise conventional. From the very first Kanadaiba had been at one with the Way; since Nagyaarajuna had not preached a single word and Kanadaiba had not heard a single one, it is all but impossible for master and disciple to exist for how can guest and host be differentiated? As a direct result of this Kanadaiba began to expound that tradition of training which ultimately became known throughout all parts of India as the Daiba (S. Deva) Tradition which is the same as saying He piles snow upon a silver plate, he hides a heron in the bright moonlight. Because of this Nagyaarajuna had a bowl placed before them filled full of water when they met face to face for the very first time. How could there possibly be any front or back, inside or outside? Since the bowl is full, it accordingly lacks for nothing; this water that completely fills it is pure and clear. Although pierced through and through, it remains absolutely pure; although completely full, it remains wondrously bright. This is why Nagyaarajuna held up a needle and, subsequently, Kanadaiba realized his ORIGINAL NATURE . You must, by all means, pierce through to ITS very bottom, pierce through to ITS very top; IT is neither absolute nor relative. At this juncture there is no way to differentiate between master and disciple; although they are similar they are never the same; although they have become intermingled there is no trace. Shakyamuni made this matter manifest by raising His eyebrows and blinking His eyes; Reiun (C. Ling-yun) displayed it upon seeing the form of a peach blossom and Kygen (C. Hsiang-yen) upon hearing the sound of a pebble hitting bamboo, however, there is nothing that can be called sound or form and there is no seeing or hearing to be discarded. IT is completely perfect, luminous and formless and is like the transparency of clear water; IT resembles the moment when you

The Sainted Kanadaiba

85

have pierced through to the wondrous PRINCIPLE and seek ITS sharp spiritual point. IT bares ITS sharp point everywhere, penetrating your mind and heart with ITS brilliance. ITS water flows everywhere and permeates everything, boring through mountains, flooding the heavens; ITS needle penetrates sacking and pierces a mustard seed. Since ITS water is not overcome by anything, how can a wake ever be created in IT ? ITS needle surpasses all others, even a diamond, in its hardness. How can such a needle, or such water, possibly be something that belongs to someone else since they are nothing other than your own body and mind? When you have completely swallowed IT, IT is simply a single needle. When you have vomited IT back up, IT is again this clear water. This is why, when the paths of master and disciple interpenetrated, there was no self and other whatsoever. At the very moment when their life-lines merged they became a pure, immaculate luminosity; IT could not be quenched anywhere in all the ten quarters; they were entwined just as a bottle-gourd vine entwines its fruit when nurturing it. Climbing here, climbing there, IT is simply your own ORIGINAL NATURE . Although all of you may have succeeded in knowing about the Clear Water, you must grasp what IT is directly through your own experience and make clear to yourselves that, at ITS very bottom, there is the needle. If you ever, by mistake, become attached to IT, you will end up with ITS ripping out your throat as you might expect. Do not create some kind of duality. Just try to swallow IT completely, and disgorge IT completely, strive meticulously. Even though you perceive ITS utter immaculacy and ITS complete and all-encompassing pervasiveness, there will, without doubt, always be ITS vastness and hardness. If you realize this, the three calamities of flood, fire and wind, i.e., inundating defilements, raging passions and misleading delusions, will never violate you and you will remain unmoved during the four cosmic time periods.

86

Denkroku

Here again are my humble words which attempt to divulge what is going on. Do you wish to hear them? Once the SINGLE NEEDLE has fished up all the sky-blue waters of the ocean, The FIERCE DRAGON, wherever HE may go, will not conceal HIMSELF.

CHAPTER 17.

THE SIXTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED RAGORATA.


Ragorata was attending on Kanadaiba when, upon hearing about karmic cause from a past life, he experienced his ORIGINAL NATURE . Ragorata was a man from Kapilavastu; the issue of the karmic cause from a past life arose in the following manner. Kanadaiba, after realizing enlightenment, was travelling about converting others when he arrived at Kapilavastu. In the city there resided a prosperous elder citizen named Bomma Jtoku (S. Brahmuddhagua, He Who Is the Pure Virtue of Brahma) in whose garden, one day, a tree had sprouted a large, ear-shaped mushroom with an exceedingly fine flavour; only he and his second son, Ragorata (S. Rhulata, He Who Has Been Seized) by name, picked and tasted it. From wherever they picked a piece, the mushroom would regrow; after they had picked it all, it sprouted anew; no others in the household were able to see it. Kanadaiba called on the family because of his awareness of the karmic cause of this mushroom from their past lives and, when the old man asked the reason for the mushrooms appearance, Kanadaiba replied, Long ago your

The Sainted Ragorata

87

family gave alms to a monk but the monk vainly consumed the alms from the faithful without having succeeded in opening his Enlightenment-seeking Eye and, because of this, he became a tree mushroom in his next life as recompense. Since only you and your son have given alms with untainted sincerity, only the two of you have succeeded in acquiring this mushroom; the rest of your family have not. Kanadaiba then asked the old man his age and the latter replied that he was seventy-nine. Thereupon Kanadaiba preached in verse, Having entered the Way but failing to pierce through to the PRINCIPLE , The monk was reborn to return the alms from the faithful. When you are eighty-one years old The tree will cease to put forth its ear mushroom. Hearing this poem only increased the old mans respect and admiration for Kanadaiba and he said, Your disciple is too feeble and old to be able to take you as his teacher; I vow to give up my second son so that he may follow after you and become a monk. Kanadaiba said, Long ago the Tathagata predicted that this son of yours would become a great spiritual leader and teacher during the second five-hundred years of the Law. Our encounter today is the result of karmic causes from a past life. He then shaved the head of Ragorata who, in time, became the Sixteenth Ancestor. Many of past and present, who have awakened to their enlightenment, have drawn upon what is happening in this story to admonish those who vainly enter the pure stream of monastic life whilst lacking a sense of shame or embarrassment when idly accepting alms from the faithful without any sense of awareness, or comprehension, of what they are doing. Such persons should truly be ashamed of themselves. As monks you have given up your families to enter the Way; where you dwell

88

Denkroku

is not your own nor is any of the food that you eat. The robes you wear are not yours; not a single drop of water, not a single blade of grass can be accepted and used as though your own. The reason for this is that all of you were born nationals of this country: there is no water or land under the heavens, or upon the earth, that does not totally belong to the ruler of this country. Whilst living at home you should make yourself useful to your parents; whilst in the service of your country you should respectfully serve your sovereign. At such times heaven and earth offer their divine protection and you naturally receive the benevolent blessings of yin and yang, however, if you rashly claim that you aspire to the Buddhas Teaching and do not serve your parents who ought to be served, or do not respectfully give service to your sovereign who ought to be served with respect, how will you recompense your father and mother for their kindness in giving birth to you and how will you repay the countrys ruler for his blessings of water and land? Were you to enter the Way without having your Enlightenmentseeking Eye, it would be just the same as being a traitor to your country. As the ordination verse says, Now that I have discarded worldly attachments and have entered the immaculacy of nothingness, I have left behind the Three Worlds. Now that you have left home to become a monk, you no longer pay homage to your father and mother or to your nations ruler for you have exchanged your worldly form for that of a Child of Buddha and lodged yourself within the pure stream of the Sangha. Even though you may receive alms from a former spouse or child, they are in no wise the same as something that you received from such a person whilst you were in lay life; in no way can you say that these are not alms from the faithful. As someone of old said, If your Enlightenmentseeking Eye is not yet bright, even a single grain of rice is difficult to bite through, but, when your Enlightenment-seeking Eye has brightened, even though the vault of heaven were your

The Sainted Ragorata

89

begging bowl and Sumeru your mountain of rice which you came to accept day after day and night after night, you will never be caught up by these alms from the faithful. Without examining yourselves as to whether your Enlightenmentseeking Eye is completely perfect or not, were you so reckless as to think Now that I have become a monk I am entitled to receive the offerings of others, then, were these offerings to become scarce, you would seek them in vain from your fellow humans. You must keep in mind that, since the time when you gave up your families and separated yourselves from the places where you were born, you have wandered about alone, as exposed as a dewdrop, without a single grain of rice or even a shred of clothing to call your own. Simply give yourself over completely for the sake of your Enlightenment-seeking Eye; give up your life for the sake of the Teaching. How could you possibly arouse your will to realize enlightenment in the vain cause of fame and gain or for the sake of food and clothing? It is pointless to ask others; just call to mind your own original intention to realize enlightenment and reflect upon whether this is what you are now concerned with or not. It has been said, Restraining yourself later on is far harder to do than at the beginning. If you truly keep to your first intention, how can you not become one who has realized the TRUTH? Even though all of you, male and female, may have become monks, you will have done so in vain and become traitors if you forget your original intention. Why is this so? Although the Enlightenment-seeking Eye of the monk of long ago was not yet bright, he did not regress from his religious training so, in recompense for the alms, he became a tree mushroom. When the lives of monks such as this have finally come to an end, Yama will not be able to exonerate them. The rice gruel they eat today will become a broth of molten iron or red-hot iron pellets; when they swallow these, their bodies and hearts will glow crimson with searing inflammation.

90

Denkroku

Meditation Master Ump Bunetsu (C. Yun-feng Wenyueh) said, Do you not see? The Ancestors and Masters have said that when you enter the Way, but do not pierce through to the PRINCIPLE , you are then reborn to return the alms from the faithful. This sort of thing is a foregone conclusion so do not doubt it. All you senior monks must be frugal with your days; time waits for no one. Do not wait for the morning when the light in your eyes fails. If you do not do a single winnowing fans worth of work in the fields of monastic training, you will sink into the sufferings that come from a hundred penalties and be within the hellish ring of iron mountains. Do not say that no one told you! O monks, thanks to your good fortune, you have met with the Tathagatas Wheel of the True Law which is surely rarer to encounter than a tiger in the market place or a glimpse of an udumbara tree in bloom. Strive meticulously, carefully meditate and learn the Way until your Enlightenmentseeking Eye is clear and bright! Do you not see? Todays story is not about sentient and non-sentient beings; do not separate things into inner karmic tendencies and outer karmic conditions. A monk in a previous life duly became a tree mushroom in a present life. Whilst a tree mushroom, he did not know that he had been a monk and, whilst a monk, he did not know that he had manifested as a myriad things so, even though you are now sentient and have a bit of awareness and comprehension of what you are doing and can distinguish somewhat between a pain and an itch, you have never been in any way different from a tree mushroom. The reason for this is that the trees not knowing you is, beyond doubt, dark ignorance, and your not knowing the tree mushroom is exactly the same thing; this is why people make distinctions between the sentient and the non-sentient as well as between outer karmic conditions and inner karmic tendencies. When you clarify what TRUE SELF is, what is there to call sentient, what is there to call non-sentient? IT is not past, present or future

The Sainted Ragorata

91

nor is IT the sense organs, their fields of perception or their types of perceptual consciousness and IT neither cuts itself off from these nor can IT be cut off from them. IT is neither selfmade nor made by others. You will see by training thoroughly, probing deeply and dropping off body and mind. Do not vainly brag about your having the appearance of a monk or, in confusion, stop your training once you have left mundane life. Even supposing you do evade the calamity of flood, you will be afflicted with the calamity of fire: although you may have broken away from the turmoils of everyday living, they are still difficult to avoid even for a Buddha so how much more is this so for those who are not like this but chase after things and become infatuated with others? Such people are like threads of gossamer or drifting dust; they gallop off hither and thither, rising and falling in and out of favour with the court and public opinion, their feet never treading the TRUE GROUND, their hearts never reaching their TRUE PLACE . Not only do they cheat themselves in this life, they also vainly pass through life after life. Do you not realize that, from the far past to the very present, you have never done wrong, you have never been separated from your ORIGINAL NATURE ? Because you have not realized IT directly, you are like drifting motes of dust. If you do not do your utmost today, when will you do it? Here are my humble words that try to express what is happening in the preceding story. Do you wish to hear them? How sad that his Enlightenment-seeking Eye was not clear and bright! Deluded as to TRUE SELF, he sought to repay others and, in recompense, is ceaselessly born again and again.

92

Denkroku

CHAPTER 18.

THE SEVENTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED SGYANANDAI.


One day Ragorata gave instruction to Sgyanandai in verse, Because I am already beyond self, You should see the WE For, if you take me as your master, You will know that I is not this WE . As a result of hearing this, Sgyanandais heart suddenly opened to a determination to be liberated and he sought to cross to the Other Shore. Sgyanandai was the son of King Hsgon (S. Ratnavyha, He Whose Treasures Are Magnificent), ruler of the castled city of Shravasti; being able to talk from birth, he continually eulogized the activities of the Buddha. By the age of seven he so despised worldly pleasures that, in verse, he announced to his father and mother, I humbly bow to you, my most compassionate father, And reverently make gassh to you, mother of my blood and bones; I would now leave home to become a monk And pray that, from your pity, you will so permit me. His father and mother were so adamant in their refusal that he finally stopped eating; they relented but permitted him to be a monk only on the condition that he remain within the palace. He was given the name of Sgyanandai (S. Sanghanandi, Friend

The Sainted Sgyanandai

93

of the Sangha) and the monk Zenrita (He Whose Profits from Meditation Are Many) was assigned to him as a teacher. He had still not given up nineteen years later and continually reminded himself that he could not truly be one who had left home as long as he was living in the palace. One evening, as the glow of the setting sun was fading, he saw, to his surprise, a level road which he felt drawn to travel down. After walking a few miles he arrived before a massive cliff in which there was a cavern; he rested peacefully in its interior. The king, discovering that his son was missing, banished Zenrita and went out into the countryside in search of the young man but did not learn of his whereabouts. Ten years later Ragorata, whilst travelling about converting others, arrived at the city of Shravasti. There was a river there named Kinsui (S. Hirayavat, Golden Waters); he found the flavour of its water to be most delicious and saw, in mid-stream, the outline of five Buddhas. Ragorata reported this to his followers and added, The source of this river lies about a hundred and fifty miles from here; a holy person, Sgyanandai by name, resides there. The Buddha predicted that, a thousand years after His parinirvana, this person would undoubtedly become a sage. After relating this he led his followers upstream and, upon their arrival at the source, they saw Sgyanandai sitting serenely in deep meditation. Ragorata, along with his retinue, waited for him. Three weeks later Sgyanandai emerged from meditation and Ragorata asked him, Is your samadhi one of body or one of mind? Sgyanandai replied, Both my body and mind are in samadhi. Ragorata said, If both your body and mind are in samadhi, how do you manage to go into, and come out of, it? To be sure, if you say that both your body and mind are one with samadhi, how can there be anything to enter or leave? It is not yet TRUE SAMADHI if you pursue it with an eye to body and mind. If it is not TRUE SAMADHI then, of course, there will be a going into, and a coming out of, samadhi; if there

94

Denkroku

is a going into, and a coming out of, samadhi then it must be said that such a state is not TRUE SAMADHI . Do not seek after body or mind when facing the place of stillness. To practise meditation has always been to drop off body and mind so what is there to be called body, what is there to be called mind? Sgyanandai said, There is, to be sure, a going into, and a coming out of, samadhi but the characteristic of samadhi is not lost; it resembles a bucket in a well, the intrinsic quality of such a bucket being its stillness and immutability. Ragorata said, Apart from whether this bucket of yours is in the well or outside it, since the bucket itself does not move, what is it that goes into, or comes out of, the well? If there is any going in or going out this is not the TRUE BUCKET whether the bucket moves or not. Still not grasping this principle Sgyanandai said, By saying, Since the bucket can both move or be still, what is it that goes in and comes out? you are admitting to the buckets going in and coming out, however, the bucket itself is not affected by either its moving or not moving. The bucket has no movement or stillness. If you say that there is any going into and coming out of, you still have a dualistic view of the situation and this is why Ragorata then said, If that bucket of yours is in the well you cannot maintain that what has come out is the bucket; on the other hand, if you maintain that the bucket has come out of the well, what is it that is in the well? The outside is not ultimately turned loose within and the inside is not discharged without. When out, it is completely out, when in, it is completely in, so how can it be in the well and at the same time outside it? This is why Ragorata said, You cannot maintain that what has come out is the bucket. What is it that is in the well? Missing this point, Sgyanandai answered, Were the bucket to come out of the well, whatever remained inside would not be the bucket; were it to stay in the well, it would not be what comes out. What he said reveals that he did not

The Sainted Sgyanandai

95

truly understand the REAL NATURE of the bucket, therefore Ragorata said, These assertions of yours are not right. Although it had seemed as if Sgyanandai were in TRUE SAMADHI and had grasped what its PRINCIPLE is, he still held to a dualistic view of objects and I, therefore he said, Your point is not clear. Sgyanandais assertions do lack TRUTH ; they are like threads of gossamer floating wherever the winds may blow them. Because they lacked TRUTH , Ragorata responded, Beyond question, your assertions miss the point. Sgyanandai replied, Your reasoning is inconclusive. Ragorata, from the depths of his great benevolence and compassion, added emphatically, Your saying that my reasoning is inconclusive is evidence that my reasoning is conclusive! Because Sgyanandais understanding of No-self lacked foundation in experience, he replied, You may say that your reasoning is conclusive but the Dharma teaches that all things lack a self, so. Ragorata said, My assertion is already conclusive because the my has no self. Although Sgyanandai truly comprehended intellectually that each and every thing is without a self, he did not know the REAL TRUTH so he said, What assertion is made conclusive because the my has no self ? To make Sgyanandai understand on a deeper level, Ragorata said, Because the my has no self, the assertion of you is brought to a conclusion. Truly, the four great elements are completely without a self and the five skandhas, from the first, do not exist. It is in this sense that Sgyanandai had some intellectual comprehension that there is Real Self where there is no self so he asked Ragorata, With what sage as your teacher did you, sir, obtain this knowledge of No-self? In order to get Sgyanandai to understand that the Way of master and disciple is not arbitrary, Ragorata said, It was with the great Noble One, Kanadaiba, as my master, that I attested to this NO-SELF. Sgyanandai said in verse,

96

Denkroku

I humbly bow before your master Kanadaiba And would go forth, sir, as your disciple. Because you, sir, have no self, I desire you for my master. Ragorata replied in verse, Because I am already beyond self, You should see the WE For, if you take me as your master, You will know that I is not this WE . The person who can see TRUE SELF has no own self so how can any of the myriad things possibly disturb his vision? Seeing, hearing, perceiving and knowing are ultimately not separate from each other nor is any single event or thing separate from all others; this is why there is no division into the wise and the ordinary and why the Way of master and disciple unites as one. When you can grasp this point, you know what is meant by meeting the Buddhas and Ancestors face to face; you will make your TRUE SELF the master and make the master your TRUE SELF ; not even a sword or an axe will be able to sunder the two. Because Sgyanandai was able to open up suddenly to this very principle he sought to cross to the Other Shore. Ragorata said, Your heart, as well as mind, is free; it is not bound by I. Having spoken thus, Ragorata then raised a golden bowl in his right hand and brought it to the heavenly palace of Brahma where he received an offering of fragrant food. Just as he was about to offer it, in turn, to the great assembly of monks, a feeling of distaste arose in their hearts. Ragorata said, Your distaste is not due to some fault in me but to your own karma; he then had Sgyanandai sit beside him and share the food. The assembly were surprised at this so Ragorata told them, The reason why none of you can partake of this food is this: he who shares this seat with me

The Sainted Sgyanandai

97

was formerly the Tathagata Sharaju (S. larj, Lord of the Shala Trees); he has been reborn out of his pity for all things. You, my companions, had already reached the third stage of non-returner during the preceding Glorious Era of the Thousand Buddhas but have not yet realized the UNDEFILED. The assembly of monks murmured, Whilst we trust our masters spiritual powers, we venture into doubt when you say that Sgyanandai was a Buddha in the past. Sgyanandai, realizing that the assembly was filled with pride, said, In the World-honoured Ones day the world was flat for there were no hills; the water in rivers and canals was completely sweet and delicious, vegetation grew luxuriantly, the land waxed fruitful, the eight kinds of suffering did not exist and people practised the ten good deeds. In the eight hundred years or so since the Buddhas parinirvana between the twin sala trees the world has become a burial mound, the trees have withered, arhants no longer appear among the people, right mindfulness is sneered at or belittled and trust in TRUE BEING has been replaced by greed for spiritual powers. He ceased speaking and, little by little, pushed his right hand down into the ground until it reached the diamond sphere at the very bottom of the earth where he then gathered up the Water of the Sweet Dew in a porcelain bowl and, holding it aloft, offered it to the Sangha. All in the great assembly, seeing this, took refuge and submitted themselves in repentance. How pitiful that things had come to such a state eight hundred years after the worldly life of the Tathagata and more is the pity that, in these present final centuries of the Law when the words Buddha Dharma are rarely heard, people are unaware of what their PRINCIPLE is. Because they have no bodies or minds that have realized IT, no one even asks what IT is. Even when THIS is realized no one comes to guard and preserve IT. Although there are intelligent people who have some slight awareness and understanding because of great,

98

Denkroku

compassionate and benevolent teaching, some are invaded by laziness and procrastination whilst others lack faith in, and understanding of, the TRUTH. As a result, genuine seekers of enlightenment are lacking and there is also no one to awaken in the hearts of others the resolve to realize TRUTH . Truly, we have encountered such times as these as a result of the decadence of the last days of the Law and, due to past life karma, our own ineptitude which surpasses shame and regret. What a pity that you were not born during the period of the True Law, or even that of the counterfeit law, be it as a master or as a disciple. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that the Buddhas Dharma did come east and has reached Its final days; it is a mere fifty or sixty years that the True Law of the Tathagata has been heard in our own country so think of this as just a beginning and never say that there is any place where the Buddhas Teaching has reached that It has not flourished. You have all given rise to your intention with bravery and devotion without confusing your self with REAL SELF. If you directly attest to NO-SELF, quickly realize THAT which is beyond mind, not get caught up in the machinations of body and mind, not get bound up in thoughts of delusion and enlightenment, not remain in the cave of life and death and not be ensnared in the net of sentient beings versus Buddha, you will then know the REAL SELF which has been unchanging for the incalculable aeons of the past and will continue so into the future forever. I say these words to cap this story: The mind machine persuasively calls itself the way mind is And, as a result, how many times has the WE come forth wearing a different face?

The Sainted Kayashata


CHAPTER 19.

99

THE EIGHTEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED KAYASHATA.


Once, whilst Kayashata was serving as a jisha to Sgyanandai, they heard a sound as the wind blew a temple bell. Sgyanandai asked Kayashata, Is that the sound of the bell or the sound of the wind? Kayashata answered, Neither the wind nor the bell, merely the sound of the TRUE NATURE. Sgyanandai asked, And who is the TRUE NATURE ? Kayashata responded, The REASON why all alike are silent and still. Sgyanandai exclaimed, Excellent! The disciple to inherit my Way is none other than you! Accordingly he gave the Treasury of the Law to Kayashata. Kayashata was from Magadha; he was of the clan of Udraka Ramaputra, one of the Buddhas teachers before His enlightenment. His father was Tengai (A Heavenly Canopy of Light), and his mother was Hsei (Saintly in All Ways); she had become pregnant after having dreamt of a great deva holding a mirrorabout seven days later she gave birth to Kayashata. The lustre of his body was like porcelain: even before he was given his first bath he was clean and sweet smelling. From the time of his birth it was evident that the child had the Completely Perfect Mirror which accompanied him wherever he went. He was always fond of quietude and was untainted by worldly attachments, that is to say, whenever the child sat down the Perfect Mirror was before him; everyone knew that the doings of Buddhas of every age floated across this Mirror, It was brighter than a mind illumined by Scriptural teaching. Wherever the child went this Mirror followed him like a halo yet without the childs form being concealed by It. When

100

Denkroku

the child lay down to sleep, the Mirror would cover his bed like a heavenly canopy of light. In short, this Mirror accompanied him everywhere, whether he was walking, standing, sitting or lying down. Now at this time Sgyanandai was on a preaching tour. Upon reaching Magadha a cool breeze suddenly arose and swept over him and his entourage bringing great pleasure to their bodies and spirits. Since his followers did not know why this should be so, Sgyanandai said, This is the wind, or breath, of religious virtue. There must be some saintly person who, having renounced the world, continues on as heir to the Lamp of the Ancestors. Having spoken thus, he led his great assembly of followers through the mountains and valleys by means of his divine powers. By mealtime they had reached the base of a mountain peak and he addressed them, saying, Over the summit of this peak is a purple cloud that hangs like a canopy; a saintly person must surely reside thereabouts. So, for some time, he travelled on with his great assembly until he caught sight of a mountain dwelling and the child in possession of the Perfect Mirror. The boy walked directly up to Sgyanandai who asked him, How old are you? The boy replied, A hundred years old. Sgyanandai then said, But you are still a child. Why do you say that you are a hundred years old? Kayashata answered, I do not know the reason why: it is just that I am a hundred years old. Sgyanandai asked, Are you skilled in the liberating activities of a Buddha? Kayashata answered, The Buddha says that if a man were to live a hundred years without having comprehended the liberating activities of the Buddhas, it would still not equal living a single day and being able to settle the one great issue for good. Sgyanandai asked, And That which is in your hand, what does It show? The child replied, The Great Perfect Mirror of the Buddhas has no flaw or blemish inside or out: all people will be able to see IT alike because the

The Sainted Kayashata

101

eyes of the TRUE NATURE all resemble each other. When his parents heard their child speaking in this manner, they allowed him to leave home and become a monk. Sgyanandai led him back to his own homeland where he gave him the Precepts and named him Kayashata (S. Sanghayaas, The Renowned of the Sangha). Then came the time that he heard the sound made when the wind blew the temple bell; he was given the Treasury of the Law and ultimately became the Eighteenth Ancestor. After the child became a monk his Perfect Mirror was suddenly no longer visible for this is, in fact, a part of everyones LIGHT. Like a perfect mirror, IT is right now, without blemish or flaw inside or out: such is the TRUE NATURE of all of us without exception. Right from his birth Kayashata continually extolled the doings of Buddhas and did not mix in worldly matters. In his Bright Mirror he could see what Buddhas did in past and present. He truly understood that the eyes, hearts and minds of all resemble each other but, even so, he felt that he had not yet met with the liberating activities of Buddhas which is why he had said that he was a hundred years old. To meet the Buddhas, be it for just one day, surpasses not only a mere hundred years but also countless lifetimes. This is why he ultimately relinquished the Perfect Mirror. You should understand through what has been related here that the Buddhas do not neglect, or treat lightly, accounts of the Great Undertaking. When you really comprehend the meaning of the Great Perfect Mirror of the Buddhas, what is left to be understood? Yet this is not the very bottom of TRUTH. After all, why should there be a Great Perfect Mirror of the Buddhas and why should any two people be able to see IT alike? What is there that has no flaw or blemish inside or out? What comprises a blemish or a flaw? How can the eyes possibly resemble each other? Faced with such questions he forgot about his Perfect Mirror but how could this be different from the childs

102

Denkroku

forgetting about his skin and flesh? Even if you share this viewpoint by realizing that there is no distinction amongst eyes, and that all persons see IT alike, this viewpoint is actually dualistic and hardly the basis for clarifying what the TRUE SELF is. Do not hold to an opinion of what perfect is or what body is. It is imperative that you look into your mind and probe deeply into yourself so that you can quickly break through your outer karmic conditions and your inner karmic tendencies to realize that your TRUE NATURE is beyond intellectual knowing: unless you reach this stage you will simply be a karmically conditioned sentient being who has not yet comprehended the liberating activities of Buddhas. In this manner, Kayashata repented his past wrong-doings and bowed in gratitude, whereupon he became a monk and received all the Precepts. After this he spent his years in training and in serving Sgyanandai as a jisha. Once, when he heard a sound as the wind blew the bell in the temple hall, Sgyanandai asked Kayashata, Is that the sound of the bell or of the wind? What is happening here must indeed be studied carefully. Although Sgyanandai never actually saw either bell or wind, still he put the question as Is THAT the sound of the bell or the sound of the wind? because he wanted to get Kayashata to know this THAT. This THAT cannot be grasped in terms of wind or bell; they are not the everyday wind and bell for this would amount to saying, There was a bell that hung in the corner of the hall which was called the Great Bell and such a bell now hangs in a temple tower in the Southern Capital of Nara, since this is the way in which people discriminate among such things as humans and buildings. Originally, in the Northern Capital of Peking they used to hang a Great Bell in a temple building, but in our time this custom has fallen into disuse and lost its meaning. Nevertheless, in India, whenever the wind blew the Great Bell in this manner, this kan was signified.

The Sainted Kayashata

103

When Kayashata answered, Neither the wind nor the bell, merely the sound of the TRUE NATURE , he truly understood at last; he had no need to set up boundaries for even a single mote of dust. Hence, were someone to say, The wind makes no sound nor does the bell, but if you think there is a sound, then there is a sound, with such a view there would still be no silence in the mind. This is precisely why he said, It is the TRUE NATURE that resounds. People, hearing this story, misinterpret it. They have in their heads that it is not necessarily the resounding of the wind, that it is merely a resounding in the mind, which is why, they suppose, Kayashata put the matter the way he did but, if you are truly in a nave and spontaneous state wherein all things have no arising, how can you even say, It is not the bells resounding? Thus he said, It is the TRUE NATURE that resounds. Kayashata and the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En are separated by a long distance in time; on the other hand, they are not separated at all. Thus the latter said, The wind and the banner do not move; it is ORIGINAL NATURE , kind sirs, which moves. Now, when all of you likewise pierce through the foundation of your mind, the three temporal worlds will, from the first, not be separated into past, present and future and the Transmission from heart to heart will be continuous through all ages, so what differences do you discern? Do not discriminate from your everyday viewpoint. From the beginning you can know IT by ITS not being the winds resounding or the bells resounding. If you feel you want to know what IT is, you must realize that it is ORIGINAL NATURE which is resounding. The appearance of that resounding is like the pinnacles of a mountain being high or the depths of an ocean being deep; the towering up of plants and trees, the brightness in peoples eyes, are forms of ORIGINAL NATURE resounding, but you must not think that it is a sound that is resounding, although a sound, as well, is ORIGINAL NATURE resounding. The four elements, the

104

Denkroku

five skandhas and every single one of all the ten thousand things are the ORIGINAL NATURE resounding; there is no time when ORIGINAL NATURE does not resound throughout everything; ultimately there is not a tinge of a reverberation. IT cannot be heard by the ears because the ears themselves are the resounding which is why Kayashata said, All is silent and still. When IT appears like this, all the ten thousand elements are nowhere to be seen; there is no mountain form or ocean form and no taking on the appearance of a single element. It is just as if, in a dream, one is sailing the ocean deep in a magnolia blossom for a boat. Whether you are raising your pole to part the waves or stopping the boat to take note of the currents flow, there is no sky to float in or ocean bottom to sink to. What mountains and oceans can we make rise on the outside and what self can we set afloat within the boat? Though we have eyes, they never listen, though we have ears, they never see, therefore it cannot be said that the six organs of perception merge into each other; the six organs need not be tinged with one another, all is silent and still. When you try to grasp the six sense organs there are none to grasp; when you try to abandon the six fields of perception there are none to abandon. Ridding oneself of all sense objects, we forget both mind and fields. When we look closely, there are no sensory objects to abandon or any mind or fields to put an end to, this is true tranquillity, no discussion of sameness or difference, no feeling of inside or outside. When you really arrive at such a stage you will truly be in charge of the Buddhas Treasure House of the Law and rightly take your place among the ranks of the Buddhas and Ancestors. If you do not develop in this way, even though you understand that the ten thousand elements are fine just as they are, this still preserves an idea of self; you will speak of there being others and then discriminate and organize those elements.

The Sainted Kayashata

105

If you are busy discriminating and structuring things, how will you approach the Buddhas and Ancestors and communicate with them? It will be just as if you are thrusting boundary walls into the sky to divide space. How serene the sky must be! We ourselves alone make the boundaries and the obstructions; once the bounding ridge of a rice paddy is broken through, what is there to distinguish an inside from an outside? At this juncture even the Great Master Shakyamuni is not the beginning nor are you the end; all the Buddhas were, are and will be faceless, all people were, are and will be without form. When you reach this stage, just like clear water giving rise to waves, the Buddhas and the Ancestors go on, one after the other, arising and flourishing. Although the Scripture says, increasing not, decreasing not, the water goes on flowing and the waves go on churning up. Since this is the case, look into your heart and probe deeply into yourself so that you will reach such a stage. From beginningless time, and extending forever into the future, we may keep on creating boundary ridges and string out time into past, present and future yet, aeon after aeon, it is all simply thus. You cannot comprehend this clear and unequivocal ORIGINAL NATURE by working your flesh off or discern IT by means of physical movement or stillness; this state cannot be grasped by body or mind, IT cannot be understood by movement or stillness. IT can be found, first of all, by looking into your mind and probing deeply into yourself, by living fully at peace within your own still heart and by realizing the TRUTH for yourself. If IT is not clear to you in this way, you will be carrying your body and mind about futilely as if bearing a heavy load on your shoulders twenty-four hours a day; neither body nor mind will ultimately grow tranquil. If you let body and mind drop off, whilst keeping your mind open and empty of any deliberate thought, you will find a state of the utmost normalcy, however, even though you may be in such a state, if you cannot give expression to, and illumine,

106

Denkroku

what ORIGINAL NATURE resounds is about in the fortuitous events related in the previous story, you will not understand the arising and flourishing of the Buddhas nor will you understand sentient beings finding Buddhahood. Because of this I wish to append my humble words to express the resounding of ORIGINAL NATURE: Silent and still, ORIGINAL NATURE resounds, reverberating in a myriad ways, Sgyanandai and Kayashata as well as wind and bell.

CHAPTER 20.

THE NINETEENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED KUMORATA.


Kayashata pointed out the following to Kumorata, Long ago the World-honoured One prophesied that, a thousand years after His entry into nirvana, a great scholar would appear in Tokhara who would pass on the Marvellous Transmission. Your meeting me at the present time fulfills this most propitiously. As a result of hearing this, Kumorata awakened his ability to see his former lives. Kumorata (S. Kumrata, The Youthful One) was from a Brahman family in Tokhara. In the far past he had been a deva in the sixth heaven in the realm of desire; whilst there he saw a Bodhisattvas necklace of precious stones and suddenly felt a craving for it. Having thus lapsed, he was reborn in Trayastrimsha, the second heaven in the realm of desire; there he heard Indra of the Kushikas expounding The Scripture of Great Wisdom and became persuaded of its Truth; as a result of

The Sainted Kumorata

107

this, he ascended to Brahmas heaven in the realm of form. Because of his great intelligence he skillfully expounded the essentials of Buddhism and all in that heaven so respected him that they made him their teacher. When the time came for the Ancestral rank to be passed on he descended to Tokhara. Kayashata, whilst on a preaching tour, arrived at Tokhara where he noticed that one of the Brahmans lodgings had a distinctive air about it. Kayashata was about to enter that house when Kumorata asked him whose follower he was. Kayashata replied, I am a disciple of the Buddha. When Kumorata heard the Buddhas name he grew extremely frightened and immediately slammed the door shut. Kayashata knocked at the door for some time before Kumorata answered, No one home! Kayashata asked, Who then is this that replies No one!? When Kumorata heard these words he knew that Kayashata was no ordinary person, so he quickly opened the door and invited him in. As related above, Kayashata told him of the Buddhas ancient prophecy and he realized his ability to know his previous lives. What is happening here needs to be handled carefully. Even though you may have a clear grasp of what the words teach or may comprehend that birth and death, coming and going, comprise the true human body, if you do not understand that your TRUE ORIGINAL NATURE is void of substance, luminous, unimaginable and unbeclouded, you do not know what IT is that the Buddhas have realized. Therefore, were you to see the light that streams from a Bodhisattva, you would be startled; were you to see the countenance of some Buddha, you would be attracted to it. Why is this? Because you would still not have rid yourself of the three poisons of greed, anger and delusion. Now when we look at the account of Kumoratas previous lives, we see that he regressed and descended to the Trayastrimsha heaven because of a covetous attraction; moreover, according to the story of his former life, having been stirred by

108

Denkroku

the preaching of the Dharma by Lord Indra, he ascended to Brahmas heaven and later was reborn in Tokhara. His accumulation of merit and his piling up of virtues was not without fruit; having been aroused by Kayashata, he had awakened to his ability to see his former lives. The ability to see ones former lives is conventionally understood as meaning to know the past and the future, but of what use would that be? If you become aware that your original and unchanging TRUE NATURE is neither enlightened, unenlightened or a delusion, then the hundreds of thousands of gateways to the Teaching, along with their immeasurably profound meanings, are all seen to be wellings-up in the mind. Both the stumblings of sentient beings and the realization of enlightenment by the Buddhas lie within your own breast; in no way are they the elements of sense objects nor are they mental phenomena. When you arrive at this state, what is to be taken as past, what as present? What pertains to the Buddhas, what to sentient beings? Not a single object blocks the eye, not a single speck of dust comes in touch with the hand; there are just the qualities of being, void of substance and luminous, simply being unclouded, free of everything and boundless. The Tathagata who realized enlightenment in the distant past is in fact the sentient being who, by nature, does not swerve. Even when someone awakens to the TRUTH in this way, nothing is added; likewise, whilst someone has not yet realized the TRUTH , he lacks nothing. To touch upon the awareness that it has been like this since time began is what is meant by awakening to ones ability to see former lives. If you have not reached this state, you will be needlessly disturbed by a nature that is a mixture of delusion and enlightenment; so caught up will you be in past and future that you will not know what your TRUE NATURE is and will not see clearly that your TRUE ORIGINAL NATURE does not err. If you are thus, you will be wont to play at being a Buddha in an

The Sainted Shayata

109

attempt to attain the supraworldly or play at being a Bodhisattva in an attempt to take unjust possession of His coming far off from the West. The original impulse to renounce the world and the original intention to come from the West were simply for the sake of these deluded actions and not for any other purpose. By all means take heed of the above account and know that the actions of Kayashata and Kumorata were spiritually alive and bright-mindedly frank. To know THAT which has radiance from the first is called the ability to see ones past lives. Do you want to hear my humble words today? I trust that they will convey the underlying principle. Clinging to a body from a past life, made ever so remote by the passage of time, We suddenly meet face to face with the ONE from ancient days.

CHAPTER 21.

THE TWENTIETH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED SHAYATA.


One day Kumorata pointed out to Shayata, Although you already believe in the three types of karma, you still have not awakened to the fact that karma is born from confusion, that confusion results from consciousness, that consciousness depends on the sleep of ignorance and that the sleep of ignorance depends on ORIGINAL MIND. ORIGINAL MIND is naturally pure and unstained, IT is not born nor does IT die, IT does not concoct things, IT does not reward or punish, IT does not gain or lose anything; IT is utterly still and utterly vital. If you enter this gate to the Dharma, you can be the same as the Buddhas. All good and evil deeds, whether intentional or

110

Denkroku

unintentional, are like dreams and fantasies. When Shayata heard these words, he grasped their import and realized the wisdom that was stored up from his past lives. Shayata (S. Jayata, The Victorious One) was from Northern India. His wisdom and understanding were as the silent depths of the ocean, his persuasive instruction and spiritual guidance were beyond measure. One day, whilst in Central India, he met Kumorata and asked him, My parents have always had faith in the Triple Treasure but they have continually been subject to illnesses and all their endeavours have come to naught, whereas our neighbour, who persists in behaving like Chandala the Outlaw, has always been fit and healthy and his undertakings successful. Why has he had such good fortune and where have we gone wrong? Kumorata replied, Why do you entertain such doubts? The karmic effects of good and bad actions will come to fruition in one of three temporal phases. In general, people see that the benevolent may suffer untimely or violent deaths whilst the cruel may live long, or that the wicked may be fortunate whilst the morally upright meet with misfortune. As a result of this they say that there is no cause and effect and that vice and good deeds are empty words. Above all they do not understand that consequences follow upon actions which are influenced by even the slightest vacillations, that even were a thousand million kalpas to elapse these consequences would still not be wiped away and that cause and effect are, of necessity, in accord with each other. By the time Shayata had heard these words his doubts had forthwith been clarified. It was then that Kumorata said the words quoted above and Shayata, as a result, realized the wisdom that was stored up from his past lives. As practitioners of meditation, you should handle this passage with care. Consider the section that says, They have always had faith in the Triple Treasure but have continually

The Sainted Shayata

111

been subject to illnesses and all their endeavours have come to naught, whereas our neighbour, who persists in behaving like Chandala the Outlaw, has always been fit and healthy and his undertakings successful. In effect Shayata was saying, By believing in the Buddhas Teaching our lives ought to be long; by dint of the Buddhas Teaching our bodies ought to be in continual good health. Experiences ought to accord with what we fancy but they do not; our body falls victim to illness. What have we done wrong? From the outset Chandala committed evil acts and cultivated no good deeds whatsoever yet his body was fit and healthy; assuming here that this is a significant favourable sign, how is this good fortune possible? People still think this today; even some of you monks harbour such thoughts to say nothing of lay people who are all prone to this kind of thinking. This is why Kumorata asked, Why do you entertain such doubts? The karmic effects of good and bad actions will come to fruition in one of three temporal phases. In general people observe that others, who are basically benevolent, are in the midst of calamities whilst some violent one is living a long life; even getting away with grievous offences may be viewed as a sign of good luck whilst one who is deeply moral is suffering misfortunes. Such spectators are not awake to the past and do not comprehend the future. Seduced by just what is before their eyes, they think that cause and effect do not exist, that vice and good deeds are empty words. Nothing could be more foolish and deluded. They think this way because the path to enlightenment seems too dull or trifling for them. The three types of karma are, first, the karma that affects the present life by producing good and bad karmic consequence in this life; second, the karma that affects the next life by yielding its fruits in the next lifethe five grievous offences and the seven rebellious acts, for instance, will undoubtedly yield their fruits in the next lifeand, third, the karma that affects lives

112

Denkroku

following the next by producing a karmic consequence within the next three or four lives up to untold lives. Since this is so, even though people receive good effects in the present life due to past good karma, it is nevertheless possible that, due to karma from some past life, the present karmic effects can be altered. Those who have purely good or bad karmic causes will feel purely good or bad effects in their present life; those who have mixed good and bad karmic causes will receive mixed good and bad karma. The strength of their practice of the Buddhas Teaching can turn heavy karma around so that they incur light karma and can turn light karma around so that it comes to naught in the present. What are called the bad causes from past kalpas are experienced as heavy suffering in the future but, when peoples practice of the Buddhas Teaching is strong, their experience of such suffering is light; some are cloaked in illness, some do not get what they wish for, some find that what they say is not taken seriously by others; these are all cases of future heavy suffering received lightly in the present life. Thus, the strength of your practice of the Buddhas Teaching should be ever more relied upon. The fruits of practice from the distant past will make everything seem sprightly simply because of your dauntless devotion to training. As practitioners of meditation you comprehend what the Way is yet some of you may receive bad reputations whilst others may not get what they desire as an occupation and still others may not have fit and healthy bodies. This being so, if you wish to turn heavy karma around and incur light karma, never resent others even though they despise you, never find fault with others even though they revile you. Even though you always respectfully bow in the face of their slanders, do not despise them, for your practice of the Way will thereby be spoiled and the good karma that you have stored up from past lives will, in time, vanish. By all means keep on practising until you master this in full.

