Translated by William F. Powell.
The Master, whose personal name was Lerng-Guy, was a member of the Yiu family of Wooid-Kai. Once, as a child, when reading the Heart Sutra with his tutor, he came to the line, “There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind.” He immediately felt his face with his hand, then said to his tutor, “I have eyes, ears, a nose, a tongue, and so on; why does the sutra say they don’t exist?” 1
This took the tutor by surprise, and, recognizing Dong-Sarn’s uniqueness, he said, “I am not capable of being your teacher.” and instruct him to go to Ng-Sid Mountain.
The Master went there, after making obeisance to Zen Master Mo, he took the robe and shaved his head. 2 When he was twenty-one he went to Song Mountain 3 and took the Complete Precepts. 4
The Master set out on pilgrimage, and, going first to visit Narm-Tsiun, 5 he arrived when preparations were under way for Mar-Tzoe’s 6 memorial banquet. 7
Narm-Tsiun posed the following question for the assembly, saying, “Tomorrow, we will pay homage to Mar-Tzoe. Do you think he will return or not?” 8
No one offered a reply, so the Master came forward and said, “He will come as soon as his companion is present.” 9
Narm-Tsiun said, “This fellow, though young, is suitable for being cut and polished.” 10
The Master replied, “Wor-Serng(*), do not crush what is good into something mean.”
(* Wor-Serng: Venerable monk)
Next the Master made a visit to Gwai-Sarn 11 and said to him, “I have recently heard that the National Teacher Tzong of Narm-Yerng 12 maintained the doctrine that nonsentient beings expound the Dharma. 13 I have not yet comprehended the subtleties of this teaching.
Gwai-Sarn said, “Can you, Acarya, remember the details of what you heard?”
“Yes, I can,” said the Master.
“Then why don’t you try to repeat it for me?” said Gwai-Sarn.
The Master began, “A monk asked Hui-chung, ‘What sort of thing is the mind of the ancient buddhas?’ 14
“The National Teacher replied, ‘It’s wall and tile rubble.’ 15
‘Wall and tile rubble! Isn’t that something nonsentient?’ asked the monk.
‘It is,’ replied the National Teacher.
“The monk said, ‘And yet it can expound the Dharma?’
‘It is constantly expounding it, radiantly expounding it, expounding it without ceasing,’ replied the National Teacher.
“The monk asked, ‘Then why haven’t I heard it?’
“The National Teacher said, ‘You yourself haven’t heard it, but this can’t hinder those who are able to hear it’
‘What sort of person acquires such hearing?’ asked the monk.
‘All the sages have acquired such hearing,’ replied the National Teacher.
“The monk asked, ‘Can you hear it, Wor-Serng?’
‘No, I can’t,’ replied the National Teacher.
“The monk said, ‘If you haven’t heard it, how do you know that nonsentient beings expound the Dharma?’
“The National Teacher said, ‘Fortunately, I haven’t heard it. If I had, I would be the same as the sages, and you, therefore, would not hear the Dharma that I teach.’
‘In that case, ordinary people would have no part in it,’ said the monk. 16
‘I teach for ordinary people, not sages,’ replied the National Teacher.
‘What happens after ordinary people hear you?’ asked the monk.
‘Then they are no longer ordinary people,’ said the National Teacher.
“The monk asked, ‘According to which sutra does it say that nonsentient beings expound the Dharma?’
‘Clearly, you shouldn’t suggest that it’s not part of the sutras. Haven’t you seen it in the Avatamsaka Sutra? It says, “The earth expounds Dharma, living beings expound it, throughout the three times, everything expounds it.” ‘ ” 17 The Master thus completed his narration.
Gwai-Sarn said, “That teaching also exists here. However, one seldom encounters someone capable of understanding it.”
Dong-Sarn said, “I still don’t understand it clearly.Would the Master please comment.”
Gwai-Sarn raised his fly wisk, 18 saying, “Do you understand?”
“No, I don’t. Please, Wor-Serng, explain,” replied Dong-Sarn.
Gwai-Sarn said, “It can never be explained to you by means of the mouth of one born of mother and father.”
Dong-Sarn asked, “Does the Master have any contemporaries in the Way who might clarify this problem for me?”
“From here, go to Yau-Yiun of Lai-Ling where you will find some linked caves. 19 Living in those caves is a man of the Way, Yiun-yen. 20 If you are able to ‘push aside the grass and gaze into the wind,’ 21 then you will find him worthy of your respect” said Gwai-Sarn.
“Just what sort of man is he?” asked Dong-Sarn.
Gwai-Sarn replied, “Once he said to this old monk, 22 ‘What should I do if I wish to follow the Master?’
“This old monk replied, ‘You must immediately cut off your defilements.’
“He said, ‘Then will I come up to the Master’s expectation?’
“This old monk replied, ‘You will get absolutely no answer as long as I am here.’ ”
Dong-Sarn accordingly took leave of Gwai-Sarn and proceeded directly to Yiun-yen’s. Making reference to his previous encounter with Kueishan, he immediately asked what sort of person was able to hear the Dharma expounded by nonsentient beings.
Yiun-yen said, “Nonsentient beings are able to hear it.”
“Can you hear it, Wor-Serng?” asked Dong-Sarn.
Yiun-yen replied, “If I could hear it, then you would not be able to hear the Dharma that I teach.”
“Why can’t I hear it?” asked Dong-Sarn.
Yiun-yen raised his fly wisk and said, “Can you hear it yet?”
Dong-Sarn replied, “No, I can’t.”
Yiun-yen said, “You can’t even hear it when I expound the Dharma; how do you expect to hear when a nonsentient being expounds the Dharma?”
Dong-Sarn asked, “In which sutra is it taught that nonsentient beings expound the Dharma?”
Yiun-yen replied, “Haven’t you seen it? In the Amit?bba Sυtra it says, ‘Water birds, tree groves, all without exception recite the Buddha’s name, recite the Dharma.'” 23
Reflecting on this, Dong-Sarn composed the following g?th?:
How amazing, how amazing!
Hard to comprehend that nonsentient beings expound the Dharma.
It simply cannot be heard with the ear,
But when sound is heard with the eye, then it is understood.
Dong-Sarn said to Yiun-yen, “I have some habits 24 that are not yet eradicated.”
Yiun-yen said, “What have you been doing?”
Dong-Sarn replied, “I have not concerned myself with the Four Noble Truths.” 25
Yiun-yen said, “Are you joyful yet?” 26
Dong-Sarn said, “It would be untrue to say that I am not joyful. It is as though I have grasped a bright pearl in a pile of shit.”
Dong-Sarn asked Yiun-yen, “When I wish to meet you, what shall I do?”
“Make an inquiry with the chamberlain,” replied Yiun-yen. 27
Dong-Sarn said, “I am inquiring right now.”
“What does he say to you?” asked Yiun-yen.
Once, when Yiun-yen was making some straw sandals, 28 Tung-shan approached him and said, “I would like to have the Master’s eyes.”
Yiun-yen said, “Where have yours gone?”
“Lerng-Guy has never had them,” replied Dong-Sarn.
Yiun-yen said, “Supposing you did have them, where would you put them?”
Dong-Sarn said nothing. Yiun-yen said, “Isn’t it the eye that desires eyes?”
“It is not my eye,” replied Dong-Sarn.
“Get out!” thundered Yiun-yen.
When Dong-Sarn was taking his leave, Yiun-yen asked, “Where are you going?”
Dong-Sarn replied, “Although I am leaving you, I still haven’t decided where I’ll stay.”
Yiun-yen asked, “You’re not going to Hunan, are you?”
“No,” replied Dong-Sarn.
“You’re not returning to your native town, are you?” asked Yiun-yen.
“No,” replied Dong-Sarn.
“When will you return?” asked Yiun-yen.
“I’ll wait until you have a fixed residence,” said Dong-Sarn.
Yiun-yen said, “After your departure, it will be hard to meet again.”
Dong-Sarn said, “It will be hard not to meet.”
Just before leaving, 29 Dong-Sarn asked, “If, after many years, someone should ask if I am able to portray the Master’s likeness, how should I respond?” 30
After remaining quiet for a while, Yiun-yen said, “Just this person.” 31
Dong-Sarn was lost in thought. Yiun-yen said, “Chieh Acarya, having assumed the burden of this Great Matter, 32 you must be very cautious.”
Dong-Sarn remained dubious about what Yiun-yen had said. Later, as he was crossing a river, he saw his reflected image and experienced a great awakening to the meaning of the previous exchange. He composed the following g?th?:
Earnestly avoid seeking without,
Lest it recede far from you.
Today I am walking alone,
Yet everywhere I meet him.
He is now no other than myself,
But I am not now him.
It must be understood in this way
In order to merge with Suchness.
Later, during a memorial service before Yiun-yen’s portrait, a monk asked, “When the former master said, ‘Just this person,’ was it actually this?”
Dong-Sarn replied, “It was.”
The monk said, “What did he mean?”
“At that time I nearly misunderstood the former master’s intent,” said Dong-Sarn.
The monk said, “I wonder if the former master actually knew reality.” 33
Dong-Sarn said, “If he didn’t know reality, how could he have known such a way in which to answer? If he knew reality, why did he go to the trouble of answering that way?”
Because the Master was conducting a memorial feast for Yiun-yen, a monk asked, “What teaching did you receive while you were at Yiun-yen’s place?”
The Master said, “Although I was there, I didn’t receive any teaching.”
“Since you didn’t actually receive any teaching, why are you conducting this memorial?” asked the monk.
“Why should I turn my back on him?” replied the Master.
“If you began by meeting Narm-Tsiun, 34 why do you now conduct a memorial feast for Yiun-yen?” asked the monk.
“It is not my former master’s virtue or Buddha Dharma that I esteem, only that he did not make exhaustive explanations for me,” replied the Master.
“Since you are conducting this memorial feast for the former master, do you agree with him or not?” asked the monk.
The Master said, “I agree with half and don’t agree with half.”
“Why don’t you agree completely?” asked the monk.
The Master said, “If I agreed completely, then I would be ungrateful to my former master.”
Yiun-yen, addressing the assembly, said, “A son exists in a certain household who always answers whatever is asked.”
The Master came forward and asked, “How big a library does he have in his room?”
Yiun-yen said, “Not a single word.”
The Master said, “Then how does he know so much?”
“Day or night, he never sleeps,” replied Yiun-yen.
“Is it all right to ask him a question?” asked the Master.
“He could answer, but he won’t,” said Yiun-yen.
The prior 35 returned from a visit to Shih-shih. 36 Yiun-yen asked him, “Since you entered the Stone Caverns, you shouldn’t return just so, should you?”
The prior made no reply.
Dong-Sarn replied for him, “Someone had already occupied his place there.”
Yiun-yen said to Dong-Sarn, “And what will you do when you go?”
The Master said, “One should not break with customary etiquette.”
Yiun-yen asked a nun, “Is your father living?”
The nun replied, “Yes, he is.”
Yiun-yen asked, “How old is he?”
The nun said, “Eighty years old.”
Yiun-yen said, “You have a father who is not eighty. Do you know who that is?”
The nun answered, “Isn’t he the one who has come just so?” 37
Yiun-yen said, “That person is still no more than the child or the grandchild.”
The Master said, “Actually, even the person who has not come just so is no more than the child or the grandchild.”
On the Master’s first visit to Lu-tsu, 38 he payed homage and stood waiting. After a short time he went out and re-entered. Lu-tsu said, “Just so, just so. So that’s how you are!”
The Master said, “There is definitely someone who disagrees.”
Lu-tsu said, “Why do you concern yourself with eloquence?”
The Master accordingly did obeisance and attended Lu-tsu for several months.
A monk asked Lu-tsu, “What is wordless speaking?” 39
Lu-tsu asked, “Where do you keep your mouth?”
The monk replied, “There is no mouth.” 40
Lu-tsu said, “With what will you eat?”
The monk didn’t reply.
The Master said in his place, “He isn’t hungry. What food would he eat?”
The Master visited Nan-Yiuan. 41 When he went up to the Dharma Hall, Nan-Yiuan said, “We have already met.”
The Master then left the hall. But the next day he went up to the hall again and asked, “Yesterday I was the recipient of the monk’s benevolence. However, I don’t know where it was that we met before.”
Nan-Yiuan said, “Between mind and mind there is no gap. They all flow into the sea of original nature.” 42
The Master said, “I was nearly overly credulous.”
When the Master took his leave, Nan-y˛an said, “Make a thorough study of the Buddha Dharma, and broadly benefit the world.”
The Master said, “I have no question about studying the Buddha Dharma, but what is it to broadly benefit the world?”
Nan-Yiuan said, “Not to disregard a single being.”
The Master went to Ching-chao to pay respects to the monk Hsingp’ing. 43 Hsing-p’ing said, “You shouldn’t honor an old dotard.”
The Master said, “I honor one who is not an old dotard.”
Hsing-p’ing said, “Those who are not old dotards don’t accept honoring.”
The Master said, “Neither do they obstruct it.”
Then the Master asked, “What sort of thing is the mind of the ancient buddhas?” 44
Hsing-p’ing said, “It is your very mind.”
The Master said, “Although that’s so, it’s still a problem for me.”
Hsing-p’ing said, “If that’s the way it is, you should go ask a wooden man.” 45
The Master said, “I have a single sentence with which to express it, and I don’t rely on the words of the sages.”
Hsing-p’ing said, “Why don’t you go ahead and say it?”
The Master said, “It’s none of my affair.”
When the Master was taking his leave, Hsing-p’ing said, “Where will you go?”
The Master said, “I will just roam about, without any fixed place to stop.”
Hsing-p’ing said, “Will it be the Dharma-body or the Reward-body that roams about?” 46
The Master said, “I would never explain it that way.”
Hsing-p’ing clapped his hands.
The Master, together with Uncle Mi, 47 called on Pai-yen. 48 Pai-yen asked them, “Where did you come from?”
The Master replied, “We came from Hunan.”
“What is the surname of the intendant there?” asked Pai-yen. 49
“I didn’t get his surname,” the Master replied.
“What is his given name?” asked Pai-yen.
“I didn’t get his given name either,” replied the Master.
“Does he still administer affairs or not?” asked Pai-yen.
“He has ready assistants,” said the Master.
“Does he still make his circuit tours?” asked Pai-yen. 50
“No, he doesn’t,” replied the Master.
“Why doesn’t he make his circuit tours?” inquired Pai-yen.
The Master turned, swinging his sleeves, and went out. The next morning Pai-yen entered the hall, and, summoning the two shang-tsos, said to them, “Yesterday this old monk was unable to reply to you with an apt turning phrase. 51 The whole night I could not rest easily, so today please provide me with a turning phrase. If it accords with this old monk’s mind, then I will make provisions for congee, and we can pass the summer together.” 52
The Master said, “Please go ahead and ask, Wor-Serng.”
“Why doesn’t he make his circuit tours?” asked Pai-yen.
“He’s far too noble for that,” said the Master.
Pai-yen made provisions for the congee, and together they passed the summer.
The Master together with Uncle Mi went to visit Lung-shan. 53
The old monk asked, “There are no roads into these mountains, so what route did you follow to get here?” 54
“Granted, there are no roads, so what, then, did you follow to get here, Wor-Serng?” countered the Master.
The old monk said, “I didn’t come following clouds or water.”
“How long has the Wor-Serng lived on this mountain?” asked the Master.
“I am not concerned with the passing of springs and autumns,” replied the old monk.
“Which was situated here first, you, Wor-Serng, or the mountain?” asked the Master.
