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Zen Teaching of Rinzai copyright 1975 by Irmgard Schloegl.

This document is not to be printed, sold or otherwise commercially traded or distributed. It is made available for religious, educational or research purposes ONLY and out of a sincer concern than a valuable out-of-print document might fall into obscurity were it not made morereadily available to the worldwide Sangha.

During 2002 and 2003, great efforts were expended by Kirby Sanders (Zheng Dao), a Lay Disciple of the Zen Buddhhist Order of Hsu Yun to contact Mme. Schloegl / Miyoko-ni as the copyright holder of the document for permission to re-publish via Internet posting. Such efforts included contact with the former publisher, Shambhala Press and The Buddhist Society UK. Unfortunately, however, no direct contact information could be found. If Mme. Schloegl or her representatives, agents or assigns locate this document, it would be greatly appreciated if they would contact us at e-mail ozarkzen@yahoo.com to discuss and formalize such matters.

Slight variations and modifications of the original document format were made by Mr. Sanders in 2003 to better suit the electronic “ebook” medium and to facilitate tracking of illegitimate commercial duplications.

The Zen Teaching of Rinzai

[The Record of Rinzai]

Translated from the Chinese Lin-Chi Lu by Irmgard Schloegl

THE CLEAR LIGHT SERIES Shambhala Berkeley 1976

SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIONS, INC. 2045 FRANCISCO STREET BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA 94709

© 1975 IRMGARD SCHLOEGL

PUBLISHED IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BUDDHIST SOCIETY, LONDON.

ISBN 0-87773-087-3 LCC 75-40262 DISTRIBUTED IN THE UNITED STATES BY RANDOM HOUSE, AND IN CANADA BY RANDOM HOUSE OF CANADA LTD.

THIS BOOK IS IN THE CLEAR LIGHT SERIES DEDICATED TO W. Y. EVANS-WENTZ. THE SERIES IS UNDER THE EDITORSHIP OF SAMUEL BERCHOLZ.

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY McNAUGHTON & GUNN, ANN ARBOR, MI. TYPESET BY HOLMES TYPOGRAPHY, SAN JOSE, CA.

Introduction

Rinzai Gigen, father of the line or school of Rinzai Zen, died January 10th, 866 A.D. His date of birth is unknown, but it is generally taken that his teaching career was not much longer than a decade.

The Rinzai Line is one of the Five Houses of Zen, best thought of as teaching styles that developed within the Zen school, following a great master. It was brought to Japan in the 13th century. The historical development of the Zen School is well documented. A bibliography is appended.

Rinzai's "Record" was written by his disciples. It contains his teachings, episodes from his training, and from his teaching career.

As all the great Zen masters, he was firmly based on the Buddhist teachings, conversant with the scriptures, and freely quoting them. But rather than lip-service and routine learning, he demands genuine insight into the scriptures, and a life lived out of this insight. If at times he seems to deride, it is not the scriptures, but his students, who were apt to piously and tenaciously cling to the words rather than attempt to understand them.

Rinzai has the reputation of being extremely fierce and direct. When he really lashes out, it is to break down attachments to any ideal, and he is addressing seasoned monks. His seeming contradictions are another teaching device to rout his students from any complacency. In his Record, he speaks for himself, clearly and decisively.

There are, however, some passages which may seem obscure. These are worked on in meditation only, and insight into them is tested by the Zen master. They are training subjects rather than teaching material. But this does not mean that they are in any way special, or "esoteric", or available only for a few. Zen is refreshingly direct and down to earth, entirely commonsensical. As a training it has been and is open to anybody, monk or layman. But it has always demanded a good deal of hard training without which the sight will not become clear.

The Record may give the impression that monks were a good deal on the road, wandering about. In fact, this was the practice only for senior and well settled monks, who went from master to master --either to test their own understanding or, in case they felt "something still lacking," to find a master under whom they could complete their training. Young monks stayed put to undergo their basic training. In general, as well as in Rinzai's own life, three phases can be distinguished in the life of a master: The training under a master, wandering about to settle and test his insight, and his teaching career.

Translator's Foreword

The Record of Rinzai is one of the main texts in the School of Rinzai Zen.

The translator is not a sinologist, but in the course of eleven years of training in the Rinzai School of Zen, Japanese and the reading of the old Chinese Zen texts had to be acquired. Even so, a translation of the Record could not have been undertaken without help.