The Sainted Shayata

113

Although you may already believe in the three types of karma, you may still not know the roots of your karma. Karma is distinguished by its good and bad fruit the quality of which differs for ordinary people and sages. The three temporal worlds, the six realms of existence, the four modes of birth and the nine blissful abodes are the fruit of karma; this karma arises from delusion. Delusion from being infatuated and wandering off the path means to desire, or hate, that which we ought not to desire or hate, to judge as right or wrong what we ought not to judge as right or wrong, whereas delusion from being confused means to perceive as masculine that which is not masculine and to perceive as feminine that which is not feminine; these states set you apart and separate others. Ignorance from being asleep means not to know the roots of self, not to know the birthplace of all ten thousand things that comprise the universe, whereas to be bereft of wisdom at every turn is called ignorance from being in the dark. These states lack prudence and fail to recognise sensory pollutants. The SOURCE of this mind, being pure and unstained, never runs counter to residual conditions. To turn this mind in the opposite direction is called being unenlightened; when you awaken to this being unenlightened you realize that the SOURCE of your own mind is pure and unstained, that your own TRUE NATURE is vital and luminous. When you can see in this way, ignorance is, of course, routed, the turning of the wheel of the twelve stages of dependent origination is at last fruitless and the four types of birth and the six realms of existence quickly vanish; everyones ORIGINAL NATURE is thus. Because of this there is no longer the distinction of birth and death; difficulties disappear, hence there is no hate or desire, no increasing or decreasing, just stillness and vitality. If you feel you would like to gain a glimpse of your ORIGINAL NATURE , give up everything, cut all ties, think of neither good nor evil, let your eyes look down the ridge of your

114

Denkroku

nose for a while and look into your ORIGINAL NATURE . When your whole mind is still, all appearances will come to an end and your ignorance of that SOURCE will be on the point of being routed; the branches and leaves, karma and its fruit, in fact, do not exist. Do not grow stagnant, therefore, in the place of nondiscrimination, do not be caught up in the moments when discriminating thoughts do not arise. IT is neither immutable nor impermanent, neither ignorant nor immaculate; IT makes no distinctions among the Buddhas and treats all sentient beings alike. When you arrive at this clear, white, perfect, luminous state, only then will you be a true kesa-clad monk. If you are like this, you will be the same as all the Buddhas. At this stage, all that you encounter, whether intentionally or unintentionally, will be like a dream or a fantasy. Try to grab hold of IT, your hand will be empty; try to see IT, your eyes will have nothing to connect with. When you have reached this stage you will have awakened to the principle that the Buddhas have not yet entered the world and will have arrived at the state where sentient beings have not yet become confused and contrary. Unless your practice of meditation has reached this point, even though you worship the Buddha throughout the day and harmonize your body and mind whilst engaged in the four dignified activities of walking, standing, sitting and lying down, you will merely experience the superior effect of being a human or a deva which is the karmic recompense of being in a heavenly state whilst still afflicted with defiling passions. Such a condition is like a shadow following a form; it exists but it is not the TRUTH. Therefore, everyone, arouse your vigour that you may awaken to your TRUE NATURE . As usual, I affix my humble words. Do you wish to hear them? The camphor tree, as of old, grows up into the sky; Its branches and leaves, roots and trunk flourish beyond the clouds.

The Sainted Bashubanzu


CHAPTER 22.

115

THE TWENTY-FIRST ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BASHUBANZU.


One day Shayata said to Bashubanzu, Even though I may not seek after enlightenment, I do not act contrary to it; even though I may not be doing prostrations before the Buddha, I am not spiritually negligent; even though I may not be sitting in meditation, I am not lazy; even though I may not eat just one meal a day, I am not gluttonous; even though I may not know what is enough, I am not covetous. In my heart there is nothing that I seek; I call this the Way. When Bashubanzu heard this, he realized the WISDOM that is free from all defilements and desires. Bashubanzu was from the city of Rajagriha; his family name was Bishagi (S. Vaishkha, of the clan of Vishkha, Shakyamunis leading female lay disciple). His father was Kgai which means A Canopy of Light and his mother was Gonichi which means Foremost in Spiritual Adornments. Although rich, they had no children, so his parents prayed at the Buddhas stupa for an heir. One night his mother dreamt that she had swallowed two pearlsone bright, one darkand, when she awoke, she was pregnant. Seven days later an arhant named Kenshu, which means The Assembly of the Wise, arrived at their home. When Kgai greeted him with ceremonial courtesy, Kenshu accepted this without moving from his seat but, when Gonichi entered and bowed to him, Kenshu arose saying, I return the bow to the Splendid One of the Dharmabody. Kgai could not fathom the significance of this behaviour. He then chose a valuable pearl and offered it to Kenshu on bended knees. After examining its genuineness, Kenshu took it but without any outward display of humble

116

Denkroku

gratitude. Kgai, unable to tolerate this, remarked, I am the husband here, yet, when I proffered you respect, you took no notice of my bow. What virtue does my wife have that the Arhant shuns me? Kenshu replied, I received your show of courtesy and accepted the pearl simply out of respect for the fact that you have been blessed with good fortune; your wife, however, is carrying a great master within her. When he is born he will be the sun of wisdom who is a lamp unto the world, therefore I have kept aloof from you but not out of greater esteem for women. Kenshu then added, Your wife will give birth to two children. The first is to be called Bashubanzu (S. Vasubandhu, which means Excellent Friend) and it is to him that I have paid honour. The second is to be called Sni, that is, The Child of the Jackdaw. Long ago, when the Tathagata was once training on a mountain in the Himalayas, a jackdaw was nesting on the peak. As the Buddha had already realized enlightenment, your son Sni will receive some karmic recompense from that encounter; he will become king of the land of Nadi. The Buddha prophesied that, when the second five-hundred-year period arrived, Sni would be born into the Bishagi family in Rajagriha in the same womb with a sage. There was no mistake; one month later she gave birth to two sons. Upon reaching his fifteenth year Bashubanzu was ordained as a monk by the Arhant Kdo (Bright Emancipation); several Bodhisattvas gave him the Precepts. When Shayata arrived at Rajagriha, whilst on a preaching tour to spread the doctrine of sudden enlightenment, he found there a group of scholarly students who concentrated solely on debating; foremost among them was Bashubanzu. He took only one meal a day and never lay down; six times a day he made prostrations to the Buddha. He was imputed by the group to be chaste and without desires. Shayata, preparing to lead him to the Other Shore, began by questioning the group, This busy ascetic is able to practise morality but is he capable of finding the Buddhas Path

The Sainted Bashubanzu

117

to enlightenment? The crowd replied, Our teacher is diligence itself. Why could he not? Shayata then said, Your teacher is far from the Path. Even if he were to practise his asceticism for endless kalpas, it would be nothing but a source of vain delusion. The crowd asked, And what virtuous practices have you piled up that you should so disparage our teacher? As stated above, Shayata answered, Even though I may not seek after enlightenment. until Bashubanzu realized the wisdom that is free from all defilements and desires. With great joy he praised Shayata. Once again Shayata addressed the crowd, Did you not comprehend what I was saying? I said it because his mind was too eager in its search for enlightenment just as a sitar string is wont to snap when tightened too quickly or tautly. That is why I did not praise him but had him abide in a peaceful state so that he might enter the WISDOM OF THE BUDDHAS. What is happening here is indeed a key to the path of learning for, when you think I must achieve Buddhahood, I must find enlightenment or I am piling up all this merit and virtue by observing dietary rules, keeping to morally pure actions, meditating for long periods without resting, performing rituals to worship the Buddha and reciting Scriptures in order to find enlightenment, all you are doing is raining down flowers in a flowerless sky or making holes where there are none. Even if you were to spend infinite kalpas upon kalpas doing such things, you would not comprehend emancipation. Beyond question, to have no desire in your heart for anything whatsoever is what enlightenment is. So, even if contentment is what you desire, this still amounts to a greed. If you are habitually partial to long meditations this is being attached to body. Trying to get along on only one meal a day is still discrimination in what you view as food; also, making efforts to do rituals or read the Scriptures is creating flowers in your eyes. Because of this, each and every one of these thoughts, words and actions is above all a source of the unreal and false and is in no way something arising from your true ORIGINAL NATURE .

118

Denkroku

If you think sitting for long periods is enlightenment, sitting for ten months in the womb would be enlightenment; why would you seek to do it a second time? If regulating your diet were enlightenment, were you to become ill and be unable to set your meal times, would you then cease to be an enlightened person during that period? Indeed, such thought is enough to make someone burst out laughing. It is like a disciple of the Buddha setting up various standards of preceptual purity for his daily life based on the chaste conduct of the Buddhas and Ancestors; were he to form attachments to these standards, and become one-sided, they would all change into afflictions. Furthermore, were you to seek ever harder to realize enlightenment because you had become weary of birth and death, coming and going, you would not be able to sever the beginningless cycle of dying in one place and being born in another for you would still be cherishing the hope that somehow the opportunity to realize enlightenment would arise. Similarly, you may feel that you want to pursue enlightenment because you are all entangled in your day-to-day affairs. Know that such approaches are a complete mistake. Again, what Buddhahood do you think can be found? What sentient being can be deluded? There is not one person who is deluded; there is not one teaching that can be awakened to. Although we say that, upon their conversion, delusion becomes enlightenment and the ordinary becomes sanctified, this is all talk for people who are not yet awakened. What is unconverted that needs to be converted? What is deluded that needs to be enlightened? Because of this the reverend monk Raizan (C. Chia-shan) said in verse, Quite clearly there is no awakening to TRUTH ; Awakening to TRUTH is a phrase that only misleads others all the more. If I always just stretch out both legs and sleep, There will be no false and no true.

The Sainted Bashubanzu

119

Such is truly the substance of enlightenment. Even so, both novices and experienced monks should meditate upon these matters carefully so that they can reach a state of equanimity for, if you yourself have had no practical experience, you can be misled by the words of someone else. Therefore, if you are tempted to roll your eyeballs up into their sockets to see what you can see, you invite the assault of illusory Buddhas and demons. Even though you listen to what I am saying here and claim you realize that there is, of course, nothing to be found, you may still have some sort of intellectual understanding which you will justify as being necessary for acquiring the Teaching. When, if illusory Buddhas or demons come, you say that there is a Teaching that you still need to master, your mind, to be sure, will move to understand but instead will fall into error; if, however, now having received the correct instructions of the Buddhas, you look into your mind and probe deeply within yourself, you too will undoubtedly reach a state of ease and selfconfidence. Once you know this level of ease you will be exactly like someone who has eaten his fill; although others may speak of IT as a royal feast, you will not long for IT. This is why it is said that delectable food is not what a satisfied man eats. People of old used to comment, If you have become troubled, by and by you will be at ease. Come, look sharply; your own ORIGINAL NATURE does not see Buddha nor does IT see sentient beings, so how can IT possibly hate delusion and seek awakening? When the First Ancestor came from the West in order to help such people see directly, he did not speak of having wisdom or of lacking it, nor did he speak of some ancient lore or new learning; he had people sit up straight for a bit and dwell in peace within themselves for this is none other than the gateway to the GREAT TRANQUILLITY . Therefore, from past kalpas up to that of the present day, you people have all thought

120

Denkroku

to be an error THAT WHICH IS WITHOUT ERROR. Pay no heed to the frost glistening atop someone elses gate; just keep in mind the TREASURE that lies beneath your own roof. Right now you are all on the verge of meeting a CLOSE FRIEND ; do not fix your enlightenment at some day in the far distant future. To put it simply, do not go around waving your monastic robes or start seeking out the opinions of others just when you are about to begin scrutinizing your own mind. If your training is done in this way, not only hundreds of thousands of gateways to the Teaching but also the boundless actions of the Buddhas will all flow forth from it and will go forth over all the heavens and the earth. Be keen to avoid seeking after enlightenment; just pledge yourself to the TRUE SELF only. From past kalpas you have carried IT with you wherever you went and have never even, for a moment, been separated from IT. Even so, not to recognise that you have a TRUE SELF is like searching for something hither and thither whilst you are holding it in your hand. What an error that is! It is tantamount to forgetting your TRUE SELF. In examining this matter now, the wondrous Way of the Buddhas, as well as the genuine Transmission of the Ancestors, are what this undertaking is about; have no doubt about it whatsoever. Whenever people reach this stage, they can no longer harbour the slightest doubt about what the ancient masters have said. As the story stated, When Bashubanzu heard this, he realized the WISDOM that is free from all defilements and desires. If you wish to realize the stage of being free from defilements and desires, just pledge yourself to the TRUE SELF. If you wish to pledge yourself to the TRUE SELF from birth until old age, think that IT is just THIS THAT IS ; there is not even a speck of dust that can be thrown out, not even a single atom that can escape from IT. To reiterate, do not hold on to any special desire to attain the WISDOM that is free from all defilements and desires.

The Sainted Manura

121

Now, as usual, there are my humble words; I trust that they amplify the account just given. Do you want to hear them? The wind blows across the vast sky, making the clouds expose the mountain peak; Worldly affairs and yearnings for enlightenment are both of no concern.

CHAPTER 23.

THE TWENTY-SECOND ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED MANURA.


When Manura asked Bashubanzu, Just what is the enlightenment of the Buddhas? Bashubanzu answered, It is none other than your ORIGINAL NATURE . Manura then asked, What is ORIGINAL NATURE like? Bashubanzu replied, The eighteen realms of the senses (i.e., all experiences) are void, unstained and pure. When Manura heard this, he understood enlightenment. Manura (S. Manorhita, Good for Mankind) was the son of King Jjizai (S. Savatevara, The Eternally Free One) of the country of Nadi; he was in his thirtieth year when he met Bashubanzu who had arrived in Nadi whilst on a preaching tour. This king, who called himself the Eternally Free One, had two sons; the first was named Makara which means The Leviathan and the second Manura. The king asked Bashubanzu, How do the customs of your native Rajagriha differ from those here? Bashubanzu answered, In that land there have been three Buddhas who have renounced the world. In your Majestys kingdom there are at present two teachers to instruct

122

Denkroku

and guide others. The king said, Who are these two teachers? Bashubanzu replied, The Buddha prophesied that, in the second five-hundred-year period, there would be a noble being of great spiritual power who would leave home to become a monk and perpetuate holiness; he is none other than your Majestys second son. Of the two teachers, Manura is one and, although my good roots are meagre, I venture to say that I am the other. The king said, If what you say is true, then I must give up my son so that he can become a monk. Bashubanzu said, Excellent! Your Majesty has strengthened the Buddhas intention. Accordingly, he had Manura take the Precepts and, after that, Manura attended on Bashubanzu. One day he asked Bashubanzu, Just what is the enlightenment of the Buddhas? and Bashubanzu answered, It is none other than your ORIGINAL NATURE . This question is truly one that should be asked at the beginning of anyones study of the Way. Since enlightenment is synonymous with the Way, the meaning of this question is, What is this Way? Because people today never ask about the Teaching with open minds, or come to teachers with a beginners heart, they do not ask this question. If your aspirations are genuine, you should not behave in this way. What you should first ask is, Just what is Buddha? and then you should ask, Just what is the Buddhas Way? This is why Manura raised the first question in the present instance whilst Bashubanzu pointed the way by saying, It is none other than your ORIGINAL NATURE . Because Manura was not in the mind of duality or clinging to even a single hair, he then asked, Just what is my ORIGINAL NATURE ? and Bashubanzu answered, IT is nothing but the immaculacy of emptiness of the eighteen realms of the senses, whereupon Manura understood enlightenment. What we call Buddha is your ORIGINAL NATURE . Ultimately ORIGINAL NATURE cannot be grasped by the intellect or

The Sainted Manura

123

perceived by the senses for, beyond doubt, IT is the SUPREME WAY. Since this is so, IT is without form or location. To be sure, Buddha and the Way are terms of convenience; thus, Buddha is not that which knows everything, the Way is not something to be cultivated and ORIGINAL NATURE is not that which perceives things. In this state neither perceived objects nor sensory organs exist wherein consciousness can arise. This is why Bashubanzu said, The eighteen realms of the senses are void, unstained and pure. Since this is so, do not talk about this state in terms of mental objects, do not try to grasp it in terms of perceptual, or sensory, knowledge. When you reach this state, the Buddhas no longer appear in some form and the ineffable Way needs no cultivation. Furthermore, granting that seeing, hearing and knowing show no traces of their whereabouts, neither can sound, colour or motion have boundaries. Therefore, as a verse says, Even though this sight and hearing are not sight and hearing, Even more is it impossible to present you with sound or colour. If you fully grasp that there is nothing whatsoever within these, What difference does it make whether you distinguish ULTIMATE REALITY from ITS functioning or not? In this context, do not explain sound in terms of tone and pitch; do not think of colour in terms of blue, yellow, red or white; do not treat seeing as something corresponding to the light of the eyes; do not consider hearing as a faculty of the ears. No one has eyes that respond to colour or ears that relate to sound. If you say that the ear is allied to sound or the eye is connected to colour or form, you are not clear about sound and ignorant about eyes for, if you say that there is some element

124

Denkroku

responded to, some object related to, then how could sound possibly enter the ear or form and colour be seen by the eye? Unless the relationship is like space merging into space or water merging into water, hearing and seeing are impossible but, because this is not so, the eye merges with form and colour and the ear with sound; they blend without creating boundaries, mix without leaving traces. This being so, even a sound that makes heaven and earth reverberate enters an ear barely an inch square; how could this be other than the extremely large being the same as the small? With an eyeball, barely an inch square, you flash over the whole world; how could this be other than the extremely small being the same as the large? Is it not that the eye is colour and form, that sound is the ear? This is how we perceive; this is how we discern. This ORIGINAL NATURE has no borders, boundaries, sides or surfaces. Needless to say, the eye never gains anything; colours and forms likewise cannot be divided. Are not these three categories of sensory information, sense organs and perceptions all void, unstained and pure? Therefore, when you reach this state, you can speak of sound and of eye and of consciousness. Thus is all right to use; not thus is all right; thus and not thus are both all right together. There is not even the tiniest speck of anything that enters the senses from outside; not the least bit of distinction that is brought forth from within the mind, therefore, when people speak of sound, hearing and speaking become distinguished within sound; when they speak of form and colour, both a perceiver and a perceived are established within form and colour. There is no basis whatsoever for these judgments. Not having mastered this principle, you may fancy that sound, form and colour are chimera that arbitrarily arise. You must by all means sweep away such a notion as ORIGINAL NATURE is by nature immutable and, moreover, cannot change or move for this is quite laughable. For that matter, what is there that changes or does not change? What is there that is real

The Sainted Kakurokuna

125

or not real? If you do not see these matters clearly, not only are you in the dark about sound, form and colour, you have still not mastered seeing and hearing. As a result you roll your eyeballs up into their sockets and believe you do not see; you stop up your ears so that you cannot hear. This is nothing more than marching on whilst you bind yourself with a rope that does not exist or fall into a hole where there is none, hence it is difficult for you to avoid defiling feelings flowing out from the senses. Since this is so, train yourself thoroughly; if you penetrate to the bottom of this so that your seeing of your ORIGINAL NATURE is clear and unmistakable, you will reach the very heights without hindrance. Again I trust my humble words illustrate what is happening in this story. Do you wish to hear them? The spirit of SHUNYATA is neither inside nor outside; Seeing and hearing, sound and form, are all as the empty sky.

CHAPTER 24.

THE TWENTY-THIRD ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED KAKUROKUNA.


One day Manura observed, Here is the UNSURPASSED
TREASURE OF THE GREAT LAW, hearken to IT, accept IT and in

the future teach IT. Upon hearing this, Kakurokuna realized enlightenment. Kakurokuna (S. Haklena) was a Brahman from the kingdom of Kushana; his father was Sensh which means A Thousand Victories and his mother was Kink which means Golden

126

Denkroku

Light. Because she was childless, she prayed before the golden banners of the Seven Buddhas whereupon she dreamt of a holy child atop Mount Sumeru, holding a gold ring, who said, I have come. When she awoke she found that she was pregnant. When Kakurokuna was in his seventh year he wandered off to a village where he saw some people worshipping a heathenish deity. He entered their shrine and scolded them, saying, You are deluding people by recklessly indulging yourselves in your prosperity and misfortunes; year after year you squander animals in sacrifices. No sooner had he spoken of their harmful behaviour than the shrine suddenly crashed to the ground; as a consequence his fellow villagers called him the Holy Child. When he was in his twenty-second year he left home to become a monk and in his thirtieth year he met Manura who gave him the name of Kakurokuna. Rokuna is a transcription of the Sanskrit word lena meaning flock; kaku comes from the Chinese character for crane; by combining the two his name means He of the Flock of Cranes: he was called this because all sorts of cranes flocked after him. Now when he first met Manura various extraordinary events occurred; although I should relate each and every one of them, I shall cite just one here. Kakurokuna asked Manura, Why is a flock of cranes attracted to me? Manura answered, At one time, during the fourth period of cosmic emptiness, you were a monk. Once, when you were about to pay a visit to the Dragon Palace, your disciples wanted to go with you but you saw that not one amongst your five hundred followers was in a condition to be entrusted with the wondrous offerings of the King of the Dragons. At the time your disciples said, You have always preached the Dharma that those who are equals when it comes to eating are also equals when it comes to the Teaching. What is so sacred in this situation that you refuse to let us come with you? As a result of this you let them attend. After you

The Sainted Kakurokuna

127

died, you were reborn so as to convert many countries but your previous five hundred followers were reborn among feathered creatures because their merit was slight and their virtue scant. Now, sensing your benevolence, they have become a flock of cranes and follow after you. Hearing this explanation, Kakurokuna said, By what skillful means am I to liberate them? Manura answered, Here is the UNSURPASSED TREASURE OF THE GREAT LAW. Actually, the principle of equality in food and equality in the Teaching makes no distinction between sages and ordinary people but it should be kept in mind that, even though both the master and his followers paid a visit to the Dragon Palace, those slight of merit and scant of virtue were in no condition to receive the wondrous offerings so they became feathered creatures. What happened here should really be a warning to neophytes in training. Now there is no discrimination in the preaching of the Dharma and there should be equality with regard to food but there are some who can digest the donations of the faithful and there are others who are harmed by those gifts; at this point it may seem that they are not equals. A distinction needs to be made for, when you look at food or at the Teaching, even if you see them as equal for all or understand that they are one and the same for all, you are still making a distinction of seeing something as food and something as the Teaching; you have not escaped from a dualistic view. Infatuated and deluded by their covetous and indulgent hearts, those disciples followed after their master and, as a result, ultimately became feathered creatures. They had not arrived at the principle of equality in food and equality in the Teaching; they were undoubtedly fettered by names and appearances. For instance, the UNSURPASSED GREAT TEACHING of which we have been speaking has nothing to do with what we call food or call the Teaching. What is it that we can designate as

128

Denkroku

holy, what as ordinary? IT is nothing that can be arrived at through forms and their shadows. It is even difficult to call IT ORIGINAL NATURE . After all, this TEACHING is not something bestowed by the Buddhas or Ancestors; IT is not imparted to ones children or inherited from ones father, IT is nothing that can be called self or other. Where could such terms as food and Teaching have come from? Moreover, is there any place to go to when invited? Is there ever any turning into a flock of cranes? Therefore, fix your eyes upon this carefully, exert yourself in your meditation and, above all, know that your own ORIGINAL NATURE is marvellously clear, vast and wondrously bright; know that by preserving well and devoting yourself to fully ripening, there will be a Transmitting of the LIGHT of the Buddhas and Ancestors which you will undoubtedly find. Even if you are clear about the meaning of your ORIGINAL NATURE and are already liberated the same as the Buddhas and Ancestors, there is still the UNSURPASSED TREASURE OF THE GREAT LAW that you must listen to attentively: IT will quite transform your future. This is not the principle of ORIGINAL NATURE , much less the spheres of sight and hearing; IT goes far beyond past and present feelings or sensations, and, of course, has never abided on the side of sentient beings or of Buddhas. Therefore, in designating what is the REAL PERSON, you should not consider HIM a Buddha or an ordinary person. Even when such a PERSON is not sitting upright in the meditation hall, HE never lapses into leaning to either side; neither HIS shadow can be found nor any trace of HIM be located. When you have reached this threshold, what is ORIGINAL NATURE? What is enlightenment? In one cough, spit it all out; in one spurt, empty it all out. When you can do it like this, you are an adult beyond measure. If you have not reached such a point, you are still an ordinary person, ultimately a sentient being transmigrating in samsara. Because of this, you should all scrutinize carefully, and aspire to, shouldering the

The Sainted Shishibodai

129

UNSURPASSED TREASURE OF THE GREAT LAW ; this will be

nothing other than our venerable master Shakyamuni, His flesh still warm. Do not get attached to this name or labour over appearances. In practising meditation and studying the Way you must, without fail, discern what is REAL . These are my humble words which I hope point to this principle: A whitened wall breaks through the clouds, snow on its massive crags; Perfectly pure and without a blotch, it stands out against the blue sky.

CHAPTER 25.

THE TWENTY-FOURTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED SHISHIBODAI.


Shishibodai asked Kakurokuna, As I wish to pursue the Way to enlightenment, how should I exert my mind in order to do it? Kakurokuna answered, If you would pursue the Way, there is no situation where you need to exert your mind. Shishibodai asked, If I do not exert myself, who will perform the work of Buddha? Kakurokuna replied, If you are involved in exerting, there will be no merit or virtue; if you do not make yourself perform, then that is the work of Buddha. A Scripture says, The merit and virtue in what I perform is due to there being no egocentric I. When Shishibodai heard these words he entered the Buddhas WISDOM. Shishibodai (S. Simhabodhi, The Wisdom of the Lion) was a Brahman from Central India; originally he had studied non-Buddhist teachings and had a reputation for being well

130

Denkroku

versed in them. He met Kakurokuna and the above dialogue ensued whereupon he was straightway exposed to the state where he did not exert his discriminative mind and so immediately entered the Buddhas WISDOM. One day Kakurokuna suddenly pointed toward the northeast and asked, How do those forms in the sky appear to you? Shishibodai answered, I see a vaporous cloud, like a white rainbow, stretching from heaven to earth with five trails of black clouds running across it at right angles. Kakurokuna asked, What does this portend? Shishibodai replied that he did not know. Kakurokuna said, Fifty years after my death difficulties will arise in Northern India which will assail your body. In spite of this, you will Transmit the TREASURE OF THE LAW so that others can be converted in the future. Having received this personal prediction, Shishibodai went to preach in Kashmir where he met Bashashita whom he made his spiritual heir and told him, My master made a prediction to me, in private, that I would meet with difficulties and my body would be attacked; I will not try to get round this in any way. I will remain here so that you can be endowed with my Way to enlightenment and travel to different countries to convert others. He then imparted the Kesa and the Teaching to Bashashita. The ruler of Kashmir at that time, although deeply devoted to Buddhism, was still mired in appearances, moreover, there were two non-Buddhist men in the country, named Mamokuta (S. Mmukta) and Torakusha (S. Tulaka), who had studied the arts of trickery hoping to stir up rebellion. They had stolen some robes, dressed up as disciples of the Buddha and sneaked into the royal palace, saying to themselves, Should we not succeed, the blame will fall back on the Buddhists. When their enterprise failed, the enraged king said, From the very first I have committed my heart and mind to the Triple Treasure. Why have Buddhist monks tried to bring harm to me? All they have

The Sainted Shishibodai

131

achieved is that I order their monasteries to be destroyed and the host of Buddhists to be eradicated. Then, sword in hand, he went to where Shishibodai was staying and demanded of him, Have you found the immaculacy of emptiness of the skandhas or not? Shishibodai answered that he had. The king then asked, Are you beyond birth and death? Shishibodai answered that he was. The king said, Since you are beyond birth and death, you can give me your head. Shishibodai replied, Since this body is not mine, why should I begrudge you its head? whereupon the king decapitated Shishibodai with his sword. White milk spurted several feet into the air from the wound. The kings right arm twisted off and he fell to the ground; a week later he died. Shishibodai, for his part, had remained constant. The first time Kakurokuna and Shishibodai met the latter had asked, As I wish to pursue the Way to enlightenment, how should I exert my mind in order to do it? Kakurokuna had replied, If you would pursue the Way, there is no situation where you need to exert your mind. When you sincerely seek the Way, how can the Way have any connection with mental exertion? We die in one place and are reborn in another. Although people may sporadically aspire to the Way and pursue the Teaching, they have not yet made that True Returning due to their mental exertions. So, if you want to be instantly in accord with the Buddhas WISDOM , you must not only free yourself from the four false views (i.e. that the phenomenal world is permanent, is a source of pleasure, is pure and has a self) and the three poisons of greed, hate and delusion, but also let go of such notions as the Three Bodies of Buddha and the four types of enlightened wisdom (i.e. the great perfect mirror-wisdom, the wisdom of equality, the wisdom of wondrous perception and the wisdom of accomplishing transformations). When you go forth in this way, it will be difficult to classify you as being among the ranks of the ordinary or to extol you as one on the level of a Buddha. Going far beyond the state in which you feel that you

132

Denkroku

are holy or are ordinary, you will have forthwith left behind your judgments of being different from, or the same as, others. It is said that even the Buddhas and Ancestors found it hard to reach the place of DARK WONDER ; it is not only difficult for the Buddhas and Ancestors to arrive here, whenever this place comes up for discussion the Buddhas and Ancestors always, in the end, cease to exist. Reaching such a realm is truly considered a signpost in seeking the Way. Until you have reached this realm, even if you can make flowers rain down from the sky, make the great earth move, expound on ORIGINAL NATURE and discourse on the DARK WONDER, you have never caught sight of even the tiniest bit of IT whilst upon this truly wondrous Way. Even so, the virtues from your meditation can reach a place as ineffable as this and make clear THAT which the successive generations of Ancestors have borne on their shoulders. As usual there are my humble words which try to explain a little of this principle. Do you wish to hear them? If you want to manifest the ABSOLUTE, do not conceal IT ; Indefinable in ITS emptiness, pure in ITS tranquillity, IT has been evident from the first.

CHAPTER 26.

THE TWENTY-FIFTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BASHASHITA.


Shishibodai said to Bashashita, I am now Transmitting the
EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TATHAGATA S TRUE LAW to

you; guard IT well that you may be able to make IT flourish everywhere in the future. Having had his inherent karmic cause

The Sainted Bashashita

133

from a past life revealed to him, Bashashita received, unseen, the SEAL . Bashashita was a Brahman from Kashmir; his father was Jakk which means He Whose Deeds Are Silent and his mother was Janraku which means Always at Ease; she became pregnant after having had a dream in which she received a divine sword. When Shishibodai arrived in Kashmir to preach, there was a man called Barika (S. Parikara, He Who Assists) who had already been practising meditation and contemplation. As a consequence he had five groups of followers: those who practised meditation, those who sought after knowledge, those who were attached to appearances, those who rejected appearances and those who said nothing. Once Shishibodai had undertaken to assist the five groups, his reputation spread far and wide. Whilst he was still searching for a Dharma heir, he was approached by a householder, holding his son by the hand, who said, My sons name is Shita (S. Sita, The Pure, Bright One). He was born with his left hand clenched in a fist and even now, when he has grown to boyhood, he still cannot open it. I beg you to reveal the karmic cause of this. Shishibodai looked at the boy, then taking hold of his hand, said, Give me back the jewel! The boy immediately opened his fist and presented him with a jewel. The whole assembly were astonished. Shishibodai then said, When I was a monk in a previous life I had a youthful attendant named Basha (S. Vaya, The Dutiful One). Once, whilst paying a visit to the Feast of the Western Sea, I received, as an alms gift, a pearl which I entrusted to him. Now he has returned the jewel to me, which is only right. The householder then gave up his son, allowing him to leave home and become a monk. Shishibodai then gave the boy the Precepts and named him Bashashita (S. Vayasita) because of their karmic connection. Finally, when making him his Dharma heir,

134

Denkroku

Shishibodai said to him, I am now Transmitting the EYE AND


TREASURY OF THE TATHAGATA S TRUE LAW to you; guard IT

well that you may be able to make IT flourish in the future. His having had his inherent karmic cause from a past life revealed to him refers to his having already been the child called Basha in a previous life and having been entrusted with Shishibodais jewel; then, having entered a womb to be born into the family of a householder, he still guarded the jewel and finally presented it to Shishibodai. This account is not necessarily saying that, with the disintegration of the fleshly body, just the TRUE BODY remains. If his physical body were perishable, how could he still have held on to the jewel? Thus, we should understand that abandoning life and receiving life is not fundamentally a matter of the body perishing. At this point we should not say that the physical body breaks up and scatters whilst something tranquilly continues on as an eternal spirit. What kind of thing could such an eternal spirit possibly be? It is only a matter of manifesting the abandonment of one body and the receipt of another, therefore we should say that before and after are not two separate things for past and present are not different. Thus, IT should not be called the body nor should IT be called the mind. Since IT is not divided into body and mind, we should not divide IT into past and present. Therefore, IT is THAT WHICH IS . Not only was Basha like this, every single, solitary person, without exception, in reality, is like this, hence there is nothing that is born, nothing that dies; it is simply a matter of changing heads and faces over time, and it does not necessarily involve a changing of the four basic elements or a remaking of the five skandhas. There is not something that comes wrapped in a piece of flesh or something that arrives supported by even the tiniest bit of bone. Even though IT comes in thousands of forms and has tens of thousands of types, all are the ORIGINAL LIGHT ; not realizing this, we consider one person young and another old. There is no old body whatsoever nor any youth to begin

The Sainted Funyomitta

135

with. If this is the way things are, how do we determine birth and death or distinguish before from after? Accordingly we might point out that the Basha of a past age and Shita of the present are not two separate bodies; what is involved is nothing but an inherent karmic cause from a past life, therefore the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TATHAGATA S TRUE LAW was Transmitted to Bashashita and he made IT flourish in the future. What we should understand from this is that all the Buddhas and all the Ancestors, from the first, have never been enlightened and all ignorant people have ultimately never been deluded. Sometimes we cultivate spiritual practices, sometimes we awaken the will for enlightenment; enlightenment and awakening the will are, basically, neither the end nor the beginning. Sentient beings and Buddhas are fundamentally neither inferior nor superior, so, from the beginning of time, it has always been a matter of guarding well in this way and not ignoring past karmic causes. Now, as usual, here are my humble words to point up what is happening here. Whilst blossoming flowers and falling leaves may display themselves directly, The LORD of healing herbs and trees ultimately possesses no particular flavour or aroma.

CHAPTER 27.

THE TWENTY-SIXTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED FUNYOMITTA.


When Funyomitta was a crown prince, Bashashita asked him, Since you wish to leave home to become a monk, what activities would you undertake to do? Funyomitta said, Were I to leave home to become a monk, it would not be to do

136

Denkroku

anything in particular. Bashashita then asked, What would you refrain from doing? Funyomitta answered, I would refrain from pursuing worldly activities. Bashashita asked him, What activities ought you to do? Funyomitta replied, I would undertake the activities of Buddha. Bashashita then said, Prince, your enlightened wisdom reaches the heavens; you are no doubt a descendant of the sages. Thereupon, Bashashita permitted him to become a monk. Crown Prince Funyomitta (S. Puyamitra, A Friend of the Virtuous) was the son of a king in Southern India who called himself The Victorious One. After Bashashita had succeeded in converting Mugasongai (S. Antmntha, He Who Is Destitute of Spiritual Knowledge and Lacking a Master) in Central India, he had gone on to Southern India where that countrys ruler, King Tendoku (S. Devaguna, He of Heavenly Virtue), had welcomed him and given him offerings of food and clothing. The king had two sons; one brutal and physically powerful, the other gentle but afflicted with long-standing ill health. After Bashashita had explained the effects of karma for their benefit, the kings doubts had been immediately resolved. Upon King Tendokus death, his elder son, Crown Prince Dokush, ascended the throne. Persisting in his non-Buddhist ways he made trouble for Bashashita and had his son, Crown Prince Funyomitta, arrested for protesting his actions. Then, unexpectedly, the king demanded of Bashashita, Since my kingdom has always cut itself off from the weird and the strange, I want to know what sort of doctrine you are propagating. Bashashita replied, From ancient times your Majestys country has indeed kept itself from false teaching by this practice. As to what I am Transmitting, it is nothing other than the Teachings of the Buddha. The king said, The Buddha has been dead now for twelve hundred years so from whom did you

The Sainted Funyomitta

137

obtain that Teaching? Bashashita answered, Great Master Makakash personally received the SEAL from the Buddha and IT has been passed on through twenty-four generations. I received IT from Shishibodai. The king then said, I have heard that the monk Shishibodai was unable to escape execution, so how was he able to Transmit the Teaching to a successor? Bashashita said, Before my masters difficulties had arisen, unseen by others he entrusted me with the Kesa of Faith and the Teachings in verse; these represent what I have received from him. The king said, Where is that robe? Bashashita took the Kesa from Its case and showed It to the king who commanded that It be burned. Five colours blazed forth from the flames but, when the tinder was exhausted, the Kesa was as It had originally been. The king, in repentance, prostrated himself before Bashashita for it was quite clear that he was Shishibodais true successor. The king then pardoned the crown prince who now sought to leave home and become a monk. Bashashita asked him, Since you wish to leave home to become a monk, what activities would you undertake to do? and the dialogue related above took place up to the point where Bashashita permitted him to become a monk. After that Funyomitta served as steward to Bashashita for six years. Later, whilst Transmitting to him the EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TATHAGATAS TRUE LAW, Bashashita said, Beginning with the Tathagata, IT has been entrusted to successor after successor; now that you have received IT, you must convert all sentient beings. Having received this private comment, Funyomitta was illumined in body and mind. The preceding account indicates that Funyomitta was not acting for the sake of anything, that is why, when Bashashita asked him, Since you wish to leave home to become a monk, what activities would you undertake to do? he had answered, I would undertake the activities of Buddha, but activities, as Bashashita had used the word, meant worldly activities.

138

Denkroku

You must understand that here leaving home to become a monk has indeed always implied not for the sake of anything. Funyomittas reference to activities of Buddha meant something not done for self or for others and so he said that his becoming a monk was not being done with worldly activities in mind. Even though people shave their heads, dye their robes and assume the outer form of a disciple of the Buddha, they are still not exempt from notions of self and other. If they have not detached themselves from the appearance of male and female, whatever they do are worldly activities, not the activities of Buddha. When, at any moment, people speak from the point of view of ORIGINAL NATURE , there are no activities of Buddha or worldly activities. Not to know ORIGINAL NATURE at a particular moment is called worldly activities, to be already awakened to ORIGINAL NATURE is what is called the activities of Buddha. When someone actually finds direct knowledge of ORIGINAL NATURE , there is no longer the appearance of birth or of extinction, much less of a deluded person or of an enlightened one! When you actually see in this way, the four elements and the five skandhas no longer exist so how can the three temporal worlds and the six realms of existence remain? There is no home to leave and no one that must be left behind; this is called leaving home to become a monk for there is nowhere that one can dwell, home has been broken up and the person is gone. Birth and death, as well as nirvana, disappear all on their own without having to be swept away; enlightenment and defilement naturally depart without having to be set aside. From kalpa to kalpa IT is unmoved throughout the four cosmic periods of formation, existence, disintegration and emptiness and is not fettered by the four phenomenal forces of birth, life, change and death. Being open, IT is like space, lacking inside and outside; being pure and unsullied, IT resembles water, having neither surface nor depth; each and every persons ORIGINAL NATURE is like this.

The Sainted Hannyatara

139

Do not fear to remain at home nor be proud of leaving home; just stop searching outside yourself and progress onward by turning to face yourself. By all means try not to squander your time on this and that. When you do not look around in all directions but keep yourself carefully focused, what is there to designate as self, what is there to designate as other? There is no longer a confrontation of self and other. What can be called good or bad? If you are like this, ORIGINAL NATURE will, of course, manifest ITSELF as bright as the sun and moon; nowhere is it too dark for IT to illumine. Again, here are my humble words which offer an analogy with what is happening in the preceding story. Hearken to them! The ORIGINAL GROUND, at all times, is without even a single blade of grass; Where do a monks personal explanations add or subtract anything?

CHAPTER 28.

THE TWENTY-SEVENTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED HANNYATARA.