“I don’t know,” said the old monk.
“Why don’t you know?” asked the Master.
“I didn’t come following gods or men,” replied the old monk.
“What reason do you, Wor-Serng, find for dwelling on this mountain?” asked the Master.
“I saw two clay oxen 55 struggling with each other, until they fell into the sea. Ever since then, fluctuations have ceased,” the old monk replied.
The Master paid homage with a renewed sense of decorum.
When the Master was making a pilgrimage, he met an official who said, “I intend to write a commentary on the Third Patriarch’s Inscription on Believing in Mind.” 56
“How will you explain the sentence, ‘As soon as there is assertion and denial, the mind is lost in confusion’?” 57
When the Master first set out on a pilgrimage, he met an old woman carrying water. The Master asked for some water to drink.
The old woman said, “I will not stop you from drinking, but I have a question I must ask first. Tell me, how dirty is the water?” 58
“The water is not dirty at all,” said the Master.
“Go away and don’t contaminate my water buckets,” replied the old woman.
When the Master was in Leh-t’an, he met Head Monk Ch’u, 59 who said, “How amazing, how amazing, the realm of the Buddha and the realm of the Path! 60 How unimaginable!”
Accordingly, the Master said, “I don’t inquire about the realm of the Buddha or the realm of the Path; rather, what kind of person is he who talks thus about the realm of the Buddha and the realm of the Path?”
When, after a long time, Ch’u had not responded, the Master said, “Why don’t you answer more quickly?”
Ch’u said, “Such aggressiveness will not do.”
“You haven’t even answered what you were asked, so how can you say that such aggressiveness will not do?” said the Master.
Ch’u did not respond. The Master said, “The Buddha and the Path are both nothing more than names. Why don’t you quote some teaching?”
“What would a teaching say?” asked Ch’u.
“When you’ve gotten the meaning, forget the words,” 61 said the Master.
“By still depending on teachings, you sicken your mind,” said Ch’u.
“But how great is the sickness of the one who talks about the realm of the Buddha and the realm of the Path?” said the Master.
Again Ch’u did not reply. The next day he suddenly passed away. At that time the Master came to be known as “one who questions head monks to death.”
When the Master was crossing a river with Uncle Mi of Shen-shan, he asked, “How does one cross a river?”
“Don’t get your feet wet,” said Shen-shan.
At your venerable age, how can you say such a thing!” said the Master.
“How do you cross a river?” asked Shen-shan.
“Feet don’t get wet,” replied the Master. 62
One day the Master was cultivating the tea plot with Shen-shan. The Master threw down his mattock and said, “I haven’t the least bit of strength left.”
“If you haven’t any strength left, how is it that you can even say so?” asked Shen-shan.
“I always used to say that you were the one with lots of strength” said the Master.
Once, while the Master was on pilgrimage with Shen-shan, they saw a white rabbit suddenly cross in front of them. Shen-shan remarked, “How elegant!”
“In what way?” asked the Master.
“It is just like a white-robed commoner paying respects to a high minister.”
“At your venerable age, how can you say such a thing!” said the Master.
“What about you?” asked Shen-shan.
“After generations of serving as a high official, to temporarily fall into reduced circumstances,” replied the Master.
When Shen-shan had picked up a needle to mend clothes, the Master asked, “What are you doing?”
“Mending,” answered Shen-shan.
“In what way do you mend?” asked the Master.
“One stitch is like the next,” said Shen-shan.
“We’ve been traveling together for twenty years, and you can still say such a thing! How can there be such craftiness?” said the Master.
“How then does the venerable monk mend?” asked Shen-shan.
“Just as though the entire earth were spewing flame,” replied the Master.
Shen-shan said to the Master, “There is nowhere that a friend 63 would be unwilling to go for the sake of friendship. Could you express the essential point of this in a few words?”
“Uncle, with such an idea how could you ever succeed!” replied the Master.
As a result of the Master saying this, Shen-shan was suddenly awakened, and from then on his manner of speaking became unusual. Later, when they were crossing a log bridging a stream, the Master preceded Shen-shan across, picked up the log, and said, “Come on over.”
“Acarya!” called Shen-shan.
The Master threw down the log.
Once, when the Master was walking with Shen-shan, he pointed to a roadside shrine and said, “There is a person in there teaching about mind and nature.”
“Who is it?” asked Shen-shan.
“If you can ask an appropriate question, Uncle, death will be completely cut off,” said the Master.
“Who teaches about mind and nature?” said Shen-shan.
“While dead is living,” 64 added the Master.
The Master asked Hsueh-feng, 65 “Where did you come from?”
“I came from T’ien-t’ai,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“Did you meet Chih-i?” 66 asked the Master.
“I will definitely partake of the iron cudgel,” 67 said Hsueh-feng.
Hsueh-feng went to pay his respects to the Master.
The Master said, “When you enter the door, you must say something. 68 It won’t do to say that you have already entered.”
“I have no mouth,” said Hsueh-feng.
“Although you may have no mouth, you should still give me back my eyes,” said the Master.
Hsueh-feng said nothing.
Once, when Hsueh-feng was carrying a bundle of firewood, he arrived in front of the Master and threw the bundle down.
“How heavy is it?” asked the Master.
“There is no one on earth who could lift it,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“Then how did it get here?” asked the Master.
Hsueh-feng said nothing.
The Master wrote the character for “Buddha” on a fan. Yiun-yen saw it and, taking exception, wrote the character for “un-.” 69 The Master altered it, writing the character for “not.” 70 Hsueh-feng saw the fan and immediately got rid of it. 71
Hsueh-feng was serving as the rice cook. 72 Once, while he was culling pebbles from the rice, the Master asked, “Do you cull out the pebbles and set the rice aside, or do you cull out the rice and set the pebbles aside?”
“I set aside the rice and pebbles at one and the same time,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“What will the monks eat?” asked the Master.
Hsueh-feng immediately turned over the rice bucket.
The Master said, “Given your basic affinities, you will be most compatible with Te-shan.” 73
One day the Master asked Hsueh-feng, “What are you doing?”
“Chopping out a log for a bucket,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“How many chops with your axe does it take to complete?” asked the Master.
“One chop will do it,” answered Hsueh-feng.
“That’s still a matter of this side. What about a matter of the other side?” asked the Master.
“To accomplish it directly without laying a hand on it,” replied Hsuehfeng.
“That’s still a matter of this side. What about a matter of the other side?” asked the Master.
Hsueh-feng gave up.
When Hsueh-feng took his leave, the Master said, “Where are you going?”
“I’m returning to the peaks,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“When you left, what road did you come out by?” asked the Master.
“I came out by way of Flying Monkey Peaks,” 74 said Hsueh-feng.
“What road will you take now on your return?” asked the Master.
“I’ll go by way of Flying Monkey Peaks,” said Hsueh-feng.
“There is a person who doesn’t go by way of Flying Monkey Peaks. Would you recognize him?” asked the Master.
“I wouldn’t recognize him,” said Hsueh-feng.
“Why wouldn’t you recognize him?” asked the Master.
“He has no face,” replied Hsueh-feng.
“If you wouldn’t recognize him, how do you know he has no face?” asked the Master.
Hsueh-feng made no reply.
Tao-ying of Yiun-chu 75 came to see the Master. The Master asked, “Where have you come from?”
“I came from Ts’ui-wei’s place,” 76 replied Yiun-chu.
“What words does Ts’ui-wei have for his disciples?” asked the Master.
Yiun-chu replied, “When Ts’ui-wei was performing a memorial for the arhats, 77 I asked, ‘Do the arhats actually come when a memorial is held for them?’ Ts’ui-wei replied, ‘What do you eat every day?'”
“Did he really say that?” asked the Master.
“He did,” replied Yiun-chu.
“It was not in vain that you called on such an able master,” said the Master.
The Master asked Yiun-chu, “What is your name?”
“Tao-ying,’ answered Yiun-chu.
“Say what it was before that,” said the Master.
“Before that I was not called Tao-ying,” said Yiun-chu.
“That’s the same as this old monk’s answer to Tao-wu,” 78 said the Master.
Yiun-chu asked, “Why did the Patriarch come from the West?” 79
“Acarya! Later, when you have a handful of thatch to cover your head, 80 should someone ask you that, how would you answer?” asked the Master.
“Tao-ying has erred,” said Yiun-chu.
One day, when the Master was talking with Yiun-chu, he asked, “I have heard that the great monk Ssu was reborn in Wo as a king. 81 Is that so or not?”
“If it was Ssu, he will not become a Buddha,” replied Yiun-chu.
The Master concurred.
The Master asked Yiun-chu, “Where have you been?”
“I’ve been walking the mountains,” replied Yiun-chu.
“Which mountain was suitable for residing on?” asked the Master.
“None was suitable for residing on,” said Yiun-chu.
“In that case, have you been on all the country’s mountains?” said the Master.
“No, that isn’t so,” said Yiun-chu.
“Then you must have found an entry-path,” said the Master.
“No, there is no path,” replied Yiun-chu.
“If there is no path, I wonder how you have come to lay eyes on this old monk,” said the Master.
“If there were a path, then a mountain would stand between us, Hoshang,” said Yiun-chu.
The Master said, “Henceforth, not by a thousand, not even by ten thousand people will Yiun-chu be held fast.”
Once, while the Master was crossing a river with Yiun-chu, the Master asked, “How deep is this river?”
“Not wet,” replied Yiun-chu.
“Vulgar fellow!” said the Master.
“What would you say?” asked Yiun-chu.
“Not dry,” replied the Master.
One day, when Yiun-chu was doing garden work, he accidentally chopped an earthworm. The Master said, “Watch out!”
“It didn’t die,” said Yiun-chu.
“What about when the Second Patriarch went to Yeh-chou?” 82 said the Master.
The Master questioned Yiun-chu, “An icchantika 83 is someone who commits the five heinous sins. 84 How can such a one be filial?”
“Only in so doing does he become filial,” replied Yiun-chu.
The Master described for Yiun-chu the following exchange between Narm-Tsiun and a monk who was a specialist on the Maitreya S?tra. 85 “Narm-Tsiun asked the monk, ‘When will Maitreya descend to be reborn on the earth?
“The monk replied, ‘Maitreya is in his Heavenly Palace, and will descend later to be reborn.’
“Narm-Tsiun then said, ‘There is no Maitreya, either in heaven above or on earth below.'”
Following up on this, Yiun-chu asked, “If there is no Maitreya, either in heaven above or on earth below, I wonder who gave him his name?”
As soon as the Master was asked this question, his meditation seat began to shake. He said, “Acarya Ying, when I was with Yiun-yen and asked the old man a certain question, the brazier shook. 86 As soon as you questioned me today, my body was covered with sweat.”
After that Yiun-chu constructed a hut on San-feng Mountain. 87 He passed ten days there without coming to the meal hall. The Master asked him, “Why haven’t you come for meals these past several days?”
“Because regularly, every day, heavenly spirits 88 bring me food,” replied Yiun-chu.
The Master said, “Until now I have always said you were an exceptional person, but still you possess such views! Come to my place late tonight.”
Later that evening, when Yiun-chu went to Dong-Sarn’s room, the Master called out, “Hut Master Ying!” When Yiun-chu replied, the Master said, “Don’t think of good. Don’t think of evil. What is it?” 89
Yiun-chu returned to his hut and peacefully took up his meditation. From then on the heavenly spirits were completely unable to find him, and after three days, they ceased appearing.
The Master asked Yiun-chu what he was doing.
“Making soy paste,” Yiun-chu replied.
“How much salt do you use?” asked the Master.
“I add a little from time to time,” said Yiun-chu.
“How is the taste?” asked the Master.
“Done,” said Yiun-chu.
Shu-shan 90 arrived just when the Master was giving his morning lecture. He came forward and asked, “Please instruct us using terms that have yet to exist.”
“I won’t reply. No one would accept it.”
“Nonetheless, would it be of any value?” asked Shu-shan.
“Do you value it now?” asked the Master.
“I don’t value it, and so there is no point in shunning it,” answered Shu-shan.
One day during his lecture the Master said, “If you wish to know this Matter, 91 then you must be like the sear old tree that produces blossoms. 92 Then you will accord with it.”
Shu-shan asked, “How would it be if one does not oppose it anywhere?”
“Acarya, that would be something on the side of gaining merit. Fortunately, there is the merit of no merit. Why don’t you ask about that?”
“Isn’t the merit of no merit that of a person on the other side?” replied Shu-shan.
“Someone could have a good laugh at such a question as you have just asked,” said the Master.
“In that case, I would make myself remote,” said Shu-shan.
“Remoteness is neither remoteness nor non-remoteness,” said the Master.
“What is remoteness?” asked Shu-shan.
“It won’t do to call it ‘a person on the other side,'” said the Master.
“What is non-remoteness?” asked Shu-shan.
“That can’t be determined,” said the Master.
The Master asked Shu-shan, “What sort of person will be living during the Kalpa of Emptiness 93 when there are no human dwellings?”
“I wouldn’t recognize him,” replied Shu-shan.
“Would that person still have any ideas?” asked the Master
“Why don’t you ask him?” said Shu-shan.
“I am doing that now,” said the Master.
“What is he thinking?” asked Shu-shan.
The Master didn’t reply.
Shih-ch’ien of Ch’ing-lin 94 came to visit the Master. The Master asked, “Where have you just come from?”
“Wu-ling,” 95 replied Ch’ing-lin.
“How does the Dharma at Wu-ling compare with the Dharma here?” asked the Master.
“It’s a barbaric land in which bamboo shoots come up in winter,” replied Ch’ing-lin.
The Master said to an attendant, “Prepare some fragrant rice in a special crock and feed this man.”
Ch’ing-lin swung his sleeves and departed.
The Master said, “Later this person will cause great consternation among men.”
One day Ch’ing-lin came to take his leave. The Master asked, “Where will you go?”
Ch’ing-lin replied, “The adamantine disk 96 is not something concealed. Throughout the world it cuts the red dust.”
“Take good care of yourself,” said the Master.
Ch’ing-lin left with great care. The Master saw him to the gate and said, “Say something about leaving this way.”
“Step by step, I tread the red dust. No part of my body leaves a shadow,” 97 said Ch’ing-lin.
The Master remained silent for a while.
Ch’ing-lin said, “Why haven’t you said anything sooner, old Hoshang?”
“You’ve become very earnest!” said the Master.
“I have erred” said Ch’ing-lin, who then paid his respects and left.
Lung-ya 98 asked Te-shan, 99 “If I were holding the Mo-yeh sword 100 and intended to take the Master’s head, what would you do?”
Te-shan stretched out his head toward the monk and shouted, “Huo!” 101
“Your head has fallen,” said Lung-ya.
“Ha, ha!” laughed Te-shan loudly.
Later Lung-ya went to Dong-Sarn’s and told him about the previous incident.
The Master asked, “What did Te-shan say?”
“He didn’t say anything,” replied Lung-ya.
“Don’t say he didn’t say anything. Show this old monk Te-shan’s fallen head,” commanded the Master.
For the first time Lung-ya understood, and he admitted his error.
Lung-ya asked, “Why did the First Patriarch come from the West?” 102
“I will only answer you when Tung Creek 103 flows backwards,” replied the Master.
For the first time Lung-ya awoke to the significance of this issue.
Hsiu-ching of Hua-yen 104 said to the Master, “I am without a proper path. 105 I still can’t escape the vicissitudes of feelings and discriminating consciousness.”
“Do you still think there is such a path?” asked the Master.
“No, I don’t think there is any such path,” answered Hua-yen.