As a "young" student, Mrs. Ruth Fuller-Sasaki allowed me the use of her material on the text for following Teisho on the "Record of Rinzai" by my late master. Teisho is the reading of and comments on a Zen text by a Zen master, still given on an approximation of the High Seat. Then, Walter Nowick, now the first Western Zen master, taught me the rudiments of reading the Chinese text in Japanese style; and in true Zen fashion then left me to get on with it. The Rinzai chapter in Charles Luk's "Ch'an and Zen Teachings", Vol. II, was always a help. Prof. Yanagida's Japanese translation and excellent commentary was and is invaluable.

Years later, on hearing Teisho on the Rinzai Roku by my second master, I made notes and collated my material. But without the excellent French translation by Prof. Demieville, and the kind help of Trevor P. Leggett, this translation could not have been undertaken.

Two terms in the text need clarification. The term "heart" has been used throughout in preference to "mind." This seemed advisable as "mind" excludes feelings and emotions which are more correctly associated with "heart," and this is the connotation of the Chinese character. Though the term "mind" has become familiar in Buddhist literature, modern translations increasingly use "heart." As a key term of Buddhism, an understanding of its connotations is essential.

The other term presents considerable difficulties and could not be translated uniformly. One of Rinzai's phrases, the opposition of "man" and "environment," does give the wide connotations of this term if it is taken in the sense of "I" and "other" (or what is not I, or what is outside I). Hence it has been rendered variously as thing, object, circumstance, environment, or situation, as fits the given context.

The division of the text follows Prof. Yanagida. The translation is of the complete text. Various prefaces and postscripts by the compilers of the text have been omitted as not relevant to Western readers. The Western reader may find it more profitable to start from Division 11 on p. 8 (original document), as the first 10 divisions give short episodes which are better read after acquaintance with Rinzai's main body of teaching. For reasons of easy comparison with the Chinese and Japanese texts, it seemed advisable to keep the traditional order.

Where various renderings are possible, I have followed Teisho commentaries or as had been taught directly, giving precedence to the living teaching and the traditional way, both from inclination and personal training.

All names have been rendered in Japanese pronunciation. Most of the Zen lines arising in the West are of Japanese derivation, and most of the literature is likewise. Moreover, spoken Chinese has changed considerably since T'ang times. Further, the Zen texts are written in the vernacular, not in classical Chinese. The faithful preservation of the pronunciation in Japan may perhaps be nearer to the actual pronunciation than modern or classical Chinese.

To all, dead and alive, I wish to express my sincere gratitude. It is also in gratitude for this training that I wanted to make "The Record of Rinzai" available in English for those interested in this training. The translation is far from perfect, but it is hoped that it is not too faulty. Others may take up Zen training, and in the light of their own understanding improve on it, so that it may be of use for those who come after.

Part I

1.a. The Provincial Governor 0 Joji and his staff invited the

master to take the High Seat.1

From the High Seat the master said: "I cannot refuse your request

to ascend this seat today. In the tradition of the patriarchs I should not even open my mouth in praise of the Great Matter.2 But then you would find no foothold anywhere. So today, being invited by the Governor, how could I conceal the principles of my line? Rather, is there some skillful general to deploy his troops and hoist his standards? Let him step forward and prove his skill before the (monks') assembly."

  1. The raised seat in the Dharma Hall from which a master taught, or was available for questioners. Phrases like "to take the High Seat," or "from the High Seat," etc., refer to these formal assemblies.
  2. The purpose of training — in Bodhidharma's phrase: To see into human nature and become Buddha.

b. A monk asked: "What is the essence of Buddhism?"3

The master gave a Katsu.4

The monk bowed.

The master said: "This one can hold his own in debate."

3. The central meaning of Buddhism. One of the stock questions; another one, equally frequent, being on why Bodhidharma came from the West. 4. Rinzai's famous shout and favorite teaching device, pronounced "kaa." Every great master had his specialty, "Rinzai's Katsu, Tokusan's Thirty Blows."

c. Another (monk) asked: "Master, from whom is the song you sing? Where does your style come from?"

The master said: "When I was with Obaku,5 I questioned him three times, and three times was beaten."

The monk hesitated.

The master gave a Katsu, then hit him and said: "One cannot drive a nail into empty space."

5. Obaku, or Huang Po in Chinese transliteration, was Rinzai's teacher.

d. There was a scripture master6 who asked: "Do not the Three

Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings7 bring to light the Buddha Nature?"

  1. A theologian, not necessarily of deep insight, but versed in all the texts, and good in dialectics.
  2. Sravaka or follower of the teachings; Pratyeka who seeks liberation for

himself; and Bodhisattva who seeks liberation for all' This is a theoretical and doctrinal classification, as also is The Twelve Divisions of the Teachings. A good Buddhist dictionary will list these. Of no concern in the text.