One day Funyomitta asked Hannyatara, Do you recall any events from your past lives? whereupon Hannyatara answered, I remember living in the same place as you during a distant aeon; you were expounding on The Scripture of Great Wisdom as I was reciting from that most profound of Scriptures. Todays events undoubtedly tally with that ancient karmic cause. Hannyatara was a man from Eastern India. At the time that Funyomitta came to Eastern India its king was called The Steadfast One; he followed non-Buddhist ways, having taken

140

Denkroku

as his teacher a young, long-nailed Brahman ascetic. Just before Funyomittas arrival, both the king and the ascetic saw a white vapour pierce the sky from top to bottom. The king asked the portent of this. The ascetic already knew that Funyomitta had entered the region and, fearing the king would shift his favours, replied, This is surely an omen that a demon is coming; it bodes no good. Later on, the ascetic gathered together his followers and told them, Funyomitta is about to enter the capital. Who is capable of crushing him? One of his disciples said, Every one of us is skilled in sorcery by which means we can shake the heavens and the earth as well as pass through fire and water unharmed. What have we to fear? When Funyomitta reached the capital he immediately saw an aura of blackness encircling the palace walls and said, Just a minor problem! and then went straight to where the king was. When the king asked him why he had come, Funyomitta replied, To ferry all sentient beings across to the Other Shore. The king then asked, By what Teaching will you accomplish this? Funyomitta answered, I shall ferry each across according to his kind. When the ascetic heard these words he could not control his anger and used conjury to make a giant mountain appear on top of Funyomittas head. Funyomitta pointed at it and, in a twink, it was atop the heads of the ascetics followers. The ascetic and his retinue were all frightened and committed themselves to Funyomitta who, out of compassion for their foolish delusions, again pointed at the mountain and it vanished. He then expounded the essentials of the Teaching for the kings benefit, enabling him to advance quickly to the True Vehicle. Funyomitta also told the king, In this country there is a holy one who will succeed me. At the time there was a certain young Brahman of about twenty who had lost his parents in infancy and did not even know his surname so he had given himself the name of Yraku (S. Keyra, Necklace); as a result of this, people called

The Sainted Hannyatara

141

him the Necklace Child. He used to wander the countryside, spending the day begging alms like a sort of Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta. When people asked him why he was in such a hurry, he would reply, Why are you going so slowly? or, if they asked him his name, he would answer, The same as yours. People did not know why he said these things. One day, whilst the king and Funyomitta were riding together in a carriage, they saw the Necklace Child who prostrated himself before them. Funyomitta asked him, Do you recall any events from your past lives? and, as the above account describes, their meeting tallied with an ancient karmic cause. Funyomitta then told the king, This youth is none other than the Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta; this holy one will be followed by two disciples; one will convert Southern India, the other will have karmic ties to China. After four or five years the latter will want to return here. He then gave the youth the name of Hannyatara (S. Prajatra, The Pearl of Wisdom) because of their ancient karmic ties. The Ancestors and Masters who have Transmitted the SEAL OF THE BUDDHA, those holy onessome of whom were arhants and others Bodhisattvaswith minds open and bright, are of the inviolate, uncaused WAY ; they are the eternally enlightened Tathagata. Even though you may seem to be a beginner or an experienced practitioner, the instant you turn your natural inclinations around, they will reveal their inherent merits; without anything, not even a single hair, being left in the dark, you will be the same as the Tathagata and in harmony with the Ancestors. It is not a matter of one person emerging as another disappears or of both together reaching forth with a single hand; there is not a multiplicity of types nor are there separate branches, therefore to see today is to see the long past; to look back upon the long past is to contemplate today. IT is born together with you and dwells together with me; not even the

142

Denkroku

tiniest bit separates us from IT, never for a moment does IT not accompany us. When you succeed in arriving at this state, there is not a thing that is past, present or future; there is nothing that pertains to sense organs, their objects or the consciousness thereof. This is why it is said that the inheritance of the Teaching transcends all three periods of time and the mutual realization between master and disciple has continued unbroken from the past to the present; because this is so, the golden needle and the jade thread run through all, unseen. When you look carefully, what is of the present, what is of the past? Which is other, which is self? No loom is to be found nor does the thrust of the shuttle ever show. At this point there is sitting room for everyone and, in addition, it is always shared. This is why Funyomitta said in the preceding account, You were expounding The Scripture of Great Wisdom as I was reciting from that most profound of Scriptures. When form is immaculate, the omniscient BUDDHAWISDOM is immaculate; there are no differences, no distinctions. Sentient beings are the BUDDHA NATURE ; the BUDDHA NATURE is sentient beings. Nothing is put in from outside, nothing is brought out from within. Even though the two are distinguished from each other in this way, ultimately there is no difference in number; this is why he was called Hannyatara, The Pearl of Wisdom, just as Bashashita had earlier obtained his name in accordance with a past karmic cause. Past and present cannot be separated. How can SHUNYATA and existence be different? This is why someone of old said, If you understand the middle way between these two, you will be quite tranquil; it does not matter whether you distinguish between ULTIMATE REALITY and ITS functioning or not. When we consider SHUNYATA to refer to the ULTIMATE REALITY of the myriad forms that comprise the universe, then there is not even the tiniest bit of anything that lies before us; when we consider that the myriad forms that comprise the

The Sainted Bodaidaruma

143

universe refer to the functioning of SHUNYATA, then there is not even the slightest difference in the ways to enlightenment. It is at this juncture that the Way of master and disciple is Transmitted. To comprehend that even the Seal of approval of the Buddhas and Ancestors is of many kinds is like saying that it has subdivisions; even if you understand that there is no duality, this is still a one-sided view. When you examine these matters closely and weigh them carefully, the heron and the snow in which it stands are not the same colour; the bright moonlight and the white reed flower do not resemble each other. Treading the path in this way, you carry with you your piling up of snow on the silver plate, your hiding of the heron in the bright moonlight. I have some humble words which try to discern what is happening in the foregoing account. Do you all wish to hear them? The light of the moon, reflected in the depths of the pool, is bright in the sky; The appearance of the water, as it flows toward the horizon, is thoroughly clear and pure; Even though you trawl through IT again and again, knowing full well that IT does exist, IT is so spacious and empty, yet discoverable everywhere, that any attempt to grasp IT is completely futile.

CHAPTER 29.

THE TWENTY-EIGHTH ANCESTOR, THE SAINTED BODAIDARUMA.


One day Hannyatara asked Bodaidaruma, Amongst all things, which is without any characteristics? Bodaidaruma replied, The NON-ARISING is without characteristics.

144

Denkroku

Hannyatara asked, Amongst all things, which is the greatest? Bodaidaruma answered, The DHARMA-NATURE is the greatest. Bodaidaruma was of the warrior caste. Originally his name was Bodaitara; he was the third son of King Kshi of Southern India. This king, whose name means He Whose Fragrance Excels All Others, had a reverence for Buddhism far exceeding that of his companions and had once bestowed a priceless pearl on Hannyatara. His three sons he had named Gatsujtara (S. Candravimalatra, The Bright Pearl of the Moon), Kudokutara (S. Puyatra, The Pearl of Meritorious Virtue) and Bodaitara (S. Bodhitra, The Pearl of Supreme Enlightenment). Hannyatara, wishing to test the spiritual wisdom of these three princes, showed them the pearl and asked, Can anything rival this pearl? The first and second sons replied, This pearl is the most honoured amongst the seven precious objects and is truly unrivalled. If not someone with your Worships spiritual prowess, who better to receive it? Bodaitara said, This is a worldly treasure so it still falls short of being considered supreme; amongst all treasures, the DHARMA TREASURE is considered above them. This jewel has a worldly lustre so it still falls short of being considered supreme; amongst all lustres, the lustre of ENLIGHTENED WISDOM is considered supreme. This pearl has a worldly brightness so it still falls short of being considered supreme; amongst all forms of brightness, the ORIGINAL NATUREs brightness is considered supreme. The splendour of this jewel cannot shine in, and of, itself; of necessity you must borrow from the LIGHT OF ENLIGHTENED WISDOM to perceive its shining. When you have fully discerned this, then you will know that THAT is the JEWEL. When you have come to know that JEWEL , then you will be clear about what that TREASURE is. If you are clear about what that TREASURE is, a treasure will, in itself, not be

The Sainted Bodaidaruma

145

the TREASURE . If you have discerned that JEWEL , a jewel, in itself, will not be the JEWEL . A jewel, in itself, will not be the JEWEL when we invariably use the JEWEL OF ENLIGHTENED WISDOM to differentiate amongst worldly treasures; a treasure, in itself, will not be the TREASURE when we invariably use the TREASURE OF ENLIGHTENED WISDOM to be clear about the DHARMA TREASURE . Because Hannyataras Way is the TREASURE OF ENLIGHTENED WISDOM, you are now conscious of the worldly treasure, however, since the master keeps the Way, this TREASURE then manifests ITSELF ; should sentient beings keep the Way, the TREASURE will also manifest ITSELF for them. Hannyatara, upon hearing such eloquence, knew that Bodaitara was karmically descended from a sage. Although he discerned that Bodaitara was certainly his Dharma heir, for the time being he kept silent about it and did not single him out. This is why he asked him, Amongst all things, which is without any characteristics? to which Bodaitara had replied, The NON-ARISING is without characteristics, whereupon Hannyatara had asked, Amongst all things, which is the loftiest? to which Bodaitara had answered, The TRUE SELF is the loftiest. Hannyatara had then asked, Amongst all things, which is the greatest? to which Bodaitara had said, The DHARMA-NATURE is the greatest. Although they carried on their discussion in this manner, with the minds of the master and his disciple in communion, Hannyatara still held back for a while on his bringing Bodaitaras spiritual potential to maturity. Later, when his father the king passed away and everyone was bewailing his death, Bodaitara sat alone before the bier and entered into samadhi. After seven days had passed, he emerged and then went to Hannyatara and asked to become a monk. Hannyatara, realizing the time was ripe, let him become a monk and had him take all the Precepts. After this Bodaitara stayed in Hannyataras abode doing seated meditation for seven days.

146

Denkroku

Hannyatara instructed him extensively on the subtle principles of seated meditation; upon hearing them, Bodaitara gave rise to unsurpassed wisdom. Hannyatara then pointed out to him, You have already attained the full measure of the Dharma Teaching. Since dharma has a meaning of all-pervasiveness, it would be well to give you the name of Daruma (S. Dharma), consequently his name was changed to Bodaidaruma (S. Bodhidharma, He Whose Enlightenment Is All-Pervasive). Upon becoming a monk and receiving the Transmission of the Law, Bodaidaruma asked Hannyatara on bended knees, Now that I have received the Teaching, to which country should I go to carry out the activities of Buddha? Hannyatara said, Although you have received the Teachings, you should stay in Southern India for a while. Wait until my parinirvana at age sixty-seven, then, by all means, go to China and make contact with those of great character. Bodaidaruma said, Will I be able to find noble beings with the capacity for the Teaching in that land and, after a thousand years, will troubles also arise there? Hannyatara said, In that land you will leave behind countless people who will realize enlightenment. There are some small difficulties that will arise; you would do well to submit to them. When you reach China, do not abide in the South; there they are only fond of the achievements that are found in the transient world and fail to perceive the ruling principles of Buddhism. He then recited a verse for Bodaidaruma, In travelling the road, you will traverse the waters and encounter sheep; All by yourself, and agitated, you will cross the river in darkness. The most pitiable under the sun will be a pairan elephant and a horse. Two young cinnamon trees will there be whose glory will prosper far into the future.

The Sainted Bodaidaruma

147

Whilst in a meditation grove you will witness a man on the verge of finding the FRUITION OF THE WAY. He also said in verse, Though China is vast, there is no other road for you If you would have disciples follow in your footsteps; Since the Golden Cock knows how to hold a grain of millet in his beak, He will nourish worthy monks in all ten directions. Through such verses Bodaidaruma received the SEAL and the detailed predictions of his activities; he served and trained closely under Hannyatara for forty years. After Hannyatara entered parinirvana, a fellow trainee named Butsudaisen (S. Buddhasena, He Who Is Dependent on the Buddha), who had also received confirmation and predictions from Hannyatara along with a monk named Shta, divided Hannyataras followers up into six schools by comparing their teachings with those of Hannyatara. Bodaidaruma, through his own teaching, reformed the six groups for which act his name was universally revered. As he approached his sixties, he knew that his karmic connection with China had ripened, so he went to the king, who held non-Buddhist views, and told him, Revere the Triple Treasure and you will thrive and prosper in the blessings of the Buddha. My karmic connections with China have ripened. When my work there is finished, I will return. The king, weeping like one in mourning, said, What offences has this our country committed? What is so felicitous about their land? Well, if you must go, you must but, once you have finished your work in China, please return to us quickly; do not forget the land of your parents. The king himself saw Bodaidaruma off, accompanying him to the very seashore. Bodaidaruma sailed for three whole years, crossing the Southern Sea to arrive at Nankai (C. Nan-hai), on the south

148

Denkroku

coast of China, on the twenty-first day of the ninth lunar month in the year 527 C.E. during the Liang Dynasty, the era name having changed from Futs (C. Pu-tung, The Common Way) to Daits (C. Ta-tung, The Great Universal Way) in the third month. First he had an audience with Emperor Bu (C. Wu) of Liang, as the familiar story goes, which was what Hannyatara had alluded to when he said, Do not abide in the South. He went north to the kingdom of Wei; it is said that he floated there on a reed. Literal-minded people fancy that this refers to a reed stalk and portray him as floating on a reed shaft, which is inaccurate. A reed is what a small passenger boat was called because of its shape; it was not an actual reed. In Hannyataras verse, encountering a sheep refers to Emperor Bu of Liang and crossing the river in darkness refers to Bodaidarumas crossing of the Yangtze River which separates the two kingdoms. In this way he quickly reached Shrin-ji (C. Shao-lin-ssu), on Mount S (C. Sung), where he stayed in the monasterys East Gallery. No one could fathom what he was doing because he sat cross-legged throughout the day; as a consequence they called him the Brahman Who Contemplates the Wall. Thus he passed nine years without ever preaching in a harsh or critical manner and without being quick to point things out. After the nine years he handed down his skin, flesh, bones and marrow, respectively, to his four disciples Dfuku, Diku, Sji and Eka (C. Tao-fu, Tao-yu, Tsung-chih and Hui-ko) for he knew their spiritual potential had already ripened. At that time there were two heretical Buddhists named Bodairyshi (S. Bodhiruci, He Who Longs for Enlightenment) and Vinaya Master Kzu (C. Kuang-tung, He of the Lineage of Light). Seeing Bodaidarumas religious virtue spreading through the country and people everywhere paying their respects to him, they could not restrain their resentment. Not only did they throw stones at him and knock out his front teeth but they also tried to poison him five times. When they proffered a

The Sainted Bodaidaruma

149

poisonous drug for the sixth time, Bodaidaruma spread it out upon a huge boulder which immediately crumbled to pieces. When he saw that his spiritual mission had already been completed, he thought to himself, Upon receiving the SEAL and the predictions from my former master I saw a great spirit in China and knew for certain that there would be someone capable of receiving the Teachings of Mahayana. However, following my encounter with Emperor Bu of Liang, occasions have not been suitable for winning people over. In vain have I sat in silence for only the Noble One (that is, Eka) has realized the DIVINE LIGHT and to him I have passed on all that I have derived from the Way. My work has now been disposed of and my karmic connection completed. It is time to pass on. So saying he sat erect and died; he was buried on Bears Ear Peak (J. Yjih; C. Hsiung-erh-feng). It is said he met Sun (C. Sung-yun) later on in the Onion Range (that is, the Belaturgh Mountains of Turkestan); however, he is actually buried on Bears Ear Peak, this is correct. Just as Hannyatara had predicted, Bodaidaruma became the first Ancestor in China. At the time when he was still a prince, Bodaidaruma had held forth upon the pearl. As a result of this Hannyatara had asked him, Amongst all things, which is without any characteristics? and he had answered, The NON-ARISING is without characteristics. Truly, even though some say that IT is void and tranquil, such a view is not free of characteristics which is why he had said that the NON-ARISING is without characteristics. Because of this you should understand that IT towers above all like a steep cliff soaring into the sky; you should comprehend that IT is clear and bright within the hundred grasses and realize that nothing is other than IT, however, everything, simply by its very nature, abides in its phenomenal state and yet is not the NON-ARISING, and is not, therefore, free of characteristics. When Heaven and Earth have not yet been separated, how can

150

Denkroku

the sanctified and the ordinary possibly be differentiated? At this stage nothing will give rise to anything, not a speck of dirt will be able to stain or soil anything. This does not mean that originally there was nothing at all; IT is truly vast and clear like the sky, wondrously alert and resplendent. Because IT is beyond comparison and is never accompanied by anything, IT is the very maximum. This is why they say that the GREAT is called unimaginable and the UNIMAGINABLE is called the DHARMA-NATURE. Not even the priceless pearl could compare with IT ; not even the clear light of the mind resembles IT. This is why Bodaidaruma said of the pearl, It has a worldly lustre, so it still falls short of being considered supreme; the lustre of ENLIGHTENED WISDOM is supreme. This is how he divined IT. What he said truly arose from his inherent intelligence, nevertheless he sat in meditation for seven days whilst being instructed in the marvellous principles of seated meditation and gave rise to the wisdom of the unsurpassed Way. You should know that, after you have found a thorough understanding of this and completely made real such a state, you will know THAT which the Buddhas and Ancestors were talking about and, having gained a clear understanding of THAT which the Buddhas of the past have already borne witness to, you will be a direct descendant of the Buddhas and Ancestors, a fact that the Venerable Bodaidaruma, in particular, exemplifies. Although he was like one who already has naturally enlightened wisdom, he also gave rise to the wisdom of the Unsurpassed Way. Still later he trained thoroughly in meditation and probed deeply into what efforts he should make to preserve and maintain it in the future; for forty years he served his master Hannyatara, scrupulously performing his duties without forgetting Hannyataras predictions for his future. Having lived sixty years, he spent three whole years of winters and summers upon the billows of the vast sea until at last he reached

The Sainted Bodaidaruma

151

a foreign land then, during his nine years of sitting in silent meditation, he found a great vessel for the Teaching and for the first time propagated the True Law of the Tathagata in China as well as disseminated the great blessings of his former teacher. His hardships were more severe than those of any other; his austerities were greater than those of any other. Our times are decadent and frivolous and peoples abilities are mediocre so many trainees today, as might be expected, desire easy attainments. Those of this ilk who lay claim to what they have not yet found must be companions to those conceited braggarts on Vulture Peak who thought their spiritual prowess was sufficiently so advanced that they did not need to stay to hear the whole of the Buddhas Teaching. If you meditate carefully and probe deeply into what is happening in the previous story, your understanding of these lofty matters will continue to increase; if you wear your brains out and discard your body by training with a good will, you will have the subtle fragrance of the Buddhas and directly match what was apprehended by the Buddhas and Ancestors. Do not think that some bit of wisdom or a partial comprehension is sufficient. Again, here are my humble words. Do you wish to hear them? There is no location, boundary or surface, So how can anything even as minute as autumn down possibly exist?

152

Denkroku

CHAPTER 30.

THE TWENTY-NINTH ANCESTOR, THE GREAT ANCESTOR AND GREAT TEACHER EKA.
Whilst serving and training with Bodaidaruma, Eka one day told him, I have by now severed all my karmic ties. Bodaidaruma said, You are not denying the law of karma, are you? Eka answered, No, I am not. Bodaidaruma asked him, And how can you be sure of this? Eka replied, Clearly, and beyond doubt, I have always known; words cannot approach IT. Bodaidaruma said, This is the ORIGINAL NATURE which the Buddhas have apprehended; do not let yourself doubt IT ever again. Eka was a man from Bur (C. Wu-lao), his family was of the Ki (C. Chi) clan to which the legendary Yellow Emperor had also belonged. Before Eka was born, his father, whose name was Seki (C. Chi, The Silent, or Solitary, One), had often told himself, Since my family respects what is good, how can it be that I have had no offspring? For a long time he prayed for a child then, one night, he became aware of a strange light illuming his bedroom and his wife, consequently, became pregnant. Whilst growing up, the boy was given the name of K (C. Kuang, He of the Light or The Radiant One) because of the auspiciousness of the illumined room. Even from childhood, his spirit did not follow that of the herd. For a long time he lived in the area between the rivers I and Raku (C. I and Lo), near the ancient capital, and was an avid reader; he took no interest in family affairs but preferred to wander the countryside. Constantly lamenting that the teachings of Confucius and Lao-tzu were merely rules and regulations for social manners and arts

Great Teacher Eka

153

and that the writings of Chuang-tzu and The Book of Changes had still not covered the subtler truth completely, he left home to become a monk and took the Precepts under Meditation Master Hj (C. Pao-ching, He Who Treasures Quietude) of Dragons Gate (J. Rymon; C. Lung-men) on Fragrant Mountain (J. Kyzan; C. Hsiang-shan). He floated around listening to the discourses of various teachers, extensively studying the principles of both the Greater and the Lesser Vehicles. One day, whilst reading a Buddhist text on prajna, he rose above its literal meaning and grasped its deeper significance. After that, he passed eight years sitting in meditation day and night until, in the midst of his tranquil silence, he saw a solitary divine being who addressed him, saying, You are on the verge of receiving the effects of your training, so why tarry here? Supreme enlightenment is not far off; go to the South. Realizing that this was spiritual guidance, he changed his name to Shink (C. Shen-kuang, He of the Divine Light or The Divinely Radiant One). The next day his head ached as if it had been pierced with a spike. When his teacher tried to heal this, a voice from out of the air said, This is an altering of the skull bones; it is not an ordinary pain. Shink, at length, told his teacher about his having seen a deva. When his teacher examined Shinks skull it looked as if it had the five peaks of Mount S (C. Hsiu) upon it. Thereupon he said, You have an auspicious sign; undoubtedly you will realize an authentic enlightenment. The devas commanding you to go to the South refers to Great Teacher Bodaidaruma at Shrin-ji. Without doubt you will become a master. Having received this instruction, Shink travelled to Shrin-ji on Mount S, arriving on the ninth day of the final month in 528 C.E. Bodaidaruma would not permit him to enter as his disciple so Shink stood outside the window. That night it snowed heavily; standing in the snow he awaited the dawn. The snow drift buried his hips, the bitter cold pierced him to

154

Denkroku

the bone, his teardrops froze as they fell. Seeing his own tears only increased his feeling of coldness and regarding his reflection in the window, he thought, Those of old who sought the Way broke open their bones to let others feed upon the marrow, pierced their veins to slake the thirst of others, wove their hair into a mat to protect the Buddhas feet from the mire or threw themselves down some precipice to feed tigers. If those in the past acted thus, how should I behave? Through such reflections he unflaggingly spurred his resolve; upright he stood without moving. At dawn, Bodaidaruma, seeing that Shink had stood in the snow all through the night, asked him, out of compassion, What do you seek that you would stand in the snow for such a long time? Shink answered, Only that out of your compassion you will deign to open the Gate of Sweet Dew to me so that I may ferry all types of sentient beings throughout the world to the Other Shore. Without giving him so much as a look over his shoulder, Bodaidaruma retorted, The Unsurpassed, Wondrous Path of the Buddhas requires kalpas of effort and diligence, being able to practise what is difficult to practise, enduring what is hard to endure. How can you, with your meagre virtues and puny understanding, with your frivolous heart and lazy mind, dare to wish for the True Vehicle; in vain do you strive and toil! Shink, hearing this compassionate instruction with tears streaming down his face, was ever more eager in his determination to seek the Way. Unseen by Bodaidaruma, Shink took a sharp sword and cut off his own left arm at the elbow. Bodaidaruma, realizing that Shink was a vessel for the Teaching, told him, All the Buddhas from the first sought the Way. For the sake of the Teaching they disregarded their bodies; you have now cut off your arm in my presence. You are capable of seeking It. Because of this act, Bodaidaruma changed Shinks name to Eka (C. Hui-ko, He with the Capacity for Wisdom) and finally allowed him to enter as a disciple. Eka served Bodaidaruma unswervingly for eight years.

Great Teacher Eka

155

Once, Eka asked Bodaidaruma, Great Teacher, may I hear what you have to say about the Dharma-Seal of the Buddhas? Bodaidaruma answered, The Dharma-Seal of the Buddhas cannot be obtained from another person. On another occasion Bodaidaruma told Eka, Outwardly, sever all karmic ties; within your mind, do not pant after things. When your mind is like a wall you will be able to enter the Way. As Eka was wont to speak of Original Nature without connecting this with the underlying principles of the Way, Bodaidaruma would simply cut off his errors and, for his sake, did not discuss the ORIGINAL NATURE of the mind which is free from discriminative thought. It says in the Indescribably Skillful Devices from Within the Masters Quarters (J. Shitsuch Genki; C. Shih Chung Hsuan Chi), Once, whilst Eka was attending Bodaidaruma, they were climbing Scant Houses Peak (J. Shshih; C. Shao-shih-feng) when Bodaidaruma asked, Which way does the path go? Eka replied, If you will please go straight ahead, that is it. Bodaidaruma responded, If you try to go straight ahead, you will not be able to move even one step. When Eka heard this, he realized enlightenment. At the time when, as related above, Eka told Bodaidaruma that he had by now severed all karmic ties and Bodaidaruma had replied that he should not let himself doubt IT ever again, he at last gave Eka both the Kesa and the Teaching, saying, Inwardly, Transmit the DHARMA-SEAL by which the validity of enlightenment is realized within the heart; outwardly, pass on the Kesa by which the authenticity of our line is established. Accordingly, after Bodaidaruma entered perfect rest, Eka continued to spread the profound Teaching of his masters line. When giving the Teaching to Ssan, he said, I still have residual karmic troubles that I must by all means pay for. Having entrusted the Teaching and the Kesa to Ssan, Eka began to preach the Law in the nearby capital city of Yeh since circumstances seemed appropriate; members of all four

156

Denkroku

groupsmale and female monks, lay men and womentook the Refuges. He passed thirty years in the following way. He would hide the LIGHT, cover his traces, change his appearance, enter some wine-shop, pass through a butchers doors, stop to listen to the local gossip or go about with the humblest of menials, the outhouse cleaners. Someone once asked him, You are one who has realized enlightenment so why do you behave like this? Eka replied, What I am doing is scrutinizing ORIGINAL NATURE but how does this concern you? Later, when Eka was expounding the essentials of the Dharma outside the main gate of Kyky-ji (C. Kuang-chiussu) in Kanj (C. Kuan-cheng), a veritable forest of monks and lay people, male and female, gathered about him. At the time Dharma Master Benwa (C. Pien-ho) was lecturing within the temple on the Nirvana Scripture but his flock, learning of Ekas preaching of the Dharma, left, one by one, to go and hear him. Benwa, persistent in his resentment, gave vent to slanderous accusations against Eka before the district magistrate Teki Chkan (C. Ti Chung-kan). Having been led astray by these improper remarks, Chkan used unlawful means to inflict capital punishment on Eka who submitted to all this with a cheerful spirit. This occurred during the Sui Dynasty, on the sixteenth day of the second lunar month, 591 C.E. Superior and inferior are not distinguished when it comes to the exalted virtues of the Ancestors; even so, Eka ranks as one esteemed among the esteemed, revered among the revered for the reason that, even though Bodaidaruma came from the West, it would have been difficult for our lineage to come down to us today had Eka not passed on the Transmission. His hardships have exceeded those of others, his determination in pursuing the Way has surpassed that of others. Even Bodaidaruma did not speak for a long time as he waited for Ekas genuine potential to ripen; above all he did not point out, or explain, anything for him, he just said, Outwardly, sever all karmic ties; within your

Great Teacher Eka

157

mind, do not pant after things. When your mind is like a wall, you will be able to enter into the Way. When you can truly bring a halt to deliberate thought in this way, you will manifest your ORIGINAL NATURE . Hearing what I have just said, you may try to become mindless like a blank wall, but this is not taking a close look into your mind. This is why Eka said, Clearly and beyond doubt, I have always known. If you can be exactly like this, this is the significance of what the Buddhas have apprehended. When you are able to sever all karmic ties to the outside, the myriad deliberate thoughts will cease to exist within. Be alert and IT will not be obscured from you; rest beyond doubt and IT will be clear to you as the SOURCE . Do not distinguish between past and present, do not separate self from other. Without departing even the slightest from what the Buddhas have realized, or from the heart-to-heart Transmission of the Ancestors, IT has come harmoniously, therefore IT was Transmitted from India and the West to the lands of the East and spread from China to Japan. This is how it was in the past, this is how it is now. Do not yearn for the past or idle away the present, just train! Do not think that the time is long gone since Shakyamuni, the Wise One, passed away. Do not give up on yourself. Here are my humble words that try to express an example of this. Do you wish to hear them? Empty yet resonant, all earth-bound thoughts exhausted, IT is, beyond doubt, alert and clear, always still and bright.

158

Denkroku

CHAPTER 31.

THE THIRTIETH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER KANCHI SSAN.


Upon meeting Eka, Ssan asked him, My body is riddled with disease; please, Reverend Monk, cleanse me of my defilement. Eka replied, Bring me your defilement and I will cleanse you of it. Ssan thought long and hard about this, then said, I have searched for my defilement but cannot find it. Eka replied, I have cleansed you of your defilement. It is fitting that you dwell in accord with Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Ssan was a man from parts unknown; his first meeting with Eka was as a lay person when he was in his forties. Without giving his name, he had suddenly come forward, bowed and put his request to Eka to cleanse him of his defilement. The above dialogue ensued up to where Eka said, It is fitting that you dwell in accord with Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, whereupon Ssan said, Seeing you, Reverend Monk, I realize that you represent the Sangha, but I have not yet ascertained what are meant by Buddha and Dharma. Eka replied, Your ORIGINAL NATURE is BUDDHA, your ORIGINAL NATURE is DHARMA ; DHARMA and BUDDHA are inseparable. What I have said is also true for the SANGHA TREASURE . Ssan said, Today, for the first time, I realize that the true nature of defilement does not exist within or without or in-between; it is the same as ORIGINAL NATURE ; Buddha and Dharma are inseparable. Eka, seeing how profound Ssans capacity for the Teaching was, shaved his head, saying, You are my treasure; it is fitting for me to give you the name Ssan (C. Seng-tsan, The Resplendent Jewel of the Sangha). On the eighteenth day of the third lunar month of that year Ssan took the Precepts in Kfuku-ji (C. Kuang-fu-ssu). From then on, his disease gradually subsided.

Great Master Kanchi Ssan

159

After Ssan had spent two years attending on Eka, the latter said one day, Great Master Bodaidaruma came from India to this land and gave me both the Kesa and the Teaching; I now give them to you. He added, Although you have already obtained the Teaching, for the time being you should go deep into the mountains and not teach or guide others since some political troubles are about to arise. Ssan said, Master, since you already know what is going to happen, please deign to give me some instructions. Eka replied, This is not something that I personally know about; it is a prediction by Hannyatara which Bodaidaruma passed on to me as, Even though the receipt of the Teaching is auspicious within the heart, outwardly it will bring misfortune. These are the troubles that he meant. When I compare this prediction with the number of years that Bodaidaruma spoke of, it applies directly to you. By all means examine what has just been said and do not get caught up in worldly difficulties. After this, Ssan sought seclusion on Mount Kank (C. Huan-kung) where he spent over ten years; this was during the time that Emperor Bu (C. Wu) of the Chou Dynasty outlawed Buddhism and, in consequence, Ssan took up residence on Mount Shik (C. Ssu-kung). Whilst staying there he had no fixed abode and his physical appearance underwent a transformation. Whilst acting in this way he came in contact with the novice Dshin whom he later told, After my late master Eka Transmitted the Teaching and the Kesa to me, he went to the capital city of Yeh where he lived for thirty years. Now that I have found you, what is to hold me here? Accordingly he went to Mount Rafu (C. Lo-fou) but later returned to his former dwelling place where both the educated and the common people hastened to prepare charitable offerings for him. For the sake of the monks and laity, male and female, Ssan preached extensively on the essence of mind then, during a Buddhist ceremony, he passed away whilst sitting in gassh under a large tree. His

160

Denkroku

poems, such as What Is Engraved on the Heart That Trusts to the Eternal, have been recorded and to this day are still circulated as Teaching. Later he was given the title of Great Master Kanchi (C. Chien-chih, He Whose Wisdom Is a Mirror). The disease that plagued Ssans body at the time of his first meeting with Eka was leprosy but, after meeting Eka, his karmic disease suddenly disappeared. There is nothing special about what is happening in this story. Having understood that the true nature of defilement is ungraspable, Ssan had awakened to the fact that ORIGINAL NATURE is pure and unstained. This is why, upon hearing that BUDDHA and DHARMA are inseparable, he had said that ORIGINAL NATURE and DHARMA were also inseparable. When you can truly discern ORIGINAL NATURE , there is no longer any difference between dying in one place and being born in another: how much less is there discrimination between the good and bad roots of defilement. This is why the four elements and the five skandhas ultimately do not exist; from the very beginning we are free of skin, flesh, bones and marrow. The disease that afflicted him therefore disappeared and his ORIGINAL NATURE manifested ITSELF. Ssan preached widely on the essentials of the Teaching following a set sequence; after talking on the text, The Ultimate Way is not hard; simply reject picking and choosing, he would expound on The power of words fails to describe IT for IT is not of past, future or present. Truly, there is no inside or outside and there is no in-between. What is there to choose, what to reject? You cannot grab hold of IT or discard IT. Once you are beyond hatred and desire, IT is crystal clear and unmistakable; nothing is lacking at any time nor is there anything in excess. Nevertheless, look, and probe deeply, into yourself until you find the ungraspable place which is beyond imagining or description. Never deny the law of karma or be a veritable log or stone; strike space hard and make it reverberate, tether the

Meditation Master Daii Dshin

161

lightning and make it take form, carefully set your eyes on the place that has no traces and never hide yourself there. If you are like this, although we say that IT is not some object which is before your eyes or which the sense organs settle on, you will discern IT without deviating even as much as a dust mote. So, how am I to discriminate and write some words about what is going on in this story? The ORIGINAL NATURE of things is void, unstained and pure, without inside or outside, Hence neither defilements nor virtues leave any traces therein. ORIGINAL NATURE and BUDDHA are fundamentally the same; Both DHARMA and SANGHA are, in themselves, clearly wise.

CHAPTER 32.

THE THIRTY-FIRST ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER DAII DSHIN.


Bowing before Great Master Kanchi, Dshin said, Please, Reverend Monk, I beg you, from your compassion, to impart to me the Dharma Gate of liberation. Kanchi said, Who is preventing you from entering? Dshin answered, No one is preventing me. Kanchi said, Then why do you seek liberation from me? At these words Dshin experienced a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Dshin (C. Tao-hsin, He Who Trusts in the Way) was his personal name; his family name was Shima (C. Ssu-ma).

162

Denkroku

He lived first in Kanai (C. Ho-nei) but later moved to Ksai (C. Kuang-chi) in the provincial district of Kish (C. Chichou). From his very birth he far excelled others; in his boyhood he practised various teachings on liberation taught by the schools that taught about shunyata as if this were some habit inherited from a previous life. When he had just entered his fourteenth year, he met Great Master Kanchi and made his plea for the priests compassion until he had a great awakening upon hearing Kanchis reply. Dshin worked hard serving Kanchi for nine years and, after receiving the Precepts in Kish, he respectfully held to them with marked conscientiousness. With the utmost subtlety, Kanchi would often test him. When he recognised that Dshins condition was ripe, he passed on the Kesa and the Teaching. Dshin pursued Kanchis approach to training with full concentration and without sleeping; for almost sixty years he never even lay down. In 617 C.E., during the Sui Dynasty, Dshin, together with his followers, arrived at Kichish (C. Chi-chou) where a gang of bandits had been holding the city in its grip for seventy days. The whole populace was terrified so Dshin took pity on them and taught them how to recite The Scripture of Great Wisdom. Some time later the robber band, whilst peering though the openings in the parapet wall, saw what looked like phantom soldiers inside and said amongst themselves, There must be some extraordinary person within the city; we ought not to attack. As a consequence they gradually withdrew. In 624 C.E. Dshin returned to Kish. During the spring, when he was living on Split Head Mountain (J. Hatzan; C. Potou-shan), a company of monks gathered about him like clouds. One day, whilst on the road to bai Mountain, (C. Huang-mei, Yellow Plum Tree), he met Knin and, from the east side of Ox Head Summit (J. Gozu; C. Niu-tou), on Split Head Mountain, produced a branch of his line.

Meditation Master Daii Dshin

163

In 627 C.E. Emperor Tai-tsung (J. Daish) of the Tang Dynasty, drawn toward Dshins practical approach to the Teaching, desired to pay his respects to Dshin in person so he had him summoned to the capital. Dshin humbly declined the emperors invitation. This summons was sent three times with Dshin finally pleading illness. With the fourth summons the emperor commanded his emissary to bring back Dshins head if the monk really would not come. When the emissary reached the mountain and made known the emperors instructions, Dshin, with great dignity, stretched out his neck to receive the blade. Finding this behaviour extraordinary, the emissary returned to report what had happened. The emperors admiration for Dshin only increased. He sent the monk a gift of rare silks and left him to his own resolves. In 651 C.E., on the fourth day of the ninth lunar month, Dshin suddenly gave the following admonition to his disciples, Each and every single, solitary thing, without exception, is liberated; every one of you must keep this in mind, then let IT flow out and transform others in the future, whereupon he stopped speaking and, sitting tranquilly, passed away in his seventy-second year. His body was placed in a stupa on the mountain where he had lived. The next year, on the eighth day of the fourth lunar month, the door to the stupa opened by itself from no apparent cause. Dshin looked just as he had when alive and, after this, his disciples did not dare to close the door again. Later Dshin was given the title of Meditation Master Great Physician (J. Daii Zenji; C. Ta-i Chan-shih). To be sure there is no superiority or inferiority in the behaviour of any master; Dshin had followed the teaching on shunyata from boyhood just as though he had done so in a previous life. Throughout his life he avoided rulers and their ministers. Once having discovered the Way, he trained resolutely without ever turning back. From the very first he proclaimed the Dharma Gate to Liberation and, at the time of his death, he

164

Denkroku

opened the Dharma Gate to Liberation to let it be known that, ultimately, no one is ever bound by birth and death. He was truly an extraordinary person, one met with only in a thousand years. The practice of the teaching on shunyata has, from the first, been called the Dharma Gate to Liberation. Why is this? Neither being alive, nor being a Buddha, ever fetters you. Furthermore, what birth or death is there in which you can participate? Since this is so, this is something that cannot be analyzed or measured in terms of body or mind, or something that can be differentiated in terms of delusion and enlightenment. Even if you talk about mind and external objects or defiling passions and perfect enlightenment, all are but different names for the self. This is why mountains and rivers have no disparity. The karmic effects from the past that manifest as ones environment and as ones body and mind have no differences. Accordingly, O Acharyas, when it is cold, it is cold enough to kill you; when it is hot, it is hot enough to slay you. When you have crossed through the barrier gate, this principle will not apply. In other words, there is neither bondage nor liberation, neither this nor that; things do not set up their names; objects do not discriminate between their forms. You find fully the effects of your training so how can you possibly be concerned with what is phenomenal or noumenal? Ultimately there is no distinction between sitting upright in the meditation hall and just living. Do not abide in time, space and dualistic views. When you can see things in this way, you no longer need to use the word liberation. How can you despise anything as fettering you? Furthermore, you truly have a radiance; we call this that which sees the three worlds. Your tongue has a sense of taste; this is named that which harmonizes with the six flavours. You emit light everywhere and prepare a feast at all times. As you come to taste IT, there is a deeply rich flavour in THAT which has no flavour. As you come to see IT, or go to see IT,

Meditation Master Daiman Knin

165

there is a true form in THAT which has no characteristic of form. Thus there is no need to associate with rulers or ministers of state, no obligation for body or mind to sit or lie down. If you can reach this stage, Great Master Dshin will be none other than each and every one of you and you will all be Great Master Dshin. Is this not what is meant by all things, without exception, being gates to liberation? Is this not what is meant by letting the TRUTH flow out and transform others in the future? The door and windows of the Seamless Stupa suddenly fly open and ONE with the features of an ordinary being emerges genially. Now here again are my humble words. Do you all wish to hear them?
ORIGINAL NATURE is empty, ITS unsullied wisdom

holds no thought of right or wrong; Within ITSELF, IT recognises nothing as being fettered or free; Even though we may distinguish five skandhas and four elements, Sight and hearing, sound and form are ultimately nothing other than IT.

CHAPTER 33.

THE THIRTY-SECOND ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER DAIMAN KNIN.


When Knin encountered Dshin on the road to bai, Dshin asked him, What is your clan name? Knin said, I have a NATURE but I do not have a conventional clan name. Dshin asked, And what is IT ? Knin replied, It is the BUDDHA NATURE. Dshin queried, So you have no clan

166

Denkroku

name? Knin answered, Because ORIGINAL NATURE is empty, I do not. Dshin fell silent realizing that Knin was a vessel for the Teaching and that it was to him that he would Transmit the Teaching and the Kesa. Knin (C. Hung-ren, He of Magnificent Endurance) was a man from bai in the provincial district of Kish (C. Chichou); in a former life he had been an itinerant forester who planted pine trees on Split Head Mountain. During that time he had once asked Dshin to explain to him how he could realize enlightenment in accord with the Teaching. Dshin had answered, You are already quite old; even were you to hear it, how could you propagate it in order to convert others? However, were you to return in another lifetime, I would still be waiting for you. The forester departed. As he came to the edge of a river he saw a lone young woman washing clothes and, greeting her, he asked if he could lodge with her for the night. The woman replied that she had a father and an elder brother whom she could ask. He replied that, if it was all right with her, he would venture to go with her. The young woman agreed and, afterwards, returned to her task. The young woman was the very plum of her entire clan so, when she suddenly discovered upon her return home that she was pregnant, her parents, in rancour, drove her out of the house. Since the woman had no home to return to, she hired herself out as a spinner in the village during the day and spent her nights inside the public tavern. Ultimately she gave birth to a son but, because having him seemed misfortunate to her, she cast him into a muddy stream. He was not carried away by the current but stayed afloat whilst his body remained dry. For seven days divine beings protected him from harm; in the day these divine beings were two birds whose wings stretched out to cover the child, at night they were two dogs who crouched down beside him as guardians. When his mother saw that his vitality

Meditation Master Daiman Knin

167

and body were luminous and his six faculties had remained completely undimmed, she thought how wondrous this was so she picked him up and nurtured him. When he grew large enough, he took to begging along with his mother. People called him the lad with no clan name, but one astute person remarked facetiously, Since this child lacks seven of the most fortunate marks, he does not quite match a Tathagata who has all thirty-two. Later on the boy and his mother encountered Dshin travelling on the road to bai Mountain. Seeing that the childs features were strikingly handsome and not like those of conventional children, Dshin asked him what his name was and the dialogue given above ensued to the point where Dshin remained silent, realizing Knins capacity for training. As a result, he asked the mothers permission for Knin to leave home and serve as his jisha. At that time Knin was in his seventh year. From the time that he crossed to the Other Shore so that he might receive the Kesa, and left home to become a monk so that the Dharma could be Transmitted to him, there was not a single day or night when he lay down, even for an hour or so, during the whole twenty-four hours. He was wont to sit in this manner although never putting a limit on his other duties. Finally, in the year 675 C.E., he remarked to his disciples, My work has come to an end, therefore I must take my leave. So saying, he passed away whilst sitting. There is a name that is not received from ones father or from the Ancestors, one not passed on from the Buddha or from the Ancestors; we call it the BUDDHA NATURE . The purpose of training in meditation and practising the Way is basically to realize THIS ; it is for the sake of making your ORIGINAL NATURE still and bright. If you have not found the SOURCE , you will live in vain and die in vain, bewildered by yourself, bewildered by others.

168

Denkroku

As to what is called ORIGINAL NATURE , each and every one of us is born and dies over and over again yet, even though face and form may differ, never at any moment do any of us not possess this clear and distinct wisdom. The truth of this can be realized from what happened in the present story. Long ago a forester sought the Dharma Path but, up to the point where, as a child of seven, the Kesa and the Teaching were Transmitted, understanding, of necessity, had not changed because of rebirth; your TRUE NATURE never changes just because your form does! Meditation Master Wanshi (C. Hung-chih) wrote in an inscription on a portrait of Great Master Knin, Before and after, two bodies; past and present, one NATURE . Even though two bodies have been supplied, you must understand that the past and the present do not have different natures. It has been this way for immeasurable kalpas so, if you would find the BODY of this ORIGINAL NATURE , from the outset do not try to categorize that NATURE to accord with social distinctions. Because the four social classes are of the same NATURE and your ORIGINAL NATURE is like this, when those of any of the four classes leave home and become monks they are referred to alike as belonging to the Shakya clan in order to make them aware of this absence of disparateness. I am truly not a separate being, nor are you; we merely take on the faces of self and other, just as do past and present bodies. If you cannot discern things in this manner and clarify your understanding, you will, in your confusion, pretend that what is before your very eyes exists and make a distinction between your own body and those of others. As a result you will have emotional attachments to all sorts of things and be infatuated with, or confused by, the times in which you live but, once you can realize this state, even though you were to change your form and alter yourself, how could that possibly disturb the TRUE SELF or alter IT ? You can realize this through the account of the forester and the boy. Since the latter was born without having a legal father,

Meditation Master Daikan En

169

you must understand that people do not necessarily receive the name of both their parents when they are born so, even though you have emotional attachments to what you see as a physical body, hair and flesh received from your parents, still you should understand that the BODY of which I speak is not the five skandhas. When you have understood that this BODY is like this, then there will be nothing at all that accompanies an I, nor has there been anything different from yourself even for an instant. This is why someone of old said, No sentient being, from kalpas immeasurable, has ever emerged from meditation on the DHARMA-NATURE . When you obtain a physical body and practise in this way, you will quickly succeed in coming face to face with Daiman Knin; there will be no distinction between people of different nationalities or differences between past and present times. Now, how can I make a vital comment that will correspond to this principle? The moon is so resplendent, the water so pure, the autumn sky so clear; How could there be even a whisp of cloud to bespeck the GREAT IMMACULACY ?