“Where did you get your feelings and discriminating consciousness?” asked the Master.
“I am asking you that in all seriousness,” said Hua-yen.
“In that case, you should go to a place where there is not an inch of grass for ten thousand li,” said the Master.
“Is it all right go to a place where there is not an inch of grass for ten thousand li?” asked Hua-yen.
“You should only go in such a way,” replied the Master.
Once when Hua-yen was carrying wood, the Master stopped him and asked, “If we met on a narrow path, what would you do?” 106
“Turn aside, turn aside,” said Hua-yen.
“Mark my words,” said the Master. “If you dwell in the South you will have one thousand followers, but if you dwell in the North, you will have only three hundred.” 107
Ch’in-shan 108 visited the Master. The Master asked, “Where have you come from?”
“From Ta-tz’u Mountain,” 109 replied Ch’in-shan.
“Were you able to see Huan-chung of Ta-tz’u?”
“Yes, I saw him,” said Ch’in-shan.
“Did you see his outward appearance or what was behind that appearance?” 110 asked the Master.
“I saw neither his outward appearance nor what was behind it,” replied Ch’in-shan.
The Master remained silent.
Ch’in-shan later said, “I left the Master too soon and did not completely acquire his mind”
After Ch’in-shan had been doing sitting mediation together with Yent’ou 111 and Hsueh-feng, the Master brought them tea. However, Ch’inshan had closed his eyes.
“Where did you go?” asked the Master.
“I entered sam?dhi,” 112 said Ch’in-shan.
“Sam?dhi has no entrance. Where did you enter from?” asked the Master.
T’ung of Pei-Yiuan 113 visited the Master. The Master went up to the Dharma Hall and said, “Cut down the host, 114 but don’t fall into secondary views.” 115
T’ung emerged from the assembly and said, “You should know that there is one man unaccompanied by a companion.” 116
“That is nothing more than a secondary view,” said the Master.
T’ung then flipped over his Zen cushion.
“Elder brother, what are you doing?” asked the Master.
“Only when my tongue has rotted out will I answer you, Wor-Serng,” replied T’ung. 117
Later T’ung was taking his leave of the Master and was planning to enter the mountains. The Master said, “Be careful. Flying Monkey Peaks are steep and beautiful.” 118
T’ung thought about this and did not enter the mountains.
Tao-ch’uan 119 asked the Master, “What is the essence of shunning the world?”
“Acarya! There is smoke rising under your feet,” said the Master.
Ch’uan immediately experienced awakening and did not go wandering elsewhere.
Yiun-chu offered the comment, “Under no circumstances should you be ungrateful to the Wor-Serng (Dong-Sarn), under whose feet smoke is also rising.”
The Master said, “Treading the Darkling Path is persevering in practice.” 120
The Master was eating some nuts with Head Monk T’ai 121 during the festival of the winter solstice when he suddenly said, “There is something the upper part of which props up heaven, the lower part of which props up the earth, is as black as lacquer, and is always in motion. In the midst of this motion, it can’t be grasped. Tell me where it is passing now.”
“It is passing where its motion takes it,” said T’ai.
The Master called his attendant and had him clear away the nut tray.
When the Master saw Yu Shang-tso 122 coming, he immediately rose and hid behind his Zen seat.
Yu said, “Why do you avoid me, Wor-Serng?”
“I have always said that it was the Acarya who didn’t see this old monk, ” said the Master.
While the Master was inspecting the rice paddies, he saw Shang-tso Lang 123 leading an ox.
“You should watch that ox carefully. Otherwise, I fear it will damage people’s rice seedlings,” said the Master.
“If it is a good ox, it shouldn’t damage people’s seedlings,” said Lang.
A monk asked Chu-Yiu, 124 “What is the practice of a ?raman?a? 125
“His practice should be such that nothing is absent, but if he is conscious of his practice, it is wrong.” 126
Another monk reported this to the Master, who said, “Why didn’t he say, ‘I wonder what practice that is?’ ”
The monk subsequently carried this comment to Chu-Yiu, who said, “Buddha-practice, Buddha-practice.”
The monk reported this to the Master, who said, “Yu-chou is all right, but Hsin-lo is insufferable.” 127
Again a monk asked, “How should a ?raman?a practice?”
The Master replied, “A three-foot head, a two-inch neck.” 128
The Master called his attendant and told him to convey these words to Wor-Serng Jan of San-sheng Temple. 129
San-sheng snatched at something in the attendant’s hand. The attendant then returned and reported this incident to the Master. The Master approved.
Wor-Serng Mi of Ching-chao 130 sent a monk to ask Yang-shan 131 the following question: “Right in this very moment, are you dependent on enlightenment?”
Yang-shan said, “There is no absence of enlightenment. Why fall into what is secondary?” 132
Mi then sent the monk to the Master with the question, “What is the ultimate?”
“You must ask Yang-shan,” replied the Master.
Ch’en Shang-shu 133 asked, “Among the fifty-two bodhisattvas, why isn’t the stage of subtle consciousness seen?” 134
“The shang-shu intimately sees the stage of subtle consciousness,” said the Master.
An official asked, “Is there a practice for people to follow?”
The Master said, “When you become a man, there is such a practice.”
The Master, addressing the assembly, said, “Brothers, it is the beginning of autumn, and the end of summer. 135 You may go east or west, but you should go only to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li.” 136 After pausing for a while he asked, “How does one go to a place where there is not a single inch of grass for ten thousand li?”
Later this was related to Shih-shuang, 137 who said, “Why didn’t someone say, ‘As soon as one goes out the door, there is grass’?”
The Master, hearing of this response, said, “Within the country of the Great T’ang such a man is rare.”
A monk said, “I would like to see the Wor-Serng’s original teacher. How can I do that?”
“If you are of comparable age, there will be no problem” the Master replied.
When the monk was about to reply, the Master said, “Don’t tread a previous path. You should formulate a question independently.”
The monk did not respond.
A monk asked, “How does one escape hot and cold?”
“Why not go where it is neither hot nor cold?” said the Master.
“What sort of place is neither hot nor cold?” asked the monk.
“When it’s cold, you freeze to death; when it’s hot, you swelter to death”
The Master went up to the hall and asked, “Is there anyone who does not reciprocate for the four forms of benevolence or respond to the three classes of beings?” 138
The assembly made no response.
The Master spoke again, saying, “If one does not personally experience the meaning of this, how can he transcend the tribulation of birth and death? 139 If constantly and without a break you don’t let any thought come into contact with things or any step come to rest, then you will accord with reality. You should strive earnestly and not pass the day at ease.”
The Master asked a monk, “Where have you come from?”
“From wandering in the mountains,” the monk said.
“Did you go to the top of any mountain?” asked the Master.
“Yes, I did,” the monk replied.
“Was there anyone on the top?” asked the Master.
“No, there wasn’t,” 140 said the monk.
“In that case, you didn’t reach the top,” said the Master.
“If it were the case that I hadn’t gone to the top, how could I know there was no one there?” responded the monk.
“Why didn’t you stay awhile?” asked the Master.
“I wasn’t opposed to staying, but there is one in India who wouldn’t permit it.”
“I’ve been suspicious of this fellow from the first,” the Master said.
A monk asked, “Why did the First Patriarch come from the West?”
The Master replied, “It is much like the chicken-scaring rhino.” 141
A monk asked, “If a snake were swallowing a frog, what would be the consequences of rescuing it or of not rescuing it?”
“If you were to rescue it,” said the Master, “then you would not be seeing with your two eyes. And if you were not to rescue it, shapes and shadows would no longer be manifest.”
A sick monk wanted to see the Master. Accordingly, the Master visited him. The monk said, “Wor-Serng, why don’t you rescue the sons and daughters of householders?”
The Master asked, “What sort of household are you from?”
“I am from an icchantika household,” 142 said the monk.
The Master remained quiet. The monk continued, “What does one do when the four mountains 143 close in upon one?”
The Master said, “Formerly, this old monk also passed time under a householder’s roof.
“Will we meet again or not?” asked the monk.
“We will not meet again,” said the Master.
“Tell me where I am going,” said the monk.
“To a cleared field,” 144 said the master.
“The monk gave a sigh and said, “Take care of yourself.” Then, while still sitting, he died.
The Master tapped him on the head three times with his staff and said, “You know only how to go, not how to come.”
During an evening lecture, when the lanterns were not lit, a monk came forward to raise a question and then withdrew. The Master had his attendant light the lanterns and then directed him to summon the monk who had raised the question. When the monk arrived, the Master said to his attendant, “Obtain three pinches 145 of powdered incense and give it to this shang-tso.”
The monk swung his sleeves and left. From this he gained understanding, immediately got rid of his excess clothing and possessions, and set up a food kitchen.
After three years he took leave of the Master.
“Be careful,” said the Master.
At that time Hsueh-feng, who was standing by the Master, asked, “With regard to this monk who has just taken his leave, how long will it be before he returns?”
The Master said, “He knows only how to go, not how to come.”
The monk returned to the Monk’s Hall and, taking his place underneath the shelf for his bowls and robes, died while sitting. Hsueh-feng came to report this to the Master.
The Master said, “Even though he died like that, compared to this old monk, he differs by three rebirths.”
The Master asked a monk, “Where have you come from?”
“From the stupa of the Third Patriarch,” 146 he answered.
Since you have come from the Patriarch’s place, why is it that you still want to meet this old monk?” asked the Master.
“Because I am different from the Patriarch, but not from you, Hoshang,” said the monk.
“I want to be your original teacher. Is that possible?” asked the Master.
“Only if you first show your own face, Wor-Serng,” said the monk.
“I wasn’t here just now,” said the Master.
A monk asked, “What does it mean to say,: ‘Having come upon it, he doesn’t seize it. His mind aroused, he realizes its presence.’?” 147
The Master joined his palms and raised them to his head.
The Master asked Te-shan’s attendant, “Where have you come from?”
“From Te-shan’s,” replied the monk.
“Why have you come?” asked the Master.
“I’ve come out of filial feeling for you, Wor-Serng,” said the attendant.
“What is the most filial behavior in this world?” asked the Master.
The attendant did not reply.
The Master went up to the hall and said, “There is a person who, in the midst of a thousand or even ten thousand people, neither turns his back on nor faces a single person. Now you tell me, what face does this person have?”
Yiun-chu came forward and said, “I am going to the Monk’s Hall.”
One time the Master said, “If you would experience that which transcends even the Buddha, you must first be capable of a bit of conversation.”
A monk asked, “What kind of conversation is that?”
“When I am conversing, you don’t hear it, Acarya,” said the Master.
“Do you hear it or not, Wor-Serng?” asked the monk.
“When I am not conversing, I hear it,” replied the Master.
A monk asked, “What is proper questioning and answering?”
“When it doesn’t come from the mouth,” replied the Master.
“If someone were to question you, would you answer or not?” asked the monk.
“I’ve never been questioned,” replied the Master.
A monk asked, “What does it mean to say, ‘That which enters through the door is nothing precious’?” 148
“It would be better to disregard that.”
A monk said, “Since the Wor-Serng has entered the world to teach, how many people have acknowledged him?”
“Not a single person has acknowledged me,” replied the Master.
“Why hasn’t anyone acknowledged you?” asked the monk.
“Because the realm of each individual’s mind is like that of a king?”
The Master asked a monk who lectured on the Vimalakirti Nirde?a Sutra, “What is being referred to when the sutra says, ‘He cannot be known by intellect or perceived by consciousness’?” 149
“Those words praise the Dharma-body,” replied the monk.
“That which is called the Dharma-body has already been praised,” said the Master.
A monk asked, “Why can’t one obtain the robe and bowl when one ‘endeavors constantly to wipe it clean’? 150 What sort of person should obtain them?”
The Master replied, “One who does not enter through the door.” 151
“If one does not enter through the door, can he obtain them or not?” asked the monk.
“Although it’s just as I have said, it isn’t the case that he does not have them,” replied the Master.
The Master also said, “Even to say ‘From the very beginning not a single thing exists’ 152 is similarly not a case of being worthy of obtaining the robe and bowl. Now speak! Who is worthy of obtaining the robe and bowl? You should present a turning phrase right here. What turning phrase will you present?”
At that time there was a monk who presented ninety-six turning phrases, but none was suitable. Finally he presented a phrase that satisfied the Master.
“Why didn’t you say that earlier?” said the Master.
Another monk had eaves-dropped on these exchanges but had missed hearing the final turning phrase. Therefore, he sought help from the first monk, but that monk would not agree to talk about his answer. For three years he pestered the first monk, but in the end it still had not been explained to him.
One day, when he was ill, the second monk said, “For three years I have sought to be told that previous phrase, but I have not yet benefited from your kindness. Since I have not gotten it by peaceful means, I will use violence.” With that, the monk seized a knife and said, “If you don’t explain it for me, I will kill you, Shang-tso.”
“Wait a moment, Acarya. I will tell you,” said the first monk in terror.
“Even if I were to bring them out, there would be no place to put them.”
The second monk made his apologies.
A hut-dwelling monk, 153 who was not well would say to all the monks he saw, “Save me, save me.”
Many monks spoke to him, but none of their solutions satisfied him. When the Master went to call on him, the hut-dweller called out, “Save me.”
The Master asked, “What sort of salvation do you want?”
The hut-dweller asked, “Aren’t you the Dharma-descendant of Yiuehshan 154 and Yiun-yen?”
“I humbly acknowledge that I am,” replied the Master.
The hut dweller joined his hands in a gesture of respect and said, “I’m leaving you all,” and then passed away.
A monk asked, “When a dying monk passes away, where does he go?”
“After the fire, a single reed stem,” said the Master.
One day, when the monks had all gone out for general labor, the Master made the rounds of the monks quarters. Seeing a monk who had not gone out for general labor, he asked, “Why haven’t you gone out?”
“Because I am not well,” replied the monk.
“Have you ever gone out when you were in normal health?” asked the Master.
A monk said, “The Master normally tells us to follow the bird path. I wonder what the bird path is?” 155
“One does not encounter a single person,” replied the Master.
“How does one follow such a path?” asked the monk.
“One should go without hemp sandals 156 on one’s feet,” replied the Master.
“If one follows the bird path, isn’t that seeing one’s original face?” 157 said the monk.
“Why do you turn things upside down so?” asked the Master.
“But where have I turned things upside down?” asked the monk.
“If you haven’t turned things upside down, then why do you regard the slave as master?” said the Master.
“What is one’s original face?” asked the monk.
“Not to follow the bird path,” responded the Master. 158
The Master addressed the assembly, saying, “To know the existence of the person who transcends the Buddha, you must first be capable of a bit of conversation.”
A monk asked, “What sort of person is he who transcends the Buddha?”
“Not a Buddha,” replied the Master.
The Master asked a monk, “Where did you come from?”
The monk replied, “From making sandals.”
“Did you know how to make sandals by yourself, or did you rely on someone else?” asked the Master.
“I relied on someone else,” replied the monk.
“Did that person actually teach you or not?” asked the Master.
“If one accepts his teaching, there can be no mistake.”
A monk asked, “What does it mean to say, ‘Amidst the darkling, darken again’?” 159
“It’s like a dead person’s tongue,” replied the Master.
One time when the Master was washing his bowls, he saw two birds contending over a frog. A monk who also saw this asked, “Why does it come to that?”
The Master replied, “It’s only for your benefit, Acarya.”
“What sort of thing is the teacher of Vairocana 160 and the essence of the Dharma-body?” asked a monk.
“Rice straw and millet stalks,” replied the Master.