The master replied: "Your plot has not yet been hoed."

The scripture master said: "How could the Buddha deceive people?"

The master said: "Where is he, the Buddha?"

The scripture master was speechless.

The master continued: "Here in front of the Governor you would take the old monk for a ride! Away with you! You prevent others from asking their questions."

e. And he added: "It is for the one Great Matter that we hold this session today. Are there any more questioners? Let them step forward quickly and ask! But, when you as much as open your mouth, you are already off the point. Why is that so? Do you not know that Buddha said: ‘The Dharma is other than words; it is neither limited nor conditioned.’ Because you have no faith in this, you are entangled and tied into knots. I fear that even the

Governor and his staff may get entangled and their Buddha Nature obscured. I had better retire."

He then gave a Katsu and said: "You of little faith, you never have rest. I have kept you standing a long time. Take care of yourselves!"

2. One day the master went to the provincial capital. The governor, 0 Joji, invited him to take the High Seat. Then Mayoku came forward and asked: "The Great Compassionate

Kannon has a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. Which eye is the true one?

The master said: "The Great Compassionate Kannon has a thousand hands and a thousand eyes. Which eye is the true one? Speak — quick, quick!"

Mayoku pulled the master off his seat and himself took the place.

The master went close to him and said: "How goes it?"

Mayoku hesitated.

The master in turn pulled Mayoku down from the seat and resumed his place.

Mayoku left, and so did the master.

3. From the High Seat, the master said: "Upon the lump of red

flesh there is a True Man of no Status8 who ceaselessly goes out and in through the gates of your face. Those who have not yet recognized him, look out, look out!"

A monk came forward and asked: "What is the True Man of no Status?"8

8. Flesh stands for heart. Everybody in the Chinese hierarchy had "his place"

designated, at least culturally and ethically if not directly. Hence a "True man of no Status" is free from all bonds — and also inconceivable.

The master descended from the meditation cushion,9 grabbed

(the monk) and said: "Speak, speak!"

9. Same as High Seat — (The raised seat in the Dharma Hall from which a

master taught, or was available for questioners. Phrases like "to take the High Seat," or "from the High Seat," etc., refer to these formal assemblies.).

The monk hesitated. The master released him and said: "What a

shit-stick10 this True Man of no Status is!" Then he withdrew to his quarters.

10. Various translations, and reams of commentary exist for this remark. Idiomatically perhaps something like "what a mess ..." would render it.

4.a. At the High Seat, a monk came forward and bowed. The master gave a Katsu. The monk said: "Old Venerable, better not test me!" The master replied: "Then you say it: Where does it fall (the

Katsu)?" The monk gave a Katsu.

b. Again, a monk asked: "What is the essence of Buddhism?" The master gave a Katsu. The monk bowed. The master said: "Tell me, was it a good Katsu or not?" The monk said: "The bush robber had a whacking defeat!" The master said: "Where then was the fault?"

The monk said: "It is not permitted to do it a second time." The master gave a Katsu.

c. The head monks of the two halls happened to meet. At the same time each gave a Katsu.

That day, a monk asked the master: "Were guest and host11 clear?"

11. Another of Rinzai's famous phrases— and teaching devices.

The master replied: "Guest and host were clearly distinguished." To all his monks, he continued: "If you wish to understand my phrase of guest and host, ask the head monks of the two halls," and came down from the seat.

5a. At the High Seat, a monk asked: "What is the essence of Buddhism?" The master raised his fly-whisk.12

12. Fly whisk; one of the insignia of office of a Zen master.

The monk gave a Katsu. The master hit him.

b. Again, a monk asked: "What is the essence of Buddhism?" The master raised his fly-whisk again. The monk gave a Katsu. The master also gave a Katsu.

The monk hesitated. The master hit him.

c. The master then said: "Monks, some do not shirk losing body and life for the Dharma. As for me, I spent twenty years with my

late master Obaku. Three times I asked him on the essence of Buddhism, and three times he kindly beat me. It was as if he had

caressed me with a branch of fragrant sage. Now I feel like tasting a sound beating again; who can give it to me?" A monk stepped forward and said, "I can." The master took up his stick and handed it to him. The monk hesitated to take hold of it. Then the master hit him.

6.a. At the High Seat, a monk asked: "What about the edge of the sword?" The master cried out: "Dangerous, dangerous!"