CHAPTER 34.

THE THIRTY-THIRD ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER DAIKAN EN.


One night, whilst En was hard at work in the rice shed at bai, Daiman Knin entered and asked, Is the rice indeed white? En replied, It is white but it has not yet been winnowed. Daiman struck Ens rice-pounding mortar thrice with

170

Denkroku

his staff; En shook the rice in the winnowing fan three times then followed Daiman to his quarters. En was of the Ro (C. Lu) clan and originally came from Hany (C. Fan-yang). His father, whose name was Gyt (C. Hsing-tao, Wielder of the Jewel-studded Sword), had served during the Budoku (C. Wu-te) era, 618 627 C.E., as an official for the provincial district of Jinsh (C. Hsin-chou) in the city of Nankai (C. Nan-hai) where he remained after he lost his government position. Following his fathers death, En, mindful of his obligations, took care of, and supported, his mother. For a long time the family was painfully destitute with En earning a pittance as a wood gatherer. One day, whilst carrying a bundle of kindling into the market-place, he heard a stranger chanting the Diamond Scripture. At the point where it says, Enkindle that attitude of mind which does not dwell anywhere in particular, he experienced an awakening to his TRUE SELF. Having heard this, En asked the stranger what the Scripture was and from whom he had received it. The man answered, It is called the Diamond Scripture and I received it from the acknowledged great teacher Daiman of bai. En hastened home to tell his mother of his intention to seek out a teacher for the sake of the Dharma. Immediately upon his arrival in Shsh (C. Shao-chou) he met the eminent scholar Ry Shiryaku (C. Liu Chih-lueh) who befriended him. Shiryakus mother-in-law was none other than the female monk Mujinz (C. Wu-chin-tsang, The Inexhaustible Treasure House). Her custom was to recite the Nirvana Scripture and, after En had listened to her for a while, he began to comment to her on its meaning whereupon she held out the scroll and asked about a particular word. En said to her, As I do not know how to read characters, please just ask me about the meaning. Mujinz said, If you do not know how to read characters, how can you understand the meaning? En

Meditation Master Daikan En

171

replied, The wondrous PRINCIPLE OF THE BUDDHAS does not depend on written characters. Mujinz, startled by this reply, told the village elders that En was a man who was practising the Way and therefore should be given provisions. After this, the residents vied to come and pay their respects to him. There was, in the vicinity, the ancient site of the former Hrin-ji (C. Pao-lin-ssu, The Precious Grove Monastery) near Canton, and the people agreed to rebuild it so that En could live there. Monks and laity, male and female, gathered like thick banks of fog and, in less than no time, transformed it into a monks Treasured Residence. One day En suddenly said to himself, I am seeking the Great Teaching so how can I possibly stop half-way there? The next day he left for the hermit retreats in the western caves of Shraku County (C. Chang-lo) in Szuchuan Province where he met Meditation Master Chien (C. Chih-yuan, He Whose Wisdom Is Far-reaching) and asked for his assistance in realizing the Way. Chien replied, I can see from the look of you that your spiritual resources are clearly outstanding and that you are really an extraordinary person. I have heard that Bodaidaruma of the Western Regions has Transmitted the SEAL to Daiman on bai Mountain. You should journey there to investigate how you can resolve the matter of realizing enlightenment. En took his leave and went straightway to bai where he sought an audience with Daiman Knin who asked him, Where do you come from? En answered, From south of the Southern Pass. Daiman asked, What do you want above all else? En replied, I seek only to become a Buddha. Daiman then said, Southerners do not have the BUDDHA NATURE , so how can you realize Buddhahood? En answered, Amongst people there are Southerners and there are Northerners; what has the BUDDHA NATURE to do with that? Daiman recognised that here indeed was no ordinary person but, chiding, told him to go to the rice-pounding shed. En bowed low and left for the shed

172

Denkroku

where, for eight months, he laboured hard pounding rice day and night without ceasing. Daiman, realizing that the time for Transmission had arrived, told his assembly of monks, The True Teaching is hard to explain; it is not enough to vainly memorize what I say and proclaim it as your own. Let each of you compose a poem according to your own understanding. The one whose phrases tally most profoundly with the intent of the Teaching will receive both the Kesa and the Teaching. At that time Jinsh (C. Shen-hsiu, He of Spiritual Excellence), a senior monk in charge of ceremonial training for the more than seven hundred junior members of the Sangha, was well versed in the inner and outer meaning of doctrines so the assembly looked up to him. They all excused themselves from writing a poem, pleading that if it were not the worthy Jinsh, who could possibly be more suited to this task. Jinsh, hearing of the communitys adulation, composed a poem without giving it a second thought. When it was completed he wished to present it to the master and tried to do so several times, but each time that he arrived outside the masters room his mind became confused and his body broke out in a sweat. Although he was determined to present his verse, he was unable to bring himself to do so. Over the next four days he tried thirteen times to present it but could not. Jinsh then thought, Why not write it on the corridor wall where the master will see it when passing? If the master should chance to say that it is satisfactory, I can come forth, bow and say that I had composed it; if the master should say that it is inadequate, I can bow to that, then go into the mountains and pass my years there; after all, having received such reverence and respect from others, what better way to train? That night, at midnight, without informing anyone, he wrote his verse by lantern light on the wall of the south corridor, presenting what his mind had perceived. His poem read,

Meditation Master Daikan En

173

Our mind is a bodhi tree, Our mind like a dressing-stand with its clear mirror; Time upon time let us strive to wipe it clean And let not dust or dirt abide thereon. Daiman suddenly spotted this poem whilst passing through the corridor and, upon reading it, knew that it was the work of Jinsh. He praised it, saying, If succeeding generations put the Teaching of this poem into practice, they too will find the surpassing fruits of Buddhahood, and had everyone recite it aloud from memory. In the rice shed, En overheard the recitation of the poem and asked a fellow lay trainee what the verse was. The trainee replied, Do you not know that Reverend Master is seeking his Dharma heir and has therefore asked everyone to compose a poem that expresses what is in their heart, and that this is the one that Jinsh has composed? Reverend Master has praised it deeply; he will undoubtedly Transmit the Kesa and the Teaching to him. En asked how the poem went and the trainee recited it. After a long silence, En remarked, It is indeed beautiful but it is not quite complete. The trainee ridiculed En saying, What does a Southerner know? Do not spout such nonsense! En replied, You do not doubt what I say, do you? Pray, show your understanding with a poem. The trainee did not reply; they just looked at each other and smiled. That night En asked a boy attendant in the temple to lead him to the selfsame corridor. Then, whilst he himself held a candle, he had the boy write down the following poem next to Jinshs:
BODHI is truly not a tree

Nor is the CLEAR MIRROR a mirrored dressing-stand; From the first not a single thing exists So from where is dust or dirt to arise? After seeing this poem, everyone in the monastery, high and low, was saying, This is truly a poem by a flesh-and-blood

174

Denkroku

Bodhisattva! boisterously praising it up and down. Daiman, knowing full well that it was a poem by En, made a point of saying, Who wrote this? To be sure, someone who has not yet seen his TRUE NATURE ! and erased it. As a result everyone in the assembly paid no more heed to it. When night fell, Daiman entered the rice shed in secret and asked En, Is the rice indeed white? to which En replied, It is indeed white but it has not yet been winnowed, whereupon Daiman struck the rice-pounding mortar thrice with his staff and En shook the rice in the winnowing fan thrice then followed Daiman to his quarters. Daiman remarked, All the Buddhas have renounced the world for one great reason; to lead and guide others to the Other Shore in accordance with their natural abilities, great or small. Over time instructions have arisen on the Ten Stages of a Bodhisattvas development, the Three Vehicles, the sudden and the gradual approaches and so forth as gateways for teaching. Furthermore, the unsurpassed, subtle and profound, perfectly clear, genuine and true EYE AND TREASURY OF THE TRUE LAW was imparted to the Buddhas senior disciple, the Venerable Makakash. In turn, IT was Transmitted down through twenty-eight generations of Indian Ancestors to Bodaidaruma. After he arrived in this land he found Great Teacher Eka who, having received IT, passed IT on until IT reached me. Now, by means of the Dharma Treasure and the Transmission Kesa, I hand IT on to you. Guard well, do not let the line become extinct. En, kneeling to receive the Kesa and the Teaching, spoke, The Teaching I have already received; on whom shall I bestow the Kesa? Daiman replied, Long ago, when Bodaidaruma first arrived, there was none who yet had the faith so he passed on the Kesa to make clear that the recipient had realized the Teaching. Nowadays faithful hearts are already ripe and the Kesa may prove a pretext for squabbling and strife. Let it stay with you and do not pass it on further. Moreover, you should seclude yourself in some far

Meditation Master Daikan En

175

distant place and bide your time until you begin to teach and convert others; the life of him who receives the Kesa hangs as if by a single thread. When En asked where he should hide, Daiman replied, Wherever it suits you. When coming in contact with others, you would do well to conceal It. En bowed low and, having already offered up the Kesa, took his leave. There was a river crossing at the foot of bai Mountain; Daiman personally came down to see En off. Bowing, En said, Reverend Master, you should return quickly. Having already found the Way, I should ferry myself across. Daiman replied, Although you have already found the Way, I should still be the one who ferries you across. So, taking the pole, Daiman crossed to the far shore with En and then returned alone to the monastery. None of the assembly knew of these events. After this, Daiman no longer gave lectures. Whenever people came to him with their questions, he would reply, My Way is gone. When someone asked who was to receive the Masters Kesa and Teaching, Daiman replied, The able one has obtained them. Based on this people speculated on the fact that Layman Ros name was En (which means The Able One), but when they went looking for him he had already vanished. Connecting this with the preceding, they guessed that he had obtained the Kesa so they all went hunting for him. At the time there was a former general of the fourth rank who had awakened to the mind of enlightenment, Emy (C. Hui-ming, Bright Compassion) by name. He proceeded to Great Granary Peak (J. Daiyuh; C. Ta-yu-feng) ahead of the others where he was about to overtake En who said to himself, Since this Kesa symbolizes faith, how can It possibly be taken by force? Placing the Kesa and his bowl on top of a boulder, he hid himself in the deep grass. When Emy arrived and tried to remove the Objects he could not lift them, try as he might. Trembling all over, he said, I have come for the sake of the

176

Denkroku

Teaching, not for the sake of a robe. En then emerged and sat on a huge rock. Making an obeisance, Emy said, I hope the layman will point out the essentials of the Teaching for me. En said, At the very moment when you are not thinking of either good or evil, what, Senior Monk Emy, is your ORIGINAL FACE ? Hearing these lucid words, Emy had a great awakening. He then asked, Apart from these profound words and their profound meaning, is there anything more of even deeper import? En replied, What I have spoken for your sake is by no means profound. If you look within, you will find that the PROFOUND lies within you. Emy said, Although I was at bai with Daiman, I had not yet truly taken notice of my own FACE ; now that I have received your instructions, it is like drinking water and knowing for oneself whether it is hot or cold. Now, layman, it is you who are Emys master. En replied, If this is the case, then you and I are fellow disciples of Daiman of bai. Emy bowed deeply and returned to bai. Later, after he had been promoted to abbot of the temple, Emy was to change his name to Dmy (C. Tao-ming, He Whose Path is Bright and Unclouded) in order to avoid the use of the same first syllable as in Ens name. When anyone came to train under him personally, he would send them to train under En. Following his receipt of the Kesa and the Teaching, En hid himself among a group of hunters in Shie County (C. Ssu-hui) where he passed ten years. Then, on the eighth day of the first lunar month in 676 C.E., he arrived at the southern coast where he met Dharma Master Insh (C. Yin-tsung, He Who Is Kindred to the Seal) who was lecturing on the Nirvana Scripture at Hossh-ji (C. Fa-hsing-ssu). En had taken up lodging on a verandah when a strong wind began to flap the temple banner, whereupon he heard two monks engaging in an argument with each other. One was saying that it was the banner that was moving, the other that it was the wind that was moving. The debate went back and forth without their being able to agree on the principle. En said to them, Might a member of the laity be

Meditation Master Daikan En

177

permitted to call a quick end to this lofty debate? Frankly, it is not the wind or the banner that is moving, kind sirs, it is your minds that are moving and nothing more. Insh, unseen, heard these words and was dumbfounded by their extraordinary nature. The next day he invited En to come to his quarters and questioned him on the meaning of his remark about the wind and the banner. After En had explained the principle in detail, Insh instinctively rose to his feet and said, O layman, you are indeed no ordinary person. Who is your teacher? No longer concealing anything, En openly related the circumstances of his receiving the Teaching whereupon Insh made the obeisance of a disciple and asked to be given the essentials of meditation. He told the monks and laity, male and female, who were his followers, I am just a completely ordinary fellow but I have now met a flesh-and-blood Bodhisattva, and, pointing to Layman Ro seated amidst the laity, said, That is he. He then asked En to bring out the Kesa of Faith which had been passed on to him and had everyone bow in reverence before It. On the eighth day of the second lunar month En took the full Precepts from Vinaya Master Chik (C. Chih-kuang, The Light of Wisdom) at Hossh-ji. The altar used for the Precepts ceremony was the very one placed there during the Sung Dynasty by Gunabhadra, the Doctrine Master and a translator of Scriptures who had written in his record of the event, Later there will be a flesh-and-blood Bodhisattva who will take the Precepts at this altar. Paramartha, another Doctrine Master and translator of Scriptures at the end of the Liang Dynasty, planted two bodhi trees with his own hands on either side of the altar and told the assembly, After a hundred and twenty years there will be a great, enlightened man who will expound the Unsurpassed Vehicle under these trees and ferry immeasurable numbers of sentient beings to the Other Shore. En took the Precepts under those trees and subsequently opened a monastery on Tzan (C. Tung-shan) just as had been previously predicted.

178

Denkroku

A year later, on the eighth day of the second lunar month, En suddenly said to the assembly, I do not wish to remain here; I would like to return to my old hermitage. Insh, along with many thousands of monks, accompanied En to Hrin-ji. Ikyo (C. Wei-chu), the governor of Shsh Province, asked him to turn the Wheel of the Wondrous Dharma at Daibon-ji (C. Tafan-ssu) as well as to let him take the Precepts without characteristics (i.e., the Three Refuges). Disciples took down a record of his talks and called them The Platform Scripture which they propagated to the world. When this was accomplished he went back to his monastery by the River Skei (C. Tsao-chi, Cordial Valley) and poured down a great rain of Dharma. Those he awakened numbered at least a thousand. During his seventysixth year, after having bathed and cleansed himself, he sat in meditation and died. At the time of Daimans transferring the WATER OF THE SPIRIT to Ens vessel, Daiman had asked, Is the rice indeed white? These grains of rice are indeed the spiritual seedlings of the DHARMA LORD, the life roots of both sage and ordinary person. Although in a wild field whose weeds went unclipped, they once grew tall on their own; now stripped clean of their husks and polished white as the dew, they absorb no dirt or stain, yet, even so, they have not yet been winnowed. If you winnow them back and forth, you will thoroughly know what is within and what is without; up they are tossed, down they are shaken. In Daimans striking the mortar thrice, the rice grains automatically fell into their proper place and in a twinkling the power of ORIGINAL NATURE was made manifest. In Ens winnowing the rice three times, the deportment of the Ancestors was Transmitted. Since then, the night when the mortar was struck has not yet known a dawn, the day when Ens hands imparted the Dharma has not yet seen a twilight. Reflect on this! Great Teacher En had indeed been a woodcutter from the South and Layman Ro in the rice shed. He had

Meditation Master Daikan En

179

wandered the mountains plying his hatchet for a living. Then, even though he had had no formal education or studied the classics in order to illumine his mind, nevertheless, upon hearing a single line of Scripture, he brought forth that attitude of mind which does not dwell anywhere. Even though he toiled in the rice-pounding shed, devoted to pestle and mortar, even though he had not sat in formal training or resolved the matter through spiritual dialogues with a master, in a bare eight months he had, by his diligent industry, nevertheless illumined his mind to the point where he knew that the CLEAR MIRROR is not a mirrored dressing-stand. As a result the imparting of the Teaching was carried out in the middle of the night and the life-line of the Ancestors was continued on. Whilst he did not necessarily require many years of meritorious practice in austerities, clearly it took his concerted and diligent efforts at least for a time. The finding of the Way by the Buddhas has never been something to be measured in terms of long or short periods of time so how could the Way of Transmission for Ancestors and Masters ever be understood in terms of such divisions as past and present? Over the past ninety days of this summer I have lectured in breadth and depth, given commentaries on things past and present and, employing both rough speech and soft words, called attention to the Buddha and the Ancestors. If you enter into the vague and the picayune or fall into duality or plurality, the customs of our religion will be besmirched and what is unseemly in our monastic family will be elevated. Thus, even though I feel that you have all grasped the principles and gained in strength, in all kindness it would seem that you are still not in perfect accord with the intentions of the Ancestors nor does your deportment entirely resemble that of the ancient sages. Due to great good karma, we have met each other face to face like this. If you are diligently committed to the practice of Buddhism, you will fully realize its fruits but many of you have still not reached the Other Shore, you still have not peeped into

180

Denkroku

the Hall Within. It has been long since the time of the Buddha; your occupation with the Way is not yet finished. Physical life is difficult to sustain; why trust this matter to the last days of your life? Autumn has begun, summer has already ended; the season has come for you to go your ways, be they to east or west, and, as of old, scatter hither and thither. Having memorized the random word or partial phrase, will you now attempt to parrot it as what I have taught of the Dharma? Will you put forward some smattering of knowledge and call it the conveyance to the Gateway of the Great Vehicle? Even if you have fully found the strength to carry such a load, what is unseemly in our monastic family will still be spread abroad; how much the more so if you preach a foolish, incoherent or dubious brand of Buddhism! If you feel that you want to be truly scrupulous in this matter, do not idly fritter away your days and nights or carry random bits of knowledge away with you. The mortar struck, its sound piercing high beyond the empty blue; The clouds are winnowed away, the bright moon, deep in the night, shines clear.

CHAPTER 35.

THE THIRTY-FOURTH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER SEIGEN GYSHI.


Gyshi, whilst training under En at Skei-ji, asked his master, To what should I pay attention so that I do not fall into some category of spiritual attainment? En responded, What were you doing before you came here? Gyshi answered, I was continually failing to put the Noble Truths into practice. En asked, In what category are you now? Gyshi replied,

Great Master Seigen Gyshi

181

Since I am still not putting the Noble Truths into practice, in what category does that place me? En had a deep feeling that Gyshi was a vessel for the Teaching. Gyshi (C. Hsing-ssu, Mindful of Practice) came from Anj (C. An-cheng) in Kichish (C. Chi-chou) and was a child of the Ry (C. Liu) clan; he left home to become a monk at a very young age. Whenever discussions of Buddhism became lively he would just remain silent; later he heard about the Dharma seat at Skei-ji and went to pay his respects whereupon he asked to what he should pay attention in order to avoid falling into some spiritual category and the above dialogue took place up to the point where En felt deeply that Gyshi was a vessel for the Teaching. Although Ens disciples were numerous, Gyshi had pre-eminence among them, not unlike Eka who had remained silent when Bodaidaruma had referred to him at Shrin-ji as the one who already had his marrow. One day En addressed Gyshi, saying, Up until now the Kesa and the Teaching have been passed on together, imparted successively from master to disciple; through possession of the Kesa the faith was displayed and, as a result, the Teaching made its imprint on the hearts and minds of others. I have now acquired so many followers that there is no need for me to grieve that no one may possess faith. Ever since I received the Kesa I have encountered many hardships and, further, the wrangling and rivalry of later generations will undoubtedly be great. The Kesa will therefore remain here to keep watch over the monastery. In your turn, share the Teaching by converting others, and see that the line of succession does not die out. After having obtained the Teaching, Gyshi took up residence in Jko-ji (C. Ching-chu-ssu) on Seigen Mountain (C. Ching-yuan) in Kichish; he equalled En in converting others. After he accepted Sekit as his disciple, he was unexpectedly joined by an abundance of his late masters former

182

Denkroku

disciples with their colleagues following at their heels. Indeed, he was regarded as the shining light of the Great Mirror as En was posthumously called. On the thirteenth day of the twelfth lunar month of 740 C.E., he entered the meditation hall, announced his death to the assembly, then passed away whilst sitting in lotus position. Later he was given the posthumous title of Great Teacher Gusai (C. Hung-chi, Liberal in Helping Others). To remain exceptionally quiet in the face of gregariousness was Gyshis extraordinary way of practising Buddhism. With the strength from his efforts at holding his mind attentive he had, in this way, come to ask En, To what should I pay attention so that I do not fall into some category of spiritual attainment? Take a very close look at this statement; there is ultimately nothing contrived about it. Realizing this, En promptly attempted to bring about Gyshis awakening by asking him, What were you doing before you came here? Without keeping his awl in its tote bag, Gyshi suddenly showed how sharp its point was by answering, I was continually failing to put the Noble Truths into practice. This is hearing what is hard to hear, meeting what is difficult to meet. Even when you cease from contrivances, a degree of holding on to a notion of self may persist and this is to make a mistake for you will surely have fallen into the deep pit called liberation. For this reason this state has been known from the past to the present by the name of attachment to the Teaching. Ummon (C. Yun-men, The Cloud Gate) called it the twofold sickness of the Dharma-body which arises from not having penetrated beyond this state. In the above situation Gyshi not only took responsibility for his duties and obligations, he also came to penetrate beyond them. This is why En had asked, In what category are you now? For one who is truly in such an ineffable state, there is ultimately neither outside nor inside; no axe blade can ever split

Great Master Seigen Gyshi

183

open an edge in the PROFOUND ULTIMATE and this is why Gyshi asked what categories there were. Having penetrated to such an unbeclouded state, he had come as far as inquiry could take him, so he said, Since I am still not putting the Noble Truths into practice, in what category does that place me? Truly, even were you to try to establish categories or levels of spiritual attainment, since boundary walls have never existed within VOID, against what ledge would you rest your ladder? Those who take this point literally have, from ancient times, succumbed to the view that all phenomena are null and void and have fashioned an interpretation that denies the existence of anything and everything in the whole universe. Since Gyshi had already proclaimed that he did not put the Holy Truths into practice, how could he possibly limit himself to the notion that phenomena are null and void? Look carefully to the very essence of this matter! This stage of clarity and open-mindedness is brighter than the full sun. This mysterious, vast and silent TRUE NATURE is not some product of intellectual discrimination, yet IT possesses a clear, distinct, completely bright WISDOM. Although IT does not take on bones and marrow, most assuredly IT has a BODY that conceals nothing. This BODY is no more discernible by movement or stillness than this WISDOM is discernible by perceptual cognition but, because perceptual cognition is also this WISDOM, movement and stillness are likewise not something apart from this BODY. Because of this, even Bodhisattvas who have, step by step, reached the tenth stage of a Bodhisattvas development may still not see the BUDDHA NATURE clearly. Their seeing the BUDDHA NATURE is not clear because, as the Buddha said, they still maintain that there is a dharma nature and persist in setting up fixed ways to train. Because Buddhas, in the last analysis, do not have fixed ways to train or possess spiritual natures, their seeing of the BUDDHA NATURE is clear and distinct.

184

Denkroku

So, without relying on your seeing or hearing and without involving yourself in knowledge of the objective world, try to see THAT which is underneath all this. Beyond doubt there is an alert and astute WISDOM which does not ask anything of others; you will receive the evidence of IT in ways beyond your expectation. Now, what words can be added to what is happening in this story? When you reach this stage, if you can add some words to the story, then let the TONGUELESS ONE speak. If you can hearken to this principle, then quickly let the EARLESS SOURCE hear and let that PERSON nod and talk and laugh! A bird in its passage leaves no traces of its flight, So why look for stages on that dark and solitary road which leads deep within?

CHAPTER 36.

THE THIRTY-FIFTH ANCESTOR, GREAT TEACHER SEKIT KISEN.


When Sekit went to train with Seigen Gyshi the latter asked, Where do you come from? Sekit answered, I come from Skei Monastery. Gyshi raised his fountain sceptre and asked, Do they still have this sort of thing at Skei? Sekit replied, Not only do they not have it at Skei, it also does not exist in India. Gyshi said, But, my child, you have never gone to India, have you? Sekit said, If I had gone, then it would be there! Gyshi said, That is not good enough; go on and say more! Sekit replied, Reverend Monk, you should also take on half the talking; do not depend wholly on this

Great Teacher Sekit Kisen

185

neophyte! Gyshi said, I do not shirk from talking to you about IT, but I fear lest, afterwards, there will be no one to grasp what IT is. Sekit responded, It is not that no one will grasp IT but that no one will be able to speak about IT ! Gyshi struck Sekit with the fountain sceptre whereupon Sekit had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Sekits personal name was Kisen (C. Hsi-chien), meaning He Who Hopes for Improvement; he was an offspring of the Chin (C. Chen) clan of Kan (C. Kao-an) in Tansh (C. Tuanchou); whilst his mother was carrying him she took no pleasure in eating meat and other proscribed foods. As a babe in arms, he proved no trouble for his nurse-maid. When he was a young boy, there was a horde of night hunters in a country grotto who were sacrificing cattle and distilling liquor for their many debauched rituals of appeasement which they regularly practised to allay their fear of demons and gods. Sekit, without warning, went and demolished their deserted hall, snatched away their cattle and returned home. He repeated this a full ten times without the country elders being able to stop him. In his fourteenth year Sekit went to Skei Monastery where he entered monastic life but without, as yet, taking the Precepts. When En was on the verge of announcing his death, Sekit asked him, Reverend Monk, since I may still not be able to get at the Truth even after a hundred years from now, on whom ought I to rely? En answered what Sekit understood as, Go ponder this. After En had passed from this world, Sekit sat straight and proper in a quiet place every day, as tranquil as if he had forgotten about life. At that time the chief monk, Reverend Monk Nangaku Ej (C. Nan-yueh Huai-jang, He of South Peak Who Surrenders with All His Heart), asked him, Since your master has passed away and his seat is now vacant, what are you doing? Sekit replied, I received his dying instruction so I am pondering. Ej said, You have an

186

Denkroku

elder monastic brother who is a master, Reverend Monk Gyshi by name, now dwelling on Seigen Mountain. You have a karmic connection with him. What Reverend Master En said to you was quite straightforward; it is only you yourself who have wandered off into delusion by taking hsin-ssu chu (Go ponder this) for Hsing-ssu chu (Go to Gyshi). On the basis of this, Sekit bowed before the Ancestral altar and went straightway to Seigen Mountain where Gyshi asked him, Some say that there are tidings from south of the Onion Range (i.e., from India)? Sekit replied, Some do not say that there are tidings from south of the range. Gyshi said, If that is the case, then where did the Great Treasure House and the Small Treasure House come from? Sekit replied, They have come completely from THAT which is within. Gyshi acknowledged that this was so. After this confirmation, it became customary for them to have spiritual dialogues. One day, Gyshi raised his fountain sceptre and asked, Do they still have this sort of thing at Skei? Sekit replied, Not only do they not have it at Skei, it also does not exist in India. In the past as well as in the present the fountain sceptre is raised to reveal its direct CAUSE, to incite someone to thrust open locked doors to enlightenment, to cut someone off from taking a side road or to get someone to proceed directly to IT quickly. Gyshi was also making such a display, in this case to test Sekits understanding. However Sekit had not yet grasped what Gyshi meant by this sort of thing and still kept his focus on the raised sceptre; thus he said, Not only do they not have it at Skei, it also does not exist in India. After all, by raising a sceptre in this way, what kind of Skei or India can you give rise to? What is viewed in this manner still amounts to a verbal understanding of external things. This is why Gyshi, restraining himself, said, But, my child, you have never gone to India, have you? Even then, Sekit did not grasp what was being said and, without forgetting himself for even a

Great Teacher Sekit Kisen

187

moment, quickly replied, If I had gone, then it would be there! Although you may have already manifested enlightenment, if you do not know that IT exists, then you are not an enlightened person. Therefore, again displaying IT, Gyshi said, That is not good enough; go on and say more! He was truly acting with great benevolence and compassion, dragging IT through the mud and water so that he could display IT in greater detail. As there was no way for him to anticipate this remark, Sekit said, Reverend Monk, you should also take on half the talking; do not depend wholly on this neophyte! Since they had met each other face to face in this way and had conversed in this manner, how could the whole of IT ever be expressed in words even if both Transmitted a half? Even were the whole universe to collapse and the SUBSTANCE of the raising of the sceptre alone be revealed, this would still be going only half-way there. This place is still to be found by yourself, not by your borrowing from the resources of another; how can you get someone else to understand if you do not depend on them absolutely when you would subtly communicate your unseen message to them as you advance one step to go the second half of the way? Simply, you have always had IT from the first. This is why Gyshi said, I do not shirk from talking to you about IT, but I fear lest, afterwards, there will be no one to grasp what IT is. You may talk about what is painful or describe what is bitter but, if someone else has no experience of pain piercing his bones or of bitterness splitting his tongue, then, in the end, there is no way for him to grasp what you are talking about; this is why there is no way to grasp what IT is through words. Because this is the way that things are, it is common sense not to use words arbitrarily, or perform meaningless actions, in an attempt to display IT ; in this way we come to protect IT. Sekit, being still attached to his understanding that IT is something separate from things, did not realize that a subtle point was being conveyed. Unable to discern IT carefully, he said, It is not that

188

Denkroku

no one will grasp what IT is but that no one can speak about IT ! Sekit may well have spoken like this but, upon reaching this stage, how could someone not have something to say? Upon reaching this stage what has he grasped? He was still seeking outside himself; he had vainly separated himself from the INNER PROOF. Therefore, to make him realize quickly that THIS SORT OF THING exists, to make him know immediately that he has an ORIGINAL HEAD, Gyshi struck him with the fountain sceptre; because he beat the grass and startled the snake, Sekit had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. By means of this story thoroughly investigate the whole of what was perceived from beginning to end as well as Sekits penetration of the TRUE PROOF so that you know in detail what was seen and are intimate with the understanding Sekit had found. When Sekit said, Not only do they not have it at Skei, it also does not exist in India, he succeeded in splitting apart Heaven and Earth and making his TRUE BODY completely visible. Even so, he still recognised a self which was misfortunate; that is why he could talk in such a grand way. In the end he knew that when the sceptre was raised his TRUE BODY was completely visible and when he was hit he also knew that IT exists. In recent times people who come to meditate feast idly on sounds, forms and colours or chase after what they see and hear. Although they have memorized the sayings of the Buddha and Ancestors and have involved themselves to some extent with the thread of meaning that runs through the thoughts, they have still realized nothing even though they may say, Not in India or at Skei. If you are like this, despite the fact that you have shaved your head and dyed your robes in order to resemble the Buddha, you will never emerge from the chains that imprison you in the three temporal worlds. How will you be able to call a halt to your comings and goings in the six realms of existence if you are thus? What a pity it is to vainly hang a monks robe on a wooden figure! The heart of this lies in the Buddhas saying,

Great Teacher Sekit Kisen

189

They are no longer disciples of the Buddha; they are nameless and no different from a wooden figure! If you meaninglessly squander the alms of the faithful all your life, you can expect great grief when you have to swallow red-hot iron balls in some hell. At that time the karmic fruits of repentance will be many indeed! If you look into your mind thoroughly and probe deeply within yourself until you can reach that point where you make your TRUE BODY completely visible as Sekit first did, you will find that neither Skei nor India exists so where do you come from or go to? At this stage where there is freedom from wrong views, the monastic robe is not worn arbitrarily. Sekit, upon being struck with the sceptre, realized that IT does exist and promptly forgot the self in knowing the SELF. In the midst of death he was capable of life; within the darkness his TRUE EYE was revealed. This is the very subtle issue that lies beneath a monks kesa. Because Sekit now perceived and understood things in this way he often went to the South Temple on Ox-yoke Mountain (J. Kzan; C. Heng-shan). This was from the beginning of the Tenb (C. Tien-pao, Heavenly Treasure) era of the Tang Dynasty, 742 C.E. To the east of the temple there was a huge stalagmite that resembled a lookout tower whose top formed a small retreat; it was here that he received the name of Sekit Osh (C. Shih-tou Ho-shang, The Stony-headed Monk). One day, whilst reading The Discourses of the Monk Ch (J. Chron; C. Chao Lun) he came to the place where it says, Does only a sage understand that the myriad things which comprise the universe are his self? He thumped his desk and said, A sage has no self and there is nothing that is not of the SELF. The DHARMA-BODY is beyond form; who speaks of self and other? The PERFECT MIRROR is wondrously clear and bright; within it myriad images appear spontaneously with the . mystery of the SUBSTANCE . The objects of perception and the

190

Denkroku

enlightened wisdom that contemplates them are not one and the same thing. Who says they come and go? How did he arrive at such wondrous words? He then rolled up the scroll and, before he was aware of it, fell into a sleep in which he dreamt that he and En were riding together on the back of a turtle which was swimming about inside a deep body of water. Upon awakening he interpreted his dream as follows, The marvellous turtle is ENLIGHTENED WISDOM, the sea is the BUDDHA NATURE . Our Ancestor En and I were riding on the Divine Wisdom which wanders where It will through the waters of the BUDDHA NATURE . Shortly after that he composed his poem Sandkai which has been widely circulated. His spiritual wisdom was truly equal to that of Ens and no different from that of Gyshis. He once said in a lecture to the monks, My gateway to the Teaching is one passed down to me from the first Buddha; by realizing the enlightened awareness of Buddha, without making an issue of zeal in meditation, the BODY ITSELF is BUDDHA . The terms Original Nature, Buddha and sentient beings, as well as enlightenment and defiling passions, may be different but their SUBSTANCE is one and the same. You should all know that the SUBSTANCE of your own intelligence is separate from annihilation or permanence; your TRUE NATURE is neither dirty nor clean. Profound and clear, perfect and complete, the mundane and the saintly are one and the same; IT functions freely apart from will, intention and consciousness. The three temporal worlds and the six realms of existence are merely ORIGINAL NATURE manifesting ITSELF like the moon in water or images in a mirror; how could there possibly be birth and death? If you can realize this, there will be nothing that is not perfect. The above really makes Heaven and Earth collapse in ruins; had he not had his personal vision, he could not have spoken in this way. By having grasped why he was struck, and by clearly making IT evident, he took his place as the Thirty-fifth Ancestor. How can

Great Master Yakusan Igen

191

the SPIRITUAL NATURE of anyone be separated from that of any other? According to whether or not you have given rise to the intention to find your TRUE NATURE and to whether or not you have met an enlightened master, the forms that the vicissitudes of your life will take may differ, the quality of your pain and pleasure may not be the same. What can we see in this previous account? Do you people wish to hear? A single raising of the fountain sceptre gave rise to everything possible, Yet Sekit never climbed even a smidgeon beyond the proper limits.

CHAPTER 37.

THE THIRTY-SIXTH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER YAKUSAN IGEN.


When Yakusan went to train under Sekit he said to the master, I have a rough understanding of the Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Scriptures but I have heard that, in the South, they directly point to a persons ORIGINAL NATURE so that he may see IT and become Buddha. I really do not comprehend this yet and beg, on bended knees, that you, Reverend Monk, out of your compassion, will point IT out to me. Sekit responded, You will not find IT if I assert that IT is indeed like this, nor will you find IT if I assert that IT is indeed not like this and you will certainly not find IT if I assert that IT is and is not like this. What will you do to bring IT forth? Since Yakusan was at a loss as to how to handle this question, Sekit said, Your spiritual relationship with a master does not lie here with me. Go and see Great Teacher

192

Denkroku

Baso (C. Ma-tzu). When Yakusan once again posed his question, this time to Baso, the latter replied, There are times when I make HIM raise HIS eyebrows and blink in surprise and there are times when I do not do so; there are times when it is good for HIM to raise HIS eyebrows and blink and there are times when it is not. What are you doing to bring IT forth? At these words Yakusan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF and, without ceremony, bowed to Baso who said, What principle have you seen that you bow like this? Yakusan replied, When I was with Sekit I was like a mosquito climbing over an iron ox trying to find a place to bite. Baso said, You already have; guard well! Even so, your master is Sekit. Yakusans personal name was Igen (C. Wei-yen, Dignity Personified); he was of the Kan (C. Han) clan in Ksh (C. Chiang-chou). In his seventeenth year he left home to become a monk under Meditation Master Saizan Esh (C. Hsishan Hui-chao, He of the Western Mountain Who Confers Illumination) in Chy (C. Chao-yang). After having taken the Precepts from Vinaya Master Kis (C. Hsi-tsao, He Whose Restraint Is Extraordinary) of Ox-yoke Peak, he gained acclaim for being well-versed in the Scriptures and the Commentaries as well as for his strict adherence to the Precepts and the monastic rules. One day he lamented to himself, A virtuous person ought to lay aside the Dharma and purify himself. Who can crunch through all the trifling details of conduct as if they were so many crumbs to be wiped up with a napkin? He immediately went to Sekits quarters where he said to him, I have a rough understanding of the Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Scriptures continuing up to the moment when Baso said for him to guard well. He attended on Baso for three years then, one day, Baso asked him, Speaking from your own perspective, what are you doing these days to bring IT forth? Yakusan replied, My skin

Great Master Yakusan Igen

193

has been completely cast off; there is only the ONE REALITY. Baso said, What you have realized can be called the harmonization of body and mind and it has spread throughout your body. Since you have already realized such a condition, brace up your abdomen with three lengths of bamboo splint and go into the mountains to find some suitable abode from which to teach. Yakusan replied, Who am I to presume to call myself an abbot of a mountain monastery? Baso answered, If you do not do so, you will still not have a constant going on without stopping nor a constant abiding without going in and out. Even though you may want to benefit others, there will be no way for you to benefit them; even though you may want to practise, there will not be anything for you to do. You should build your boat to ferry sentient beings to the Other Shore and not stay here for long. Having heard what Baso said, Yakusan returned to Sekit. One day, whilst Yakusan was sitting in meditation, Sekit sat down beside him and asked, What are you doing here? Yakusan replied, I am not doing anything at all. Sekit remarked, If that is the case, then you are idling. Yakusan replied, Were I idling, then I would be doing something. Sekit responded, You say that you are not doing anything; what kind of thing is not doing? Yakusan replied, Even a thousand sages have not perceived IT. To praise Yakusan, Sekit composed a poem: Though from the beginning WE have dwelt together, yet I know not HIS name; Together, riding the tide, WE just go on; Since ancient times the eminent and lofty have never perceived IT So how can the ordinary run of people, with all their hustle and bustle, possibly discern IT ?

194

Denkroku

Later, whilst handing down Teaching, Sekit said, Speech and actions have no connection with IT. Yakusan commented, Silence and inactivity also have no connection with IT. Sekit said, With me, the mosquito jabs his needle but it does not penetrate. Yakusan said, With me, it is like planting flowers atop a stone. Sekit agreed with this. Yakusan later took up residence on Medicine Mountain (J. Yakusan; C. Yueh-shan), whence his name, in Hsh (C. Feng-chou) where a mass of disciples gathered about him like clouds. From the preceding account it should be clear that the two branches of Seigen (i.e., Sekits master) and Nangaku (i.e., Basos master) are in no wise different. Actually they are the two horns of En (i.e., master of both Seigen Gyshi and Nangaku Ej), the white ox glistening far off in a field of dew. Yakusan was trained by one and enlightened by the other, he was Transmitted by the former and was the successor of the latter; there is not a hairs difference between the two. Yakusan had first asked, I have a rough understanding of the Twelve Divisions of the Scriptures but what is the principle of the direct pointing to a persons ORIGINAL NATURE so that he may see IT and become a Buddha? To express this state properly, Sekit had replied, You will not find IT if I assert that IT is indeed like this, nor will you find IT if I assert that IT is indeed not like this and you will certainly not find IT if I assert that IT is and is not like this. At this juncture there is nowhere for Yakusan to set up a self and no way for him to doubt the OTHER which is why Sekit had explained the matter as he did. Even so, Yakusan, at this stage, duly clung to what is ungraspable and, as a consequence, did not understand the import of Sekits words; he just stood and thought for a while. Sekit then sent Yakusan west of the Yangtze River so that Baso could explain the matter in his stead. Baso, grasping Yakusans frame of mind, said in Sekits place, There are times when I cause HIM to raise HIS eyebrows

Great Master Yakusan Igen

195

and blink in surprise and there are times when I do not do so; there are times when it is good for HIM to raise HIS eyebrows and blink and there are times when it is not. When Baso had explained to Yakusan that IT varies according to the occasion, Yakusan, at that moment, awoke to SPIRITUAL REALITY and he knew that, truly, from the raising of the eyebrows and the blinking of the eyes to seeing, hearing, experiencing, knowing, moving, utilizing, coming and going, all exist, so, when he bowed abruptly, Baso said, What is the principle that you have seen that you should bow like this? Yakusan replied, When I was with Sekit I was like a mosquito climbing over an iron ox trying to find a place to bite. There was nowhere for him to stick in his needle-like nose; his views and opinions had come to an end, his judgments and explanations had vanished. Although he himself did not realize it, he was already a REAL PERSON. Later, Baso asked him, What are you doing these days to bring IT forth? Now able to perceive that not a single mote of dust remained, that not a hairline flaw existed, Yakusan said, My skin has been completely cast off; only the ONE REALITY remains. It is exceedingly difficult to reach this state in ones training, this is why Baso praised him so by saying, What you have realized can be called the harmonization of body and mind and there is no place within your body that it has not reached, nowhere it has not permeated. Up until the time when he could express the fact that he was not doing anything at all he knew that, even though his experiences and activities had been infinitely varied, they nevertheless had been like flowers planted atop a stone, they left no traces. At first he had been suspicious of the direct pointing to a persons ORIGINAL NATURE but, through seeking after this, he was shown the ONE who raises HIS eyebrows and blinks and this caused his great awakening. When preaching the Dharma to assemblies he would say, I am now speaking these words

196

Denkroku

to you in order to reveal the depths that lie beyond words for THAT which lies beyond has no countenance with eyes, ears or any other sense organ. Because his good and virtuous behaviour actually had its true place at the beginning (with his training under Sekit) and in the middle (with his training under Baso), in the end his good and virtuous behaviour revealed its true place for the sake of saving others. Since this is so, you who have come here to train and study should apply yourselves as Yakusan did. Whilst it is true that Ancestors and Masters are not superior or inferior to each other in the virtues, nevertheless Yakusan was notably lofty in his handling of the potential of others and was especially abstemious in his personal observances of Precepts and monastic rules. This is why it is said that he had fewer than twenty in his community. That he had so few was due to this abstemiousness; people could not endure the hunger and the cold. Even so there were many monks and laymen who practised the Way under him, including Ungan, Dgo and Sensu (C. Yun-yen, Tao-wu and Chuan-tzu), as well as the novice K (C. Kao), the layman Ji (C. Erh) and Lord Ri K (C. Li Ao). Thus, as students of the Way, you should make thorough and skillful practice your primary endeavour and, above all, pay no attention to worldly preferences. Monks such as Ungan, Dgo and Sensu were like this and alike in their determination so they spent forty years without resting their ribs on their platforms. Unless you have a congregation that practises the Way, you do not have monks like this. Thus, as fine practitioners of meditation, you should pray to be brothers to Ungan and Dgo and expect to train hard until you reach the level of Baso and Sekit. Do you not see? THAT which causes the eyebrows to raise and the eyes to blink is fine and is not fine! This stage leaves no room for doubt; people are already perfect just as they are. When you attempt to know this place, such forms as ears or eyes no longer exist; this is why HE is not something that can

Great Master Ungan Donj

197

be discerned by seeing or hearing. All, without exception, is without doing anything. Furthermore, from the very beginning HE has always been dwelling with you; even though you ultimately do not know HIS name, nevertheless HE carries you along with HIS tide. There is this also. HE causes you to be born, HE causes you to die, HE causes you to come and go, to move and use things, HE causes you to see and hear, realize and know. HE is undoubtedly the THAT WHICH IS . Do not seek the TRUE LAW outside yourself. How can you possibly hope to see your BUDDHA NATURE at some other time than right now? Granting that the Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Scriptures point to this PRINCIPLE , no sentient being whatever is cut off from experiencing IT, so why would you possibly seek evidence of IT elsewhere than within yourself? Know that you are, right now, raising HIS eyebrows and making HIS eyes blink! If you but take a look at the ONE who sees and hears, realizes and knows, none of you will doubt what is on the tip of the tongues of the old monks. Now, how can I leave a footnote for this principle? That lively STRANGER who is always so vigorous and bold; Whenever you call to HIM, you make HIM be the ONE whose eyebrows raise and eyes twinkle.