A monk asked, “Of the three Buddha-bodies, which one did not fall among the multitudinous things?” 161
The Master replied, “I was once very concerned about that.” 162
Among the assembly there was an old monk who returned from a visit to Yiun-yen’s. The Master asked him, “What did you go to Yiun-yen’s to do?”
“I couldn’t do anything,” replied the monk.
The Master substituted this reply: “Cliffs mounting layer upon layer.”
A monk asked, “What is the meaning of ‘blue-green mountains, the father of white clouds’?” 163
“A place not densely wooded,” replied the Master.
“What is the meaning of ‘white clouds, the child of blue-green mountains’?” asked the monk.
“No distinction between East and West,” replied the Master.
“What is the meaning of ‘the white clouds hang about all day’?” asked the monk.
“Can’t leave,” replied the Master.
“What is the meaning of ‘the blue-green mountains completely unknown’?” asked the monk.
“Nothing to watch,” said the Master.
A monk asked, “What kind of grass is on the other shore?”
“Grass that doesn’t sprout,” answered the Master.
The Master asked a monk, “What is the most tormenting thing in this world?”
“Hell is the most tormenting thing,” answered the monk.
“Not so. When that which is draped in these robe threads is unaware of the Great Matter, that I call the most tormenting thing,” said the Master.
The Master asked a monk, “What is your name?”
“I,” answered the monk.
“What, then, is the Acarya’s host?” asked the Master.
“Just who you see answering,” replied the monk.
The Master said, “How sad, how sad. The likes of people today are all just like this monk. They can only see themselves as the horse behind the donkey. That is to make the Buddha Dharma common. They still don’t even understand the guest’s view of the host. How could they perceive the host from the point of view of the host?”
“What is the host’s view of the host?” asked the monk.
“That is for you to say,” said the Master.
“What I can speak about is the guest’s view of the host. What is the host’s view of the host?” said the monk.
“To speak that way is easy, but to carry on that way is very difficult,” the Master said. He then recited the following g?th?:
Really! Look at the followers of the Way these days.
Innumerable are those who acknowledge the main entrance.
It’s just like setting out for the capital to pay homage to the emperor
But only reaching T’ung Pass 164 and stopping.
The Master went up to the hall, and said, “The Way has no thought of accommodating man; man has no thought of accommodating the Way. If you wish to know the meaning of this, one is an old man and the other is not.” 165
The following incident was brought up. When Ng-Sid 166 went to Shih-t’ou’s, he said, “If in a word you can say something appropriate, I will stay. If you can’t, I will leave.”
Shih-t’ou took his seat, and Ng-Sid left. Shih-t’ou immediately called, “Acarya, Acarya!”
Ng-Sid turned his head back.
Shih-t’ou said, “From birth to death there is only this. What’s the use of turning your head this way and that?”
Ng-Sid was suddenly awakened and broke his walking stick.
The Master said, “Because Ng-Sid was not a master at that time, it was too difficult for him to fully appreciate what had taken place. So although things happened as they did, Ng-Sid still had farther to go.”
A monk was taking leave of Ta-tz’u. Ta-tz’u asked, “Where are you going?”
“To Kiangsi,” answered the monk.
“May I trouble you with something?” asked Ta-tz’u.
“What is it?” asked the monk.
“Would you mind taking this old monk with you?” asked Ta-tz’u.
“There is already someone who surpasses you, Wor-Serng, but I can’t even take him,” answered the monk.
Ta-tz’u went to rest.
Later the monk told the Master about this. The Master said, “Why did you answer like that, Acarya?”
“How would you have answered, Wor-Serng?” asked the monk.
The Master said, “All right, I’ll take you.”
Later the Master asked this monk, “What other teachings does Ta-tz’u have?”
The monk said, “Once, when addressing the assembly, he said, ‘To talk about ten feet is not as good as accomplishing a foot. To talk about a foot is not as good as accomplishing an inch.’ ” 167
“I wouldn’t have said it that way,” said the Master.
“How would you have said it, Wor-Serng?” asked the monk.
“People talk about what they cannot do and do what cannot be talked about,” said the Master.
Once, when Yiueh-shan was walking in the mountains with Yiun-yen, a knife in his belt made a noise. Yiun-yen asked, “What made that noise?”
Yiueh-shan drew out the knife and made a powerful slashing motion just in front of his face.
The Master described this incident for the assembly and said, “Look at Yiueh-shan. He inclined his body to deal with this matter. If the people of today want to clarify the Supreme Matter, they must first experience this kind of mind?”
During an evening assembly, Yiueh-shan did not have the lanterns lit. He said, “I have something to say to you, but until the bull gives birth to a calf, I will not do so.”
A certain monk said, “The bull has already given birth to a calf. It’s only that you haven’t told us what you have in mind.”
Yiueh-shan said, “Attendant! Bring a lantern.”
By the time the lantern arrived the monk had withdrawn and was lost among the assembly of monks.
Yiuyen recounted this incident to the Master and asked, “What do you think about that?”
“Although the monk understood, he was simply not willing to pay homage,” replied the Master.
The Master recounted the following discussion:
” Yiueh-shan asked a monk, ‘Where did you come from?’
‘From Hunan,’ replied the monk.
‘Is Tung-t’ing Lake 168 full of water or not?’ asked Yiueh-shan.
‘It’s not full,’ replied the monk.
‘After such a long period of rain, why isn’t it full?’ asked Yiueh-shan.
“The monk didn’t answer.”
Tao-wu said, “It’s full.”
Yiun-yen said, “Replete and becalmed.”
The Master said, “In what kalpa has it ever increased or decreased?”
Yiueh-shan said to a monk, “It’s said you know how to cast horoscopes. Is that true?”
“I must admit it is,” replied the monk.
“Try to cast my horoscope,” said Yiueh-shan.
The monk did not reply.
Yiun-yen recounted this to the Master and asked, “What about you?”
“Please tell me what month you were born in, Wor-Serng” said the Master.
The Master composed the “G?th? of the Five Ranks, the Lords and Vassals:” 169
Phenomena within the real:
At the beginning of the night’s third watch, 170 before there is moonlight,
Don’t be surprised to meet yet not recognize
What is surely a familiar 171 face from the past.
The real within phenomena:
An old crone, having just awakened, comes upon an ancient mirror;
That which is clearly reflected in front of her face is none other than her own likeness.
Don’t lose sight of your face again and go chasing your shadow.
Coming from within the real:
Amidst nothingness there is a road far from the dust.
If you are simply able to avoid the reigning monarch’s personal name,
Then you will surpass the eloquence of previous dynasties.
Going within together:
Two crossed swords, neither permitting retreat:
Dexterously wielded, like a lotus amidst fire. 172
Similarly, there is a natural determination to ascend the heavens.
Arriving within together:
Falling into neither existence nor nonexistence, who dares harmonize?
People fully desire to exit the constant flux;
But after bending and fitting, in the end still return to sit in the warmth of the coals.
The Master went up to the hall and said, “When looking upon, what is it? When serving, what is it? When accomplishing, what is it? When accomplishing mutually, what is it? When there is the accomplishment of accomplishment, what is it?”
A monk asked, “What is ‘looking upon’?”
“When eating, what is it?” replied the Master.
“What is ‘serving’?” asked the monk.
“When ignoring, what is it?” replied the Master.
“What is ‘accomplishing’?” asked the monk.
“When throwing down a mattock, what is it?” replied the Master.
“What is ‘accomplishing mutually’?” asked the monk.
“Not attaining things,” replied the Master.
“What is the ‘accomplishment of accomplishment’?” asked the monk.
“Nothing shared,” replied the Master.
The Master offered the following g?th?:
The sage kings from the beginning made Yao the norm;
He governed the people by means of rites and kept his dragonwaist bent.
When once he passed from one end of the market to the other,
He found that everywhere culture flourished and the august dynasty was celebrated.
For whom do you wash your face and apply makeup?
The sound of the cuckoo’s call urges one home;
Countless multitudes of flowers have fallen, yet the cuckoo’s call is not stilled;
Going farther into the jumbled peaks, in deep places its call continues.
The blooming of a flower on a sear old tree, a spring outside of kalpas;
Riding backwards on a jade elephant, chasing the ch’i lin. 173
Now hidden far beyond the innumerable peaks,
The moon is white, the breeze cool at the approach of sunrise.
Ordinary beings and Buddha have no truck with each other;
Mountains are naturally high, waters naturally deep.
What the myriad distinctions and numerous differences show is that
Where the chukar cries, many flowers are blooming.
Can’t stand head sprouting horns anymore; 174
When the mind rouses to seek the Buddha, it’s time for compunction.
In the unimpeded vista of the Kalpa of Emptiness, 175 when no one is perceived,
Why go south in search of the fifty-three? 176
Because Ts’ao-shan 177 was taking his leave, the Master transmitted this teaching to him. “When I was at Master Yiun-yen’s, he secretly entrusted me with the Jewel Mirror Sam?dhi, 178 thoroughly conveying its essence. Now I am giving it to you. It goes as follows:
The Dharma of Suchness, directly transmitted by buddhas and patriarchs,
Today is yours; preserve it carefully.
It is like a silver bowl heaped with snow and the bright moon concealing herons ?
When classified they differ, but lumped together their whereabouts is known.
The Mind, not resting in words, accommodates what arises;
Tremble and it becomes a pitfall; missing, one falls into fretful hesitations.
Neither ignore nor confront what is like a great ball of flame. 179
Giving it literary form, immediately defiles it.
Clearly illuminated just at the middle of the night, it does not appear in the morning light;
It is a standard for all beings, used to extricate them from all suffering.
Although it takes no action, it is not without words.
Like gazing into the jewel mirror, form and reflection view each other;
You are not him, but he is clearly you.
Just as in the common infant, the five characteristics are complete;
No going, no coming, no arising, no abiding, Ba-ha wa-wa, speaking without speaking; 180
In the end, things are not gotten at, because the words are still not correct.
In the six lines of the doubled li hexagram, Phenomena and the Real interact;
Piled up to become three, each transformed makes five. 181
Like the taste of the [five-flavored] chih grass, like the [fivepronged] vajra; 182
Secretly held within the Real, rhythm and song arise together.
Penetration to the source, penetration of the byways, Grasping the connecting link, grasping the route.
Acting with circumspection is auspicious; 183 there is no contradiction.
Innately pure, moreover subtle, no connection with delusion or enlightenment.
According to time and circumstance, it quietly illuminates.
Fine enough to penetrate where there is no space, large enough to transcend its boundaries.
Being off by the fraction of a hairsbreadth, the attunement of major and minor keys is lost.
Now there is sudden and gradual because principles and approaches have been set up;
With the distinction of principles and approaches, standards arise.
Even if one penetrates the principle and masters the approach, the true constant continues as a [defiled] outflow.
Externally calm, internally shaking, like a tethered charger or a hiding rat;
The former sages, having compassion for such people, made a gift of the Dharma.
In their topsy-turvy state, people take black for white.
But when their topsy-turvy thinking is destroyed, the acquiescent mind is self-acknowledged.
If you wish to conform with ancient tracks, please consider the ancients:
The Buddha, on the verge of accomplishing the Way, spent ten kalpas beneath the tree of contemplation; 184
Like the tiger which leaves some remains of its prey, and like the charger whose left hind leg has whitened. 185
For the benefit of those with inferior ability, there is a jeweled footrest and brocade robes; 186
For the benefit of those capable of wonder, a wildcat or white ox. 187
Yi used his skill [as an archer], 188 and there was the bowman who pierced the target at one hundred paces. 189
Two arrowpoints meeting head-on, 190 ? how is such great skill attained?
The wooden man begins to sing, and the stone woman rises to dance;
It is not attained in thought or feeling, so why reflect upon it?
A vassal serves his lord, and a child obeys its father;
It is unfilial not to obey, improper not to serve.
Working unobserved, functioning secretly, appearing dull, seemingly stupid ?
If one can simply persist in that, it is called the host’s view of the host.
The Master said, “In this Dharma-ending age people possess much idle knowledge. If you want to distinguish true from false, there are three types of defilement to be aware of. The first is defiled views. This is said to be not departing from a particular fixed view about the potential for enlightenment and thus falling into a sea of poison. The second is defiled emotions. This is said to be entrapment in preferences and repulsions, thus having one’s perspective become one-sided and rigid. The third is defiled language. This is said to be mastering trivia and losing sight of the essential. The potential for enlightenment is thoroughly obscured. You should understand clearly that a disciple whose understanding is muddled and is going round and round in circles has not done away with these three types of defilements.”
There is also the “G?th? of the Essentials” in three verses. The verse “Rhythm and Song Performed Together” goes:
One metal pin holds a pair of locks;
The paths for the pin found, its function mysteriously simultaneous.
The Precious Seal corresponding to the subtleness of the wind,
Like the visibility of overlapping brocade stitches.
The second verse, “The Path of the Darkling Lock,” goes:
Interacting, darkness amidst light,
One comes to feel that successful endeavor is difficult.
One’s strength exhausted, progress and retreat are forgotten;
The metal locks pull each other like the meshes of a net.
The third verse, “On Not Falling into Distinctions Between Sagely and Common” goes:
Principle and phenomena have no relation to each other;
Reflected light cuts through dark mystery.
Ignoring the wind, with neither skill nor incompetence,
The lightning bolt is impossible to escape.
The Master was unwell and directed a novice monk to deliver a message to Yiun-chu, saying, “If he asks whether I am well, simply reply that the transmission of Yiun-yen’s way will be interrupted. When you deliver this message, you should stand back. Otherwise, I fear he will hit you.”
The novice monk acknowledged that he understood and went to transmit the message. But well before he had finished speaking, he was given a blow by Yiun-chu, after which he remained silent.
When the Master was about to enter perfect rest, 191 he addressed the assembly, saying “I’ve had a worthless name in this world. Who will get rid of it for me?”
When none of the assembly replied, a novice monk came forward and said, “Please say what the monk’s Dharma name is.”
The Master said, “My worthless name has been eradicated.”
A monk asked, “Although the monk is unwell, is there actually one who is not sick?”
“There is,” replied the Master.
“Will the one who is not sick treat the monk?”
The Master said, “I am entitled to see him.”
“I wonder how the monk will see him?”
“When I see him, there will be no perception of sickness,” replied the Master.
The Master continued by asking the monk, “After I have left this filthoozing shell, where will we meet?”
The monk didn’t reply.
The Master recited a g?th?:
Disciples as numerous as grains of sand in the River Ganges, not one has gained enlightenment;
They err in seeking it as a path taught by others.
To eliminate form and eradicate its traces,
Make utmost effort, and strive diligently to walk in nothingness.
Then the Master had his head shaved, bathed himself, and put on his robes. He struck the bell and announced his departure to the assembly. Sitting solemnly, he began to pass away. Immediately the large assembly began to wail and lament. This continued for some time without stopping. The Master suddenly opened his eyes and addressed the assembly, saying, “For those who have left home, a mind unattached to things is the true practice. People struggle to live and make much of death. But what’s the use of lamenting?”
Then he ordered a temple official to make arrangements for a “delusion banquet.” However, the assembly’s feeling of bereavement did not go away, so preparations for the banquet were extended over seven days. The Master joined with the assembly in completing the preparations, saying, “You monks have made a great commotion over nothing. When you see me pass away this time, don’t make a noisy fuss.”
Accordingly, he retired to his room, sat correctly, and passed away in the third month of the tenth year of the Hsien-t’ung era (869). He was sixty-three and had spent forty-two years as a monk; his posthumous name was Zen Master Wu-pen. 192 His shrine was called the Stupa of Wisdom-awareness.