The monk hesitated. The master hit him.

b. One asked: "When the lay brother was treading the mill stone

in the grinding room,13 where was he when he forgot to move his feet?"

13. The Sixth Patriarch.

The master replied: "Drowned in a deep spring."

c. Then the master said: "Whoever comes to me, I do not fail him. I know where he comes from. If he comes as he is, it looks

as if he has failed. If he does not come as he is, he is bound without ropes. Beware of random judgments.

I say it clearly as it is — to understand or not to understand, both are mistaken (views). People can sneer at me as they like.

I have kept you standing a long time. Take care of yourselves."

7. From the High Seat, the master said: "One is on a lonely

mountain peak with no track to come down; one is in the middle of a busy crossroad and cannot go forward or back; of these two, who is further on, who lags behind? Do not take them to be

Vimalakirti or the great Master Fu."14

14. Famous especially for his expositions on the Diamond Sutra.

Then he came down from the seat.

8. From the High Seat, the master said: "One is on the way for eons without leaving his house; one leaves his house without

being on the way. Which one is worthy to receive the offerings of men and gods?"

And he came down from the seat.

9. At the High Seat, a monk asked: "What is the first phrase?"

The master said: "When the seal of the three essentials15 is lifted, the vermilion points remain well imprinted. Before hesitation has been brought in, host and guest are clearly distinguished."

15. Variously commented on, taken either as Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya and

Nirmanakaya, or as Buddha, Dharma and Path. Perhaps Rinzai himself would say "names, names — look for him who coined the names."

The monk asked: "What is the second phrase?"

The master said: "How should deep understanding permit Mujaku's16 questions? How should skillful means fail to cut the moving current?"

16. Mujaku went to find and question Manjusri, but failed.

The monk asked: "What is the third phrase?"

The master said: "Behold the puppets prancing on the stage, and see the man behind who pulls the strings." And added: "Each phrase contains three profound gates; each profound gate contains three essentials; there is power; there is the use of it. How do you all understand this?"

And he came down from the seat.

10. At the evening question period the master told his monks:

"Sometimes I snatch away the man but not the environment;17 sometimes I snatch away the environment but not the man. Sometimes I snatch away both man and environment; sometimes I snatch away neither man nor environment."

17. Object, thing, environment, situation, circumstance. (See Translator's Foreword).

A monk asked: "How do you snatch away the man but not the environment?"

The master said: "Warm sunshine covers the earth with a carpet of brocade. The hair of the child is white like silken thread.''

The monk asked: "How do you snatch away the environment but not the man?"

The master said: "As the king's command reaches everywhere, the general at the frontier ceases to fight."

The monk asked: "How do you snatch away both man and environment?"

The master said: "The provinces of Hei and Fu are cut off entirely, each alone in its own place."

The monk asked: "How do you neither snatch man nor environment?"

The master said: "When the king ascends the jewel-palace, the peasants in the fields burst into song."

11.a. The master said: Today's students of the Buddha-Dharma

need to look for genuine insight.18

18. True understanding, clear seeing as different from deluded seeing.

If you have genuine insight, birth and death will not affect you, and you will be free to come and to go.19

19. Understanding life and death, free to come and to go—free of the fear of death.

Nor do you need to look for worthiness; it will arise of itself.

Followers of the Way, the old masters had ways of making men. Do not let yourselves be deluded by anyone; this is all I teach.

If you want to make use of it (genuine insight), then use it right now without delay or doubt.

But students nowadays do not succeed because they suffer from lack of self-reliance.20 Because of this lack, you run busily hither and thither, are driven around by circumstance17 and kept

whirling by the ten thousand things.

20. Lack of self-reliance, or lack of faith. 17. Object, thing, environment, situation, circumstance. (See Translator's Foreword).

You cannot find deliverance thus.

But if you can stop your heart from its ceaseless running after wisps of the will, you will not be different from the Buddha and patriarchs.

Do you want to know the Buddha? None other than he who here in your presence is now listening to the Dharma. Just because you lack self-reliance, you turn to the outside and run about seeking.

Even if you find something there, it is only words and letters and never the living spirit of the patriarchs. Do not be deceived. Venerable Zen students, if you do not meet Him at this very moment, you will circulate in the Three Worlds21 for ten thousand Kalpas and a thousand births. And, pursuing agreeable situations, you will be reborn in the wombs of asses and cows.

21. Of desire, of form, and formless.

Followers of the Way, as I see it, you are not different from Shaka (the Buddha).