CHAPTER 38.

THE THIRTY-SEVENTH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER UNGAN DONJ.


Ungan first trained, and served under, Hyakuj for twenty years. Later, after Hyakujs death, he went to train under Yakusan who asked him, What Teaching did Hyakuj stress?

198

Denkroku

Ungan replied, Once Hyakuj entered the meditation hall to give a lecture. The great assembly were standing there when, brandishing his staff, he all at once sent them scurrying out. He called them back and, as they turned their heads toward him, he said, What is IT ? Yakusan responded, Why did you not say this sooner? Today, thanks to you, I have been able to lay eyes on my elder brother Hyakuj. Upon hearing these words, Ungan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Ungan was an offspring of the (C. Wang) clan of Kensh (C. Chien-chang) in Shry (C. Chung-ling); whilst still young he left home to become a monk at Sekimon (C. Shih-men). He studied with Meditation Master Hyakuj Ekai (C. Pai-chang Huai-hai, He of the Thousand-foot Mountain Who Is a Sea of Affection) for twenty years but without forming a binding master-disciple relationship. Later, when he had an audience with Yakusan and was asked where he came from, Ungan answered, I have come from Hyakuj. Yakusan inquired, What words or phrases did Hyakuj have for pointing out the BUDDHA NATURE to his assembly? Ungan replied, He was wont to remark, I have a saying that all the hundred flavours are complete in themselves. Yakusan said, Brackish water has a salty flavour, fresh water is flavourless, what is neither brackish nor fresh is the CONSTANT FLAVOUR. What does the saying that all the hundred flavours are complete in themselves mean? Ungan had no reply. Yakusan said, What are you doing about birth and death which are right in front of you? Ungan said, There is no birth and death right in front of me. Yakusan said, How long were you with Hyakuj? Ungan replied, Twenty years. Yakusan said, Twenty years with Hyakuj and you still have not rid yourself of your worldliness! On another occasion, when Ungan was attending on Yakusan, the latter again asked what Teachings Hyakuj stressed.

Great Master Ungan Donj

199

Ungan answered, Sometimes he would say, Eliminate everything except the three questions that point to the BUDDHA NATURE ; understand that IT is outside the six logical categories of substance, quality, motion, generality, particularity and inherence. Yakusan said, You have gone three thousand miles and still have not made the connection with THAT which is good. He also asked, What other Teaching did Hyakuj stress? Ungan replied, Once Hyakuj entered the meditation hall to give a lecture, continuing up to the point where Ungan, having heard Yakusans words, had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Now meditation practice in Buddhist training has always taken, as its essential focus, the seeing of ORIGINAL NATURE clearly and spiritually grasping ITS purpose. This is why the monk Ungan had gone to study under Hyakuj for twenty years, nevertheless the two did not form a binding master-disciple relationship; afterwards Ungan trained under Yakusan. Do not extol long training and rigorous study on the basis of this, just make realizing ORIGINAL NATURE clearly the foundation of your efforts. Fulfilling the relationship does not depend on a beginners attitude of mind or on the attitude of mind of one already seasoned; it is the result of past life karma. It was not that Hyakuj was not the right person, only that he was not suited to fulfill the relationship. Being a good teacher is not a matter of assembling disciples and nurturing them; it is simply a matter of trying, as the REAL PERSON, to get them to penetrate directly to the ROOT SOURCE and quickly grasp that their ORIGINAL NATURE is. This is what was behind the ancients asking someone where he came from. Pilgrimages were undertaken to try out teachers, so teachers endeavoured to keep in mind where a person was coming from. They would also ask why the person had come so as to discern the depth of his resolve and try to learn how far he had distanced himself from worldly affairs, thus, in the

200

Denkroku

present instance, Yakusan asked Ungan where he had come from. So that it would be clear that he had not come on a whim whilst wandering about the countryside aimlessly visiting monasteries, Ungan answered, I have come from Hyakuj. Yakusan and Hyakuj were both serving as heads of temples representing, respectively, the Seigen and Nangaku lineages and this fact was behind Yakusans asking what Hyakuj was teaching his assembly. At this point, if Ungan had already realized the TRUTH, he would have offered the depth of his own understanding based on what he had learned from listening to Hyakuj instead of only parroting the master by saying, He is wont to remark, I have a saying that all the hundred flavours are complete in themselves. This single saying is indisputably complete, indisputably perfect, but are you people capable of hearing this explanation? To help Ungan discern more carefully, Yakusan said, Brackish water has a salty flavour and fresh water is flavourless; what is neither brackish nor fresh is the CONSTANT FLAVOUR. What does the saying that all the hundred flavours are complete in themselves mean? Sure enough, Ungan had heard the saying but he had not got to the bottom of it; in a fog, he had used the ears that he was born with and no more knew the answer than he would have by vainly listening to the croaking of a bullfrog. This is why Yakusan had asked, What are you doing about birth and death which are right before your eyes? This is really something of the utmost importance to beginner and seasoned monk alike! Change is swift in coming and the matter of birth and death is grave indeed. Even though you set out on a pilgrimage with fresh intentions and are decked out in monastic robes and hood, if you are not clear in your mind about this matter of birth and death and do not find the path to liberation, you will not know that secretmost issue which lies beneath a monks kesa. As a result, you will never step out from the bird-cage of the

Great Master Ungan Donj

201

three worlds of time and will find it hard to escape from your slavish attachment to birth and death. In truth, this is like donning monastic robes for no good purpose and holding out your begging bowl under false pretences. Therefore, in order to make Ungan a person who had indeed realized the TRUTH, Yakusan did not have him idle away his time by asking him the first question that popped into his head. Accordingly, Ungan answered, There is no birth and death right in front of me. When you have arrived at the place where you yourself are at ease and have completely achieved the original intention of your pilgrimage, you will not have a viewpoint like this. When Yakusan asked, How long were you with Hyakuj? he was asking, Up until you went on your pilgrimage, how many years had you trained in the Way? Accordingly, Ungan replied, Twenty years. He had truly been training hard for the sake of the Way of the Ancestors without being idle for a second through the whole twenty-four hours of a day yet now it seemed as if he had vainly squandered twenty years of his life. This is why Yakusan had declared, Twenty years with Hyakuj and you still have not rid yourself of your worldliness! Even if you comprehend that there is no birth and death, have come to see that there is no self or other but, from such a viewpoint, do not perceive your own ORIGINAL HEAD, you are certainly not at the point of letting go of your grip upon the cliffs edge. If you do not turn yourself around quickly to the period between death and rebirth, you will still not have rid yourself of your worldliness; you will not have broken free from your perceptions and feelings, much less escaped from their prison. How sad this is! Because of this Yakusan repeatedly questioned Ungan with great care in order to get him to arrive at the Other Shore but Ungan was still not at the point where he had awakened to the realization of this. Even though he had gone beyond the six categories of logic, an iron hammer-head without a handle hole

202

Denkroku

does not make for a model to copy; even though he had disconnected himself from the crossroads of a myriad distinctions, he still was not living in his own ORIGINAL BRIGHTNESS . By saying, You have gone three thousand miles and still have not made the connection with THAT which is good, Yakusan pointed out to Ungan once again that his coming and their meeting face to face seemed empty and useless. At this point Ungan had cited Hyakujs question about the monks departing from the meditation hall but still this was something that had been passed on via the tongue of another; Ungan had not reached his own place of proof, however, even as he brought up this story, what he told in no way diverged from the traditions of Zen. This is why Yakusan had replied, Why did you not say this sooner? Today, thanks to you, I have been able to lay eyes on my elder brother Hyakuj. The meaning of The great assembly were standing there when, brandishing his staff, he sent them scurrying out is actually this; he was causing them to be independent and nonattached. There is no need to concern ourselves with inquiring further into the significance of this but, even so, had he let it go at this, it was likely that in the end they would not have gained anything from his Teaching even if incalculable kalpas were to pass. As a consequence, in order to create a gap and startle them, he called out to the great assembly in a loud voice. When you deliver a blow to the south side, you get the north side to move, hence they instinctively turned to look; it seems that they were nodding their heads as if they comprehended but without ultimately giving a thought to spiritual awakening. This is why Hyakuj said, What is IT ? Regrettably, not one of Hyakujs disciples understood the least bit of what he was doing and saying. Although in that immediate situation no one had said a word, far off, Yakusan was to remark, Thanks to you I have been able to lay eyes on my elder brother Hyakuj. Actually, when one ancient master came out with a phrase like this about

Great Master Tzan Rykai

203

such an enlightened state, another master would say that the two of them had indeed met face to face. This truly resembles sayings such as A thousand miles apart, yet the same wind blows on each of us and Not even a thread separates us. Thus it was that Ungan trained first with Hyakuj and then succeeded in scaling Mount Yakusan until finally, without any gap between master and disciple, the two met and there was a realization of the TRUTH. When you grasp what this state is, not only will you yourself have no doubts about the ETERNAL , you will also be able to see with a single glance, and cut down with one sweep of your scythe, all the Buddhas in the three worlds, the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En and any kesa-clad monk that has nostrils, right away meet face to face with Yakusan and Hyakuj and straightway stand eyeball to eyeball with Ungan and Dgo. Now, how am I to convey this principle? Do you all wish to hear? The solitary boat, without rocking and pitching, advances toward the moon; If you but look back, behold, the duckweed that floats beside the old shore is still not moving!

CHAPTER 39.

THE THIRTY-EIGHTH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER TZAN RYKAI.


Whilst training under Ungan, Tzan asked him, Who can hear the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient? Ungan replied, The NON-SENTIENT can hear the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient. Tzan said, Reverend Monk, do

204

Denkroku

you hear it? Ungan said, If I could hear it, you would not be able to hear my teaching of the Dharma. Tzan said, If that is the way things are, then I, Rykai, indeed do not hear the Reverend Monks teaching of the Dharma. Ungan said, If you have not yet heard my teaching of the Dharma, how can you possibly expect to hear the teaching of the Dharma by the NON-SENTIENT ? Thereupon Tzan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF and presented Ungan with a poem: Wondrous, wondrous indeed! The Dharma teaching of the NON-SENTIENT is beyond imagining or words; Listening with your ears, you will find IT hard to comprehend But, hearing ITS sound with your eyes, you can know IT directly! Ungan gave his approval to this. Tzans personal name was Rykai (C. Liang-chieh, The Good Servant); he was from Kaikei (C. Hui-chi) and his family was of the Yu (C. Yu) clan. When still a child, he was once following a teacher, reciting The Scripture of Great Wisdom. When he reached the passage that says, There is no eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind, Tzan immediately felt his face with his hand and said to the teacher, I have eyes, ears, a nose, a tongue and so on; why does the Scripture say that I do not? The teacher, startled by this, said with regret, I am not the teacher for you. Thereupon he directed the boy to Meditation Master Reimoku (C. Ling-mo, He of Courteous Bows) at Five Springs Mountain (J. Gosetsuzan; C. Wu-hsieh-shan) where he donned the robe of a novice and shaved his head. At twentyone, he went to Mount S Monastery where he took the full Precepts. Tzan was his mothers favourite; his elder brother was already dead, his younger one was penniless and his father had

Great Master Tzan Rykai

205

also passed away. Once Tzan had become attached to the teaching of shunyata, he took leave of his mother, vowing that he would never return to his former home or see his relatives again until he had realized enlightenment. Having made such a vow, he left his home town and, once he had completed his monastic training and studies, took up residence on Tzan, whence his name. His mother, it seems, had no one to take care of her now that she was separated from her only child; day after day she searched for him until finally she was reduced to beggary and wandered about with others in her condition. Learning that her son was living on Tzan, she went there and, driven by her yearnings for him, tried to see him. Tzan firmly refused to meet with her and locked himself in the abbots quarters so that she could not enter; this was done to avoid a face-to-face meeting. As a result of this, his mother was filled with regret and died of grief outside this room; after her passing, Tzan himself went out to her. He found among her effects three cupfuls of rice which she had begged so he mixed this into the monks customary morning gruel which he offered to them as a memorial for his mother that she might be reborn in some heaven. Not long after, his mother appeared to him in a dream and said, Because you held firm to your intention and therefore would not see me, my deluded feelings of covetous attachment have been instantly severed and, due to the strength of such good karmic roots, I have been reborn in the Trayastrimsha heaven. Among Ancestors and Masters there are none better or worse in their virtue. Yet Tzan, as an ancient Ancestor of this gateway of ours, specifically revived a custom of our religious branch through his strength of resolve to leave family behind in order to hold firm to his intention to realize enlightenment. With this strength of resolve as the foundation of his practice and study, he first visited Nansens (C. Nan-chuan) community just at the time of their memorial commemorating Basos death. Whilst making preparations for the service, Nansen said to his

206

Denkroku

assembly, Tomorrow, when we make our food offering at Basos memorial, I wonder whether Baso will return or not. None in Nansens congregation replied so Tzan came forth and said, He is waiting until he has a companion, then he will come. Nansen said, Although young, you are quite a fit gem for cutting and polishing! Tzan replied, Reverend Monk, pray do not repress what is good and make it worthless. Afterwards he went to Isan (C. Kuei-shan) and told him, I recently heard National Teacher Ech (C. Hui-chung, Faithful to Compassion) of Mount Nany (C. Nan-yang) give a talk on the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient. I have still not pierced its subtlety. Isan asked him if he recalled the talk and Tzan replied that he did. When Isan then asked him to recount the event, Tzan gave the following account: A monk asked Ech, What is the NATURE of the ancient Buddhas like? Ech replied, Fences and walls, tiles and pebbles. The monk commented, But are not fences, walls, tiles and pebbles non-sentient things? Ech answered that they were. The monk asked, Do they comprehend what teaching the Dharma is? Ech said, They constantly teach, vigorously teach, ceaselessly and without rest. The monk said, Then why can I not hear them? Ech replied, Just because you fail to hear cannot prevent others from hearing. The monk said, It is not clear to me who can hear them. Ech said, All who are saintly can hear them. The monk replied, Reverend Monk, do you hear them? Ech said, No, I do not. The monk said, Reverend Monk, since you do not hear them, how do you know that the non-sentient comprehend what teaching the Dharma is? Ech replied, Hopefully I do not hear them for, if I heard them, I would be just like all the saintly and then you would indeed not hear my preaching of the Dharma. The monk said, If that is so, then are they irrelevant for sentient beings? Ech said, It is for the benefit of sentient beings that I teach the Dharma, I do not teach it for the benefit of the saintly. The

Great Master Tzan Rykai

207

monk asked, What happens after sentient beings hear them? Ech said, They are no longer sentient beings. The monk said, On what Scriptural text is the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient based? Ech said, Obviously, what I say has to accord with Scriptures otherwise you gentlemen would not discuss it. Surely you have seen in the Avatamsaka Scripture the passage, Temples teach, sentient things teach; everything in the three worlds of time teaches. When Tzan had finished the whole account, Isan said, I have IT here with me too, only it is rare to encounter a REAL PERSON. Tzan respectfully asked, Since I am not yet clear about the matter, would you please instruct me? Isan raised up his fountain sceptre and asked, Do you comprehend? Tzan said, No, I do not. Pray, Reverend Monk, explain it to me. Isan replied, Speech born of father and mother will never explain IT for you. Tzan asked, Is there anyone else who longed to seek the Way at the same time as you? Isan said, Go to Reiry (C. Li-ling) in Shken (C. Yu-hsien) where you will find, in a hermits cave, Ungan, a man who has attained the Way. If you can sweep away the wild weeds of evil passions and look head on into the winds of the Dharma, without fail you will dispose of the matter that is important to you. Tzan said, What kind of person is he? Isan answered, He once asked me what a disciple should do who wishes to be obedient to his master after he is no longer with him. I told him that, straight off, he should sever any remaining attachments and karmic hindrances that he may find within himself. He then asked whether he would be able to avoid breaking the principles of his master. I told him no and, above all, he should not tell people that I am here. Tzan then left Isan and went straight to Ungan. Referring to what had happened previously, Tzan asked Ungan, Who can hear the teaching of the Dharma by the nonsentient? Ungan said, The NON-SENTIENT can hear it. Tzan said, Reverend Monk, do you hear it? Ungan said, If I heard

208

Denkroku

it, you would indeed not then hear my teaching of the Dharma. Tzan said, Why do I not hear it? Ungan raised up his fountain sceptre and said in response, Do you hear it? Tzan said, No, I do not. Ungan said, If you have not yet heard my teaching of the Dharma, how can you possibly expect to hear the teaching of the Dharma by the NON-SENTIENT ? Tzan said, What Scripture talks about the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient? Ungan said, Have you not seen in the Amida Scripture the part that says, Water and birds, trees and forests, all, without exception, invoke the Buddha, invoke the Dharma? At this Tzan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF and told Ungan the story of his meeting with National Teacher Ech continuing up to the point where he arrived at the TRUTH under Ungan and subsequently presented his poem which began Wondrous, wondrous indeed! and ended with But, hearing ITS sound with your eyes, you can know IT directly! Tzan then said to Ungan, I have old, residual habits that have still not come to an end. Ungan said, What were you once doing that these should come about? Tzan said, I was not holding to the Four Noble Truths. Ungan said, Are you joyful yet? Tzan said, I am very joyful indeed, just like someone who has found a lustrous pearl atop a dung heap. Tzan then asked Ungan, When I wish to have a face-to-face meeting with the LORD OF THE HOUSE , how should I go about it? Ungan said, Ask the LORD OF THE HOUSE . Tzan said, I will ask when I see HIM. Ungan said, I wonder what HE will say to you? When Tzan was taking his leave from Ungan he respectfully inquired, After a hundred years, if someone were to ask me to describe the TRUTH that you taught, how exactly should I reply? After a long pause Ungan responded, Just say that THIS is IT. Tzan sank deep into thought. Ungan said, Rykai Acharya, in order to understand the TRUTH , investigate the matter thoroughly. Tzan was still embroiled in his doubts

Great Master Tzan Rykai

209

but later, as he was crossing a river, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the water and, greatly enlightened as to this previous principle, composed a poem: Truly I should not seek for the TRUTH from others For then it will be far from me; Now I am going alone, Everywhere I am able to meet HIM . HE is ME now, I am not HIM ; When we understand this, We are instantaneously with the TRUTH . Tzan had realized what he had spent his life training and studying for and his lingering doubts had quickly departed; what is happening in this account is truly correct. These accounts of the teaching of the Dharma by the nonsentient should include one about a lay worker named Chfun (C. Chang-fen) who was working at Nany Monastery. Prostrating himself before National Teacher Ech, he said, I have heard the Reverend Monk speak of the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient; I still do not comprehend this matter. I beg you, Reverend Monk, to instruct me. Ech said, If you inquire into the teaching of the Dharma by the non-sentient, you will then comprehend other non-sentient things and be able to hear my teaching of the Dharma directly. However, when you have heard the teaching of the Dharma by the NON-SENTIENT, pray depart! Chfun said, At the moment I am bound to skillful means for the sentient; how does this relate to the nonsentient? Ech said, If, right now, within all your actions, the two classes of the mundane and the holy do not in the least bit arise or pass away, then this involves a TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS which does not depend on being or non-being and is ablaze with keen perceptual awareness; hearken to the fact that there are no delusionary emotional feelings or binding attachments.

210

Denkroku

Because of this the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En said, When the six sensory roots are engaged in discerning boundaries and discriminating between objects, one should know that such thought is not the TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS . This comment by En is indeed what is behind Nany Echs remarks about the teaching of the Dharma by the NON-SENTIENT when he said, If, right now, within all your actions, the two classes of the mundane and the holy do not in the least bit arise or pass away, then this involves the TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS which does not depend on being or non-being and is ablaze with keen perceptual awareness. People, however, usually think that non-sentient refers to such things as fences and walls, tiles and pebbles, lamps and winnowing baskets, dewdrops and pillars. This is not what National Teacher Ech is talking about in the present instance; it is a TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS in which what is seen by ordinary and saintly people has not yet been differentiated, and emotional attachment to notions of delusion and enlightenment has not yet emerged; likewise, there is not the least degree of emotional judgmentalism or intellectual discrimination, nor any signs that birth and death, coming and going, are actively functioning. I assure you this TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS keenly perceives and is aware but is not attached to emotional consciousness. This is why Tzan said, You must comprehend HIM in this way so that you can dedicate yourself at once to THAT WHICH IS . This is also why someone of old once said, There is no enlightened wisdom which is apart from the ETERNAL that the ETERNAL illumines; there is no ETERNAL which is apart from enlightened wisdom that enlightened wisdom studies. THAT WHICH IS is steadfast and unmoving, a clear, bright, constant KNOWING. This is why it is said that complete knowing, which is perfect and bright, does not depend on intellectual . thought; this direct perceptual awareness is not an entanglement

Great Master Tzan Rykai

211

or an attachment. As Isan said, Speech born of father and mother will never explain IT for you and as Ech said, If sentient beings can hear IT, then they are not sentient beings. Having received this kind of instruction from several teachers, Tzan comprehended the true meaning of the non-sentient so do not arbitrarily interpret it as fences and walls. As long as your thoughts and feelings do not delude or entangle you, and your sight and hearing are not scattered or spread all over, this TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS will be bright and undimmed, clear and aware. Were you to try to seize this state, you would never realize IT because IT takes on no form, IT is non-existent. Were you to try to be rid of IT, you could not separate yourself from IT because IT has accompanied you from the very beginning of time; IT is not non-existent. Still, IT is not feelings or perceptions, knowledge or thought, much less does IT partake of the four elements and the five skandhas. This is why Wanshi said, There is an enlightened wisdom apart from emotional judgmentalism and intellectual discrimination; there is a BODY that is not comprised of the four elements and the five skandhas. In short, there is this TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS . Continually and vigorously teaching means that, at no time, does IT not manifest ITSELF ; this is called teaching. IT makes the eyebrows raise and the eyes blink; IT makes you walk, stand, sit and lie down. Hurrying about, stumbling and falling, dying here, being reborn there, partaking of food when hunger arises, getting sleep when exhaustion comes, all are teaching. Speaking, working, moving, stopping, acting with dignity are teaching. It is not only spoken and unspoken teaching; there is THAT which wholly comes forth openly, which most clearly does not conceal anything. Because everything down to the croaking of bullfrogs and the mumbling of earthworms comes to be revealed, it is continual teaching, energetic teaching, without ceasing. Just look carefully and,

212

Denkroku

without fail some day, like our lofty Ancestor Tzan, you will be able to be a model for others. Now, how am I to expound this principle? The humble TRUE CONSCIOUSNESS is not emotional attachment And every day of the week IT causes IT to teach energetically.

CHAPTER 40.

THE THIRTY-NINTH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER UNGO DY.


When Ungo went to train under Tzan, the latter asked him, What, Dy Acharya, is your name? Ungo replied, Dy (C. Tao-ying, Sustainer of the Way). Tzan said, Look up higher and say something more! Ungo responded, Were I to speak on a higher level, then I would not call myself Dy. Tzan said, When I was with Ungan my own respectful reply was no different. Ungo was a native of Gyokuden (C. Yu-tien) in Ysh (C. Yu-chou); his family was of the (C. Wang) clan and, when still but a small child, he left home for Enju-ji (C. Yenshu-ssu) in Hanyo (C. Fan-yang). At twenty-five he became a full monk and his teacher had him learn the Vinaya rules. As this approach was not to his liking, he abandoned it and wandered from temple to temple until he came to Master Suibi (C. Tsui-wei) from whom he inquired of the Way. After a while a certain monk from Yosh Province (C. Kiang-su) came to the monastery and spoke so enthusiastically in praise of Tzans Dharma centre that, in consequence, Ungo went there.

Great Master Ungo Dy

213

When Tzan asked him where he had come from, Ungo answered, I come from Suibi. Tzan asked, What words or phrases does Suibi have for directing his disciples? Ungo said, Once, when Suibi was preparing a food offering for the arhants, I respectfully asked him, By making a food offering to the arhants will they come or not? Suibi replied, What do you eat every day? Tzan said, Did this conversation really take place? When Ungo said it had, Tzan commented, What, Dy Acharya, is your name? and what is given above followed to the point where Tzan said, When I was with Ungan my own respectful reply was no different. Ungo awoke to the Way upon catching sight of the T River (C. Tung). When he informed Tzan of the purport of his awakening, Tzan said, My Way, thanks to you, will flow on, perpetually Transmitted. There was a time when Tzan said to Ungo, I hear that Great Master Shi (C. Ssu) was born in Japan and became their king. What do you think? Is this so or not? Ungo replied, If it is the proverbial great teacher called shi (which means discriminative thought) that you are talking about, this is not the BUDDHA let alone the ruler over anyone! Tzan assented to this. One day Tzan asked Ungo where he had been and Ungo answered that he had been walking upon a mountain. Tzan asked, Was that mountain fit to live on? Ungo said, What mountain is not fit to live on? Tzan said, If that is so, then everything within the whole land must have been tried out by the Acharya. Ungo said, Not so. Tzan said, Well then, you must have found the right roadway. Ungo said, There is no roadway. Tzan said, If there is no roadway, how will you meet with me face to face? Ungo said, If there were a roadway, then I would indeed break off my life with you and leave! Tzan said, Although a thousand men, nay, ten thousand men may take hold of this disciple of mine, they will not stop him from going on!

214

Denkroku

One day when Ungo was following behind Tzan as they were fording a river, the latter asked, Is the water deep or shallow? Ungo replied, It is not wet. Tzan remarked, What a rude fellow you are! Ungo said, Please, Master, you say what it is. Tzan said, Not dry. Tzan addressed Ungo saying, Nansen once asked a monk, What Scripture do you lecture on? The monk replied that it was The Scripture on Maitreyas Rebirth. Nansen said, When will Maitreya be reborn? The monk replied, Well, you see He is now in the Heavenly Palace of the devas; when it is proper for Him to come, He will be reborn. Nansen responded, There is no Maitreya in heaven or on earth. Ungo asked Tzan, If there is no Maitreya in heaven or on earth, I wonder who has been given the name? No sooner had Tzan been asked this than he felt his meditation platform shake so he said, Dy Acharya, when I was with Ungan, I once asked the elder a question that set the censer shaking; now no sooner have I been asked this question by you than my whole body is bathed with the Water of the Spirit. In the dialogues between Master Tzan and his disciple Ungo there was no point at which they differed. Within the whole community no one equalled Ungo. Ungo later built a hut on Three Peaks Mountain (J. Sanpzan; C. San-feng-shan) and, for ten days, did not come to the temple. Tzan asked him, Why have you not been taking meals with your fellow monks recently? Ungo replied, Every day there is a deva who brings me offerings. Tzan said, I was just about to say that you were a REAL PERSON but you are still persisting in forming these one-sided, personal views. Come this evening. When Ungo arrived that night, Tzan called to him, Hermit Dy! When Ungo responded with a yes, Tzan said, Without giving rise to thoughts of good or bad, what is IT ? Ungo returned to his hut and sat completely still in meditation. When the deva came to visit, Ungo was not

Great Master Ungo Dy

215

visible to the deva. After three days like this, the deva ceased coming. On another occasion, Tzan asked Ungo, What are you doing? Ungo answered, I have been mixing up bean paste. Tzan asked, How much salt did you use? Ungo replied, I put in just a bit. Tzan asked, How is the flavour? Ungo said, Just right. Tzan asked, When a great incorrigible one commits the five heinous crimes, where is his sense of filial piety and caring? Ungo said, Not until then does he show filial piety and caring. After this, Tzan let Ungo be his senior monk in the meditation hall. When Ungo retired to Three Peaks Mountain his conversions at first were still limited. Later he began to preach at the monastery on Ungo Mountain, whence his name, and monks and laity, male and female, gathered about him in great numbers. After Ungo had joined Tzans community following his audience with Suibi, he and Szan (C. Tsaoshan) were like brothers. Through the foregoing dialogues, the settling of doubts by master and disciple was brought to a conclusion. Tzan had already predicted, My Way, thanks to you, will flow on, perpetually Transmitted. These words have not been spoken in vain for IT has rolled on and on in trust down to this day. The waters of the River T (C. Tung) flowed on and truly came to Transmit IT, although its river-bed in China is now parched dry and cracked. IT has come down to you who are Transmitted through our pure and undefiled monastic family; ITS well-spring to this very day has not dried up, ITS waters are cool and crystal clear. When Ungo posed his question he displayed his great potential; this is why Tzans meditation platform shook and his whole body was bathed in the Water of the Spirit as well. This is something rare in the past as well as in the present. Yet, in that Ungo resided in a hermits hut on Three Peaks Mountain and was gifted with heavenly sustenance, Tzan had to comment,

216

Denkroku

I was just about to say that you were a REAL PERSON but you are still persisting in forming these one-sided, personal views. When Ungo came to call that night, Tzan addressed him as Hermit Dy to which Ungo responded with a yes. That which responds like this is indeed that which is incapable of receiving heavenly sustenance. Calling out to him, Tzan said, Without giving rise to thoughts of good or bad, what is IT ? in order to sever Ungos doubts. When you have realized thus and can see in this way, there is no road upon which devas can strew flowers, nothing shows for demons or outsiders to secretly peep in at or wish for. Still more, at such a point in time the Buddhas and Ancestors think, This is a true arhant. Ultimately even the watchful eye of a Buddha does not get a glimpse of you. When Ungo had grasped the matter in this way he was making bean paste and had put in just a bit, thus he had gone out of his way not to be dependent on others. At that moment an incorrigible Ungo was killing father and mother, slaying Buddha and Ancestors, repeatedly committing the five heinous crimes; at such a moment filial piety and caring did not exist for him. Tzan, attempting out of kindness to test such a viewpoint, asked him what feelings of filial obligation he had and Ungo had replied that not until then does such a one show feelings of filial obligation which agrees in general with what Szan has said. This is why, according to the story, Tzan had deliberately asked Ungo, when he entered the meditation hall as senior monk, to receive the Transmission by saying, Acharya, what is your name? When one witnesses the face-to-face meeting between master and disciple, the master does not go on former feelings and so Tzan asked Ungo what his name was. Obviously Tzan knew Ungos name; even so he still put the question to him and not without reason. Ungo had said in reply, Dy. Even if one goes on asking this question in

Great Master Ungo Dy

217

a thousand different ways and in myriad forms, still it must be like this; you must never invent a reason or be concerned with the why of it. Tzan was not refusing to acknowledge the vision by acting this way; he just wanted to see whether or not Ungo possessed the ability to pierce through this barrier and let go of limitations, so he said, Look up higher and say something more! Ungos six sense organs were already insufficient and his consciousness was imperfect, just as with a delirious patient or a straw dog discarded after a festival, so he said, Were I to speak on a higher level, then I would not call myself Dy! Reaching this stage is extremely difficult. If your training and study have not yet reached this level, then you are not a monk with the potential to be an heir in our line; you are in some way being distracted by the entangling tendrils of theorizing. Because Ungos preserving and taking responsibility for this went deep, in the end he and Tzan had their dialogue about the great incorrigible one without transgressing any of the Precepts. If you all break through the barrier of consciousness, then you will be the thoroughly REAL , LIVE MONK . Now, again what words are there that can break through the barrier of consciousness to show what is happening in this story? Again, do you wish to hear them? After a silence I speak: Name or form IT has never come to assume So how am I to speak of higher or lower levels?

218

Denkroku

CHAPTER 41.

THE FORTIETH ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER DAN DHI.


Ungo once pointed out, Since you wish to realize such a thing, undoubtedly you must be such a person; since you are such a person, why fret about such a thing? Hearing this, Dhi spontaneously awakened to his TRUE SELF. Where Dhi (C. Tao-pi, Distinguished in the Way) came from is not known. He trained under Ungo and, over the years, served as his jisha. One day Ungo entered the meditation hall and gave a lecture, saying, When you members of our community begin to speak you give vent to your feelings. You should have a reason for speaking; do not give way to being neglectful. What sort of place is this here? How can you consider taking it easy? Whenever you ask about this matter, you should be at least a bit discerning of what is right and wrong. First of all, do not bring anything along with you into your meditation; if you do, it will bear no likeness to that which you seek. If someone is a person of depth who knows that he has, he will naturally know enough to guard well for, in the end, it is not something at all simple; ten times he may begin to speak but nine times leave off and remain silent. Why so? Because it will probably be something of no benefit to others. He of profound comprehension has a mind as useful as a fan in deepest winter; he easily acquires a growth of moss around his mouth from lack of speaking. He does not do this by forcing himself; it arises in this way as a natural occurrence. He then said, If you wish to realize such a thing and continued as above until he said, Why fret about such a thing? For then such a thing will be hard to realize. Hearing what Ungo had put forth in this way, Dhi dispelled the doubts in his mind and finally disposed of the matter that had occupied his whole life.

Great Master Dan Dhi

219

Dhi later took up residence in Dan-ji (C. Tao-an-ssu) on Phnix Nest Mountain (J. Hseizan; C. Feng-hsi-shan) in Ksh (C. Hung-chou) and became a meditation master who energetically lectured on Ungos approach to training. One day a trainee asked him, How can I stop wandering off in my head when I catch sight of its reflections? Dhi said, Who are you telling this to? The monk replied, What? Dhi said, If you search for IT by following after others then you will be even farther from IT. The monk then said, How about when I do not search for IT by following after others? Dhi said, Where is your head? Another monk once asked, Reverend Monk, how would you characterize your approach to training? Dhi answered, The Golden Cock* (sun), harbouring Its brood, Returns to the River of Heaven; The Jade Hare* (moon), having become pregnant, Enters the starry abode of the Lord of Heaven. The monk asked, When I unexpectedly encounter the arrival of a guest, how should I respectfully attend to him? Dhi answered, The Golden Fruit,* early in the morning, Is plucked off by a monkey;* The Jade Flower,* late in the evening, Is brought in the beak of a phnix.* Having first dispelled all his doubts in accordance with what his former master had pointed out to him, Dhi had said, in order to elucidate the approach to training of his monastic family, that the Golden Cock returns to the River of Heaven and the Jade Hare enters the starry abode; also, when instructing a trainee, he had said that the Golden Fruit is plucked off daily

* These terms are from the code sometimes employed in Buddhism.

220

Denkroku

and the Jade Flower every evening is brought back in the birds beak. Whilst there is nothing superior or inferior in any of the accounts we have given of training and study, it would be well to look with particular care at what is happening in the stories just narrated for, when you wish to realize such a thing, then you are such a person. Even though you wander off in your head and seek after things, it is still your head. As the Founder Eihei Dgen said, Who is the one who says I? It is the nonegocentric I who says Who? When the scholar Rysui (C. Liang-sui) came to call on Mayoku (C. Ma-ku), the latter, seeing him coming, conveniently shut the gate. When Rysui knocked at the gate, Mayoku asked, Who is it? Rysui answered, Rysui. Upon reciting his own name he suddenly awoke to his ORIGINAL NATURE and consequently said, Reverend Monk, do not take advantage of Rysui. Had I not come to pay my respects to you, I would have blissfully spent my whole life being swindled by my discursive approach to the Twelve Divisions of the Canon. Mayoku opened the gate and had Rysui pass on to him the cause of his awakening, finally giving it the Seal of confirmation. Upon his return to his lecture hall, Rysui dismissed his classes, telling his students and followers, What all of you know, I already know; THAT which I know, none of you knows. Truly, this THAT which I know lets no winds of judgmentalism blow through IT, so, when all of you meditate and probe deeply into yourselves, you will find that you have been complete from beginningless time and have never, for a moment, been lacking. Even though you may try to make judgments by using the measurements of discriminative thought, this is nothing but the nonegocentric I of which Dgen spoke; further, it is an absence of other. Although you shine of yourself, it is an absence of discrimination; this is again nothing but the non-egocentric I and is nothing novel. This is to use your eyes, ears or mouth, to manipulate your hands or to move your feet, this is completely the non-egocentric I. From the first, IT is not something to be

Great Master Dan Dhi

221

grasped with the hands or seen with the eyes; IT is not something that can be discussed in terms of sound or form, nor is IT something that ear or eye can perceive. When you people practise carefully, without fail you will know that there is the non-egocentric I : you will know that there is the TRUE SELF. First of all, in endeavouring to know this condition, completely ignore right and wrong, do not depend on anything, do not be concerned with other. When you are thus, this ORIGINAL NATURE alone will be bright with a brightness more resplendent than the sun and the moon together; this ORIGINAL NATURE will be pure and white with a pureness whiter than frost or snow. Hence IT is not that darkness of unawareness wherein one is oblivious to right and wrong; IT is that crystal clear purity in which the TRUE SELF spontaneously manifests ITSELF. Do not, any of you, think that there is nothing apart from speaking and silence, movement and stillness, or nothing that does not have skin, flesh, bones and marrow; do not wish to make your mind so resolute and independent that, with total indifference, you have no thought for yourself or word for another; do not wish to be like a stump with your whole being relying on nothing or wish to be as mindless as grass and trees. From the first there is neither self nor other however the view that not one single thing exists is the same as the non-Buddhist view that death ends life and the Hinayanist view that adheres to literal emptiness. How could the ULTIMATE PRINCIPLE possibly be the same as that which non-believers or Hinayanists think about? When you have been completely scrupulous and have truly brought the matter to a conclusion, you will see that IT is not something that can be called existent. Because the VOID is sonorous, IT is not something that can be called non-existent; because ITS resplendence is clear and bright, IT is not something that can be split up into body, speech and mind, nor can IT be discerned by feelings, thoughts or perceptions. How am I ever to communicate this principle?

222

Denkroku

Empty-handed, I sought IT on my own and, empty-handed, have returned; Since, from the first, there was nothing to realize, now, being satisfied, I have realized!

CHAPTER 42.

THE FORTY-FIRST ANCESTOR, THE LATTER GREAT MASTER DAN KANSHI.


Whilst studying under Dhi, Kanshi said, Someone of old remarked, I do not desire what worldly people desire. I wonder what you desire, Reverend Monk? Dhi replied, I have already realized such. Upon hearing these words, Kanshi had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. The latter Dans personal name was Kanshi (C. Kuan-chi, He Who Examines His Intentions); very little is recorded about his doings; he studied under Dhi and his achievements were profound. When Dhi was on the verge of death he entered the meditation hall and said in verse, In front of the Shrine of Many Sons A child of our line towered above the rest; Before the Peak of the Five Elders How does the matter go? Although he spoke this three times, still no one responded. Finally, Kanshi came forth and said in verse, The night is bright outside the bamboo blind Where they stand lined up in rows; For ten thousand leagues their song reverberates Expressing the GREAT TRANQUILLITY .

Great Master Dan Kanshi

223

Dhi said, This donkey of a fellow will find IT first! After this Kanshi resided on Dan Mountain and was called the latter Dan. The line In front of the Shrine of Many Sons a child of our line towered above the rest refers to the face-to-face meeting between Shakyamuni Buddha and Makakash which occurred before the Shrine of Many Sons. Once the two had met face to face, the Kesa and the Teaching had been Transmitted; after that Makakash practised the twelve austerities and later shared the seat of Teaching with Shakyamuni. Although Makakash was not present at the meeting that took place at the time of the Buddhas parinirvana, all the Buddhas followers were entrusted to him; this is the sense of a child of our line towered above the rest. Dan Dhi was the legitimate descendant of Tzan so the tradition of Seigens line is traced back to here. When Dhi was about to die he endeavoured to discover his own legitimate heir by saying three times, Before the Peak of the Five Elders (J. Gorh; C. Wu-lao-feng) how does the matter go? As none in his assembly comprehended this, none replied. Since lofty Mount Sumeru towers above the crests of the host of other mountains in its range whilst the sparkling sun shines before the multitude of forms, Kanshi said, The night is bright outside the bamboo blind where they stand lined up in rows. Truly, there is no one to compare with this fellow Kanshi; since he was liberated and truly independent he had no second even approaching him and this is why he said in ten thousand leagues to eradicate all the fine dust. So, where are the clever ministers and brave generals now? Singing, singing, all is the GREAT TRANQUILLITY . Kanshi is indeed a wondrous monk. Study and train that you may reach this stage for only then will you find IT . Such preeminent conduct and surpassing realization preceded Kanshis manifesting his character and integrity that he said, I do not desire what worldly people desire. I wonder what you desire, Reverend Monk?