From the end of the Ta-chung era of the T’ang ( 847-859), the Master received and instructed students at Hsin-feng Mountain. 193 After that, his teaching flourished at Dong-Sarn in Kao-an of Yu-chang hsien. 194 He expediently set forth the doctrine of the “Five Ranks” and skillfully instructed people of each of the three root types. 195 He magnificently proclaimed the single sound, 196 extending it to encompass myriad beings. He freely brandished the jewel sword, 197 cutting through dense groves of various false views. He wondrously harmonized the various teachings and widely propagated the Way, cutting off fruitless probings into all manner of things. Moreover, he gained Ts’ao-shan as a disciple. With profound understanding of the ultimate goal, he wondrously intoned this excellent design, a way that integrates lord and vassal and in which exists the mutual interaction of the Real and phenomena. Because of this, Tung-shan’s subtle influence spread beneath heaven. Consequently, masters from every quarter unite in revering him. His lineage is called the Ts’ao-tung Lineage. 198
1 The Heart Sutra (Praj??p?ramit? Hr?daya S?tra, T.250-57), an abbreviated Perfection of Wisdom text, is a body of thought central to much of the Mah?y?na tradition. It teaches, in part, the ultimate emptiness of all things, including the dharmas of the earlier Buddhist teachings. Thus, whereas earlier a meditator might have analyzed a particular experience into its components, isolating factors such as the relevant sense faculties and their objects, the Perfection of Wisdom literature instructs the Mah?y?na practitioner to recognize that those components, taken together as the reality of an experience, are in fact empty, and thus to be transcended. However, Dong-Sarn?ingenuously, it appears?reacts against the bald assertion that he has no eyes, etc. In CTL (T.51, 321b) Dong-Sarn’s question does not concern his sense faculties, but the “rootless gun?a.” See Chang, p. 58. Ch’en, the Chinese for gun?a, also means dust and, by extention, defilement. See note 58. Except for a slight difference in wording, the TTC is the same as the present text.
2 Ng-Sid Mountain is located in Chu-chi hsien, Chekiang. Zen Master Mo (747-818), a member of the second generation of Mar-Tzoe’s line, made this his center, becoming known as Ling-mo of Ng-Sid. TTC15, CTL7.
3 Song Mountain, which is in northern Teng-feng hsien, Honan, is the central peak of China’s “Five Peaks” and the location of the Shao-lin Temple with its ordination platform.
4 According to the Sarv?stiv?din Vinaya (Ssu fen lu), T22, 567-1015, there are 250 precepts for a monk and 348 for a nun, though the latter number is conventionally quoted as 500.
5 P’u-Yiuan of Narm-Tsiun (748-834) began his study of Buddhism at the age of ten and was formally ordained on Mt. Sung in Honan at the age of thirty. His studies included the teaching of the Fa Hsiang, Disciplinary (Lu, Vinaya), Huayen (Avatam?saka) and San Lun (M?dhyamika) schools. In the end, he took Matsu Tao-i as his teacher and is regarded as one of that master’s foremost disciples. After receiving Mar-Tzoe’s approval, he set out for Narm-Tsiun Mountain (in modern Anhwei), were he spent thirty years living alone in a thatched hut. When he finally began to teach, he attracted several hundred students. TTC16, CTL8 (translated in Chang, 1971, pp. 153-63).
6 Mar-Tzoe Tao-I (709-788) was in the third generation of Liu-tsu Hui-neng’s line. He was born in Szechwan and is traditionally said to have been the major influence on the Zen of the Hung-chou region of China. Mar-Tzoe is regarded as having most fully developed that strain of Hui-neng’s thought that emphasized the discovery of self-nature in the midst of daily activity. Also, the blows and shouts generally associated with Lin-chi can be traced to Mar-Tzoe. CTL 6 (translated in Chang, 1971, pp. 148-52).
7 A memorial banquet is a ceremony that normally lasts two days and finishes with a vegetarian feast on the day of death of the person being honored. Mar-Tzoe died on the fourth day of the second lunar month. Dong-Sarn apparently arrived on the first day of this particular ceremony.
8 There is a precedent for the belief that Buddhist masters attend their own memorial banquets. For example, in the first fascicle of the Fa-Yiun chih-lueh (A Concise Record on the Fate ofthe Law), translated by Jan Yiun-hua ( 1966, p. 18), there is a description of a memorial banquet for Chih-i (see TSL33, note 3) held in 605. Though the number of monks in attendance was supposed to be exacty 1,000, their number increased by one during the course of the meal. The additional monk was believed to be Chih-i.
9 “Companion” is a common image in Zen texts for the physical (as opposed to the nonphysical) body. The term also denotes an attendant or someone to be relied on. In this case, the body (r?pa in traditional Buddhist terms) would be the attendant of mind (n?ma). Another example of this usage can be found in the Record of Lin-chi: Followers of the Way, don’t acknowledge your illusory companion; sooner or later it will return to impermanence. T.57, 498c; Sasaki, 1975, p. 15.
10 To be “cut and polished” is to be developed or perfected through teaching or discipline. An example of this usage of the image appears in the Confucian Analects 1:15.
11 Ling-yu of Gwai-Sarn (771-853), in the third generation of Mar-Tzoe’s line, was the patriarch of the Kuei-yang House, the earliest of the “Five Houses of Zen.” He left home to become amonk at the age of fifteen and began by studying the sutras and monastic discipline (Vinaya). He eventually found his way to Pai-chang’s center, where he became the leading disciple. In his book, the Kueishan Ching Tse, he discusses what he perceives to be the general degeneration of Buddhism in his time and proposes the means for its revival. Kuei Mountain was located in T’an-chou, modern Ch’ang-sha in Hunan. CTL 9 (translated in Chang, 1971, pp. 200-208).
12 Tzong of Narm-Yerng is Hui-chung (d.775), a disciple of Liu-tsu Hui-neng. According to his biography, until he was sixteen, he never spoke, nor did he leave the immediate vicinity of his house. However, when he saw a Zen monk passing his house one day, he began speaking and requested ordination. As a result, the monk directed him to Hui-neng. He is said to have lived forty years on Po-yai Mountain in Nan-yang, modern Honan, without leaving. However, by 761 his fame had spread, and he was summoned to the capital, where he received the title National Teacher (kuo-shih). TTC3, CTL27.
13 The question of whether nonsentient beings possess Buddha Nature and thus, by extension, are capable of expressing Dharma?a major controversy in early T’ang China?grew out of differing interpretations of the Nirv?na S?tra, T.374, particularly the line, “All beings, without exception, possess Buddha Nature.” Hui-chung was a prominent spokesman for the belief that nonsentient beings are included under “all beings.” On one occasion he cited the Avatam?saka S?tra, “The Buddha’s body completely fills the Dharma Realm and is manifest to all beings.” ( TTC3, 63a) Often cited in opposition to this is the following passage from the Nirv?na S?tra: “Such nonsentient things as walls, tile, and stones lack Buddha Nature. All else can be said to have Buddha Nature.” (T.12, 581a) Huichung could not have been unaware of this passage when he used wall and tile rubble as examples of the mind of the ancient Buddhas.
14 “Ancient buddha” is a term commonly used in Zen literature to refer to distinguished former masters, e.g., Yiuan-wu Fuo-kuo’s description of the Sixth Patriarch: The Reverend Tsoe-Kai was truly an ancient buddha, T.48, 807b.
15 Chuang Tze, when asked in the “Chih pei yu” chapter whether the Tao was found among the lowly, replied that the Tao “exists in the crickets,…in the grasses,…in tiles and bricks,…and in shit and piss.”
16 In the Chinese the object of “no part” is left unstated. Yanagida translates it, In that case, people would be completely without hope ( 1974, p. 294), and has suggested that “salvation” or “nirvana” might be the object. It is also possible that the Dharma taught by nonsentient beings is the object here?which, in the end, is simply another way of saying “salvation.”
17 Avatam?saka S?tra, T.9, 611a. The “three times” are past, present, and future, i.e., always.
18 The fly wisk usually consisted of the tail hair of some animal attached to a handle. According to tradition, the Buddha had approved of its use by the monks as a means of brushing off bothersome insects without killing them. However, because there was a tendency to use rare and expensive materials to construct the wisk, the Buddha stipulated that only certain ordinary materials be used: felt, hemp, finely torn cloth, tattered items, or tree twigs. Paintings of Buddhist monks indicate that in China this stipulation was ignored. In Zen it was a symbol of authority, generally held, when teaching, as an indication that the teaching was the correct Dharma.
19 Yau-Yiun of Lai-Ling is in the northwest part of Ch’ang-sha in modern Hunan.
20 T’an-sheng of Yiun-yen (780-841), although in the third generation of the Shih-to’u line, began his career as a monk together with Gwai-Sarn under Paich’ang in the Mar-Tzoe line. He remained with Pai-ch’ang for over twenty years before going to Yao-shan, a disciple of Shih-t’ou. Yiun-yen Mountain is in T’anchou, modern Ch’ang-sha, Hunan. TTC6, CTI, 14.
21 “To push aside the grass and gaze into the wind” is a play on a line from the Confucian Analects suggesting the ability to distinguish the superior man from ordinary people. “The superior man’s deportment is like the wind; ordinary people’s is like grass. When the wind blows over it, the grass bends.” Lun-Yiu 12: 19.
22 “This old monk” is a self-deprecating term often used by monks to refer to themselves.
23 The sentence quoted from the Amit?bha S?tra, T. 12, 378a, is part of Shakyamuni’s description of the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, the Western Paradise. Thus, since Yiun-yen could not have been unaware of this fact, it must be assumed that he has tacitly equated this world with the Pure Land.
24 In place of “habits,” TTC6, 101b has “karma.”
25 A similar exchange occurred between the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng, and his disciple Hsing-szu (d.740):
Hsing-szu asked, “What must be done to avoid falling into [the practice of] stages?”
Hui-neng responded, “What have you been doing?”
Hsing-szu said, “I have not concerned myself with the Four Noble Truths.”
“What stages have you fallen into?” asked Hui-neng.
Hsing-szu said, “What stages exist if there is no concern with the Noble Truths?” ( CTL5)
Dong-Sarn, whose lineage is traced back to Hui-neng through Hsing-ssu, appears indirectly to acknowledge the place he will assume in that lineage through his choice of words in this case. The Four Noble Truths, part of the earliest strata of Buddhist teaching, assert that there is suffering, its cause, its cessation, and a path leading to its cessation. Implicit in such a teaching is a belief in the existence of defilements or habits to be eradicated and of a gradual process or stages by which that eradication is achieved.
26 The Chinese term for “joyful” translates the Sanskrit, pramudit?, the name of the first of ten levels (bh?mi) attained by a bodhisattva in his ripening to perfect enlightenment. Though he attains sainthood at this level, certain defilements remain.
27 “Chamberlain” was a title used during various dynasties, including the T’ang, for the court official who waited on the Emperor and served as an intermediary between him and the court nobility.
28 In TTC 5, p. 97b, this line reads, While Yiun-yen was reading the sutras.
29 Instead of “just before leaving,” TTC 2, 99b-100a, reads “just before the Master’s (i.e., Yiun-yen’s) death.”
30 Traditionally, a disciple was allowed to draw his master’s portrait only when the master acknowledged that the disciple had received the transmission of his Dharma.
31 “Just this person” is a variant of “just this man of Han.” The latter form is used in the earlier TTC version of the same incident ( TTC 4, 100a). According to medieval Chinese legal custom this is the phrase by which a criminal formally confessed his guilt in court. Comparison with other occurrences of the phrase in Zen works (see TTC 8, 153b, and TTC 10,202a) suggests that it expresses a thoroughgoing assumption of responsibility for one’s being.
32 “Having assumed the burden” was another expression used when a criminal acknowledged his crime and personally accepted responsibility for it.
33 “Knowing reality” was used in a similar sense by Narm-Tsiun (see note 5). “Patriarchs and Buddhas do not know reality; mountain cats and wild buffalo know reality.” TTC 16, p.297a.
34 See TSL2.
35 The prior is the administrative head of a Zen monastary.
36 Shih-shih, “Stone Caverns”, is both the name of a monk and the name of a place. This group of caves, located in Yau-Yiun, modern Hunan, has long been popular as a place for ascetic practices, and it was in these caves that Dong-Sarn first met his teacher, Yiun-yen ( TSL3). Because it was common for Zen monks to be referred to by the name of the place they became associated with, there was probably more than one monk named Shih-shih. The Shih-shih in this anecdote was probably the Shih-shih Shan-Tao who is mentioned in the Record of Lin-chi (Sasaki, 1975, p.4). According to accounts of him in TTC5 and CTL14, he was a mid-ninth-century monk who, at the end of the great Buddhist purge of 845, did not reassume his robes, but took up residence in the Stone Caverns of Yuhsien, living as an ascetic. As a form of practice, he operated a foot-driven millstone. See Blue Cliff Record, case 34.
37 A possible allusion to the Sixth Partiarch’s question to Nan-Yiueh (677744) What is it that has come just so? CTL5.
38 Boe-Yiun of Lu-tsu Mountain in Ch’ih-chou (Anhwei). Mar-Tzoe’s disciple (no dates). TTC14, CTL7.
39 “Wordless speaking” bears resemblance to Lao-tzu’s “wordless teaching.” Tao te ching 2 and 40.
40 “There is no mouth” appears to be a reference to the Perfection of Wisdom doctrine of the emptiness of all things, an issue already raised in TSL1, and one that will be raised again in TSL34.
41 Nan-Yiuan is Tao-ming of Yuan-chou (Kiangsi), a disciple of Mar-Tzoe. TTC 14, CTL6.
42 “Between mind and mind there is no gap” bears resemblance to Lin-chi’s “mind and mind do not differ.” (T.47, 499c) This has also been translated, Your minds and Mind do not differ (Sasaki, 1975, p. 20). However, the Chinese hsin hsin does not make it explicit that two varieties of mind are what is intended here. Hsin, in addition to meaning “heart,” is used to translate numerous Sanskirt terms having to do with mental phenomena, e.g., citta, “thought,” caitta, “mental conditions (of thought),” manas, “mind.” Thus the sentence might also read, “Between thoughts there is no gap.”
43 Ching-chao is the environs of the imperial capital, i.e., Ch’ang-an. Hsingp’ing of Ching-chao is included among Mar-Tzoe’s disciples in CTL8. The account there and in TTC20 is the same as the one presented here; there is no additional information on him.
44 See TSL3, note 14.
45 A “wooden man” is a puppet, one of the analogies used in the Perfection of Wisdom sutras for a bodhisattva in possession of the Perfection of Wisdom. For example, in Edward Conze’s on of the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in Eight Thousand Lines the following passage occurs: “An expert mason, or mason’s apprentice, might make of wood an automatic man or woman, a puppet which could be moved by pulling the strings. Whatever action it were made to perform, that action it would perform. And yet that wooden machine would have no discriminations. Because it is so constituted that it lacks all discrimination. Just so a Bodhisattva performs the work for the sake of which he develops the perfection of wisdom, but the perfection of wisdom remains without discrimination. Because that perfection of wisdom is so constituted that it lacks all discriminations.” ( Ast?as?hasrik? Praj??p?ramit? S?tra, Mitra ed., p. 443; Conze, p. 258). This image appears again at the end of the “G?th? of the Five Ranks.” TSL116.