224

Denkroku

The phrase what worldly people desire refers to their desires for themselves and others; as their desires gradually ripen, they become attached to their outer karmic conditions and their inner karmic tendencies; their desires deepen more and more as they continue to hold on to them. They add iron shackles to those that they already have by clinging to Buddha and Ancestors; in this way the taint of their desires increases their pollution. As a result, the karma-producing acts of sentient beings continue on uninterrupted. From the first they are born in slavery and die bound in a slavery which they carry off with them; this is simply the consequence of these desires. Such things as sentient beings and Buddhas, males and females, the sentient and the non-sentient derive from a desire for such forms as these; you should quickly sweep them away. When you become completely indifferent, be it to rules and regulations or to any single thing, so that you do not discern, know or perceive anything, you have a desire attachment to formlessness; do not linger here for, if once you give rise in your heart to seek the Way whilst still attached to forms, you may involuntarily end up attached to formlessness! If you cling to the perspective of formlessness and get stuck in the world beyond form, regretfully you will fall into the incessant Avichi hell after long kalpas have passed and your life span in this heaven has expired; this is what is meant by no-mind when understood as the annihilation of thought. Such form and formlessness are what worldly people crave over and over again, to see a self and others within forms or to forget self and others within formlessnessboth are totally wrong. So, as you practitioners of meditation, both novices and more experienced monks, all mercifully the descendants of the venerable Shakyamuni, have received for your use what the Buddha received for His, how can you possibly want the same things that worldly people desire?

Great Master Dan Kanshi

225

First of all liberate yourselves from all false views which discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad, male and female. Next, do not abide in the land of calm oblivion which is passive, safe and devoid of forms. If you wish to grasp what IT is at this moment, do not look to others or seek outside yourself. Fix your eyes closely on THAT which existed before you received this body of yours, before you even showed signs of having a body; without fail IT will never show the least sign of the thousand distinctions or the ten thousand differentiations. Do not become like a demons cave in a black mountain on a pitch-dark night. This ORIGINAL NATURE is wondrously bright from the first, brilliant without ever dimming; this ORIGINAL NATURE, devoid of all obstructions, is perfectly luminous. Within IT there is not even a shred that is ultimately connected with skin, flesh, bones or marrow to say nothing of the six sense organs and their six fields of perception, delusion, enlightenment, defilement and purity. The Buddha never preached for your benefit nor are you ever doing your training for the sake of your teacher. Not only is IT not distinguished by sound and form, IT possesses neither eyes nor ears. Even so, when the TRUE NATURE, gleaming brightly, shines through like the moon, your eyes, as vivid as patterns embroidered on brocade, will open wide like blossoms. If you are completely scrupulous in your training, you will be in accord with this. O practitioners of meditation, how will you be able to comprehend this PRINCIPLE ? I will add a word on your behalf. Quickly, by all means, keep your eye on its SUBSTANCE . The moon-like TRUE NATURE and the blossoming in the eyes, how fine their light and colour are! They open outside the aeons of time so who is there to take pleasure in them?

226

Denkroku

CHAPTER 43.

THE FORTY-SECOND ANCESTOR, THE REVEREND MONK RYZAN ENKAN.


Whilst training, Ryzan attended on Kanshi. One day Kanshi asked him, What is IT that is important that lies beneath a monks kesa? When Ryzan did not respond, Kanshi said, It is most distressing if you have not reached this stage in your study of Buddhism. Put the question to me and I will tell you. When Ryzan asked him what is IT that is important that lies beneath a monks kesa, Kanshi answered, The UNSEEN, whereupon Ryzan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Very little is known about Ryzan (C. Liang-shan): his personal name was Enkan (C. Yuan-kuan, Observant of Circumstances). He trained under Kanshi and served as his attendant for four years, having been put in charge of Kanshis robes and begging bowl. Once, when Kanshi was going to morning meditation for which it was appropriate for him to wear a teaching kesa, Ryzan, in anticipation, had brought him the robe. As Kanshi took the kesa he asked Ryzan, What is IT that is important that lies beneath a monks kesa? When Ryzan did not respond, what is narrated above occurred up to the point where Ryzan had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF ; he bowed low before Kanshi and his tears wet the kesa. Kanshi said, Since you have had a great awakening, can you now respond? Ryzan said, Enkan is able to respond. Kanshi said, What is IT that is important that lies beneath a monks kesa? Ryzan replied, The UNSEEN ; Kanshi commented, The UNSEEN exists, the UNSEEN exists! After that Ryzan spoke of the existence of the UNSEEN whenever the opportunity arose.

The Reverend Monk Ryzan Enkan

227

After Ryzan became an abbot, many asked him about the phrase, beneath a monks kesa. On one occasion when a trainee asked, What is IT that is important that lies beneath a monks kesa? Ryzan answered, Not even the whole multitude of saintly ones display IT. At another time when a trainee asked, When I am having trouble keeping thieves out of the house, what should I do? Ryzan replied, When you can bring them up to consciousness, they will arouse no anger in you. The trainee asked, What should I do once I am conscious of them? Ryzan said, Send them off to the kingdom of the UNBORN. The monk said, Is not that the place where they will find spiritual peace? Ryzan answered, Stagnant water does not harbour the Dragon. The monk said, What about the Dragon in flowing water? Ryzan replied, It raises waves without making billows. The monk said, How about when IT suddenly stirs up clear waters and topples lofty mountain peaks? Ryzan got down from his platform, grabbed hold of the trainee and said, Do not let the corner of my kesa get wet! At another time when he was asked, What is a trainees TRUE SELF ? he answered, Within the palace confines, the Heavenly Child; beyond its borders, the Commander-in-chief. Whenever he acted like this for the sake of others he completely exemplified the UNSEEN. In the first account above, Kanshi had said, It is most distressing if you have not reached this stage in your study of Buddhism. How true these words! Even though you sit still until you have broken through your meditation platform, persevere mindless of fatigue and are one of lofty deeds and chaste behaviour, if you have not yet reached this stage, you will still find it difficult to break out of the prison of the three temporal worlds. Even though you possess the Buddhas four kinds of eloquence and His eight pleasing qualities of speech so that your skillful preaching flourishes like a paulownia tree and your speech rolls forth like an ocean, even though your preaching of the Dharma astonishes Heaven and Earth, making flowers pour

228

Denkroku

down and boulders move, if you have not yet reached this state, old Yama, Lord of Death, will have no fear of your oratory. Even though you may train for an exceedingly long time so that your discursive thoughts come to an end and your feelings subside, with your body like a dead tree and your mind like ashes, without feelings arising when you come up against limits or without thoughts being stirred up when you are confronted with some situation, even though you may relinquish life whilst sitting or standing and appear to have gained complete freedom from birth-and-death, if you still have not reached this stage, all will be of no use to you within the dwelling place of the Buddhas and Ancestors. This is why a person of old said, Our predecessors all considered IT to be of the greatest importance. This is also why our Ancestor Tzan asked a monk, What in all the world is most distressing? and, when the monk responded, Hell is most distressing, he had replied, No, not so; to wear this kesa yet not see THAT which is important clearly, that is what I call most distressing. Tzans disciple Ungo showed his own horns by commenting after he had recounted the previous dialogue, My late master said, Hell is not what is real suffering; to turn to THAT which is beneath this kesa and not see IT clearly, that is the greatest suffering. If you put a bit more vigour into your training, that should do it. You who sit here in meditation should not go wandering off on conventional pilgrimages or transgress the rules of the monastic community. As the ancients said, If you wish to be able to understand IT, you must proceed to the apex of the loftiest mountain and touch the very bottom of the deepest sea, going wherever you have a bit of breath to go. If you have not yet discerned IT, you must carry through with your practice and commit yourself deeply to it. Even Shakyamuni Buddha says in the chapter on the skillful means of the five classes of Buddhas in the Lotus Scripture, All Buddhas appear in the world only because of IT that is to say,

The Reverend Monk Ryzan Enkan

229

to open up and point out what the Buddha came to know so that people may enter into enlightenment. Indeed, to see IT clearly is considered a grave matter. Merely resembling a disciple of the Buddha is nothing to take delight in. If you do not see IT clearly, you will, in short, be no different than an ordinary person who resides at home with his family; you will still be seeing forms with your eyes and hearing words with your ears. This applies not only when you turn outwards to external objects, you must also not overlook the discriminative thoughts that arise within otherwise your being a monk is nothing but a change in your outer form; in the final analysis you will be no different than those who are not monastics. In short, after your panting after external things has come to a halt and your eyes have closed to the outer world, your vitality will vainly spin about chasing after things as it flows through the three worlds of desire, form and beyond form. It may seem as if there is some categorical difference between being born among humans and being born in a celestial realm but, in either case, you will be like a wheel spinning, ceaselessly spinning. What was the Buddhas initial intention in getting people to leave their attachment to home and family and to rise above the dirt and trouble of ordinary life? It was simply to help them arrive at THAT which He had come to know. He took the trouble to found a monastic community and collect together monks and laity, male and female, in order to open and clarify IT which is why we refer to a meditation hall as the place for selecting Buddhas and call an abbot the master who is advocate and guide: a monastic community is not some haphazard gathering together of a bunch of people in order to raise a ruckus. It is something done purely for the sake of getting all people to open up and see their TRUE SELF clearly. If you do not see IT clearly, you will just be labouring uselessly without realizing any results even if you have outwardly

230

Denkroku

left home and are trying to mix in with the monastic community. This is so for both novices and more experienced monks in these degenerate times of ours. Even if they undertake to study the methods and principles that the former Buddhas used for deploying Their bodies and restraining Their minds, they cannot succeed in learning if their natures are wavering. Monks nowadays are not quiet or gentle in the deportment of their hands or in the setting down of their feet; they do not try to learn all the larger and smaller aspects of dignified behaviour or the mental skills for handling inner and outer situations; for this reason it is as though there were no monkly deportment. Even if your physical behaviour and mental restraint resemble those in ancient times, if you are not clear about the realm of your TRUE NATURE this will cause defiling elements to arise within the otherwise surpassing karmic fruits of being reborn a human or a deva; further, if you are not clear about the realm of your TRUE NATURE and your physical behaviour is also not well regulated, you are taking alms from the faithful under false pretences; all such are a species bound for some hell. Nevertheless a worthy progenitor once said, Society has declined and people are ignorant, however, even though your physical behaviour and mental restraint are not like those of the ancient saintly ones, perhaps you will not differ from all the Buddhas in the three worlds if you can accurately and meticulously clarify IT for then the successive generations of ancient Masters through the line of the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En will all be your brothers. From the first there are no three temporal worlds that need to be left so how can there possibly be any six realms of existence to keep returning to? Carefully turn this over in your mind, meditate on it, study it in detail and see clearly THAT which is important that lies beneath a monks kesa. IT is independent of the three periods of the Lawthe authentic, the superficial and the degenerateand does not differ whether you live in India, China or Japan. Do not grieve therefore that you live in

The Reverend Monk Ryzan Enkan

231

a decadent society during the final period of the Law; do not resent being someone living in an area remote from India or China. If a thousand Buddhas were to come and vie with each other to exhibit IT to you, it would still be difficult for even the powers of a Buddha to ultimately come up to the task, hence Buddhist training is not some occupation to be handed on to ones child or some profession to be inherited from ones father. You can only practise it by yourself, realize it for yourself and understand it by yourself within yourself. Although you may train for kalpas as immeasurable as the dust specks in the universe, your own certainty and self-awakening will happen within a single instant. Once you allow the impulse of resentment to arise, you cannot possibly realize even the tiniest bit of it in heaven or earth but, once you have awakened, there will be no darkness for limitless and untold kalpas to come. How could there possibly be something that is given by the Buddhas? So, if you wish to realize this, first rid yourself of everything and cease to even seek after the realm of the Buddhas and Ancestors; under no circumstances can you harbour any hate or desire toward self or others. Without giving rise to even the slightest bit of intellectual discrimination, look directly to what lies beneath! Beyond question there will be THAT which has neither skin nor flesh; your body will be like empty space without a separate form, just like clean water that is crystal clear through and through. Quiet and clear, there will be only knowing IT for certain. Now, how am I to express this principle in words? The water is clear through and through down to its very depths: Even without cutting and polishing, the TRUE SELF is naturally lustrous and bright.

232

Denkroku

CHAPTER 44.

THE FORTY-THIRD ANCESTOR, GREAT MASTER DAIY KYGEN.


Daiy asked Ryzan, What is the seat of enlightenment that has no characteristics? Ryzan pointed to a picture of Kannon and said, This was painted by the retired scholar, Mr. Go (C. Wu). Daiy was about to speak when Ryzan suddenly demanded of him, This one has characteristics; which is the ONE that has no characteristics? Upon hearing these words Daiy awoke to his TRUE SELF. Daiys personal name was Kygen (C. Ching-hsuan, He in Whom the Precepts Are Deep); because this was also the name of the emperor at the time, he is called Kyen (C. Chingyen) in The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp and elsewhere, but his real name was indeed Kygen. Daiy was an offspring of the Ch (C. Chiang) clan from Kka (C. Chianghsia). He left home to become a monk in order to be near to Meditation Master Chits (C. Chih-tung); he was made a full monk at the age of nineteen. Once he had heard a complete exposition of The Scripture on Fully Perfected Enlightenment, there was no one in the lecture hall who could match him and in the end he took to travelling about from monastery to monastery. Upon his arrival at Ryzans monastery, he asked, What isthe seat of enlightenment that has no characteristics? and what is recorded above took place up to the point where Daiy awoke to his TRUE SELF ; he then bowed respectfully before Ryzan. After he had straightened up Ryzan asked him, Why did you not respond with some phrase? Daiy said, I am not trying to avoid speaking but I fear that what I say may end up on paper. Ryzan laughed and said, Those words will be carved on your gravestone for posterity. Daiy presented Ryzan with a poem:

Great Master Daiy Kygen

233

Long ago, as a novice, I wandered off onto the path of learning. Across myriad rivers and over thousands of mountains I searched for tangible knowledge; Seeing the now clearly as well as discerning what has long passed Proved, in the end, too hard for me to comprehend, And direct talk of what is beyond mind set my doubt spinning about even more. Then my Master gave me the ancient Mirror of Chin which he set up before me; Illumined in it I saw the time before the concept father and mother had been invented. Now that my pursuit has come to an end, what have I attained? Were you to set free into the night the silky black raven, It would fly off clothed in snow. Ryzan said, Tzans line can depend on you. All at once Daiys reputation became wide-spread. Upon Ryzans death, Daiy departed from his masters stupa for the monastery at Daiy (C. Tai-yang, The Great Sun, whence his name) where he had an audience with Meditation Master Ken (C. Chien). Ken resigned his position as abbot in favour of Daiy. From that time on, he made Tzans tradition flourish throughout the land; people flocked to him, running like the wind. Daiys presence was singularly powerful and sedate; from childhood he ate only one meal a day. He held what had been passed on from his worthy predecessors in great esteem. His feet never crossed beyond the confines of the monastery; he never rested himself upon his meditation platform. He was still training like this when, upon reaching his eighty-second year, he ascended to his seat, took leave of the assembly and died.

234

Denkroku

Truly, what you must treat as of greatest importance in your training and study is precisely this SEAT OF ENLIGHTENMENT THAT HAS NO CHARACTERISTICS . IT is not bound by any form or limited to any name therefore, even though IT has nothing to do with words, IT certainly has a definiteness about IT ; IT is the image and likeness of the time before father and mother had been invented by the discriminative mind. Because of the above, in attempting to point out this state to Daiy, Ryzan showed him the image of Kannon as depicted by the scholar Mr. Go; this is as if he had set a mirror before Daiy. Before this Daiy had eyes but did not see, he had ears but did not hear, he had hands but did not grasp, he had a mind but did not fathom, he had a nose but did not smell, he had a tongue but did not taste, he had feet but did not walk. It was as though all his six sense organs were disengaged; his whole body was a useless piece of furniture. Then in a moment he was suddenly and completely immune from seeing forms or hearing sounds as is a wooden figure or a cast-iron man. When Daiy was about to speak, Ryzan, in an attempt to bar him from rambling on, suddenly demanded of him, This one has characteristics; which is the ONE that has no characteristics? By means of something that has no function he got Daiy to realize THAT WHICH HAS NO FACE ; it was as if he had looked into a mirror and knew who he was. Long before, in the time of the Chin Dynasty, there was a mirror which seemed to anyone who looked into it to show all their internal organs, their eighty-four thousand pores and the three hundred and sixty bones of their body. Even though Daiy had eyes and ears, when he ceased to use them he realized THAT which is not bound by body or mind. Not only did he break through all the countless mountains and myriad rivers of forms, he quickly dispelled the darkness of mindlessness and non-discrimination; heaven and earth were no longer split apart, the myriad images all ceased to sprout up and everything was whole and perfectly complete. It was not

Great Master Daiy Kygen

235

Daiy who, all at once, made the reputation of Tzans tradition flourish in this way; the succession of Ancestors had all contributed through their ability to see IT in a similar manner. After Daiy had comprehended the purport of this, a monk at Daiy Monastery once asked him, What, Reverend Monk, is your approach to training in our monastic family? He replied, The vessel, though full, spills nothing out when tipped upside down; in all the world there is no one who is starving. In truth, although you tip this condition over, nothing spills out, though you give it a push, it does not open, though you try to hoist it, it does not rise, though you strike it, no mark is left upon it, therefore it is not some place that eye or ear can reach. Although IT may be accompanied by speech or silence, movement or stillness, IT is not affected by movement or stillness. IT is not something that only an Ancestor or a Master may possess; there is not a single person in the whole wide world who does not have IT. This is why Daiy said, There is no one who is starving. Because of this you who practise meditation have fortunately become the descendants of Tzans monastic family; already you have met with the ancient Buddhas monastic approach to training. If you practise correctly and meticulously so that you grasp what the TRUE SELF is at the time before father and mother were invented, before form and space arose, and have already arrived at the place where there is not even a fragment of form or condition and can already see that there is not even the minutest fragment of any external thing, you will not be able to find the four elements and the five skandhas even though you grope about for them through thousands of lives over myriad kalpas. If you can see clearly THAT which lacks nothing for even one second within the twenty-four hours of a day, then you will really be a descendant of Tzans family and one of Seigens offspring. Now, how can I express this principle? Do you wish to hear?

236

Denkroku

The Perfect Mirror hangs high, Its brightness clearly shining into every nook and corner: The Vermilion-trimmed Boat is so utterly beautiful that no picture can truly capture It.

CHAPTER 45.

THE FORTY-FOURTH ANCESTOR, THE REVEREND MONK TSU GISEI.


Gisei trained under Fuzan Enkan (C. Fu-shan Yuan-chien) who had him look into the story about the non-Buddhist who said to the Buddha, Irrespective of whether there is a word for IT or not, what is IT ? After three years had passed, Enkan asked one day, Can you recall the story? Try to present what you have seen in it. Gisei was about to reply when Enkan covered Tsus mouth with his hand. Gisei opened up completely and was awakened to his TRUE SELF. Gisei (C. I-ching, He Whose Faith Is Ever Green) was his personal name; he was an offspring of the Ri (C. Li) clan in Seisha (C. Ching-she); by the age of seven his intelligence was already apparent so he left home to take up residence in Mysji (C. Miao-hsiang-ssu). He studied the Scriptures and, at the age of fifteen, was ordained a monk. He studied The Treatise on the Hundred Dharmas but, before long, began to complain, The three incalculable aeons required to realize enlightenment are a long road to travel; even if I rely upon myself to keep to it, what benefit will there be? so he went to the capital where he listened to lectures on the Avatamsaka Scripture the meaning of which is like a thread that pierces through a string of pearls. Once, whilst reading the verses on the various Bodhisattvas

The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei

237

associated with forests, he came to the phrase, The HEART is none other than the SELF NATURE and, after serious reflection on this, said, The Dharma stands clear of the words used to talk about IT : would that IT could be conveyed through lectures! Thereupon he abandoned his studies and travelled to centres of our tradition. At that time Meditation Master Enkan was residing on Ish (C. Hui-sheng) Peak. One night he dreamt that he was rearing a green falcon and took this to be an auspicious sign; the next day Gisei arrived. Enkan extended every courtesy to him and had him look into the story of what the non-Buddhist had said to the Buddha, then what has been previously related occurred up to the point where Gisei opened up completely and awakened to his TRUE SELF whereupon he bowed before Enkan. Enkan asked, Have you truly awakened to the subtle and ineffable functioning of the TRUE SELF ? Gisei said, If I had, I should vomit IT up. At that moment the second jisha who was standing to one side said, Today Gisei of the Avatamsaka is like a sick person who has been able to break out in a sweat. Gisei turned to him and replied, Restrain the yelping! If you become any more solicitous, I will throw up! Three years later Enkan brought out the essentials of Tzans line and explained them to Gisei who was in complete accord with them. Enkan gave him Daiys portrait, leather sandals and kesa and then commissioned him, saying, Continue Daiys tradition of training in my stead. Do not remain here for long. And guard well! He then composed a Dharma verse which he gave to Gisei: Sumeru rises into the vast and empty sky, The sun labours daily to lend its support as it revolves around the peak. The host of surrounding mountains all gradually lean its way And the white clouds form and reform about it.

238

Denkroku

The tradition of Shrin Monastery will rise and flourish For the bamboo blind concealing En and Tzan has been rolled up. A golden phnix lodges in a dragons nest So how can the palace moss possibly be crushed by cart wheels? The Tathagatas Wheel of the True Law came to be Transmitted, unseen, from west to east and the five monastic families of Zen vigorously propagated It like forests sprouting up in great profusion. Their training techniques diverged and their traditions differed a bit; some were phnixes, some were dragons. Although they are not identical, as a flock of sheep, none is inferior to any other. The words and deeds of Tsu Gisei of the Avatamsaka were in accord with those of Daiy so he must surely be considered a descendant from Tzans line. Master Enkan had inherited the principles of his own line from Yken (C. Yeh-hsien) who was in the Rinzai tradition. Since a child of the phnix should not roost in a dragons nest, Enkan sent Gisei to Meditation Master Enz Hsh (C. Yuan-tung Fa-hsiu). When Gisei arrived there he did no training only liking to sleep and did so. The Prior informed Enz, There is a monk in the meditation hall who just sleeps throughout the day. You should enforce the rules and regulations. Enz asked, Who is he? The Prior replied, The senior monk Gisei. Enz said, That will not do. Wait here whilst I go and investigate what is wrong. Taking his staff Enz entered the hall where he saw Gisei fast asleep. He struck Giseis platform and, chiding him, said, We do not have spare food here to give to senior monks so that they can eat it up and sleep it off. Gisei said, Reverend Monk, what would you have me do? Enz responded, Why do you not inquire into spiritual matters and practise meditation? Gisei answered, Marvellous food is not what a sated man puts inside himself. Enz said, How about the fact that there are

The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei

239

those who may not particularly agree with you? Gisei said, Why should I put up with waiting for others to agree with me? Enz responded, Who did you call on before coming here? Gisei said, Fuzan Enkan. Enz said, I wondered how you came by your obstinacy and laziness. They then clasped hands and, laughing together, returned to the abbots quarters. After this, Giseis reputation in the Way soared. First he resided on White Cloud Mountain (J. Hyakuunzan; C. Pai-yun-shan) then he moved to Mount Tsu (C. Tou-tzu whence his name). This has been recorded in The Compendium of the Five Lamps. In The Further Records of the Sayings of Ancient Worthies it says that Gisei had studied the Teaching under Meditation Master Enkan who had previously trained under Great Master Daiy Kygen; both were in accord with each others words and actions. In the end Daiy endeavoured to Transmit the principles of his line to Enkan and gave him his leather sandals and kesa, but Enkan declined saying that he had already been ordained. Daiy lamented this, saying, There is no one to whom I can Transmit my branch. Enkan, assuming the responsibility, said, Since you are advanced in years, the tradition from Tzan on down will become exhausted and difficult to revive. If there is no one to whom you can Transmit it, I would certainly be honoured to keep your Robe of Faith and Transmit it in your name to someone later on, if this is agreeable to you. Daiy consented, saying, I will compose a poem and leave it with you as a proof of my realization so he wrote the following poem: The trees and bushes atop the sun-drenched mountain, Relying on their lord, await his developing their worth; In the place where a variety of sprouts grow in profusion, Deep and hidden, he strengthens their spiritual roots.

240

Denkroku

He concluded by saying, Whoever receives my Teaching should conceal it from the assembly for ten years then let it be explained and spread abroad. Later, Enkan and Gisei met. Enkan entrusted Gisei with the essential principles of Tzans line, Daiys portrait and his Robe of Faith along with the poem, saying, Through me as proxy you receive Daiys tradition. Ten years later, sure enough, Gisei attained eminence as the heir to Daiy. The sun-drenched mountain of the poem is Mount Daiy and the place where a variety of sprouts grow in profusion refers to Meditation Master Gisei as he had now become. The one who develops their worth refers to Enkan. Gisei, upon finally attaining prominence as predicted, made an offering of incense, saying, O great monks, tell me, do you know where this stick of incense came from? It is not from somewhere in heaven or on earth nor from some place generated by yin and yang. It has existed without falling into any of the various categories created by discriminative thought since before the time of the Lord of Majestic Sound, Bibashi (S. Vipayin) Buddha. Starting from Bibashi Buddha it has been Transmitted down through seven Buddhas until it straightway reached En and then went off into branches throughout the length and breadth of China. At the beginning of 1064 I, though but a simple mountain monastic, was given by Meditation Master Fuzan Enkan in person Daiys tradition and eulogy as an endowment and was fully confirmed. In his compassionate instruction he said to me, Through me as proxy you are receiving Daiys tradition. Although this simple mountain monastic had never laid eyes on Meditation Master Daiy, the teachings of his line were inherited by me and will be passed on like this through someone that I perceive capable of receiving them. I would not think of betraying the kindness bestowed on me by Reverend Fuzans bequest of the Teaching. I respectfully offer this incense for Great Monk Kygen of Mount Daiy in Eish

The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei

241

(C. Ying-chou). Why? Not because my parents and all the various Buddhas are not dear to me but because I regard the Dharma as dearer. Following this he expounded the training tradition of Daiy and, as a consequence, found Meditation Master Fuy Dkai (C. Fu-jung Tao-kai) whom he made his heir. Meditation Master Fuzan Enkan was in the seventh generation of Reverend Monk Rinzai and a legitimate successor to Reverend Monk Yken Kisei (C. Yeh-hsien Kuei-hsing). Much earlier he had left home to be a monk under Reverend Monk Sank (C. San-chiao), becoming a novice whilst still a small child. When a monk came to Sanks quarters for sanzen and asked about the story of Jshs (C. Chao-chou) oak tree, Enkan, watching from the side, was awakened to his TRUE SELF upon seeing Sank give the monk a pinch. When Enkan later visited various masters he found that he and they were all in mutual accord. He had audiences with Funy (C. Fen-yang) and Yken (C. Yeh-hsien) and received the Seal of confirmation from both; he ultimately became Ykens legitimate heir. So it was that he likewise visited Daiy with whom the occasion was also opportune for a mutual accord. Daiy endeavoured to Transmit the principles of his line but Enkan declined accepting his Teaching, saying that he had previously received the Seal from Yken. Although he did not accept Daiys Teaching for himself, he did accept it in trust (to pass on later) so that Daiys line would not become extinct since Daiy had no one else to whom he could entrust his Teaching. At this point you should know that from the first there has never been a distinction or barrier between the traditions of Seigen and Nangaku. Grieved that Daiys line was on the verge of collapse, Enkan acted as a proxy to Transmit the fundamentals of Daiys tradition, however some disciples in our own monastic family say that Nangakus Teaching is inferior whilst Seigens is superior ; also some disciples of Rinzai say that the essential Teaching of Tzan had died out and that it was

242

Denkroku

resuscitated by Rinzais disciples. Both views appear to be ill informed as to the essential Teachings of the line. Be it someone in our monastic family or someone in theirs, if they are true disciples they will call neither tradition into question. The reason is that both Seigen and Nangaku were disciples of En; they are like the two horns on the head of an ox. Therefore Yakuzan was awakened under Baso and Transmitted by Sekit; Tanka Tennen (C. Tan-hsia Tien-jan) was also awakened under Baso and Transmitted by Sekit. Truly, the flesh and bones of brothers know nothing of superior or inferior. Do not treat only our Ancestors as the legitimate heirs and all the rest as offshoots; you must realize that the disciples of Rinzai are also worthy of our respect just as those of our family are also excellent. If there were something inadequate about the Rinzai tradition, or if it were inferior, Enkan would have accepted heirship from Daiy even though he already had it through the Rinzai line. If there were something inadequate or wrong about Daiys Teaching, why would Enkan have given it to Gisei? Never be disputatious about the five families (i.e. St, Rinzai, Igy, Ummon and Hgen) and the seven traditions (i.e. the preceding five plus ry and Ygi), just clear up your own doubts about TRUE NATURE ; this is the True Law of all the Buddhas. How could you possibly argue about him and me so do not concern yourself about who beat out whom! Despite this, Ek Kakuhan (C. Hui-hung Chiao-fan) says in his Records of Sekimon and Rinkan (C. Shih-men and Lin-chien), The Lord of the Ancient Stupa lived about a hundred years after Ummon but called himself Ummons heir. Gisei of the Avatamsaka had never laid eyes on Daiy, yet he did not doubt that he was Daiys heir especially since he had received Daiys words through Fuzan. Those two old fellows were content to behave in this way because of the Transmission words of Daiy; they took themselves very seriously and took the Dharma very lightly. The ancient ones who took the Dharma

The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei

243

seriously were Yka (C. Yung-chia) and baku (C. Huang-po). Upon hearing the Vimalakirti-Nirdesha Scripture Yka awakened to the Buddha Heart-Mind tradition of Zen so he went to see the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En and said, I want to be certain about the essentials of the Teaching. baku awakened to Basos intent but became Hyakujs successor. As I consider these comments today, there seems to be something that Kakuhan still had not yet grasped. Why do I say this? There is no doubt that Daiys Buddha Dharma was entrusted to Enkan, especially since he left his poem as proof when he found someone trustworthy in Enkan. Finally, Daiys prophecy was fulfilled through Gisei without any deviation. If Kakuhan were so bold as to doubt that the Dharma was bequeathed to Enkan, then he would have to doubt that Daiy Transmitted It to him. What Ancestors and Masters decide is Dharma should not be compared with the dubious ways of the world. Even ordinary people regard the words of a truthful person as reliable evidence; how much more did Enkan, as someone who knew the Dharma, have Daiys face-to-face Transmission and was in accord with him in word and spirit. Kakuhan has censured Gisei for not doubting Enkans word, but Enkan, already a legitimate heir to Ykens line, was a true descendant of Rinzai; people of old did not doubt this. How could Buddhas and Ancestors possibly make false claims? As a recipient of generations of Ancestral approval and prediction Enkan was honoured and respected, so how could Gisei possibly doubt him? It was as if Daiy were still living. The life-line of the Buddhas and Ancestors continues on without beginning or ending; it goes far beyond the three worlds of past, present and future. Master and disciple obviously do not differ; they have become as one, like bottle-gourd vines enveloping their gourds; you can say that, in the last analysis, they are not separate entities. From Daiy to Enkan and then down to Gisei, all comprise one Daiy or, to put it another way,

244

Denkroku

Shakyamuni has come down to the present as one continuous person. This is precisely what comprises the life blood of the Dharma of the Buddhas and Ancestors, so how can anyone possibly doubt Enkan? If you doubt Enkan, why did Makakash not doubt Shakyamuni? Why did Eka not doubt Bodaidaruma? Buddhas and Ancestors cannot deceive; they have come to inherit and continue the Buddhas Teaching because they prize the egolessness in It. Daiy trusted Enkan, Gisei respected Enkan; neither doubted the others words nor considered the others Teaching something of no importance. None of these three Masters neglected or abandoned the fundamental principles of their Ancestral predecessors; they entrusted Tzans tradition to many generations to come. This is truly something commendable in our monastic family and is a treasuring of the Buddhas Dharma. Even now, when a suitable vessel is not to be found in ones lifetime, the Teaching can be entrusted to an accomplished master. Kakuhan was careless when he compared Gisei with the Lord of the Ancient Stupa; it is quite a mistake. Senpuku Shko (C. Chien-fu Cheng-ku) was known as The Lord of the Ancient Stupa. He took up his abode before the stupa of Meditation Master Ungo Kokaku (C. Yun-ch Hung-chueh) about a century after Ummon. Because he barely understood Ummons words, he said, bakus way of looking at things was incomplete for how can past possibly be separated from present? Even though he clearly understood Basos words, he was not Basos successor. I clearly understand Ummons words so I ought to be Ummons successor. Ultimately he claimed to be Ummons successor and all the various records list him as Ummons heir; this is a mistake on the part of recorders which has certainly proved laughable. Kygen (C. Hsiang-yen) was awakened by a bamboo being struck by a pebble; why is he not the successor to the emerald bamboo? Reiun (C. Ling-yun) was awakened by a flowering peach; why is he not the successor of a

The Reverend Monk Tsu Gisei

245

peach blossom? It is sad that Shko did not realize that the inheritance occurs within the room of the Buddhas and Ancestors; if Kakuhan also doubted Gisei, it seems that he did not know of the mutual recognition within that room, hence it must be said, Kakuhan, you slighted yourself and did not reach the Dharma, thus your Record of Rinkan is unreliable. In the earlier story the non-Buddhist asked the Buddha, Irrespective of whether there are words for IT or not, what is IT ? Since IT is the Way that does not fall into the duality of ordinary speech versus silence, the World-honoured One was still for a while for the Way is not hidden or revealed, self or other, inside or outside, relative or absolute. The non-Buddhist instantly understood when the Buddha let him clearly see that IT is just like the empty sky or like the water within the ocean. He bowed and said, The great benevolence and great compassion of the World-honoured One has parted the clouds of my delusion and let me gain entrance, so saying, he took his leave. He had truly become as immaculate as the empty sky with every trace of cloud dissolved and as calm as the vast ocean when wind and wave have abated. Even so, Ananda, not grasping this, respectfully asked the Buddha, What did the non-Buddhist obtain proof of that he could speak of gaining entrance? The Buddha replied, He was like a fine horse who goes when he sees the shadow of the riding crop. This is truly the means of the Ancestors and Masters; without their using any devices or speaking a single word in order to make the Treasure House open, full awakening occurs. It is like a horse taking the proper path upon clearly seeing the shadow of the riding crop. So, do not abide in the realm where no thought arises but keep on using your eyes! Do not get attached to the wordless realm but keep on clarifying what ORIGINAL NATURE is! Many have misunderstood that stillness of the Buddha. Some think, When not a single thought is produced, the whole Substance is revealed. When someone lets go of name and form, IT becomes

246

Denkroku

completely exposed, just as a mountain emerges when all clouds vanish; it is resolutely free of everything. When you compare this with your previous habit of first trying to understand the issue intellectually and then turning outwards to gallop off in search of IT in externals, there seems to be some little respite, but you have still not forgotten skin and flesh nor has perceptual discrimination departed. If you want to be in accord with this realm, just go ahead and stop your panting after things and sever the karmic roots of your life! When you see THAT WHICH IS clearly, how can you possibly consider IT to be non-thought? Since you cannot make IT out to be anything at all, how can you consider IT to be silence? It is not just a matter of stopping your panting and closing your eyes to attachments; look to the place where the hundred bones are scattered and no trace of flesh remains. There is the ONE THING that partakes neither of light nor of darkness, that is neither male nor female. How am I to communicate this principle to you? A ridge of rocky hills so many miles high that birds can scarcely pass over it, A sword blade and thin icewho can tread on them?

CHAPTER 46.

THE FORTY-FIFTH ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER DKAI OF MOUNT FUY.


Whilst training with Tsu Gisei, Dkai asked, The words and phrases of the Buddhas and Ancestors are like ordinary, everyday tea and rice; apart from these, is there anything else that is particularly helpful to people? Tsu responded, Tell me, when the emperor creates mandates from within the palace

Meditation Master Dkai of Mount Fuy

247

walls does he still avail himself of the authority of Yao, Shun, Yu and Tang (i.e. the four ancient rulers during the Golden Age of Chinese history)? Dkai wavered. As he was about to respond, Tsu brushed across Dkais mouth with his fountain sceptre as if brushing away crumbs and said, When you intentionally let thoughts arise, forthwith you will get thirty blows! Thereupon Dkai awakened to his TRUE SELF. Dkai (C. Tao-chieh, A Model of the Way) was his personal name; from childhood he took pleasure in solitude and quiet, secluding himself on Mount Iy (C. I-yang); he travelled to the capital and enrolled at Jutsudai-ji (C. Shu-tai-ssu) where he undertook a study of the Lotus Scripture and was ordained. Whilst calling on Tsu at Kaie (C. Hai-hui) Monastery he asked the latter about the words and phrases of the Buddhas and Ancestors as above up to the point where he awakened to his TRUE SELF ; he then bowed several times and was taking his leave when Tsu said to him, Come here, Acharya. When Dkai did not turn round, Tsu said, Have you arrived at the Realm Beyond Doubt? Dkai covered his ears with his hands. Later, when Dkai had been made Chief Cook, Tsu said to him, Supervising the kitchen and the begging is not easy. Dkai responded, I would not venture to say so. Tsu said, What about boiling the gruel and steaming the rice? Dkai answered, Assistants sort the rice and tend the fire; lay workers boil the gruel and steam the rice. Tsu asked, And what do you do? Dkai responded, The Reverend Monk, in his compassion and benevolence, has left THAT ONE free to rest. One day, whilst Dkai was attending on Tsu, the two strolled through the vegetable garden. Tsu handed his staff to Dkai who took it and immediately followed behind Tsu. Tsu said, This is how the ideal should be. Dkai said, To carry your shoes and your staff for you, Reverend Monk, is nothing special. Tsu said, There is SOMEONE here with us. Dkai

248

Denkroku

responded, THAT PERSON does not receive instruction. Tsu then went off to rest. Later that evening he said to Dkai, We still have not completely finished our earlier conversation, have we? Dkai said, Please, Reverend Monk, go on. Tsu responded, Dawn brings forth the sun; nightfall brings forth the moon. Dkai thereupon lit a lamp and came to Tsu who said, None of your comings and goings, arisings and settings, are futile. Dkai said, When I am with you, Reverend Monk, this is what the ideal should be. Tsu asked, Whose house is without bondsman or servant? Dkai responded, Reverend Monk, as you are getting on in years you should not be without one. Tsu said, What attentiveness I have found in you. Dkai said, It is but partial payment for your kindness. In this way Dkai thoroughly and meticulously came to clarify that singular blossoming which he had experienced through first asking, The words and phrases of the Buddhas and Ancestors are like ordinary, everyday tea and rice; apart from these is there anything else that is particularly helpful to people? At heart he was saying, Apart from their everyday behaviour and conduct, do Buddhas and Ancestors set forth anything else? This bears a close resemblance to someone presenting his understanding to a master, however Tsu responded, Tell me, when the emperor creates mandates from within the palace walls does he still avail himself of the authority of Yao, Shun, Yu and Tang? In truth, laying down orders in that instance does not rely on the authority of the ancient kings Yao and Shun. Quite simply, when one person has cause to rejoice, myriad citizens are the automatic recipients of the effect, therefore, even if the venerable Master Shakyamuni reappeared in the world and Great Master Bodaidaruma were still alive, people must not rely upon the strength of others. When you simply undertake the GREAT MATTER for yourself and authenticate IT for yourself, you will have complete accord with IT, hence, if you add some enticing flavour when explaining a principle,

Meditation Master Dkai of Mount Fuy

249

there will still be some part that you see as something other; you have not escaped from using devices. This is why Tsu, when Dkai tried to respond, brushed across Dkais mouth with his fountain sceptre. To show Dkai that he was completely right from the first and had never lacked for anything Tsu said, When you intentionally let thoughts arise, forthwith you will get thirty blows! This was not a confirmation of Dkais spiritual realization; the moment that you intentionally let thoughts arise and seek what IT is or what BUDDHA is, you immediately violate yourself and turn to others. Even though you can, on your own, expound The Whole Substance is revealed, or It is naturally luminous, or explain Mind, or Original Nature, or meditation or the Way, you have by no means escaped from using devices. If there are any devices in what you say, immediately there will be white clouds for ten thousand miles; you will be wandering away from TRUE SELF for a long time. How could a mere thirty blows cure you? Even if you were beaten for thousands of lives over myriads of kalpas, it would be hard for you to escape these offences. Upon hearing these words, Dkai forthwith awakened to his TRUE SELF. He bowed several times and was just departing without venturing to look back when he was asked, Have you arrived at the Realm Beyond Doubt? Had he answered, What need is there for me to reach the Realm Beyond Doubt? he would have immediately been separated from IT by ten thousand miles of obstructing mountains, therefore, when the words and phrases of the Buddhas and Ancestors have come in contact with our ears, our ears have immediately defiled them. Although we wash them out for thousands of lives over myriads of kalpas, it is almost impossible to get them clean. This is why Dkai covered his ears with his hands not letting a single word enter. Because he had been able to see this Realm in detail, he had said when he was Chief Cook, You have left THAT ONE

250

Denkroku

free to rest. HE is not the one who steams the rice or the one who gathers the vegetables, therefore carrying firewood and toting water are all activities for assistants and lay workers; ultimately they are not tasks for the CHIEF COOK. Although it seems that HE does not stop any time during the whole twentyfour hours of a day, what with tying up HIS sleeves and scrubbing out the pots, ultimately there is no task to which HE sets a hand nor is there any reason for HIM to come in contact with anything. Therefore Dkai spoke of setting HIM free. Although Dkai was able to perceive in this way, Tsu tried to get him to ripen, so, on entering the vegetable garden, Tsu handed over his staff to Dkai who took it and immediately followed behind him. Tsu said, This is how the ideal should be. By this means he let Dkai know that it was not something that a monk should carry in his hand, that there was SOMEONE who does not carry anything and, in consequence, he saw Dkai ripen. This is why Dkai said, To carry your shoes and your staff for you, Reverend Monk, is nothing special. Tsu said to test him, There is a SOMEONE here with us. Not only do you not know HIS name even though you have resided together from the beginning, HE is the OLD ONE whose face is unknown. HE is none other. Since Dkai had been able to see HIM much earlier, he said, THAT PERSON does not receive instruction. There was, however, a stage that Dkai had not yet reached; even though he already knew that there was that PERSON who does not accompany you when you raise your hand and is not affected when you move your feet, still, if the extent of his understanding was merely this, then some doubt remained as to his realization. This is why Tsu, thinking that at that time the principle had not been exhausted, left to rest. Then, that evening, he said to Dkai, We still have not completely finished our earlier conversation, have we? Dkai, as if to say, I have already realized that IT exists beyond any doubt; what is there still to reach? said, Please, Reverend Monk, go on. At

Meditation Master Dkai of Mount Fuy

251

this moment Tsu responded, Dawn brings forth the sun; nightfall brings forth the moon. As the stillness of the night passes, the stars shift, the moon grows dark and the white snow sweeps across the green hills which are still invisible, however, there is a SUN that rises which is not of this group; this SUN on ITS course sinks behind the western hills which darken and are lost from sight. Although no one comes or goes and the roadside is indiscernible, there is also SOMETHING THAT IS NOT EMPTY, therefore the moon is brought forth. Even though in this realm everything is of a piece without anything else mixed in or to be seen, there is THAT which, in itself, is vitally and gloriously luminous. Quickly ITS radiance bursts through the darkness, therefore Dkai lit a lamp and came to Tsu; it is evident that he had truly realized IT deeply. This is why Tsu said, None of your comings, goings, arisings and settings are futile. When Dkai became familiar with this state, truly there was no time during the whole twenty-four hours of the day for idle endeavours, therefore he said, When I am with you, Reverend Monk, this is what the ideal should be. Although he had understood IT deeply, he seemed to comprehend IT as a sort of wondrous functioning. Thus, when Tsu again tested him by asking, Whose house is without bondsman or servant? he was asking, Whose dwelling place is without the HELPER coming in and going out? Dkai responded, Reverend Monk, as you are getting on in years you should not be without ONE. There is already SOMEONE venerable and eminent WHO does not mix in earthly affairs; HIS Body is wondrously bright and ultimately not separate from oneself. This is why Dkai had responded, Reverend Monk, as you are getting on in years you should not be without ONE. Since he had come to understand like this, truly he had reached IT so Tsu said, What attentiveness I have found in you. For vast, great kalpas HE has borne us upon HIS shoulders and has not left us even for a moment; great is the time in which

252

Denkroku

we have come to receive HIS kindness and strength. If you try to compare HIS kindness with anything, even great Mount Sumeru, with its encircling range of iron mountains, cannot equal it in magnitude; if you try to measure HIS virtue, even the four oceans and the nine continents cannot compare with it. Mount Sumeru, sun, moon, great oceans and rivers all change over time but the kindness of this OLD MONK will never change or pass away; there is no time within time when we do not incur HIS benevolence. If you live vainly and die without once paying your respects to this venerable COUNTENANCE , then, as an unfilial person, you will sink down into the sea of birth and death but, if at length you are able to catch just a glimpse of HIM, you will in one instant be able to completely repay HIS great benevolence during a thousand lives over myriads of kalpas. This is why Dkai said, It is but partial payment for your kindness. So completely had he come to see in this way that, when a monk asked him after he had become an abbot, Even though the tunes from a barbarians reed flute are not in harmony with the five tones of the Chinese scale, its sounds reach the canopy of heaven. Will you not perform for us? Dkai had replied, The wooden rooster crows at midnight, the iron phnix cries out at dawn. The monk responded, If that is the case, then a single melodic phrase is included within a thousand ancient tunes. All the trainees in the meditation hall are thoroughly familiar with the sound of that. Dkai said, A tongueless child can continue in harmony with it. In this manner he matured with no green hills to block his eyes and no clear streams to wash out his ears, therefore the sight of fame and gain were, to his eyes, as if dust; seeing forms and hearing sounds were like planting flowers atop a stone. His feet ceased to pass beyond the threshold of the monastery and he did not partake of monastic feasts. He paid no heed to whether others came or went and his monastic community

Meditation Master Dkai of Mount Fuy

253

shifted in its size according to the times. He ate only one bowl of rice gruel a day and, when the supply of gruel was short, he had only rice water. The essential teachings of Tzans tradition flourished. THAT which he had come to see he made no mistakes in guarding closely, hence he did not forget what the former sages had entrusted to him. Even though he came to learn the monastic rules and regulations of the ancient Buddhas in this way, still he said, Do not take this mountain monks conduct as your example; as head of a mountain monastery I am a disgrace. How is it possible for me to sit here and waste the communal goods forgetting what the former sages have entrusted to me? Now, every time that I, this mountain monk, try to emulate the former abbot or speak of what the ancient sages realized, I am aware that I have no burrow to hide in. I am ashamed of how soft and weak my successors may become. As my masters indebted and grateful ninth-generation Dharma heir, I, Keizan, am imperfectly repeating for you the traditions of our line. My own daily behaviour is inadequate as an example for my successors. My attention within the four types of bodily deportment of walking, standing, sitting and reclining has altogether been wandering. How can I ever face even a few kesa-clad trainees or give out a talk consisting of a phrase or even half a phrase? How disgraceful and unbecoming! How appalling! Oh, the illumined gaze of the ancient Ancestors and the deeply penetrating stare of the former sages! Nevertheless all you practitioners and students should be grateful to be distant descendants of Meditation Master Fuy Dkai and within the same monastic family as Eihei Dgen. You should clearly discern the realm of the UNBORN in detail and pay full heed to IT. Without the slightest thought for fame and gain, much less the tiniest speck of pride or arrogance, amiably cultivate your mental skills and take care to tidy up your physical actions. Proceed to where you should proceed, investigate what

254

Denkroku

you should investigate and dispose of the issue that is the purpose of your whole lifes training and study. Never forget what the ancient Ancestors have entrusted to you, follow in the footsteps of the former sages, look the Old Buddha right in the eye. Despite the decadence of these final days of the Dharma, you may still be able to catch sight of a tiger in the market place or perhaps be someone who finds gold under his rain hat. Oh, how I pray for this! Now tell me, how am I to set forth completely what is happening in the preceding story? There is no need for rouge or powder for any ugliness would be hard to find; Just love the lustrous radiance that adorns the Body of the Heavenly Child within yourself.