46 The Dharma-body (Skt., dharmakaya) is the absolute body of Buddhahood, free of all distinguishing features. The Reward-body (Skt., sam?bhogak?ya), is the glorified body of Buddhahood, visible only to bodhisattvas. These two bodies are part of the traditional three bodies of the Buddha (Skt., trik?ya); the third body is the Apparition-body (Skt., nirm?nak?ya), the body that appears in the phenomenal world, visible to all.
47 Uncle Mi is Seng-mi of Shen-shan, Dong-Sarn’s fellow disciple under Yiunyen, thus called “Uncle” by Dong-Sarn’s disciples. Shen Mountain is in T’an-chou ( Hunan). TTC6, CTL15.
48 There is no additional information on this monk. The same account appears in CTL14 with the name Pai-yen Ming-che of Ngo-chou. The account is included among those of Yao-shan’s (751-834) disciples.
49 An intendant is an official sent from the central government to oversee local administrations.
50 The Chinese term for “circuit tour” is, literally, “to go out and come in,” a conventional term for inspection tours of the provinces by an official of the central government, i.e., going out to observe the provinces and re-entering the capital to attend the Emperor at his court.
51 A “turning phrase” is a verbal response that demonstrates a turning of attention toward the reality of things or central truths. Such phrases were believed to reveal a person’s level of insight and were a major component in much of Zen literature.
52 Presumably what is being referred to is the summer retreat, lasting from the fifteenth day of the fourth lunar month until the fifteenth of the seventh month. Thus, if Dong-Sarn and Shen-shan are to pass the retreat with Pai-yen, additional rice will have to be laid in.
53 Lung-shan (Dragon Mountain), also known as Yin-shan (Hidden Moutain, see TTC20), is included among Mar-Tzoe’s disciples in CTL8. The mountain is located in T’an-chou. In both the CTL and TTC accounts of this encounter Uncle Mi, (Shen-shan) is not mentioned as accompanying Dong-Sarn. In addition, Dong-Sarn is said to be lost. Thus it would appear that he stumbled on Lung-shan by accident.
54 CTL8 reads, “Where were you headed…”
55. Clay oxen were traditional ritual objects used to mark the beginning of spring, which, according to the Chinese lunar calendar, coincides with the beginning of the new year.
56. The Third Patriarch of Zen was the sixth-century master Seng-ts’an. Biographical information is very sketchy, the earliest extant account appearing in the Ch’uan Fard-Boe-Gey (Pelliot 3559), an early eighth-century work. The Inscription on Believing in Mind (Hsin hsin ming) is attributed to Seng-ts’an and can be found in CTL 30 ( Suzuki, pp. 76-82).
57. In a note included with this anecdote in the WCYL, Fa-yen (885958) offers a proxy answer for the official: “In that case, I won’t make a commentary.”
58. The Chinese term for dirty is ch’en, which commonly means dust or dirt, with implications of worldly or vulgar. Both Param?rtha ( 499-569) and Hsuantsang ( 600-664), in their translations of the Abhidharmako?a ??stra, use ch’en for, among other Sanskrit terms, rajas, “fine matter,” one of the categories of r?pa-dharma (“material elements”). This Sanskrit term is rich in denotations important both for the Ko?a and for the present case. It is used for dust or dirt and, by association, for impurity. Related to the idea of impurity are such further denotations as menstrual discharge, darkening quality, passion, and emotion. The Ko?a describes it as matter constantly in motion, unquantifiable, and as something that adheres and contaminates. It is frequently compared to the kle?as, defilements or obstructions to enlightenment. Ch’en is also used by Par?martha in Ko?a 1, as a translation for vi?aya (“sphere”), namely, the sources of stimulation for the sense organs; e.g., the sphere of sounds acts as stimulation for the ear. The implication here is that such stimulation is impure and polluting. Thus, while on one level the old woman is simply asking about any dirt that might be contaminating her water, on another level the question might be directed at the problem of spiritual impurity and pollution. This echoes Hui-neng’s dispute with Shen-hsiu in The Platform Scripture, ch. 1, concerning the necessity of wiping dust from a mirror (Yampolsky, pp. 130-32). The question here is made particularly poignant in light of the traditional Buddhist doctrine of the innate impurity of women, a state that prevents them, inter alia, from becoming buddhas.
59. Leh-t’an was in Nan-chang hsien of Hung-chou, modern Kiangsi. “Head monk” (shou-tso), literally translates as “chief seat.” Ch’u’s identity is unknown.
60. “Path” here is the Chinese Tao, which can be understood in one of two ways. It can be read as the pre-Buddhist notion of the Way, e.g., the source of everything (as it sometimes appears in the Tao Te Ching) or the way of something such as Heaven, Nature, or man (as it occurs in both the Tao Te Ching and the Analects of Confucius). Or it can be read as a translation of the technical term for the Buddhist Path (Skt., m?rga). Given the latter reading, one can understand this passage as praising the path and its fruit, Buddhahood, or simply as variations on a single theme, Buddhism.
61. “When you’ve gotten the meaning, forget the words” is a quotation from the “External Things” (Wai wu) chapter of the Chuang-tzu (Watson, p. 302).
62. Appended to this case in the WCYL is the following variant:
Another text says that when the Master was crossing a river with Shen-shan he said, “You mustn’t make a wrong step.”
“You won’t get across if you take a wrong step,” said Shen-shan.
“How does one not take a wrong step?” asked the Master.
“By crossing the river together with you,” replied Shen-shan.”
63. The Chinese for “friend” here is literally “wisdom” (chih-shih) or, in this case, “knower,” a common term of address in Zen literature. In Buddhist texts it is used to translate the Sanskrit mitra, “friend,” with the possible connotation of kaly?n?amitra, “good friend,” a Buddhist term for a spiritual guide or teacher.
64. In Chinese the structure of Shen-shan’s preceding response, “Who teaches about mind and nature?” allows it to be read either as a question or as a simple noun phrase, “the who that teaches about mind and nature.” Thus Dong-Sarn’s rejoinder, “While dead is living” ? though a complete sentence in Chinese, since the subject need not be explicitly stated ? is also potentially the grammatical completion of the previous response by Shen-shan understood as a noun phrase.
65. I-ts’un of Hsueh-feng ( 822-908) was from Fu-chou (Fukien). He first expressed a desire to become a monk at the age of nine but was prevented from doing so by his parents until he was twelve. Much of his early life was spent visiting various masters throughout China. The present set of encounters apparently occurred during one such pilgrimage, which he made in the company of Yen-t’ou ( TSL61) and Ch’in-shan ( TSL60, 61). He didn’t meet his master, Te-shan (note 73), until the age of forty, and he is said not to have gained enlightenment until the age of forty-five. At fifty he established his own temple on “Snowy Peak” (Hsueh-feng) and is said to have attracted several hundred disciples. He was in the fifth generation of the Shih-t’ou line. TTC7, CTL16.
66. Chih-i ( 538-598) is traditionally regarded as the fourth patriarch of T’ient’ai Buddhism and founder of Kuo-ch’ing Temple on Mt.T’ien-t’ai in central Chekiang. It would have been physically impossible for Hsueh-feng to have met him.
67. The “iron cudgle” is probably the one associated with Yama, ruler of the hells.
68. Cf. Lin-chi, “Students come from all quarters. As soon as the host and guest have met, the guest offers a phrase to determine the worthiness of the host as a teacher”. T. 48, 500a; Sasaki, p. 23.
69. The fan would thus read “unbuddha(like).” Pu is commonly a negative prefix for verbs and thus imparts a verbal quality to the nouns it precedes.
70. The fan would now read either “not Buddha” or, possibly, “not unbuddhalike.” Fei is commonly a negative prefix for nouns.
71. Neither TTC nor CTL provides any record of Hsfieh-feng being together with Dong-Sarn at Yiun-yen’s. Most likely, either the persona have been confused or this is an anachronistic embellishment.
72. According to the monastic regulations attributed to Pai-chang in the Cb’an-Yiuan ch’ing-kuei, ch. 10, the Rice Cook is one of the ten kitchen positions under the Chief Cook. The preparation of vegetables is delegated to another cook, and so on.
73. Hsuan-chien of Te-shan ( 782?-865) was a member of the fourth generation in Shih-t’ou’s line. His family name was Chou, and because of his frequent lectures on the Diamond Sutra, he became known as “Diamond Chou.” As a Zen master, he is known for his use of the staff to strike students. Te Mountain is located in T’an-chou ( Hunan). ( TTC5, CTL15) The present anecdote also appears in the commentary to The Blue Cliff Record, case 5.
74. Flying Monkey Peaks are in the mountains between Kiangsi and Fukien. Hsueh-feng was originally from Fukien.
75. It was through Tao-ying of Yiun-chu ( 835?-902) that Tung-shan’s tradition continued the longest, at least into the seventeenth century. Tao-ying is literally “one who makes his heart the Way.” Yiun-chu (Cloud Rest) Mountain was located in Hung-chou. TTC8, CTL17.
76. Wu-hsueh of Ts’ui-wei Temple made his center on Chung-nan Mountain in the vicinity of Ch’ang-an (Shansi) and was a disciple of Tan-hsia T’ien-jan ( 738824) in Shih-t’ou’s line. TTC5, CTL14.
77. An arhat is the accomplished saint of the pre-Mah?y?na Buddhist traditions. An arhat has understood what is necessary for his own personal salvation and, having accomplished what was necessary, will enter final nirvana at death. The apparent issue here is the same as that raised in TSL2 and 11, i.e., whether a deceased saint is cognizant of honors offered him by the living. The exchange between the monk and Ts’ui-wei recounted here also appears in the section on Ts’ui-wei in CTL14. Directly preceding it is the folowing exchange:
Because the Master (Ts’ui-wei) was performing a memorial for the arhats, a monk said, “Tan-hsia (Ts’ui-wei’s master) burned a wooden Buddha, so why do you, Wor-Serng, perform a memorial for the arhats?”
The Master replied, ‘Burned, yet not burned; honored, yet indifferent to being honored.”
78. Yiuan-chih of Tao-wu Mountain ( 769-835) was the brother of Dong-Sarn’s master, Yiun-yen, and became Dong-Sarn’s teacher following Yiun-yen’s death. Both brothers were disciples of Yao-shan. Tao-wu Mountain is in T’an-chou ( TTC5, CTL14). In the versions of this anecdote contained in TTC8 and CTL 17, Dong-Sarn does not claim to have given his answer to Tao-wu, but to Yiun-yen.
79. The question “Why did the Patriarch come from the West?” is one of the most common in the discourse records. The patriarch who came from the West was the First Zen Patriarch in China, Bodhidharma (d.529). The traditional, though highly legendary, account of Bodhidharma’s life is found in The Biographies of Eminent Monks (Hsu kao-seng chuan, T.2060), compiled around 655. There, Bodhidharma is described as being the third son in a south Indian Brahmin family. Around the beginning of the sixth century he is said to have traveled by sea to south China in order to transmit the Buddha’s teaching.
80. “A handful of thatch” suggests a small village temple or hut, which Yiunchu might later occupy as master.
81. “The great monk Ssu” is Hui-ssu of Nan-Yiueh ( 515-577), Chih-i’s teacher and an advocate of the teachings of the Lotus Sutra. Dong-Sarn’s question concerns a legend prevalent in both China and Japan, according to which Hui-ssu was reborn in Japan (Wo) as the great Buddhist ruler, Prince Shotoku ( 574-622).
82. The Second Patriarch was Bodhidharma’s successor, Hui-k’o ( 487-593). See TTC2, CTL3. The issue raised here by Dong-Sarn is an incident referred to in TTC2. Hui-k’o went to Yeh-chou where he was arrested and executed for interfering with a sermon by Dharma Master Pien-ho. This was interpreted as expiation of karma incurred in a previous life. Though the nature of Hui-k’ o’s karma-producing act is not mentioned, it apparently bears similarity to Yiun-chu’s injuring the earthworm. Yeh-chou was in eastern Wei.
83. According to the Nirva?a S?tra (T.347), ch. 19, ” An icchantika is one who does not believe in the existence of causes and conditions, is devoid of shame, does not believe in karmic reward, does not see that this world is connected to the future, is not drawn to good friends, and does not accord with the Buddha’s teachings and rules.” Also, in ch. 5, “An icchantika has cut off all his good roots.”
84. The five heinous sins are to kill one’s father, to kill one’s mother, to kill an arhat, to disrupt the monastic community, and to draw the Buddha’s blood. The first two are interpreted as being ungrateful for the nurturance and care given by one’s parents; the following three are regarded as despising the field of merit.
85. The Maitreya S?tra (T.454),translated by Kum?raj?va (344-413), concerns the Buddha yet to come, Maitreya. He is said to be dwelling in the Heavenly Palace in Tu?ita Heaven, the fourth of the six heavens in the Realm of Desire. He will reside there for a total of 5,670,000,000 years before descending as a savior.
86. It is not clear what exchange Dong-Sarn is referring to here, but it appears to be one in which Dong-Sarn demonstrates his worthiness as Yiun-yen’s heir. The importance of that event is confirmed by the shaking of the brazier. Likewise, Dong-Sarn’s transmission to Yiun-chu is confirmed by the shaking of his meditation seat.
87. The location of San-feng (Three Peaks) Mountain is uncertain, but it would seem to be in the vicinity of Dong-Sarn’s center, since Yiun-chu was apparently close enough to return for his meals.
88. “Heavenly spirits” (t’ien shen) are distinguished in Chinese tradition from “ghosts of the earth” (ti ch’i). In the cosmology inherited from India, the heavenly spirits are the gods ruled by Indra who dwells in the heavens of the Realm of Desire.
89. Variations of this admonition appear several times elsewhere in Zen literature. Perhaps the best known instance is in the Sung edition of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, T.2008, where Hui-neng addresses Shang-tso Taoming, “Don’t think of good. Don’t think of evil. Just in this moment, what is your original face?” See Wang Mou-lam, p.21. This incident is also recorded in case 23 of the Gateless Gate (Wu men kuan). However, it is not recorded in the earlier Tun-huang edition (T’ang) of the Platform Sutra, T.2007. One of the earliest extant examples of the admonition seems to be the one in Hui-neng’s biography in TTC2 ( 952 a.d.), where it is part of a sermon. “If you wish to know the mind essence, simply don’t think about any good or evil, and therby gain entry to Mind.” In CTL8, Narm-Tsiun says: “Not thinking of good, not thinking of evil, when no thought arises, then my original face appears.” The present anecdote is not recorded in the Dong-Sarn section of CTL15.
90. K’uang-jen of Shu-shan (837-909) established his temple on Mt. Shu, which is located in Fu-chou. TTC8, CTL17.
91. The “Matter,” also sometimes the “Great Matter,” refers to the essential, ineffable truth of Buddhism. In the artter on “Skillful Means” (fang pien) in the Lotus Sutra, the term appears as “the one Great Causal Matter”: “This Law [which the buddhas expound] cannot be understood by powers of thought or discrimination. Only the buddhas can discern it. Why? Because the various buddhas, the world honored ones, only on account of the one Great Causal Matter, appear in the world. S?riputra, why do I say, the various buddhas, the world honored ones, only on account of the one Great Causal Matter, appear in the world? The various buddhas, the world honored ones, appear in the world because they want to induce all living beings to open Buddha-wisdom and to cause them to attain purity.” (T.262, 7a; Kato, p.59) Hui-neng quotes from this passage while explaining the Lotus Sutra as teaching the “one-vehicle Dharma”. In discussing this passage he says, “To discard false views, this is the one Great Causal Matter.” (T.48, 342c; Yampolsky, p.166) Lin-chi also refers to the “Great Matter” in the following passage: “If I were to demonstrate the Great Matter in strict keeping with the the teaching of the Patriarch School, I simply couldn’t open my mouth, and there wouldn’t be any place for you to find footing.” T.47, 469b; Sasaki, p. 1.
92. “The sear old tree that produces blossoms” is a traditional Chinese literary image, e.g., “Smoke rising over cold ashes; flowers blooming on an already sear old tree” and “The brillance of his rhetoric is capable of making an emptied stream flow again, and a sear old tree put forth blossoms.”
93. According to the Abhidharmako?a ŋ?stra, ch. 12, the Kalpa of Emptiness is one of four time periods that comprise one Great Kalpa (mah?kalpa), the length of time a world-system exists from creation total destruction. Each of the four kalpas is subdivided into twenty “small kalpas” (antara kalpa). The four kalpas are cyclic, occurring in the following order: (1) the Kalpa of Evolution (vivarta), (2) the Kalpa of Existing (vivarta-sth?yin), (3) the Kalpa of Dissolution (sam?varta), (4) the Kalpa of Emptiness (sam?varta-sth?myin). After the Kalpa of Emptiness there is another Kalpa of Evolution, and so on. During the Kalpa of Emptiness there is the total extinction of everything below the Fourth Dhy?na Heaven in the Form Realm.
94. Shih-ch’ien of Ch’ing-lin (d.904?), also known as “Dong-Sarn the Latter,” was one of Dong-Sarn’s eight principle disciples. After living in seclusion for many years, he recalled Dong-Sarn’s parting words to him, “You should benefit the masses of untaught. Why fix on trivial matters?” and left his retreat. He then went to Sui-chou and was invited to dwell in a place called “Green Wood” (ch’ing-lin). Hence he came to be known as the “Wor-Serng of the Green Wood.” TTC8, CTL17.
95. Wu-ling is a district west of Tung-t’ing Lake in Hunan Province, modern Ch’ang-te. Te-shan was active in this district at the time Ch’ing-lin might have been there. Thus, the following question may refer to the teaching of Te-shan.
96. The “adamantine disk” ? one of the seven treasures bestowed by ŋakra on a cakravartin (wheel-turning king) at his ascension to power ? is a sunlike object, that rises in the East and emits light. It is said to aid such a king in ruling. See Abhidharmako?a ŋ?stra, Ch. 11, and the Sutra of Miscellaneous Similies ( Tsa piyu ching, T.4, 530c).
97. Ch’ing-lin is using the adamantine disk, which leaves no shadow, as an image for himself.
98. Lung-ya is the name of a mountain in Hunan just south of Tung-t’ing Lake. Chu-tun of Lung-ya (835-923) is associated with Miao-chi Monastery, which was located on this mountain. He appears in the Record of-Lin-chi (T.47, 505b; Sasaki, p.48) where he questions Lin-chi and visits Ts’ui-wei. Also see TTC8, and Blue Cliff Record, case 20.
99. See note 73.
100. The “Mo-yeh sword” was a legendary weapon belonging to King Ho-lu of Wu ( 515-496 b.c.).
101. “Huo” is the sound of a boat being pulled through the water. Here, it is apparently intended to be the sound of the sword cutting Te-shan’s neck.
102. Lung-ya asks the same question of both Ts’ui-wei and Lin-chi. (See the Record of Lin-chi, T.47, 505b; Sasaki, p. 48.) In these two encounters Lung-ya is given a blow with a stick. Dong-Sarn’s response is more benign. Cf. TSL42.
103. Tung Creek is presumably a creek in the vicinity of Tung Mountain, though the Shui Ching records the existence of a creek by this name in Hunan, so called for its origin in the Great Western Cave (ta hsi tung).
104. Hsiu-ching of Hua-yen Temple is included among Tung-shan’s disciples. He made his center at the Hua-yen Temple in Ch’ang-an, the imperial capital, and is recorded as having had over three hundred disciples. The Emperor bestowed on him the name “Great Master Precious Wisdom.” TTC8, CTL17.
105. The word li, translated here as “proper,” carries with it much more than such a simple rendering can convey. Derived from a term that described the cutting of jade along its veins, it came to mean the ability to govern or regulate based on an understanding of the fundamental arrangement of things. Hence, in the philosophical texts such as the Mencius, it has the sense of natural principle or law. In the present case it could describe a way of living without obstructions in tune with natural principles.
106. “If we met on a narrow path. . .” is a standard predicament in Zen anecdotes, acting as a metaphor for an unavoidable and impossible situation, the path being so narrow as not to allow two people to pass safely. Retreat is apparently not considered a viable alternative.
107. Hua-yen eventually went north to Ch’ang-an, where he was said to have had three hundred followers. This prediction probably reflected the historical fact of the greater wealth and higher standard of living of the South at this time and is, therefore, not a comment on Hua-yen’s ability to attract followers.
108 Wen-sui of Ch’in-shan was born in Fu-chou (Fukien) and took his vows under Huan-chung of Ta-tz’u Mountain in Hang-chou. He accompanied Yent’ou (see TSL61) and Hsueh-feng⊥ (see TSL33) on a pilgrimage. Although these two received Te-shan’s seal, Wen-sui did not, and he continued on to Tungshan’s, where he received the latter’s seal. At the age of twenty-seven he established his own center on Ch’in Mountain in Li-chou ( Hunan). TTC8, CTL17.
109 Ta-tz’u is a mountain in Hang-chou (Chekiang) on which there is also a temple of that name. Huan-chung ( 780-861) was the master of this temple. Born in Ho-tung P’u-pan ( P’u-chou, Shansi), he began as a student of the Vinaya (The Book of Discipline) but later met Pai-chang and recognized him as his master. This places him in the Mar-Tzoe line. Defrocked in 844 during the suppression of Buddhism, he reassumed his robes following the death of Emperor Wu Tsung in 847. ( TTC17, CTL9) Alhough Ch’in-shan’s response is interpreted to mean that he came from the mountain, it is equally possible to read the Chinese to mean that he came from the temple or from Huan-chung.
110 In the Diamond Sutra the Buddha says, “Those who see me by my form …are not able to see the Tath?gata.” (T.8, 752a; Conze, 1958, p.63)
111 Ch’uan-hou of Yen-t’ou ( 828-887) was born in Ch’uan-chou (Hopei). He took his vows at Hsi-ming Temple, the main temple of the lineage concentrating on the Buddhist Discipline (Four-part Vinaya; Ssu-fen lu). He later participated in a pilgrimage with Hsueh-feng and Ch’in-shan, eventually meeting Teshan and, along with Hsueh-feng, inheriting his lineage. During the persecutions that began in 845, he is said to have worked as a ferryman. He was apparently slashed to death by bandits while seated in meditation. TTC7, CTL16.
112 Sam?dhi is etymologically related to the Greek “synthesis,” here denoting a progressive concentration of mind. It was brought about by focusing on an external object, followed by a process of introversion that ultimately terminated in a complete cessation of sensory perception and consciousness. This was the traditional process of meditation described at various points throughout the Abhidharmako?a.Sam?dhi was generally criticized by Zen masters as a misguided H?nay?na practice.
113 T’ung Chueh-t’ou of Pei-Yiuan is included among Tung-shan’s disciples in CTL17.
114 “Host” and “guest” are popular shibboleths found throughout Zen texts. “Host” often occurs juxtaposed to “guest” and on one level suggests the Zen notion of one’s original or essential nature. “Guest,” in contrast, suggests the conventional, everyday self as seen, for example, from society’s perspective. See TSL105.
115 “Secondary views” are the relativistic views one generally adheres to in one’s ordinary activities, as opposed to “the primary view,” things seen in their original or absolute nature. See Li-tai Fard-Boe-Gey25 and 28.
116 See TSL2.
117 According to CTL17, T’ung holds this exchange not with Dong-Sarn, but with Shan-hui of Chia-shan ( 805-; 881). The incident is not recorded in the TTC.
118 T’ung is presumably on his way to Fu-chou, the route passing through Flying Monkey Peaks. See TSL39.
119 There is no information on Tao-ch’uan other than that he was in Tungshan’s second generation. CTL17.
120 “Darkling” (hsuan) is an important term in the Lao Tzu, ch. 1, where it is used to characterize “the named and the nameless,” “being and nonbeing,” i.e., something prior to dualities. In Buddhist texts it is frequently used to characterize the Path.
121 The identity of Head Monk T’ai is uncertain, but he is possibly Hsuant’ai of Nan-Yiueh. TTC9.
122 Yu, about whom little is known, is included in CTL17 among numerous other disciples of Dong-Sarn. He is listed there as Yu-hsi Tao-yu of T’ai-chou.
123 This is the only known record of Shang-tso Lang.
124 Chu-Yiu of O-chou was a disciple of Narm-Tsiun ( 748-835) and a member of Mar-Tzoe’s third generation. “Chu-Yiu” is the name of a mountain on which the chu-Yiu, or oleaster tree, grows.
125 ?raman?a is a Sanskrit term which literally means “one who exerts himself.” In India the term referred to those who, having rejected the authority of received scripture (the Vedas), sought to find explanations of the universe and life through their own investigations and reasoning. Most were wanderers who lived by begging. Such seekers first began to appear in India around the 6th or 7th century B.C., and the Buddha himself seems to have been a part of this movement. The term comes to be a general Buddhist designation for one who has renounced home life to practice the Buddhist Way, i.e. a monk or Wor-Serng.
126 This approach to practice ? that, while training, one should have no consciousness of the process ? is found in the Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom: “As by the Lord all dharmas have been pointed out as mere concepts, just so should the Bodhisattva, the great being, having known all dharmas as mere concepts, train in perfect wisdom. And why? Because there he does not review the form in which he trains. When he trains thus, the Bodhisattva, the great being, trains in the perfection of giving. And why? Because he does not review the perfection of giving in which he trains.” Conze, 1975, p. 215.
127 ” Yu-chou is all right, but Hsin-lo is insufferable” was a proverb of the time. Yu-chou was in the extreme north of Hopei, and although still considered part of China, in most ways it was barely distinguishable from the “barbarian” regions north of the border. Hsin-lo, on the other hand, was north of the border and therefore regarded as barbarian and uncivilized. The import seems to be that, although one of two alternatives may be preferable, it is really not much better than the other.
128 “Foot” is used to translate the Chinese term ch’ih, a measurement approximating an English foot, and “inch” is used to translate ts’un, which is a tenth of a ch’ih. Thus, Dong-Sarn is describing an abnormally long face and short neck.
129 Jan of San-sheng was the monk Hui-jan, a disciple of Lin-chi. San-sheng Temple is in Hopei.
130 Mi of Ching-chao, was a disciple of Gwai-Sarn (see TSL3) and thus in Mar-Tzoe’s fourth generation. Ching-chao refers to the capital, Ch’ang-an.
131 Hui-chi of Yang-shan ( 807-883) was Gwai-Sarn’s disciple. Yang Mountain was located in Yuan-chou (Kiangsi).
132 “What is secondary,” ti-erh t’ou, is a variation of the term translated “secondary views,” ti-erh chien, in TSL62.
133 In the Ch’in Dynasty, Shang-shu was the official title of the “Keeper of the Imperial Archives”, coming to designate, by the T’ang, a post comparable to prime minister. The Ch’en here is probably Ch’en-ts’ao, referred to in CTL12 as the governor of Mu-chou. He was a lay disciple of Tao-ts’ung of Mu-chou and thus in Mar-Tzoe’s fifth generation.
134 Reference is being made here to the fifty-two “good friends” or teachers encountered by Sudhana in the Gan?d?avy?ha section of the Avatam?saka S?tra. Each one takes him a step closer to enlightenment. “The stage of subtle consciousness” is the final stage of the fifty-two stages a bodhisattva is said to pass through in order to attain Buddhahood. It is the realization of the Dharma-body.
135 The “end of summer” would be around July 15, since this marks the end of the three-month summer retreat and the beginning of the three-month free period, during which monks often visited other monasteries and teachers.
136 See TSL58.
137 Ch’ing-chu of Shih-shuang ( 807-888) started in Gwai-Sarn’s congregation but later went to Tao-wu’s and eventually became his successor. Thus, he is in Shih-tou’s fourth generation. Shih-shuang, literally, “rock frost,” is the name of a mountain in T’an-chou. TTC6, CTL15.
138 Lists of the “four forms of benevolence” vary, but a popular one, found in the Ta-ch’eng pen sheng-hsin ti-kuan ching (T. 159), includes the following four: the benevolence appropriate for parents, king, all beings, and the Three Treasures (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha). “The three classes of beings” are the beings existing in the Three Realms of Indian cosmology, i.e., the Realm of Desire, the Realm of Form, and the Formless Realm. According to The Admonitions of Gwai-Sarn (Gwai-Sarn ching-tse), Buddhists should “constantly strive to repay the kindness of others and rescue beings in the Three Realms.”
139 Literally, “beginning and ending.”
140 This may be a reference to an incident in the Avatam?saka S?tra in which Sudhana seeks to visit the first of his fifty-two teachers, Megha?ri (Te-Yiun), on a mountain peak (see TSL70). But when he arrives, no one is there, Megha?ri having gone to another peak.
141 An account of the “chicken-scaring rhino” is found in the Teng-she p’ien of Ko-hung’s ( 284-363) Pao-p’u tzu. The animal is described as having a red striped horn filled with grain, to which chickens were attracted, only to be frightened away when they got close. The poet Pai Chu-i ( 772-846) made use of this story in his Hsin leh fu, a poem lamenting the death of a rhino presented to the T’ang emperor Te Tsung. This fabulous animal, native to south Asia, had died in a snow storm en route to the capital.
142 See TSL47.
143 According to the ?ra?gama S?tra (T.642), ch. 8, and the Nirv?a S?tra (T.374), the four mountains are birth, old age, sickness, and death.
144 A “cleared field” would be one from which the old vegetation and remaining seeds have been removed, generally by burning. According to Abhidharma, an icchantika is one in whom the “seeds” of spiritual attainment have been so scorched as to destroy their potential.
145 “Pinch” is used to translate the Chinese liang, a measure of weight amounting to little more than 30 grams. Incense is normally burned during meditation, and thus this small amount would last only a short time. Dong-Sarn may be suggesting that the monk has only a short time to live.
146 The Third Patriarch was Seng-ts’an (d. 606). The stupa containing his remains was at Shan-ku Temple in Shu-chou.
147 This is a couplet from a g?th? by T’ien-jan of Tan-hsia ( 738-824), one of Shih-t’ou’s leading disciples. Tan-hsia is the name of a peak on which a hermitage was built for T’ien-jan to spend his final years. In the g?th?, Tan-hsia claims to have a miraculous jewel which he has kept hidden. Try as they might, others have not been able to discover this jewel. Then, he is “suddenly met by a man who understands emptiness, who has the freedom of these dense woods.” ( TTC4, 82a,b) This passage is followed by the couplet quoted in the present anecdote.
148 “That which enters through the door is nothing precious” is a quotation from Dong-Sarn’s master, Yiun-yen, which appears in TTC5. The following line in that text reads: “Even if your words cause stones to nod their heads, don’t value your own affairs.”
149 “He is not known by intellect or perceived by consciousness” is from the Chien ah ch’u Fuo section of the Vimalak?rti Nirde?a S?tra (T.14, 555a; Luk, p. 121).