CHAPTER 47.

THE FORTY-SIXTH ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER TANKA SHIJUN.


When Tanka asked Fuy, What is the one phrase that all the sages have passed on from the beginning? Fuy answered, Were you to reduce IT to a single phrase, you would really bury the tradition of our line. Upon hearing this, Tanka had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF. Tankas personal name was Shijun (C. Tzu-chun, Pure and Honest as a Child); he was an offspring of the Ko (C. Chia) clan in Kensh (C. Chien-chou). When he was barely twenty he left home to become a monk; he penetrated to the PROOF whilst in Fuys quarters. At first he resided on Snowy Peak Mountain

Meditation Master Tanka Shijun

255

(J. Sepp; C. Hsueh-feng) and later on Vermilion Mist Mountain (J. Tankazan; C. Tan-hsia-shan). His first inquiry was, What is the one phrase that all the sages have passed on from the beginning? Even though Buddha after Buddha and Ancestor after Ancestor has changed in outer appearance, beyond doubt something has passed on which is without back or front, top or bottom, inside or outside, self or other. IT, THE EMPTINESS THAT IS NOT EMPTY, is the TRUE PLACE to which all return; there has never been anyone who has not possessed IT fully and completely, however many students make the mistake of thinking that originally there was nothing at all, saying moreover that there is nothing that can be said about IT and nothing that the mind can conceive about IT. The ancients gave such people the name of non-Buddhists who have fallen into vacant nothingness. Although kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges River may pass, in no way will any such be liberated, therefore, even if you are thorough and meticulous so that every single thing is brought to an end and is utterly emptied, there will still be SOMETHING that cannot be emptied. Look inwards and probe deeply into yourself; once you succeed in catching a glimpse of IT, without fail you will be able to come up with a phrase to express this. This is why we speak of it as the one phrase that has been passed on. As stated above, Fuy commented, Were you to reduce IT to a single phrase, you would really bury the tradition of our line. Truly this realm is not something that can be designated by a single phrase; that would be using words incorrectly and resembles bird tracks in the snow. Because of this, it is said, A hiding-place shows no traces of its whereabouts. When seeing, hearing, cognizing and comprehending utterly cease, and skin, flesh, bones and marrow are all gone, then what traces of anything can remain? If you do not create even a smidgeon of evidence, sure enough, IT will come to appear. IT is not something that others will know about which is why IT is not

256

Denkroku

something that is passed on openly, however, when this realm can be realized, it is spoken of as Heart Transmitting Heart. This occasion is referred to as the uniting of lord and retainer or as the oneness of the absolute and the relative. Now tell me, what do you think the form of this realm is? Though a clear breeze swirls round and round, stirring up the earth, Who can grasp hold of it and show it to you?

CHAPTER 48.

THE FORTY-SEVENTH ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER CHRO SEIRY.


Seiry trained under Tanka who asked him, What is the
SELF prior to the period of cosmic emptiness? Seiry was just

about to respond when Tanka said, Since you are being so noisy, go away for a while. One day, whilst climbing Begging Bowl Peak (J. Hachiuh; C. Po-yu-feng), Seiry suddenly awoke to his TRUE SELF. Seiry (C. Ching-liao, Clear in Intelligence) was his personal name, Shinketsu (C. Chen-hsieh, Truly at Rest) was his Buddhist name and Gok (C. Wu-kung The Enlightened Void) was his title as a meditation master. Whilst he was still in swaddling clothes, his mother, cradling him in her arms, took him into a temple; upon seeing a statue of Buddha, he raised his eyebrows and blinked with delight. Everyone considered this unusual; in his eighteenth year he lectured on the Lotus Scripture. After being ordained he travelled to Taie Monastery (C. Ta-tzu) in Seito (C. Cheng-tu) in Szechwan Province where he was taught the Scriptures and Commentaries, taking

Meditation Master Chro Seiry

257

note of their substantive meaning. Leaving Szechwan he proceeded to the Yangtze and Han River area where he knocked on Tanka Shijuns door. When Tanka asked him, What is the SELF prior to the period of cosmic emptiness? what was stated above occurred up to the point where Seiry suddenly awoke to his TRUE SELF. He returned at once from Begging Bowl Peak and stood in attendance on Tanka. Tanka gave him a slap and said, I would say that without doubt you know IT exists. Seiry joyfully bowed before him. The next day Tanka entered the meditation hall and said in verse, The sun makes the solitary peak glow green, The moon visits the valley stream so chill; The dark and wondrous SECRET of the Ancestors and Masters Does not turn toward a trifling heart to find a resting place. He then got down from his seat. Seiry immediately came before him and said respectfully, Your preaching of the Dharma today could not deceive me in the least. Tanka said, Come, try to present to me the meaning of my lecture today. Seiry was still for some time. Tanka said, Without doubt I would say that you have glimpsed that realm. After Seiry left Mount Tanka he travelled to Mount Godai (C. Wu-tai), went on to the capital, sailed the River Ben (C. Pien) and forthwith reached Long Reed Mountain (J. Chrozan; C. Chang-lu-shan) where he had an audience with Ssh (C. Tsu-chao). No sooner had they talked together than they found that they were in complete accord and Ssh made Seiry his jisha; after a year had passed, they were sharing the seat of teaching. Not long afterwards Ssh, pleading illness, retired as abbot and had Seiry inherit the abbots seat; students flocked to him. Around the end of 1130 he travelled to Mount Shimei (C. Hsi-ming) and then went on to Mount Hoda

258

Denkroku

(C. Pu-to). He became abbot at Tenp Monastery (C. Tienfeng) in Daish (C. Tai-chou) and at Snowy Peak Monastery (J. Sepp; C. Hsieh-feng) in Binsh (C. Ming-chou). By imperial edict he was made abbot at Iku Monastery (C. Yuwang) and subsequently at Rysh Monastery (C. Lungshang) in Onsh (C. Wen-chou). He was also abbot at Mount Kei (C. Ching) in Ksh (C. Hang-chou). Jinei (C. Tzuning), the emperors mother, requested that he establish a mountain monastery on Mount Ssen (C. Chung-shen) at Knei (C. Kao-ning). From the time that he was in swaddling clothes he was not one of the herd and stood apart from others; as his resolve to study Zen meditation progressed, he intensified his efforts. When he was asked about the SELF prior to the period of cosmic emptiness, he tried to respond but Tanka did not give his approval and had him leave for a while. One day, whilst climbing to the top of Begging Bowl Peak, all ten quarters were unobstructed and there were no barriers on any of the four sides as well. Upon reaching the moment when the ten quarters appeared right before his eyes, he grasped what IT was; when he came back he stood before Tanka without saying a single word. Tanka, realizing that Seiry knew that IT existed, said, Without doubt I would say that you have glimpsed that realm, Seiry then joyfully bowed before Tanka and Tanka entered the meditation hall and acknowledged Seirys awakening. Later, when Seiry went forth to teach, he entered the meditation hall one day and said, When I was given a slap by my former master all my abilities and talents had been exhausted and, try as I may, I was unable to open my mouth. Is there any person here now who has not been able to experience such happiness as this? If you would not have an iron bit between your teeth or a saddle on your back, each of you must reach THAT which is the ideal. When the Ancestors and Masters actually meet face to face they step forth into THAT which is prior to the period of cosmic

Meditation Master Chro Seiry

259

emptiness and immediately manifest the natural beauty of the fundamental realm. If you have not yet seen this realm, then, even though you sit without uttering a sound for ten million years, immobile as a withered tree or like dead ashes, what use will it be? However, when some people hear about THAT which is prior to the period of cosmic emptiness they mistakenly think that it means that there is no self or other, no before or after, no arising or extinction, no sentient beings or Buddhas, that IT must not be called one or two, that IT must not be discerned as identical with themselves or be called different from themselves. Deliberating and evaluating in this way, they judge that if someone utters a single word he has immediately deviated from the Dharma or imagine that if someone hatches even a single thought he must have turned his back on the ETERNAL ; they rashly cling to images of withered trees and dead ashes and become like corpses. Some think on occasion that there are no disparities whatsoever between HIM and me so IT can be interpreted as a mountain or as a river or as me or as other. Sometimes they say, What you call a mountain is not a mountain and what you call a river is not a river; only this is a mountain, only this is a river, and so they go on, but to what use? All this directs them onto false paths. They either become attached to forms and appearances or fall into nihilism. How can you possibly hope to arrive at this realm by means of such notions as existence or non-existence? There is nowhere for you to poke your tongue in, no time for you to set your thoughts and fears spinning around. IT does not depend on heaven or earth, or on before or after. Focus on that place where there is nowhere beneath your feet to step; without fail you will be a bit in accord with IT. Some speak of IT as beyond any patterns or rules, others as not conveying a breath of anything. All this is within the boundaries of deliberate thought and ultimately ends with their turning their backs on the TRUE SELF ; even more so do they do this if they say that IT is the moon or

260

Denkroku

snow or water or wind. All such people undoubtedly have cataracts in their eyes or are seeing flowers falling hither and thither in the sky. What do they mean by referring to IT as a mountain? In the final analysis they are not seeing a single thing. What are they coming in contact with that they would make IT out to be cold or hot? Ultimately there is not a single thing that has been imparted to them and this is why they become attached to trees and grass. If you completely sweep away both the ways of the world and the Buddhas Dharma at one and the same time and just look, you will ultimately not doubt. Do not turn within or without to seek IT. Do not wish to calm your thoughts, do not desire to make your body tranquil. Just know IT intimately, just understand IT intimately. Cut all ties at once and try to sit for a while. Even though it is said that there is nowhere in the four quarters to take a step and no place in heaven or on earth to slip in a body, you will really not need to borrow from anyone elses strength. When you see in this way, then no skin, flesh, bone or marrow is allotted to you; no birth or death, coming or going, alters you. When you have sloughed off your skin, only the ONE REALITY remains. IT glitters in the past and sparkles in the present. IT does not discriminate about, or measure, time. How can IT possibly be referred to simply as that which is prior to the period of cosmic emptiness? This state is not something understandable in terms of before and after; this realm does not mirror the four cosmic periods of creation, sustained existence, disintegration and emptiness. Can both self and other be understood as being without cause? When you forget about external boundaries, rid yourself of your inner cogitations and the clear blue sky still gets a beating, you will be purified, completely stripped naked and rinsed clean. If you are able to see IT in detail, IT will be as illusive as space, as subtle as emptiness; if you cannot do this in detail, you will never reach this state. Clearing up karmic

Meditation Master Tend Skaku

261

matters of countless kalpas will actually happen in the snap of your fingers. Without giving in to indecision or displaying intellectual comprehension, cast your gaze upon HIS face and, be it but for a moment, look! Without fail you will become independent, liberated and unobstructed by evil passions, however, trainees, by twisting your heads and hearts around, you have already fallen into error and are engaged in contriving. Although you may feel that this is merely the slightest of transgressions, you must realize that when you do such things you will not have a bit of rest for thousands of lives over myriad kalpas. Reflect upon this carefully and try to arrive at this realm fully. Without depending on others, by being completely alone you will be like the vast sky when you open up to the TRUTH. Now, tell me, how can I communicate even a bit of this principle? The old valley stream; its icy spring is hidden from all eyes; No traveller is permitted to penetrate its ultimate depths.

CHAPTER 49.

THE FORTY-EIGHTH ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER TEND SKAKU.


Skaku attended Seiry for a long time. One day Seiry asked him, How do you view the matter these days? Skaku said, I too would say that IT is like this. Seiry said, Not yet itgo on further. Skaku said, Why is what I said not yet it? Seiry said, I did not say that what you said is not yet it; it is that you are not yet familiar with THAT which is beyond.

262

Denkroku

Skaku said, I can speak of THAT which is beyond. Seiry said, What is THAT which is beyond? Skaku said, Even supposing I could express THAT which is beyond, I could not begin to find for you, Reverend Monk, something with which to compare IT. Seiry said, You are really not yet able to say. Bowing humbly, Skaku said, Pray, Reverend Monk, express what IT is. Seiry said, Ask me and I will express IT. Skaku said, What is THAT which is beyond? Seiry, gesturing, said, I too would say that IT is not like this! Hearing this, Skaku awoke to his TRUE SELF and Seiry gave him the Seal of certification. Skaku (C. Tsung-chuen, The Jewels of Our Line) was his personal name; as Seirys long-time jisha he trained day and night, in depth and breadth, yet there was still a place where he had not trodden so Seiry had asked him, How do you view the matter these days? Skaku answered, I too would say that IT is like this. Seiry said, Not yet itgo on further, and their conversation continued as above. When Skaku said that IT is like this, there was still something not yet there. Although he had grasped THAT which comes in this way, he did not know that there was ONE who comes not in this way. Since the whole SUBSTANCE was exposed to view, nothing was missing so, wondering what could be lacking, he asked, Why is what I said not yet it? Those who grasp the matter in this way, even though they can be as lofty as the solitary green mountain after all white clouds have dispersed, do not yet realize that there are mountains still loftier than they are. This is why Seiry said, I did not say that what you said was not yet it; it is that you are not yet familiar with THAT which is beyond. Even though training like this is completely synonymous with THAT which is beyond, Skaku still had the shortcoming of not knowing that IT exists which is why Seiry said, You are really not yet able to say. What is

Meditation Master Tend Skaku

263

more, when you utter a single word, or ponder on the thoughts in your mind, and say some phrase such as like this, you fall into duality or plurality. Thinking that there was not a single point that he had missed, Skaku said, Even supposing I could say what is beyond, I could not begin to find for you, Reverend Monk, something with which to compare IT. He did not know the TRUE SELF and was still hung up on distinctions, so Seiry said, You are really not yet able to say. By this time Skaku was gasping for breath and his strength had come to an end as he requested of Seiry, What is THAT which is beyond? Seiry replied, I too would say that IT is not like this! What Skaku had previously said and what Seiry was saying now go beyond even the distinction between heaven and earth; they are farther apart than even proverbial fire and water. Skaku apparently thought that the whole SUBSTANCE had been exposed; Seiry was saying that this was not so. Merely to state that IT is like this is simply being solitary, luminous, evident and nothing more but, once Skaku had realized his error and found his TRUE SELF, he received the Seal of certification. When Skaku subsequently emerged in the outside world as a teacher and was expounding the Dharma for the benefit of others, a monk asked him, What is the Way? He answered, Stop dawdling at the crossroads, gazing off into the distance. He once said upon entering the meditation hall, Step forth into THAT which is before time; stretch yourself out beyond the universe. The wondrous bond cannot be realized by willing it; the REAL PROOF cannot be transmitted by words but, as soon as you have found IT, emptiness and stillness will stay the vital spirit; the white clouds will be halted in their advance toward the icy precipice. A marvellous light will break through the darkness as the resplendent moon comes following in the ship of night. Right at that very moment how on earth will you tread the Buddhas Path? The Relative and the Absolute have never

264

Denkroku

departed from their original state so how will you connect the ten directions in the three temporal worlds with this talk of karmic relationships? Emptiness and stillness have no boundaries; even though your tongue may chatter on, you are not apart from IT ; this is how you must be if you are to gain a glimpse of THAT which goes beyond. Still, talking about ORIGINAL NATURE is not at all THAT which is beyond, also it is plainly a mistake to think that a mountain is a mountain and a river is a river is THAT which is beyond. Tzan said, If you can experience THAT which goes beyond Buddha, then, to be sure, you will have an expression for IT. A monk then asked him, What is this expression? Tzan said, When I express IT, Acharya, you will not hear it. Banzan (C. Pan-shan) said, The solitary Path of training that leads upwards to full realization of the TRUTH has not been Transmitted by any of the thousands of sages. Training is truly not what is commonly called sauntering along whilst leaving everything to the BUDDHA NATURE . When a monk asked Meditation Master Seiry, What in the world is THAT which lies beyond? he replied, The WONDROUS has existed since before a single bubble appeared so why would IT submit ITSELF to the eyes of the sages? His term bubble refers to the appearance of a personal body. What existed before there were any signs of a personal existence is called THAT which lies beyond, therefore Koboku Hj (C. Ku-mu Fa-cheng), a true disciple of Fuy Dkai, upon entering the monks hall to lecture, said to the assembly, When you realize THAT which lies beyond the Buddhas and Ancestors you will have an expression for IT. O splendid practitioners of meditation, tell me, what is THAT which is beyond the Buddhas and the Ancestors? There is a certain PERSON, the SON of our family, whose six sense organs are disabled and whose seventh level of consciousness is incomplete; HE is the GREAT INCORRIGIBLE ONE who lacks a BUDDHA NATURE. When HE encounters Buddha, HE slays

Meditation Master Tend Skaku

265

Buddha; when HE encounters Ancestor, HE slays Ancestor. It is impossible to store HIM in the halls of heaven and there is no barrier in hell that can hold HIM. O great assembly, answer me, do you perceive this PERSON ? He paused for a while, then said, Although HE is before your very face, you are not sharp-eyed; filled with sleep, you are abundant in drowsy speech. When it comes to the issue for which we train, even though a Buddha may appear, His body in time will disintegrate and He will lose His life; even though an Ancestor arrives, his whole body will one day be pulverized into hundreds of bits. Were either to try to reach the halls of heaven, the halls would collapse; were either to play host to hell, in a twinkling hell would split apart. What place do you take to be the halls of heaven; what place hell? What do you take to be the myriad forms that comprise the universe? From the first there has never been any trace of them. It is just as when you are fast asleep; you do not know yourself so how can you discern some other? There is no origin, just resplendence without anything to be enlightened to; these are beyond doubt the expressions of the eminent Ancestors. If you know THAT which is beyond, your third eye will open and, at that moment, you will have accord with IT. Now tell me, what is the principle here? By analogy IT is just like a post wedged in at top and bottom; You cannot push it in farther and you cannot pull it out!

266

Denkroku

CHAPTER 50.

THE FORTY-NINTH ANCESTOR, MEDITATION MASTER SETCH CHIKAN.


One day, when Skaku was head of Tend Monastery, he entered the meditation hall to lecture and said, The Worldhonoured One had a hidden expression and Makakash shared IT openly, heart to heart. Upon hearing this, Chikan immediately awoke to its deeper significance; as he sat there among the others, tears flowed down his cheeks. Involuntarily he blurted out, Why have we not heard this before? When Skaku had finished his lecture he summoned Chikan and asked him, Why were you weeping in the Dharma Hall? Chikan replied, The World-honoured One had a hidden expression and Makakash shared IT openly, heart to heart. Skaku gave his approval of this, saying, You must be the one that Ungo Dy prophesied would appear. Chikan (C. Chih-chien, The Mirror of Wisdom) was his personal name; he was an offspring of the Go (C. Wu) clan in Chsh (C. Chu-chou). When he was a boy, his mother, whilst cleaning off a boil on his hand, wondered aloud why he should have it. He said, My hand is like a Buddhas hand. When he was an adolescent he lost his parents on whom he had relied to sustain him so he became a follower of Shinketsu (C. Chenhsieh) on Mount Chro (C. Chang-lu). At the time Skaku was senior monk of the assembly and considered Chikan to be a vessel for the Teaching. Chikan withdrew later on to Mount Sh (C. Hsiang) where hundreds of apparitions were unable to mislead or seduce him; as a result of this, he awakened, deep in the night, to his TRUE SELF. He sought confirmation from Enju (C. Yen-shou) and then returned to train under Skaku who, by that time, was abbot of Tend; Skaku appointed

Meditation Master Setch Chikan

267

Chikan to the post of Chief Scribe. One day Skaku made the allusion mentioned in the previous story. This allusion comes from the chapter on The Tathagatas Nature in the Nirvana Scripture: At that time Makakash Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, O World-honoured One, the Buddha has said that all World-honoured Buddhas have expressions but this does not mean what it appears to mean. Why? Because, even though all World-honoured Buddhas simply have hidden expressions, there is no secret store of Teachings. Take, for example, a conjurors mechanical wooden manikin; even though people see it bow and rise, lie down and look up, they do not realize that it is made to behave thus by something inside it. The Buddhas Teaching is not like this; it allows sentient beings to completely realize full spiritual knowledge. How could anyone say that World-honoured Buddhas have a secret store of Teachings? The Buddha, praising Makakash, said, Well done, well done, my good disciple! Just as you have said, the Tathagata actually has no secret body of Teachings. Why is this? The full moon of autumn appears in the sky as something pure, clear and unobscured, visible to everyone; in the same way the Tathagatas words are enlightening and manifest, pure, clear and unobscured. Unfortunately, foolish people do not grasp these words and say that they must comprise some secret store of Teachings whilst the wise completely understand them and, thus, do not call them a secret store of Teachings. Since then the teaching given here by Skaku has been used by Ancestors and Masters to their monks therefore, when it was brought up by Skaku in this instance, Chikan awakened to his TRUE SELF. IT was truly shared openly, heart to heart.

268

Denkroku

Whenever you hear any words without fail you must understand what lies at their heart; do not get stuck with words. Saying fire is not fire, saying water is not water; this is why you do not burn your mouth when you mention fire or moisten it when you speak of water. Recognise that fire and water are not the words. Sekit said, When you hear words, you must comprehend their intent; do not set up your own standards. Yakusan said, You must see for yourself; you cannot eliminate language. Right now I am saying these words for your benefit to reveal THAT which is beyond words. Who is the ONE that, from the first, has no countenance, with such things as eyes and ears? Chkei (C. Chang-ching) said, The twentyeight generations of Indian Ancestors all spoke of Transmitting ORIGINAL NATURE, not of passing on words. Great Master Ummon said, If this matter lay above and beyond words, would not the twelve divisions of the Scriptures be wordless? Why do we speak of a special Transmission outside the Scriptures? If you follow your scholastic understanding and ready wit then, even though your preaching of Dharma, like that of the Bodhisattvas of the ten stages, is as abundant as clouds and as refreshing as rain, you will still be rebuked for not seeing the BUDDHA NATURE , for what you are seeing will be distorted as something seen through diaphanous silk. You should realize that all discriminative thoughts are as far apart from IT as heaven and earth are from each other. Although this is how it is, if you are someone who has found THAT which you are searching for, how can you burn your mouth when you speak of fire? You can talk all day long and still nothing will cling to your lips or teeth; you will still not have spoken a syllable. You should all realize, therefore, that there is ONE who not only has no words but also has no mouth; not only does HE have no mouth, HE has no eyes and, from the first, has possessed not even the slightest particle of the four elements or the six sense

Meditation Master Setch Chikan

269

organs. Although this is how HE is, HE is not emptiness nor is HE nothingness. Even though you see things and hear sounds, it is not the physical eyes that are seeing or the physical ears that are hearing; such seeing and hearing is done by this ONE WITHOUT A COUNTENANCE . Your being, furnished with body and mind, is the reflection of this ONE, therefore this body and mind of yours is by no means a constructed thing. If you have not reached this point then you may fancy that it is a body arising through the relationship between your parents or that it is a body born as the recompense for past karmic actions. You may think that it is a body produced from the union of sperm and egg or that it is a body enveloped in skin and flesh; this is all because you have not clarified what TRUE SELF is. So, in an attempt to get you to realize this, spiritual friends and teachers, through their immeasurable methods and skillful means, get your six sense organs to disappear completely and bring everything to a halt. At such a time there is SOMETHING that cannot be made to disappear, SOMETHING that cannot be broken down. To be sure, when you become aware of IT, IT is not emptiness or existence, brightness or darkness. This is why it is difficult to say that you are deluded or enlightened; this is why this realm is not called Buddha, Dharma, mind or true nature; IT is just simply a gloriously bright, luminous shining. IT is not the blazing light of fire or the sparkling light of water; IT is just boundless clarity and brightness. Even though you try to catch a glimpse of IT, you cannot; even though you try to grasp IT, you cannot. IT is just brightness. Thus, when the three disasters of flood, fire and wind arise and destroy the world, THIS will not be destroyed. When the triple world of desire, form and beyond form and the six realms of existence arise, and when the whole universe luxuriantly sprouts up in all its majesty, THIS does not change. This is why the Buddhas, Ancestors and Masters are in no doubt as to what they should do. If you feel you want to reach this place right away, close

270

Denkroku

your eyes for a while; when your panting ceases, your body comes to an end and there is no house to give you shelter, then, letting go of all desire whatsoever for anything useful, be like a cloudless blue sky and the great ocean without waves, then you will be somewhat in accord with IT. When you reach this state, although you are never in doubt as to what you should do, there is an even greater light. This is not like the moon in the clear blue sky or like the sun; the whole sky is the moon; there is nothing at all to illuminate; the whole universe is the sun; there is nowhere to shine upon. You must grasp what IT is through and through. If you cannot realize this state, not only will you be deluded about monks, laity, male and female, you will spin around in the six realms of existence in the triple world. In spite of the fact that, as disciples of the Buddha, you have the form of monks, you will still fall into the hands of Yama, Lord of Death. How will you escape the shame and disgrace of that? There is no place in all the innumerable worlds where the Buddha Dharma of Shakyamuni does not overflow, so how can you fail to realize IT if you persevere in your training? It is not easy to obtain this human body. Your human body is a condition that has come about through the strength of your good karmic roots from the far past. If you once reach the stage described above, you will be completely liberated. IT is not male, female, deva, demon, mundane, holy, monastic or lay. IT is impossible to suppress. If you try to see IT, your vision will not extend far enough. If you can reach this point, you will not be a monk though you are a monk; you will not be a lay person though you are a lay person: you will not be deluded by your six senses nor used by your six kinds of sensory consciousness. Should you fail to reach this point, you will be completely deluded and fettered by concepts and things. How awful that would be! Fundamentally you are complete just as you are, however, in that you must reach IT by your own efforts,

Meditation Master Setch Chikan

271

you should lavish your strength on the task. No place exists where IT is veiled from anyone yet people are misled once they look with their eyes and mores the pity that they are subject to drifting through the various realms of existence. Just forget about the sense gates and their objects. Do not rely on what is conscious to the mind, look at what is really going on; without fail you will reach IT, and you need not reach IT by small steps. Rouse your zealous strength all at once and be in accord with IT. Even though the experience may be brief, it will never give rise to a partial understanding; immediately you will be able to perceive the WELLSPRING and reach IT. Once you have reached IT, you will stand squarely on the ground and, although the eight winds of change, gain, loss, praise, ridicule, eulogy, defamation, joy and sorrow may blow, you will not be moved. An ancient said, Learning the Way is like kindling a fire by rubbing two sticks together; do not rest when you encounter smoke. Once you have exerted all your strength, you will get fire. What is the smoke stage? Having experienced the skill of a spiritual teacher and reached the stage where not a single thought arises, one is said to be encountering smoke. To abandon your efforts and stop here is like giving up at the first sign of warmth so continue on until you see fire. This means that you must go on until you know for certain the ONE who does not give rise to a single thought. If you are unable to perceive the TRUE SELF, it may then seem that you are resting for the time being and, by so doing, have become like a withered tree, but you are actually a corpse whose vital energy has not yet dissipated. If you feel, therefore, that you personally want to grasp what this state is, look within and probe deeply; this state does not depend on the Tendai style of meditative concentration or on croaking like a bullfrog. What is the principle of this hidden expression shared openly, heart to heart?

272

Denkroku

Were you to call IT an unseen Body, indestructible as a diamond, How immaculate, vast and radiant would such a Body be!

CHAPTER 51.

THE FIFTIETH ANCESTOR, THE REVEREND MONK TEND NYOJ.


Whilst Nyoj was training under Chikan the latter asked, Disciple Nyoj, how can THAT which has never been stained or polluted be purified? Nyoj spent over a year on this when suddenly he became wide awake to his TRUE SELF and said, I have hit upon THAT which is not stained or polluted. Nyoj was a person from Etsuj (C. Yueh-chou); Nyoj (C. Ju-ching, He Who Is Like Purity) was his personal name. At nineteen he abandoned doctrinal studies and trained in one of our Ancestral training halls, then he joined Chikans community and, within a year, was pre-eminent in doing traditional seated meditation. One day, because he expressed a wish to be appointed Head of Purification (i.e., latrine cleaner), Chikan asked him, How can THAT which has never been stained or polluted be purified? If you can answer this, I will appoint you as Head of Purification. Nyoj did not leave the question alone but still could not answer it even after several months had passed. One day Chikan invited him to the abbots quarters and asked, Can you give a reply to our former discussion? Nyoj wavered since he did not know what to say. Chikan then remarked, Disciple Nyoj, how can THAT which has never

The Reverend Monk Tend Nyoj

273

been stained or polluted be purified? Nyoj was unable to answer. After more than a year had passed, Chikan again asked him if he could answer but Nyoj was still unable to reply so Chikan then said, If you get yourself out of your old rut, it could prove to be the chance of a lifetime. Why can you not say? After hearing this, Nyoj found the strength to fire up his resolve and work hard. One day he suddenly became wide awake to his TRUE SELF, went to the abbots quarters and thereupon said respectfully, I am able to say. Chikan said, This time say it! Nyoj replied, I know THAT which is not stained or polluted. He had not yet finished what he was saying when Chikan struck him. Nyoj, the Water of the Spirit pouring through him, bowed before Chikan who then gave him his recognition. Later, when Nyoj was at Pure Benevolence Monastery (J. Jji-ji; C. Ching-tzu-ssu), he became Head of Purification out of gratitude for what had happened to bring about his awakening. Once, whilst he was passing in front of the Arhant Hall, a strange monk who was standing there turned to Nyoj and said, Head of Purification at Jji, Elder Brother Nyoj, you have done well in the Way, done well by your master and done well for a multitude of people. Having spoken, he suddenly vanished. The prime minister, hearing of this incident, took it as an omen that the saintly Ancestors were giving their approval for Nyoj to be abbot of Jji-ji and, later, he did become head of Jji-ji. People everywhere said that Nyojs gratitude for his understanding truly left nothing to be desired. After Nyoj had aroused his intention to seek the Way at nineteen he hung up his travelling staff in the monastery and never returned to his native region, he never had long chats with those from his region or visited the quarters of other monks; it was also his custom not to converse with those who sat on either side of him in the monks hall: he just did seated meditation. He vowed that he would sit until he broke the

274

Denkroku

Diamond Throne (i.e., the Buddhas seat of enlightenment). Since he sat thus in meditation on occasion the flesh on his buttocks would become ulcerated but he still would not cease his sitting. From the time when he first aroused his heart to seek the Way until his sixty-fifth year there was not a single day or night when he did not see his sleeping mattress as a hindrance to his sitting. From his residency as abbot first at Jji-ji, then at Zuigon (C. Shui-yen) and then at Tend, his deportment was different from others who had served as abbots in that he vowed to be just like the other trainees in the monks hall, therefore, even though he had the kesa passed down from Fuy Dkai he did not wear it. Whether lecturing in the monks hall or entering his own quarters, he simply wore a black kesa and novices robe. During the Chia-ting era (12081225) he was offered a formal purple robe and a masters title by the emperor but formally declined acceptance in a memorial to the emperor, moreover he kept his succession a secret throughout his life, disclosing it only at the end when he made an incense offering to his predecessor. He kept himself aloof from worldly desires and fame and was deeply concerned for the good reputation of his line and monastic family. Truly there is no one today who equals his moral character; his deportment was exemplary then and still is now. He was in the habit of characterizing himself by saying, The Way of the Ancestors and Masters has been declining over the past couple of centuries but a teacher of my ilk has not appeared until now. The monks in all the quarters were completely in awe of him as a consequence of his attitude. Nyoj never praised any of them usually saying, At nineteen, when the resolve had arisen in my heart and I went on pilgrimages to other monasteries, I did not find people who put the Way into practice. Abbots in many temples were only concerned with meeting face to face with visitors and guests whilst ignoring

The Reverend Monk Tend Nyoj

275

those in the monks hall. They were habitually saying, Each must understand the Buddhas Teaching for himself. By training in this manner they did not build up their monastic communities. There are heads of great temples today who are still acting in this way, believing that having an anything goes attitude is the Way. They never require practice and training. What kind of Buddhism is there in that? If it were as they said, why are there sharp old gimlets like me persisting in the Way? How silly! They have not seen the Way of the Ancestors and Masters even in their dreams. Amongst the many virtues of Nyoj recorded in the diary of one of his jishas is the following. An official named Ch Teiky (C. Chao Ti-chu) requested a lecture in the office of the provincial government but, because Ch could not utter a single phrase showing that he had understood the Way, Nyoj refused to accept the ten thousand silver coins that he was offered and made no mention of the matter. When the official was unable to express his understanding in a phrase, not only had Nyoj refused the others offering but he had also rejected fame and gain by not mentioning the matter. This is why he remained aloof from rulers and high officials and did not even hold intercourse with trainees visiting from other monastic centres. His merits in following the Way were truly out of the ordinary thus, when an elder by the name of Dsh (C. Tao-sheng), who was in the Taoist tradition, along with five of his followers, vowed to train in Nyojs community, saying that they would not return to their native place in this lifetime until they were able, through training, to realize the Way of the Ancestors and Masters, Nyoj, deeply admiring their resolve, permitted them to have access to him without having them convert to Buddhism. When they lined up in the Dharma Hall he had them stand right behind the female monks. This is something quite rare for that period.

276

Denkroku

A monk named Zennyo (C. Shan-ju) remarked, I will be in Nyojs community for all of my life without taking a single step toward the South from whence I came. There were many of this kind who bore such a resolve not to leave the masters community. When the head gardener named Fu (C. Pu), who was illiterate and past sixty, aroused in his heart for the first time the resolve to seek enlightenment, the master carefully guided him until he finally saw the Way of the Ancestors clearly. Although he was the gardener, he would, from time to time, utter strange words or wondrous phrases and, for that reason, Nyoj once said in a lecture that the seniors of the various quarters were not equal to the gardener Fu and transferred him to the position of Chief Librarian. In a community where the Way is truly adhered to there are many who will keep to the Way, many whose hearts will aspire to enlightenment. He always encouraged people to sit in meditation. Constantly speaking of this, he would add, There is no need to burn incense, do prostrations, chant the Buddhas name, perform ritual austerities or read Scriptures; just sit there in meditation. In pointing this out, he would simply have them sit. He was also in the habit of saying, In practising meditation, what is most important is having a heart that aspires to the Way. Even though you grasp only a fraction, you cannot really maintain that which you have grasped if you are not the kind who has an aspiring heart. Without such a heart you will ultimately end up with false views and be careless, negligent and lazy; you will become a Buddhist heretic. All of you must never forget the foremost matter of having an aspiring heart. Employ your heart to its fullest in every single thing you do, concentrate on the TRUTH. Do not follow the herd in the fashions of the day but continue on, investigating the ancient style of training. If you are truly thus, then, even though you have not personally gained comprehension of IT, you are, from the first, an unsullied person. Since you are unsullied, how can you not be a clean

The Reverend Monk Tend Nyoj

277

and pure person from the first? This is why Chikan asked, How can THAT which has never been stained or polluted be purified? If you can get yourself out of your old rut, it could prove the chance of a lifetime. The skillful means of former Buddhas, from the first, did not give rise to partial understandings; they got people to train in one place with singleness of purpose and without concern for self. So, when you hold to no opinions of purity or defilement throughout the twenty-four hours of the day, you will naturally be without stain or pollution. Nyoj, however, had still not escaped from his opinions on stain and pollution, he was still using a push broom, as it were, to sweep them away. In spite of his having passed more than a year without seeing IT clearly, once he had found that there was no skin to shed or any body or mind to liberate, he said, I know THAT which is not stained or polluted. Although this was so, he immediately stuck a dab of dirt on himself. This is why Chikan struck Nyoj before he had finished speaking. At that moment Nyojs body was bathed with the Water of the Spirit, he immediately dropped off his body and found his strength at last. He really knew that he was clean and pure from the first and had never been stained or polluted by anything at all. For this reason he was in the habit of saying, To practise meditation is to drop off body and mind. Now tell me, what is THAT which is not stained or polluted? The winds of training fan far into the distance, irresistible as a diamond is hard; They circulate everywhere and, because of them, the whole world is sustained.

278

Denkroku

CHAPTER 52.

THE FIFTY-FIRST ANCESTOR, THE REVEREND MONK EIHEI DGEN.