150 “Obtaining the robe and bowl” refers to the well-known story in the first artter of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch, according to which Hui-neng rather than Shen-shiu is recognized by the Fifth Patriarch as his successor. This is confirmed by the Fifth Patriarch’s entrusting Bodhidharma’s robe and bowl to Hui-neng, the underlying assumption being that Hui-neng had attained complete enlightenment. The monk’s question concerns the relationship of practice to enlightenment. Shen-hsiu, in his poem written to demonstrate his understanding of Buddhism, says, “Constantly endeavor to wipe it [the mirror] clean.” The Fifth Patriarch tells Shen-hsiu that he has only arrived at the door but has not yet entered. Hui-neng’s poem includes the line “The bright mirror is originally pure. Where can dust sully it?”
151 “Entering through the door” is the same image used by Dong-Sarn’s teacher, Yiun-yen, and quoted by Dong-Sarn in TSL87: “That which enters through the door is nothing precious.” It may also be a further play on Hung-jen’s comment that Shen-hsiu had only arrived at the door.
152 “From the beginning not a single thing exists” is a quotation from the Hsing-yu section of the the later edition of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch (Wang Mou-lam, p.21). It is not found in the earlier Tun-huang edition. Although it is possible that a version different from the Tun-huang edition, containing this line, was in circulation during the ninth century, it is more likely that the use of the line here is an anachronism, indicating that the anecdote was reworked or even composed in the Sung Dynasty.
153 The term “hut-dwelling monk” (an-chu) applied to a type of Buddhist monk who led a reclusive existence outside the monastery. According to CTL12, Lin-chi had several such disciples: T’ung-feng an-chu, Shan-yang an-chu, Hu-chi an-chu, and Fu-p’en an-chu.
154 Wei-yen of Yiueh-shan ( 751-834) was Shih-t’ou’s disciple and Yiun-yen’s teacher. Yiueh Mountain was located in Li-chou ( Hunan). TTC4, CTL14.
155 “The bird path,” an image encountered throughout Buddhist literature, is used to describe the path of an enlightened being. It appears in the Pali Dhammapada, 7, as well as in the Perfection of Wisdom literature and its predecessor, the RatnaguU01E47asamucaya G?th?, ch. 8, verses 3 and 4: “Having cognized the revolving world as like a snare for wild beasts, the wise roam about similar to the birds in space. He who, coursing perfectly pure, does not course in form or in consciousness, perception, feeling, or will.” ( Conze, 1973, p. 25) Also in the Large Sutra on Perfect Wisdom: “The Lord: Nothing real is meant by the word ‘Bodhisattva.’ And why? Unproduced is enlightenment, unproduced is a being, and so there is no trace of enlightenment, or of a being [anywhere]. That is why nothing real is meant by the word ‘enlightenment-being.’ What is meant by the word ‘Bodhisattva,’ that does not exist, that cannot be apprehended; just as in space, the track of a bird does not exist and cannot be apprehended;…” ( Conze, 1975, p. 118) See Thomas and J.C. Cleary’s translation of a Japanese commentary on the “three paths” taught by Dong-Sarn in The Blue Cliff Record, p. 463.
156 The translation follows the TTC6, in which the character for hemp (ssu) is used for sandals. The later WCYL replaces “hemp” with “self” (ssu), in which case the sentence might read: “One should go without self underfoot.”
157 The image of one’s original face appears in the Hsing-yu section of the Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. See note 89.
158 The WCYL appends the following anecdote:
Later a monk at Chia-shan’s ( 805-881) assembly was asked, “Where did you come from?”
“From Dong-Sarn’s,” replied the monk.
“What does Dong-Sarn teach his followers?” asked Chia-shan.
“He ordinarily teaches his students three ways,” said the monk.
“What are those three ways?” asked Chia-shan.
“The darkling way (hsuan lu), the bird path, and the open hand (chan shou),” replied the monk.
“Does he really have these teachings?” asked Chia-shan.
“Yes,” replied the monk.
“Notes resolutely grasped for one thousand li, the sorrow of the students of the Way in the Monk’s Hall,” said Chia-shan.
159 “Amidst the darkling, darken again” is a variation on a line from the first artter of the Tao-te-ching, “Darken it and darken again.”
160 Vairocana is found throughout the Avatam?saka S?tra, T. 278, and the Brahmaj?la S?tra, T. 1484, where he appears as the ruling Buddha of the Lotuswomb Realm. He represents the most metaphysically elevated Buddha of the Mah?y?na tradition, capable of manifesting himself as all the other Buddhas.
161 “Multitudinous things” appears to refer to conditioned things (sam?skr?ta dharma), i.e., the phenomenal world, and raises the question of how something unconditioned (asam?skr?ta), i.e., the Buddha, can exist in the world.
162 The “once” in the present text ( WCYL) replaces “always” in the earlier TTS. Thus the line might also read, “I am always very concerned about that.”
163 The four lines Dong-Sarn is asked to comment on are a g?th? by Lungshan that appears in TTC20 where it is part of the same encounter described in TSL23.
164 T’ung Pass is a major pass between Ch’ang-an, the imperial capital, and Lo-yang. It was regarded as the entrance to Ch’ang-an.
165 The following anecdote is appended to this one:
Later a monk asked Ts’ao-shan, “What does ‘one is old’ mean?”
“No support,” replied Ts’ao-sha.
“What does ‘one is not old’ mean?” asked the monk.
“A withered, dead tree,” answered Ta’so-sha.
166 Ng-Sid was one of Dong-Sarn’s early teachers (see TSL1). Although he is said here to have attained enlightenment under Shih-t’ou, he eventually entered Mar-Tzoe’s lineage.
167 Ten feet, a foot, and an inch do not correspond exactly to the chang, ch’ih, and ts’un of the Chinese text. A chang contains ten ch’ih, and a ch’ih ten ts’un. A ts’un is slightly more than an inch.
168 Tung-t’ing Lake, China’s largest lake, is located in northern Hunan.
169 This g?th? borrows the form of Wu keng chuan, a folk song popular in the ninth century. Wei has generally been translated “rank” (See Heinrich Dumoulin , 1953, p. 25 ). However, since the five do not have any clearly ascending order, the term can be understood in a more neutral sense, such as “mode” or “position.” “Lord and vassal,” an image for the Real and phenomena, is part of the title of Dong-Sarn’s poetic rendering of the Five Ranks doctrine. See TSL115.
170 The night is divided into five two-hour watches (keng), running from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Therefore, the third watch would begin at midnight.
171 Instead of “familiar” (yen), the WCYL reads “despised” (hsien). This reading, however, appears to be a misprint, since not only does its conflict with the rhyme scheme, but it is also not supported by a quotation of this line in the Record of Ts’ao-shan (T. 14, 550b). This latter text confirms the present reading of “familiar.”
172. The “lotus amidst fire” is an image in the Vimalak?rti Nirde?a S?tra representing the bodhisattva’s vow to practice meditation in the midst of desires. (T. 14, 550b; Luk, p.90)
173. The ch’i lin is a mythological beast, with the characteristics of a dragon, a deer, and the Greek Pegasus. It is traditionally regarded as the mount of sylphs.
174. In TTC16, Narm-Tsiun asks Tao-wu, “What can you say about that place that knowledge does not reach?” Tao-wu replied, “One should absolutely avoid talking about that.” Narm-Tsiun said, “Truly, as soon as one explains, horns sprout on one’s head, and one becomes a beast.”
175. See TSL53.
176. The “fifty-three” is a reference to Sudhana’s fifty-three teachers in the Gan?d?avu?ha section of the Avatam?saka S?tra, T.278. These are the same as the “fifty-two” in TSL70 and 76. Although only fifty-two different teachers were visited by Sudhana, one of the bodhisattvas is visited twice (the first and last encounters). Therefore, the number is sometimes given as fifty-three.
177. Pen-chi of Ts’ao-shan (840-901), one of Dong-Sarn’s eight principal disciples, had been a student of Confucius before becoming a monk at the age of nineteen. He didn’t meet Tung-shan until much later in his life. Probably best known for his commentaries on Dong-Sarn’s doctrine of the “five ranks.” He eventually established his own center on Ts’ao Mountain in Hung-chou (Kiangsi). Although Ts’ao-shan’s line died out almost immediately, his comments on this doctrine survived and have had a major influence on Zen and on Far Eastern culture in general. This anecdote is his only actual appearance in the TSL, though his name is mentioned in Dong-Sarn’s memorial ( TSL120). CTL15.
178. The “jewel mirror” is an image that appears frequently in Buddhist literature; it can be found, for example, in the Ta-chih-tu lun,ch. 6, and the Vimalak?rti Nirde?a S?tra.
179. This simile is found throughout the Ta-chih-tu lun, e.g. “Perfect wisdom is like a great ball of flame; it can’t be grasped from any side.” Ta-chih-tu lun,ch. 19; T.25, 190c.
180. In ch. 20, Ying-erh hsing section of the Nirv??n?a S?tra (T. 12, 728-29), the “five characteristics” of the common infant are explained as analogous to the behavior of the Tath?gata, i.e., an infant is characterized by the inability to get up, stay put, come, go away, or talk. Similarly, the Tath?gata does not “raise” the thought of any dharma; does not “abide” in any dharma; does not have a body that would be capable of action (such as “coming”); does not “go” anywhere because he is already in nirvana, and, although he has taught the Dharma for living beings, has in fact “said” nothing. Also, according to this analogy, the infant is described as producing the sounds p’uo ho (seemingly meaningless sounds, translated here as ba and wa), where p’uo is equated with the Tath?gata’s teaching of permanence and the unconditioned, and ho with the teaching of impermanence and the conditioned. Thus, “speaking without speaking” describes this latter characteristic of teaching without recourse to intelligible speech. It also seems possible to interpret this to imply that what is generally accepted as intelligible speech and does in fact concern the conditioned and unconditioned ? e.g., the sutras ? is no more than the incoherent sounds of an infant when compared to ultimate reality.
181. This and the previous line develop the idea of the Five Ranks in terms of five hexagrams from the Book of Changes ( I Ching). Partially because of the ambiguity of exactly how the five transformations are to be performed, opinions have varied on what the five configurations are. A considerable body of commentary exists, beginning with Ts’ao-shan and continuing up to the present time. (See Alfonso Verdu, 1966 ). Yanagida suggests the following five configurations and the “ranks” to which each corresponds: (1) “Phenomena within the Real” is the double sun hexagram; (2) “the Real within phenomena” is the double tui; (3) “coming from within the Real” is tui above, sun below; (4) “going within together” is sun above, tui below; and (5) “arriving within together” is the double li ( Yanagida, 1974, p. 383). A description of these hexagrams can be found in Baynes and Wilhelm’s translation of the I Ching, 1950.
182. The vajra, or “thunderbolt,” is a ritual device often held while teaching. There are various numbers of prongs on the ends of a vajra, one, three, or five being most common. The one referred to here is clearly a five-pronged vajra.
183. In the discussion of the trigram li in the I Ching there appears the following comment: “Nine at the beginning. Treading with circumspection; if one acts with respect, there is no blame.”
184. This is not the traditional Buddha, Shakyamuni, but the Buddha Mah?bhij??j??n?bhibh? (the Buddha of Supreme Penetration and Surpassing Wisdom). According to the Hua ch’eng yu section of the Avatam?saka S?tra, he is said to have spent ten kalpas in meditation before attaining Buddhahood. His prolonged meditation became a popular topic in Zen literature. See The Gateless Gate ( Wu men kuan), case 9, and The Record of Lin-chi ( Sasaki, p. 34).
185. In popular lore the tiger is noted for eating all of its prey but the ears. The significance of this as well as of the whitened left hind leg of a charger is not entirely clear, but Yanagida suggests that they are indicative of venerability and power, the tiger as the master of the mountain beasts and the spirited horse as one whose hind leg has whitened with age. Yanagida, 1974, pp. 383-84.
186. The “jeweled footrest and brocade robes” alludes to the story in the Hsin chieh ( “Faith Discernment”) artter of the Lotus S?tra ( Kato pp. 111-25), in which a prodigal son, who had run away from home and wandered about for many years, finally returns home and, seeing his father dressed in brocade robes, feet resting on a jeweled footrest, does not recognize him. The father employs his son in menial tasks, for which the son is very grateful, never suspecting the true wealth to which he is heir. As the father is dying, the secret is finally revealed to the son. This is expained in the chapter as similar to the ignorance of those who are content with progress toward nirvana, never realizing their true potential as “sons of the Buddha.”
187. Narm-Tsiun (see TSL2) is recorded as saying in TTS16, 297a, “It is frequently said, ‘Patriarchs and Buddhas do not know reality. Wildcats and white oxen do.'” The passage goes on to explain that this is because in these animals there is not the least discrimination.
188. Yi is noted in traditional Chinese mythology as the skilled archer, who, at the command of the legendary Yao ( 2357-2257 B.C.), shot nine of the ten suns from the sky in order to save the crops.
189. This refers to an unnamed archer in the Chou pen chi section of the Shih chi ( Records of the Historian) who was able to pierce a willow leaf at 100 paces.
190. “Two arrow points meeting head-on” was a popular image that has its origin in the T’ang wen chapter of the Lieh-tzu. A famous archer named Fei-wei taught his technique to his student, Chi-ch’ang. Chi-ch’ang decided that, were he to kill his teacher, no one could compete with him. However, in attempting this, he unknowingly failed. When later the two met on a small country road, Chich’ang shot at Fei-wei, who in turn shot his own arrow. The two arrows met in mid-flight and fell harmlessly to the ground. As a result, Chi-ch’ang was enlightened to his own selfishness and developed a more profound relationship with his teacher. Shih-t’ou also uses this image in his poem Ts’an t’ung ch’i: “In the case of phenomena, the lid must fit the box; compliance with principle is like arrowheads meeting head-on.” TTS4, 77b. See T. Cleary, 1980, p.37.
191. “Perfect rest”, meaning nirvana, is a euphemism for death.
192. Wu-pen is literally “root of awakening.”
193. The location of this mountain has long been uncertain, but it is probably somewhere in the vicinity of Tung Mountain.
194. Yu-chang hsien is in present-day central Kiangsi province.
195. The “three root types” is a traditional Buddhist categorization of people according to their capacity for religious understanding set forth in the second chapter of the Abhidharmako?a S?stra of Vasubandhu. In the first category are those who see but do not yet comprehend the Dharma. In the second are those in the process of attaining an understanding. And in the third are those who have already understood. Thus, Dong-Sarn is credited with the ability to instruct all seekers, regardless of their inherent capacity. Lin-chi makes a similar claim with regard to people of the “three kinds of root capacity” and labels the categories “below average,” “above average,” and “superior.” T.47, 501b; Sasaki, p. 29.
196. According to the Vimalak?rti Nirde?a S?tra (T. 14, 538a) the Buddha is said to utter only a single sound, which is variously interpreted depending on the listener’s capacity to understand. “The Buddha expounds the Dharma with a single sound. People understand variously, each according to their type.”
197. “Jewel” (Boe) is often prefixed to Buddhist and Taoist terms. In addition to being prefixed to “sword” in this text, it is also prefixed to “mirror” in TSL 117, the Jewel Mirror Sam?dhi.” Both are implements serving a spiritual end. Bodhisattvas and guardian deities are often described as holding such swords for the purpose of cutting off defilements; e.g., Ma?ju?r? is iconographically represented as holding a sword, said to be for cutting off ignorance.
198. There are two explanations concerning the name of the lineage. In one, Ts’ao-tung is regarded as a combination of the names of Dong-Sarn and his disciple Ts’ao-shan. However, according to adherents of the line of another of Tungshan’s disciples, Yiun-chu, ts’ao refers to the name of the Sixth Patriarch’s center, Tsoe-Kai.
(Translated into English by John Myrdhin Reynolds)