Dgen trained under Tend Nyoj. Once, during late night meditation, Nyoj told the assembly, To practise meditation is indeed to drop off body and mind! Upon hearing this, Dgen suddenly had a great awakening to his TRUE SELF ; he arose immediately, went to the abbots quarters and offered incense. Nyoj asked him, Why are you making an incense offering? Dgen replied, Body and mind have dropped off. Nyoj said, Body and mind have dropped off the dropping-off of body and mind. Dgen said, This is a transitory ability; Reverend Monk, pray do not give me your Seal arbitrarily. Nyoj said, I am not giving you my Seal arbitrarily. Dgen said, What is THAT which does not give the Seal arbitrarily? Nyoj replied, THAT which drops off mind and body. Dgen bowed in respect. Nyoj said, The dropping-off has dropped off. Nyojs jisha, Kby (C. Huang-ping) of Fukush (C. Fu-chou), then said, For a foreigner to find such a state is truly no trifling matter. Nyoj said, Among those here, how many are up to a thump on the head? Having let go and dropped off body and mind, he is mild-mannered, yet how the thunder roars! Dgen (meaning The Foundation of the Way) was his personal name and his secular family name was Minamoto; he was a ninth-generation descendant of Emperor Murakami through the emperors son Prince Gochshos line. He was born in 1200 and, at the time, a physiognomist examining him said in all respect, This child is indeed a holy one; his eyes have double pupils. He will, no doubt, be a great vessel for the Teaching. An ancient book says, When someone is born a holy child his

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

279

mothers life is in danger. When this child is in his seventh year, his mother is sure to die. His mother, hearing this, was neither startled nor sceptical, neither frightened nor apprehensive; the words just increased her love and respect for her child. As anticipated, when Dgen turned eight his mother died. Everyone said, In spite of the discrepancy of a year, this does accord with what the physiognomist said. During the winter of his fourth year, whilst sitting upon his grandmothers lap, he began to read The Hundred Poems of Riky (C. Li Chiao) and, in the autumn of his seventh year, he presented his loving father with a volume of Chinese poetry from the ancient Chou Dynasty (1122255 B.C.). At the time some venerable and noted Confucian scholars concluded, This boy is not ordinary. He must be a child prodigy. When he lost his mother at the age of eight, his grief was profound. At Kyji, whilst watching the smoke rising from her funeral incense, he awoke to the impermanence of life and death and the resolve to realize enlightenment arose in his heart. In the spring of his ninth year he read Vasubandhus Abhidharma-kosha. An old Buddhist monk commented, He is as sharp as Monju and has a true talent for Mahayana. Dgen, hearing this kind of thing whilst still a child, treasured their words and studied even harder. At that time Fujiwara Moroie, an unrivalled example for court officials, was regent and child adviser to the emperor; he took Dgen under his wing and made him an adopted son. To Dgen he passed on the secrets of the Fujiwara familys success and taught him important things about political life. In the spring of his thirteenth year his foster father made arrangements for his coming-of-age ceremony with the intention of grooming him to be an important official at court but Dgen, unbeknownst to anyone, snuck out of the villa at Mount Kobata and travelled off on his own to the foot of Mount Hiei (where the major Tendai Buddhist monastery was, and is still, located). At that

280

Denkroku

time a monk named Rykan Hgen was abbot of the monastery as well as a revered teacher of both the exoteric and esoteric traditions; he was also Dgens maternal uncle. When Dgen arrived at Hgens quarters he said that he sought to leave home and become a monk. Hgen was greatly startled and said to him, Your coming-of-age ceremony is drawing near; both your father and your foster father will be decidedly offended, what do you have to say about that? Dgen replied, When my compassionate mother was near death she told me to leave home, become a monk and study the Way. I feel the same as she did about this. I do not want to mingle with the secular world for this, for me, is futile. I just wish to leave home and become a monk so that I may express my gratitude for my compassionate mother, grandmother and maternal aunt among others. Hgen, weeping with admiration, permitted Dgen to enter his quarters and let him study at the Senk House of Shuryogon-in in Hannya Valley in Yokawa. In Dgens fourteenth year, on the ninth day of the fourth lunar month of 1213, he bowed before the Director of Monks, Chief Priest Kin, and had his head shaved; the next day he received the Bodhisattva Precepts on the precept platform at Enryaku-ji and became a monk. He studied the Tendai practice of tranquillity and contemplation and took up the esoteric teachings of South India; by his eighteenth year he had read through the whole of the canon once. Dgen inquired of Kin, the Director of Monks at Miidera, concerning the great issue of the tradition since Kin was also Dgens maternal uncle and was unmatched at the time in both the esoteric and exoteric teachings. Kin told him, What you are uncertain about is the consummation of our tradition; it has been passed down orally through the generations since Dengy Daishi and Shikaku Ennin. I am unable to dispel these doubts of yours. A long time ago I heard that the great Indian master Bodaidaruma came to the eastern lands expressly to pass on the

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

281

Buddha-Seal. His approach to Teaching has now spread everywhere and has been called the meditation tradition. If you feel that you are determined to settle this issue, go to see Eisai, Director of Monks at Kennin-ji, inquire of him about these ancient customs and pay a visit to the Way in distant foreign lands. As a result of this interview, in the autumn of his eighteenth year, on the twenty-fifth day of the eighth lunar month of 1217, he joined the Monk Myzens community at Kennin-ji and was installed as a tonsured monk. Whilst Myzen was Director of Monks at Kennin-ji he caused all postulants to wait three years before he let them wear a formal monastic robe, however, when Dgen arrived there, he was permitted to wear the monastic robe the month following his arrival; two months later he was granted a monks kesa and robes as tokens of his being a vessel suitable for the Teaching. Myzen Transmitted all three traditions of exoteric, esoteric and Buddha Nature (i.e., Tendai, Shingon and Zen) and was Eisais legitimate heir. Reverend Monk Gisai recorded in the annals of Kennin-ji, The Treasure of the Dharma has been put in Myzens charge only. Those who wish to inquire into Eisais Teaching must ask Myzen. Dgen entered Myzens quarters as a trainee and once again received the Bodhisattva Precepts. As he had previously been given a kesa and a begging bowl among other things, he now received the one hundred and thirty-four sacred methods of practice and instructions in making incense offerings according to the secret teaching of the Taniry branch of Tendai. Along with these he was taught such things as the Vinaya Pitaka and studied the Tendai practices of tranquillity and contemplation. He heard about the Rinzai approach to training for the first time and had the orthodox Blood-lines of all three traditions of exoteric, esoteric and Buddha Nature passed on to him. He alone was Myzens legitimate heir.

282

Denkroku

Some seven years passed. Then, in the spring of his twentyfourth year, on the twenty-second day of the second lunar month of 1223, he paid his respects at the stupa of Kennin-jis Ancestor Eisai and headed for Sung Dynasty China; he hung up his travelling staff at Mount Tend that same year. Whilst he was in China the first master among those he visited with whom he had an audience was Kinzan Nyoen (C. Ching-shan Ju-yen). Nyoen asked him, When did you arrive here? Dgen replied, In the fourth lunar month of last year. Nyoen asked, Did you come by following the herd? Dgen said, What if I say that I did not come by following the herd? Nyoen responded, That too is coming by following the herd. Dgen said, Since either way I am coming by following the herd, what, pray, is appropriate? Nyoen gave him a slap and said, What a talkative little monk you are! Dgen replied, It is not that I am not a talkative little monk; it is what, pray, is appropriate? Nyoen said, Sit awhile and have some tea. He called on Shsuigan (C. Hsiao-tsui-yen) in Taish (C. Tai-chou) and, when he saw the monk Shitaku (C. Ssucho), asked him, What is Buddha? Shitaku said, THAT which is within the hall. Dgen said, If HE is THAT which is in the hall, how can HE pervade worlds as numerous as the sands of the Ganges? Shitaku said, By pervading innumerable worlds. Dgen said, Toppled by my own words! Going around engaging various masters in dialogues in this way he developed a high opinion of himself, thinking, There is no one in Japan or in great Sung China equal to me. He was preparing to return home when a man named Rshin (C. Laohsin) persuaded him to stay by saying, The only one within great Sung China who possesses the Eye of the Law is Nyoj. If you have an audience with him, you will surely realize what you seek. Although advised in this way, Dgen did not try to make the visit for more than a year; by that time Musai (C. Wuchi) had died and Nyoj had been appointed head of Tend.

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

283

Feeling that he and Nyoj might have past karmic links, Dgen paid the latter a visit to inquire into his doubts. From the very moment they first met Dgen let go of his argumentativeness (literally, broke his spear head) and, in consequence, they became master and disciple. Intent on training thoroughly Dgen respectfully presented Nyoj with a letter that read, Since childhood I have resolved to realize enlightenment but, though I walked the Way with several masters in my native country and was somewhat acquainted with the principle of karmic cause and effect, I did not yet know the true cardinal point of the Buddhas Teaching. I was bogged down in the mental mire of names and appearances. Later I entered the quarters of Meditation Master Senk Eisai in order to train and, for the first time, learned of the Rinzai approach to training. I have now followed Dharma Master Myzen to great Sung China and have been able to join you, Reverend Monk, here where you teach the Dharma; this, to me, is good fortune resulting from merit accumulated in past lives. I, an insignificant being from a remote foreign land, beg that you, Reverend Monk, in your great compassion, regardless of the appropriateness of time or decorum, allow me to come often to your abbatical quarters to ask you in all respectfulness about the essentials of the Dharma. Out of your great compassion and benevolence, please hear my request and grant it. Nyoj responded, Disciple Dgen, from now on, whether you are wearing your formal robes or not, whether it is day or night, you may come to inquire. I will excuse any breach of formalities as if we were father and son. After this Dgen inquired day and night into the very marrow of the Teaching and received Its innermost meanings directly. One day Nyoj asked Dgen to be his attendant and Dgen responded, I am a foreigner. Although I am grateful for the offer, were I to be a your attendant in this great temple in this great country, it might cause severe problems for the monastery.

284

Denkroku

I only wish to visit you day or night. Nyoj then said, What you have said is truly most modest and humble and not without foundation. Consequently Dgen came to Nyoj just to engage in dialogues and to receive instruction. During a late night meditation, Nyoj entered the meditation hall and admonished the community for dozing off, saying, To practise meditation is indeed to drop off body and mind. Do not desire to burn incense, make prostrations, chant the Buddhas name, perform austerities or read Scriptures. Just sit in meditation; only then will you find IT. When Dgen heard this he suddenly had a great awakening as related in the story that we are now considering. From about the time that he had his first audience with Nyoj he exerted all his strength day and night in practising the Way, never ceasing for a moment, therefore he never lay down. Nyoj was wont to tell him, You conduct yourself like the ancient Buddhas. You will undoubtedly propagate the Ancestral Way. My finding you is like Shakyamuni finding Makakash. In consequence of this, he joined the Ancestral ranks as the fifty-first generation overnight in 1225. Nyoj urged him, saying, Return quickly to your native land and spread the Ancestral Way. Seclude yourself deep in the mountains; mature and nourish the seed of Buddhahood within you through your practice. Whilst in great Sung China Dgen reverently examined the Transmission Silks of the five families of Zen. The very first occasion occurred when he met the former abbot of Kfuku-ji (C. Kuang-fu-ssu), Iichi Seid (C. Wei-i Hsi-tang), who said, To be able to view ancient historic relics is a curious human pleasure. How many have you seen so far? Dgen answered, I have not seen any yet. Iichi then said, Elder brother, I have here an old one which I will show you. He showed Dgen what he was carrying. It was a set of Transmission Silks of the Hgen (C. Fa-yen) line. Iichi said, I came across these among the

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

285

robes and begging bowl of a certain venerable old monk. They did not belong to Iichi. Although they had their own calligraphic style, Iichi did not have time to go over them with Dgen in detail. When the Elder Shgatsu (C. Tsung-yueh) was senior monk at Tend, Dgen reverently examined a set of Transmission Silks of the Ummon line and then asked Shgatsu, When I compare the Blood-lines of the five families, there are some slight discrepancies. How can this be? If the direct succession passed between master and disciple from India to China, how can there be discrepancies? Shgatsu said, Even if the differences were huge, you should learn that the Buddhas Dharma at Mount Ummon is precisely the same as ours. Why is Shakyamuni respected? He is respected because He was enlightened. Why is Great Master Ummon respected? He is respected because he was enlightened. When Dgen heard these words he gained some appreciation of the significance of this. The librarian Den (C. Chuan) was a distant descendant of the monk Seien (C. Ching-yuan), also known as Meditation Master Butsugen (C. Fo-yen) of Rymon (C. Lung-men). Librarian Den also had a set of Transmission Silks. In the early 1200s, a Japanese monk named Ryzen, who was Head Monk, had nursed Den during an illness. Den brought out his Transmission Silks in gratitude for Ryzens labours so that he could examine them, saying, They are something rarely shown to others but I am letting you see them out of respect. Half a year later, around the autumn of 1223, whilst Dgen was temporarily staying on Mount Tend, Ryzen courteously asked Den to show them to Dgen; they were Transmission Silks of the Yki (C. Yang-chi) branch of the Rinzai line. On the twenty-first day of the first lunar month of 1224 Dgen reverently examined the Transmission Silks of Reverend Ryha (C. Liao-pai) who is also known as Meditation Master Tend Musai. Musai said, Being able to examine such Silks is

286

Denkroku

rare. Now, elder brother, you can see them for yourself. They are indeed the true cardinal point in studying the Way. Dgens joy was unsurpassed. After travelling to Mount Tendai, Mount Gant (C. Yentang) and other places in the years from 1225 to 1228, he went to Mannen-ji (C. Wan-nien-ssu) in Heiden (C. Ping-tien). The abbot at that time was Reverend Gensai (C. Yuan-chi) of Fukush. After their introductory remarks they had begun to discuss the approaches to training of the Buddhas and Ancestors when the subject of the succession between the great Isan (C. San-shan) and his disciple Kyzan (C. Yang-shan) arose. Gensai said, Have you ever seen the Transmission Silks that I have? Dgen replied, How could I have? Gensai rose and held up his Transmission Silks, saying, Even if someone were a close friend, even if he were someone who had spent years as my jisha, I would not permit him to see them. They are, of course, the Dharma instructions of the Buddhas and Ancestors. Once, when I was on my daily town trip, I was making my way through the city to see the governor when I had a vision in which there was a lofty monk who looked like Meditation Master Hj (C. Fa-chang) of Daibai Mountain (C. Ta-mei, Great Plum Tree). He proffered me a branch of plum blossoms saying, If you should meet a REAL PERSON who has already crossed over by boat do not begrudge him these flowers, as he handed it to me. In the vision I recited, without thinking, Before he even entered the boat, he deserved thirty blows. Not five days have passed when I meet you face to face, elder brother, and, what is more, you came by boat. This succession line has been written on damask that has a plum blossom pattern woven into it by Daibai Hjs instructions. Since you, elder brother, correspond to the one mentioned in the vision, I have produced the Silks for you to see. Do you wish to inherit the Dharma from me? If you so wish, I cannot begrudge It to you. Dgen trusted him completely but, although he was told that

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

287

he had but to ask for the Transmission Silks, he just offered incense and made a prostration before them simply to show his respect. The jisha in charge of incense, Hnei (C. Fa-ming) by name, who happened to be there at the time said that it was the first time that he had seen the Transmission Silks. Dgen speculated privately, Truly, were it not for unseen aid from the Buddhas and Ancestors, it would be difficult indeed for me to have examined these. What good fortune I, an ignorant person from a remote land, have had to have seen so many of them, and tears of emotion wet his sleeve. Whilst visiting mountain monasteries he lodged at Hsei-ji (C. Hu-sheng-ssu) on Mount Daibai where, after the sun had fully risen, he had a wondrous vision in which the Ancestral Master Daibai came and gave him a branch of plum blossoms in full bloom. Because Dgen had truly opened the Eye of the Law just as the ancient holy ones had done, he had looked upon several Transmission Silks and had a revelation about unseen spiritual assistance. Dgen returned to Japan, in 1227, having received recognition from various masters in this way, received Tend Nyojs Seal of authentication, understood the great issue of his life and received the instructions in the Dharma of the successive generations of Ancestors. He first took up residence in Kennin-ji, where the remains of his original master Eisai were, and trained there for a while; he was in his twenty-eighth year at the time. After that, whilst seeking a suitable place in which to sequester himself, he inspected thirteen different locations which patrons had offered to him in the Osaka and Kyoto areas but none were suited to his intentions. For a while he stayed near Gokuraku-ji in Fukakusa in the Uji district of Kyoto; he was in his thirtyfourth year. Trainees gradually sought his approach to practice and gathered about him until there were more than fifty. Ten years later he moved to Echizen Prefecture and opened a monastery deep in the mountains in a villa owned by the Shibi family, pruning back the brambles, rethatching roofs, making patches

288

Denkroku

from mud and wood and opening up the Ancestral Way; this is what is now Eihei-ji. When he was at Ksh-ji a deva used to come to hear the Precepts and join in as an observer at the twice-monthly renewal of Bodhisattva vows. At Eihei-ji a divine dragon showed up requesting the eight Precepts of abstinence and asking to be included among the daily transfers of merit. Because of this Dgen wrote out the eight Precepts every day and offered the merit thereof to the dragon. Up to this very day this practice has not been neglected. In the more than seven hundred years that the Buddhas Dharma has been disseminated in Japan, Dgen was the first to enkindle the True Law. In 552, fifteen hundred years after the Buddhas parinirvana, Buddha statues and other sacred objects were brought over from Korea and, fourteen years later, two scrolls with Buddhist pictures were brought across; thereafter miraculous events concerning the Buddhas Teaching gradually began to occur. It is said that eleven years later Crown Prince Shotoku was born clasping a relic of the Buddha in his hand; this was in the third year of Emperor Ymeis reign. After Shotoku lectured on the Lotus Scripture and the Shrimaladevi Scripture, among others, Buddhist terms, forms, teachings and texts spread throughout the country. At the request of Princess Tachibana, Meditation Master Gik (C. I-kung), a disciple of National Teacher Saian (C. Chi-an) of Tang Dynasty China, arrived in the southern capital of Nara but only his name on a stone monument remains; since he had no successors, his tradition was not passed on. Later, the eminent monk Kakua, as a true disciple of Meditation Master Bukkai Eon (C. Fo-hai Huiyuan) of Katt (C. Huai-tang), returned to Japan but his approach to training failed to flourish. Director of Monks Eisai was a direct heir to the approach to training of Reverend Monk Trin Esh (C. Tun-lin Huai-chang) in the eighth generation of the ry (C. Huang-lung) line of Rinzai. He attempted to set up the ry tradition of training by writing treatises such as

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

289

Fostering Meditation to Protect the Nation and petitioning the emperor; although he was supported by authorities in Nara and Kyoto, his Zen was not pure in that he established a triune tradition mixing together Tendai, Shingon and Zen. Although Dgen had thoroughly penetrated the Rinzai approach and was a legitimate heir to it through Eisai, he still called on Reverend Monk Nyoj and settled the issue of his life before returning to his homeland to spread the True Law. This was truly good fortune for the nation and a blessing for its people. It is just like the Twenty-eighth Indian Ancestor Great Master Bodaidarumas entering Tang China; he became the First Ancestor of China. Dgen is similarly regarded as the Fifty-first Ancestor in Sung China and the First Ancestor in Japan which is why Dgen is respectfully called the Premier Ancestor of our monastic line. Sung China was filled with proper teachers whose approaches to training had spread far and wide among the people but, if Dgen had not met a genuine master and trained deeply under him, how could the Eye and Treasury of the True Law of the Ancestors and Masters have been opened and clarified for us today? The people of the time had turned to frivolity and decadence, bolstering up their society during the last days of the Dharma; even in China the Buddhas Dharma had already waned, clear-eyed teachers were rare. Even though Musai Ryha and Setsu Nyoen, among others, were abbots of great monasteries, their realization was still incomplete. This is why Dgen felt that even in great Sung China there was no one to help him and was on the verge of returning home when Reverend Monk Nyoj, as the sole representative of the twelfth generation from Tzan, Transmitted to him the true Blood-Line of the Ancestors and Masters. Nyoj was still keeping it secret but, even though he did not display his inheritance to others, he did not conceal it from Dgen, nor did he withhold oral instructions but fully Transmitted the Ancestral approach to him. This was extraordinary, truly exceptional.

290

Denkroku

Being part of his monastic Blood-Line, I am most grateful that he had the good fortune to seek out this Ancestral approach to training; for me it has been just like the face-to-face encounter of the Third and Fourth Chinese Ancestors Kanchi Ssan and Daii Dshin. The teaching approach has not collapsed; its traces are to be found in India, China and Japan, yet what is Transmitted has still not changed even the least bit. How could the purpose for which we train and probe possibly be something other? To begin with we must clarify what mind is. As was said in the very first account of Dgens finding of the Way, To practise meditation is indeed to drop off body and mind. To practise meditation you must truly abandon your attachments to body and get free of your attachments to mind. If you have not yet dropped off body and mind, this is not the Way. You may very well imagine that the body is skin, flesh, bones and marrow but, when you can fully see, not a smidgeon of them can be found at any moment. People nowadays are of two kinds according to what they regard as mind. The first considers mind as something evaluative and judgmentalthat consciousness which understands through discrimination. The second considers mind as something silent and unmoving, void of both awareness and comprehension of anything; this mind is, accordingly, immaculately bright and profoundly tranquil. These people do not realize that such a mind is still not free of the karmic root of consciousness which is why the ancients called it the unperturbed place of immaculate brightness and stillness. Do not you abide here thinking that it is MIND or HEART-MIND. When you are able to look more carefully, you will see that there is a three-way division; pure mind or heart (S. citta), judgmental thought (S. manas) and consciousness (as awareness of perceptions) (S. vijana). Consciousness is that aspect of mind which desires and detests, affirms or denies (what is in the

The Reverend Monk Eihei Dgen

291

present). Thought cognizes whether something is warm or cold and is aware of pain and itch. Pure mind or heart does not discriminate right from wrong and is not aware of pain or itch. It is like a fence or wall made of wood or stone; it can be considered as truly still, as though without eyes or ears. When we speak from the perspective of mind or heart it is like a wooden manikin or a human figure cast from iron; although such a thing may have eyes it does not see; although it has ears it does not hear. Words and concepts will not suffice to communicate what it is. Whilst what is like this can indeed be called mind, it is actually the seed from which arises our cognition of warmth and cold and our awareness of pain and itch. Thought and consciousness are built upon it, however do not think that it is the ORIGINAL MIND. To learn the Way means to steer clear of pure mind or heart, judgmental thought and perceptual consciousness; these are not things that you should think of as body and mind. There is even a more wondrous clarity and ever-steadfast brightness; if you scrutinize carefully, you will undoubtedly reach IT. If you can succeed in seeing this MIND clearly, no body or mind will be found, positively no I or other will be carried along, hence Nyoj said one should drop off body and mind. At this point, although you look intently with a thousand eyes, there is not a scintilla of skin, flesh, bone or marrow, nothing that can be discerned as mind, thought or consciousness so how can you possibly be aware of cold and warmth, how discern pain or itch? What is there to affirm or deny, what to crave or hate? This is why they say, When you look, not a single thing is there. When Dgen grasped what this state was he said, Body and mind have dropped off. Nyoj confirmed this by saying, Body and mind have dropped off the dropped-off body and mind, and finally by saying, The dropping-off has dropped off. Once you reach this stage, you resemble a basket without a bottom or a lacquered bowl as full of holes as a sieve;

292

Denkroku

no matter how much runs out, you will find that it is never empty; no matter how much is put in, you will find that it is never filled. When you reach this moment, it is called dropping the bottom out of the bucket. If you believe that there is even a hair to be enlightened or to be acquired, it is not the Way. You will simply be spending your life playing around with your vital energy. You must all grasp what IT is in detail, train thoroughly and probe deeply, then you will know directly through your experience that there is a BODY which is not tied to skin, flesh, bone or marrow. Try as you may to drop off this BODY, you will not be able to do it. Therefore, in speaking of this state, it is said, When everything has been completely emptied out, there will be THAT which cannot be emptied out. If you can see IT clearly, you will not doubt any of the venerable monks in the world or what is on the tip of the tongues of all the Buddhas of past, present and future. What would be the principle of this? Do you wish to hear? The bright, shining, pure PLACE has neither inside nor outside So how can there possibly be any body or mind to drop off?

CHAPTER 53.

THE FIFTY-SECOND ANCESTOR, THE REVEREND MONK KOUN EJ OF EIHEI


Ej trained under Dgen. One day, whilst receiving instruction, he heard Dgen use the expression, A single hair pierces through a multitude of holes and was immediately awakened to his TRUE SELF. That night, after having made

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

293

bows, he asked Dgen, Apart from the single hair, what are the multitude of holes? Dgen grinned and said, Completely pierced. Ej bowed respectfully. Ej (The Great-hearted One) was his personal name; his family name was Fujiwara. He was the grandson of Hidemichi, a fourth-generation descendant of the Imperial Minister of State, Fujiwara Tamemichi; he joined Enn Hins enclave on Mount Hiei and, in his eighteenth year, had his head shaved. Following this he studied the two scholastic traditions of Kusha and Jjitsu (associated respectively with the Abhidharma and Satyasiddhi treatises) later studying the Great Tranquillity and Contemplation (J. Makashikan; C. Mo-ho Chih Kuan). Realizing that there was no particular benefit in pursuing the study of these for fame and gain, he enkindled the aspiration for enlightenment (literally, the Bodhi-mind) whilst nevertheless following the wishes of his teacher and applying himself to the continued pursuit of his studies. Then, one day when he went to his mothers house, she admonished him, saying, My intention in letting you leave home to become a monk did not include your being appointed to some high rank or mingling with the gentry. Do not pursue your studies merely for fame and gain; my only thought was that you would be a black-robed mendicant, with your rain hat hung over your back, travelling here and there on foot. When Ej heard this he acquiesced to her wishes, immediately changed his robes and did not climb Mount Hiei again; he studied Pure Land teachings and listened to the profound explanations of Kosaka (founder of the Seizan branch of Jdo). He went later on to visit the eminent Butchi of Tnomine who had received the Ancestral teaching of Meditation Master Bussh (C. Fo-chao) in China and who gave talks on the meaning of seeing into ones NATURE (J. kensh). Ej surpassed others in his energy and thoroughness. One day, when Butchi was giving a talk on the Shurangama Scripture

294

Denkroku

and had reached the passage concerning the simile of the jug shaped like a kalavinka bird where it is said that the emptiness within the jug is not increased by adding emptiness nor diminished by removing emptiness, Ej had a profound awakening. The eminent Butchi said, How can your evil karmic roots and obstacles of delusion, which have existed for long kalpas without a beginning, completely dissolve and you be totally liberated from suffering? Ejs more than thirty fellow students in the assembly there at the time all agreed that this was extraordinarily wonderful teaching and deeply respected him for it. In 1227 Dgen returned to Kennin-ji from China to polish his training; by that time he had gained the reputation of having brought the Transmission of the True Law from Sung China and for wishing to propagate it privately. Ej, hearing of this, thought, Although I was not unknowledgeable of the Tendai approach to the three forms of tranquillity and the three types of contemplation and had grasped the essential practices of Pure Lands Single Gate, still I went to train at Tnomine where I grasped the great significance of seeing into ones NATURE and becoming Buddha. What is it that Dgen has brought with him from China? So saying to himself he went to visit Dgen with the intention of testing him. During the first few days that they conversed, they talked about the marvellous, ineffable wisdom of seeing into ones NATURE in a manner similar to what Ej had realized. At this time Ej was delighted, thinking that what he had found was genuine since nothing contradicted his understanding and his respect and admiration for Dgen only increased, however, after several days had passed, Dgen startled Ej by revealing a markedly different interpretation. Ej was about to take issue and argue with Dgen but, realizing that Dgen had a completely different understanding that lay beyond what he held, he aroused his determination to an even greater level and made the effort to yield to Dgens understanding.

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

295

Dgen told him, I am Transmitting the teaching of my monastic line and will attempt to propagate it in Japan. Although I could stay in this temple, I have been thinking of choosing another location in which to reside. If I find a place and set up a small hermitage there, you should come for a visit. It is inadvisable for you to attend on me here. Ej followed Dgens instruction and bided his time. Subsequently Dgen constructed his small hermitage near Gokuraku-ji in Fukakusa and lived there alone; two years passed without a single person coming to call when Ej arrived in 1234 for a visit. Dgen was delighted and permitted him to enter his quarters for instruction; day and night they talked about the Ancestral Way. After three years had elapsed the present case came up whilst Ej was seeking instruction, that is, the case of A moment of thought is the same as ten thousand years; a single hair pierces a multitude of holes. When it comes to passing an examination, it is up to you whether you pass it; when it comes to surpassing the crowd, it is up to you whether you surpass it. Upon hearing this Ej immediately had an awakening to his TRUE SELF. After Ej had received formal recognition he attended Dgen without leaving him for even a single day; for twenty years he was like a shadow following a form. Even though he was given various other duties, he duly combined them with his being Dgens jisha, assuming the position of jisha upon completion of any other task. This is why I heard Ej so often say, Reverend Monk Butsuju Myzen had many followers but it was Dgen alone who practised the TRUTH ; although Dgen also had many trainees, only I had private access to his quarters, therefore, whilst I was privy to what others were not, there was nothing that others heard him say that I did not. After Ej finally received the way of teaching of our monastic line, Dgen depended on him heavily and had him perform all the various ceremonies at Eihei-ji. When Ej asked

296

Denkroku

him the reason for this Dgen replied, I cannot live for long. Since you will outlive me, you must by all means propagate my Way. This is why, for the sake of the Teaching, I depend on you so heavily. Courtesies and proprieties in Dgens quarters were carried out as if Dgen were an apprentice and Ej a master artisan. In each of the four monastic seasons Ej was respectfully proffered congratulations as a show of courtesy. The Way of master and disciple united; the light of their minds eyes merged like water flowing into water or sky joining with sky, there was not the slightest discrepancy. Ej alone knew Dgens mind; it was not something others knew. Whilst Ej was at Fukakusa polishing his training, a notice fixing the length of time that a monk could be out of the monastery was posted for the community, it read, Twice a month, three days per trip. Now when Ejs poor mother was in the midst of her final illness and he went to visit her he did not violate the established time limit. When her illness had become far advanced, she craved to look upon his face for the final time. Since her entreaties had already become pressing, the whole community urged him to go; although Ej had thoroughly considered the matter within his heart, still he wished to know how the community felt. Gathering them together he announced, My mother begs to see me face to face for one last time but, as my going would violate the rule, I wonder whether I should go or not. The more than fifty monks all agreed that, even though it was prohibited by the rule, he should still go since he would not be able to see his poor mother alive again. After all, they said, Dgen would surely not go against the feelings of the whole community, how could he refuse to let Ej go, and, besides, it was a very serious situation compared to the small matter of a rule. The whole community was of one accord. Dgen, hearing of this matter, said to himself, Lord Ejs mind is made up; he will not go since he is not

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

297

in accord with the communitys discussion. Sure enough, after the community had finished its deliberations, Ej addressed the assembly, saying, The standards of the Buddhas Ancestors are undoubtedly more important than the views of the community. This is a rule concerning the propriety of the ancient Buddhas; were I to follow my human emotions for my poor mother and transgress the model of the ancient Buddhas, how could I avoid the serious error of being unfilial toward her for I would now be breaking even more of the Buddhas rules? This would be the ultimate great wrong against my mother for I, as a person who has left home to become a monk, must help my parent enter into the Way. By following my human emotions just this once, will I not cause her to sink down into the sea of cyclic birth-and-death for many long kalpas? So saying he did not ultimately follow the opinions of the community and, as a result, the community members were speechless with admiration and did not disagree with what he had said. They all praised him as a person with a resolve truly hard to find. In this way Ejs resolve not to violate his masters wishes during the twenty-four hours of the day was taken as a lesson even by Dgen; the minds of master and disciple were truly interpenetrating. During their twenty years together whenever Ej, in conformity with Dgens orders, was being treated for some illness, he was not out of his masters sight for more than ten days. Nangaku Ej attended on the Sixth Chinese Ancestor En through the eight years prior to his awakening and through the first eight years of his understanding, fifteen autumns in all. Besides him there have been many who did not leave their master for thirty or forty years but no one like Ej has yet been encountered in past or present. During the fifteen years that Ej was continuing to occupy the Dharma seat at Eihei-ji he kept a portrait of his former master beside him in his abbatical quarters; at night he would

298

Denkroku

express his esteem before it and at dawn he would bow before it in greeting without missing even a single day. He hoped to attend on Dgen in world after world and in life after life, praying that he might ultimately be to him as Ananda was to Shakyamuni. So that his illusory body from his present life would not be separated from that of Dgen he had his own remains buried at his former masters stupa in the position of a jisha without a separate stupa being erected for himself lest such a stupa indicate something to be reverenced. He was also concerned lest a special memorial service be performed for him, so he requested that, during the eight days of memorial services for Dgen, he share in the transfer of merit from one of the days. As a matter of fact the last moments of his life came on the twenty-fourth day of the same month as Dgens and, as he had wished, one day is set aside for him during the Founders Day Memorial which shows the importance of the spirit of resolve. In stressing probity and protecting the Dharma, Ej did not transgress against the Founders community in the slightest. Dgens whole communitythe wise and the foolish, the old and the youngcompletely turned to him; all who everywhere are now called the monastic disciples of Eihei are Ejs adherents. Because the fires of his Dharma so blazed forth that they were visible from afar, a certain person in the Ono district of Echizen Province had a vision in which a great fire was blazing high on a mountain to the north and people were asking, What kind of fire is this that it should burn so? The visionary answered them, It is the Dharma fire of Bupp Shnin (literally, the Buddha Dharma Saint). Later the man, whilst telling someone of his vision, learned that a person referred to as the Buddha Dharma Saint lived on the northern mountain of Usaka and that his disciples were still living on that mountain even though years had gone by since he departed this world. Since

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

299

this was startling, the man took pains to write down his vision and investigate the matter. Because Ej did not deviate from Dgens predictions concerning the Transmitting of the Founders Dharma Way and the propagating of it at Eihei-ji, his descendants extend down to the present and his approach to training still continues uninterrupted. As a result, (my master) the venerable monk Tetts Gikai of this temple, as Ejs direct heir, has raised here the banner of the Dharma and offered this monastery the means of training of our monastic line. Consequently brotherly trainees endure hunger and cold in order to study the ancient way of training; they disregard myriad difficulties in order to look within and probe deeply day and night. This is all because Ejs meritorious method of training still survives and his hallowed bones are still warm. If we copy Ejs conduct in esteeming the Dharma and emulate his genuine habit of spreading virtue, then there is nowhere in Japan that his means of training will not reach; everywhere throughout the whole country will be won over to Eihei-jis method of training. If your mental preparation today is like that of monks of old, the future spreading of our means of training will be like that in great Sung China. Now, as to the spirit of a single hair pierces a multitude of holes, Ej had already asked, Apart from the single hair, what are the multitude of holes? Not the slenderest hair can be raised, not a single thing can sprout up, therefore the ancients said, The sphere of the ABSOLUTE sustains not a single mote of dust; not the least bit of anything sprouts up in the whole clear sky. When Ej was able to understand in this way, Dgen gave him his recognition, saying, They are indeed completely pierced. The hundreds of thousands of subtle principles and countless Dharma gates are totally penetrated by the SINGLE HAIR ; not a single particle comes from outside IT, hence IT is not

300

Denkroku

confined within the ten directions nor is IT partitioned into the three worlds of past, present and future. IT chimes out in crystal clarity, IT shines forth in brilliance and clarity. Were this REALM illumined by a string of a thousand suns they would still not equal ITS brightness; were you to gaze at IT with a thousand eyes ITS boundaries could not be ascertained, nevertheless every single person, beyond any doubt, is completely awake to the TRUE SELF therefore IT is not some tranquil, vacant thing nor is IT some discernible form. There is nothing moving or inactive, nothing heard or seen. Have you completely reached IT and become fully awakened like this? If you have not personally experienced this state, then, even though you practise meritoriously for millions of years and have audiences with Buddhas as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges, these meritorious practices of yours are still only meritorious as the world understands the word, you have not fathomed even the most trifling bit of our Ancestral teaching. As a result of this you will not be able to escape the wheel of suffering in the triple world of desire, form and beyond form nor will there be any end to your continual rebirth by the four modes of reproduction. All of you, fortunately, have patterned yourselves on the form and figure of the Buddha, making use of what the Buddha accepted and used. If it has not yet been your lot to have grasped what the BUDDHA MIND is, not only have you made fools of yourselves and cheated yourselves all day long but you have also smashed all the Buddhas to bits; you have not destroyed your ignorance but, like wandering exiles, all confused, drift on the waves of your karmically induced perceptions. Even though you may experience for a while the fruits of being a human or a deva as the result of the strength of your good karmic roots and may exult in your worldly pleasures, you are like a cart wheel, one minute pushed through the mud, the next minute dragged through the dust. You are a sen-

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

301

tient being who drifts on without beginning or end as a result of the effect of your past karma. Even though you may be conversant with the twelve divisions of the canon and may open eighty-four thousand Dharma gates through your preaching, in effect you are like a cat intent on watching a rat; your outer appearance seems still but your mind never ceases in its pursuit. Even though you are scrupulous in your training, throughout the whole day the realm of your mind is still not tranquil. As a result of this, the doubts that hinder you persist; you are like a fox who dashes off quickly but slows his own progress because he keeps looking back over his shoulder, the degeneracy of a wild fox spirit lies in his spending his life ceaselessly playing around with his vital energy. So, take no delight in great quantities of information, do not pursue broad learning. Be it for a short while, be it for a split second, simply arouse your resolve as if it were a great conflagration in which not even the finest specks of dust are spared, as if it were the vast open sky that not even a needle can pierce. Whilst not beyond conception, THAT which you will realize is certainly beyond the reach of thought; even though inconceivable, THAT which you will realize is, beyond doubt, incapable of being emptied. If your resolve is truly genuine in this way, then, when your resolve has become firm, everyone will completely pass through it and there will not be the slightest separation from what the Buddhas of past, present and future have affirmed. This is why the Founder of Eihei-ji said, When people seek the Way they should be like someone desiring to meet a beautiful woman in high society, someone planning to pummel a frightful adversary or someone intent on destroying a strong castle. When your resolve has become deep, this beauty ultimately will be met and the castle will be reduced to ruins. When you turn this resolve of yours to pursuing the Way, a thousand, nay, ten thousand will all find the Way. Do not, any of you, think that the Waythe Mahayana teaching of the formlesssingles out

302

Denkroku

the talented so that beginners and old-timers cannot reach IT ; there is no wit or dullness whatsoever, nothing whatever that needs to be worked on. Once your raging passion bursts forth, you will have a profound realization of the TRUTH. Now tell me, what is this principle? I have already presented it to this assembly. The spacious VOID, from the first, does not let even a needle pierce IT : IT is vast and still, dependent on nothing, so who, pray, is there to dispute IT ? When you have reached this REALM, not even the words the single hair come up, to say nothing of a multitude of holes. Even so, although everything in the universe is obliterated, there is THAT which is not obliterated; although all has come to an end, there is THAT which has not, does not and will not come to an end. IT is both in deed and in truth as IT should naturally be. Utterly void in ITS immaculacy, IT is, from the first, wondrously functional therefore some call IT pure and stripped bare, others call IT naked and without blemish, still others call IT the alert and clear REALM whilst others call IT the brilliant and pure REALM. IT has neither a particle of doubt or fear nor a speck of floating dust; IT is brighter than a billion suns and moons. You cannot say that IT is white or that IT is red. To realize IT is just like waking from a dream. IT is simply vitality hence we give IT the name THE VITAL. Speaking of IT as alert means simply that IT has total awareness; speaking of IT as brilliant means simply that IT is totally bright. There is no need to say that there is no inside or outside; there is no need to say that IT extends back into the past or reaches to the present therefore do not say that the SINGLE HAIR pierces a multitude of holes. What is there to completely pierce?

The Reverend Monk Koun Ej

303

If you were to call IT the SINGLE HAIR, then this is the sort of thing that Ej found. What is the essence of this SINGLE HAIR? Do you wish to hear? The spacious VOID, from the first, does not let even a needle pierce IT ; Vast and still IT is, dependent on nothing, so who, pray, is there to dispute IT ? Do not speak of IT as the SINGLE HAIR piercing a multitude of holes; IT is a REALM naked and without blemish, beyond any trace of anything.

304

Denkroku

305

ABOUT THE ORDER OF BUDDHIST CONTEMPLATIVES


The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives is a religious order practicing Serene Reflection Meditation (J. St Zen) as transmitted from The Very Reverend Keid Chisan Koh Zenji, Abbot of Dai Hon Zan Sjiji in Yokohama, Japan, to Reverend Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett. Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett came to the United States in 1969 and established Shasta Abbey in 1970. She founded the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives in 1978, serving as Head of the Order until her death in 1996. In North America, the Order now has Priories (congregational temples) in Albany and Maricopa, California; Eugene and Portland, Oregon; McKenna and Seattle, Washington; Edmonton, Alberta and Vancouver, B.C., Canada. In Europe, Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey in northern England was founded in 1972, and O.B.C. Priories are located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and Reading and Telford, England. There are also meditation groups affiliated with the Order in Great Britain, Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, and Germany. The Order has male and female monks; women and men have equal status and recognition and train together in the Buddhist priesthood; they are referred to as both monks and priests. The monastic order is celibate and vegetarian. In addition to monastics, the Order includes lay ministers throughout the world. The Head of the Order is Rev. Master Daizui MacPhillamy. The Order publishes The Journal of the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives quarterly.

O.B.C. website: www.obcon.org

305

306

Denkroku

ABOUT THE MONASTERIES OF THE ORDER


Shasta Abbey, located on sixteen forested acres near the city of Mount Shasta in northern California, is a seminary for the Buddhist priesthood and training monastery for both lay and monastic Buddhists and visitors. It was established in 1970 by Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett, who was Abbess and spiritual director until her death in 1996. Buddhist training at Shasta Abbey is based on the practice of Serene Reflection Meditation and the keeping of the Buddhist Precepts. The monastery is home to over thirty ordained male and female monks and its Abbot is Rev. Master Ek Little, a senior disciple of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. Guests and visitors follow a schedule that is similar to that of the monastic community, providing a balance of sitting meditation, work, ceremonial, and instruction in Buddhism. The schedule allows the mind of meditation to be cultivated and maintained throughout all aspects of daily life. Retreat guests stay at the Abbeys guest house, which accommodates about forty people. All meals are vegetarian and are prepared in the Abbey kitchen. A stay at Shasta Abbey allows visitors to set aside their usual daily concerns so that they may participate wholeheartedly in the spiritual life of the monastery. In addition to its monastic and lay training programs, Shasta Abbey offers a Buddhist Supply service and publishes books through Shasta Abbey Press. For more information, call or write Shasta Abbey, 3724 Summit Drive, Mt. Shasta, California, 96067-9102; phone: (530) 926-4208; fax: (530) 926-0428; e-mail: shastaabbey@obcon.org.

306

307

Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey is situated in a quiet valley in the north of England. It was founded in 1972 by Rev. Master P.T.N.H. Jiyu-Kennett as Throssel Hole Priory, and over the years has become a monastery and seminary for training priests of the Order, as well as a retreat and training center for a large European congregation. Its Abbot is Rev. Master Daishin Morgan, a senior disciple of Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett. The Abbey offers for lay guests a full and varied program to which all are warmly invited. Experienced senior priests teach both meditation and how to use the Buddhist Precepts in establishing a daily practice. Through these means one can find the Truth, or Buddha Nature, at the heart of oneself and all beings. Training shows how to let go of the clinging that causes suffering, thus allowing this inner compassion and wisdom to enrich our lives. Guests meditate in the bright and spacious ceremony hall, and sleep there at night, dormitory-style, with complete privacy between men and women maintained. A large dining hall includes a small library and common room area for guests. By following the monasterys daily schedule, guests experience how it is that all activities of lifeworking, relaxing, reading, eating, and sleepinghave true spiritual depth and value. For more information, call or write Throssel Hole Buddhist Abbey, Carrshield, Hexham, Northumberland NE47 8AL, United Kingdom; phone: +44 (0) 1434 345204; fax: +44 (0) 1434 345216.

307

308

Denkroku