Today in your manifold activities, what is it that you lack? The flow of the Six Senses22 never ceases. Who can see it like that is, for all his life, a man who has nothing further to seek.23

  1. Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, thinking (mental activities).
  2. Literally "a man of no things," or "of no affairs." "Nothing further to do" has a connotation of inactivity; "Nothing further to seek" seems appropriate.

b. Venerable Ones, there is no place of rest in the Three Worlds; it is like a house on fire.

This is not a place for you to stay long. The murderous demon of impermanence strikes in a single instant, without choosing between high and low, old and young.

Do you wish to be not different from the Buddhas and patriarchs? Then just do not look for anything outside.

The pure light of your heart at this instant is the Dharmakaya Buddha in your own house. The non-differentiating light of your heart24 at this instant is the Sambhgakaya Buddha in your own

house. The non-discriminating light of your own heart25 at this instant is the Nirmanakaya Buddha in your own house.

24. Conscious or pure seeing (the act of seeing, seeing only) not of what is seen. 25. Accurately perceiving differences in what is seen, but without any judgment of value or whatever.

This trinity of the Buddha's body is none other than he here before your eyes, listening to my expounding of the Dharma. You can come to this seeing only by not running and searching outside.

The scholars of the Sutras and Treatises take the Three Bodies as absolute. As I see it, this is not so. These Three Bodies are merely names, or props. An old master said: "The (Buddha's) Bodies are set up with reference to meaning; the (Buddha)

Fields26 are distinguished with reference to substance." However, understood clearly, the Dharma Nature Bodies and the Dharma Nature Fields are only mental configurations.27

26. Buddha fields (lands, worlds) in the sense of "force fields."

27. Literally "light-shadow;" the light-shadow play in the mind.

c. Venerable Ones, get to know the one who plays with these configurations. He is the original source of all the Buddhas. Knowing him, wherever you are is home. Your physical body, formed by the four elements, cannot understand the Dharma you

are listening to; nor can your spleen, stomach, liver or gall; nor can the empty space.

Who then can understand the Dharma and can listen to it? The one here before your very eyes, brilliantly clear and shining without any form — there he is who can understand the Dharma you are listening to.

If you can really grasp this, you are not different from the Buddhas and patriarchs. Ceaselessly he is right here,

conspicuously present.28

28. In the sense of a Presence.

But when passions arise, wisdom is disrupted; and the body29 separates from the changing pictures. This is the cause of transmigration in the Three Worlds with its concomitant suffering.

29. Essence. "Body" in the sense of the "body" of a wine.

But as I see it, there is nothing that is not profound, nothing that is not deliverance.

d. Followers of the Way, the Dharma of the heart has no form

and pervades the Ten Directions.30

30. Everywhere.

In the eye, it is called seeing; in the ear, hearing; in the nose, smelling; in the mouth, talking; in the hands, grasping; in the feet, walking. Fundamentally, it is one light; differentiated, it becomes the six senses. When one's whole heart comes to a full stop, one is delivered where one stands.

Why do I speak thus? It is only because I see you, followers of the Way, all running about with an agitated heart, quite unable to stop, fretting yourselves over the playthings of the old masters.

Followers of the Way, as I see it, once and for all sit down and cut off the heads — both of the Sambhogakaya Buddha and of the Nirmanakaya Buddha. Those satisfied with merely

completing the ten stages of the Bodhisattva31 are like serfs. Those content with universal and profound awakening are but fellows carrying cangue and chains. Arhats and Pratyeka-Buddhas are like cesspits. Awakening and Nirvana are like tethering posts for donkeys.

31. The training of a Bodhisattva doctrinally runs through ten stages from attainment of Bodhisattvahood to attainment of Buddhahood.

And why is this so?32 Because, Followers of the Way, you fail to conceive the emptiness of three great world ages; this is the obstacle that blocks you.

32. Zen texts are not "literature." Zen teaching is not done in public sermons. Rinzai addresses his own disciples. He is neither denying nor denigrating the teachings of the Great Vehicle or any other vehicle, but spurring his monks

and weaning them from all names and / or classifications, however lofty and sacred, for if clung to, these act as blocks, become obstacles.

Not so the True Man of the Way who goes with the concurrent causes to wipe out his old Karma and lets things follow their own course. He dresses himself as is fitting; when he wants to go, he goes; when he wants to stay, he stays. Not even for the fraction of a moment does he aspire to Buddhahood.

And why? An old master said: "If you seek the Buddha by karmic (volitional) actions, the Buddha will become the great symbol of birth and death."

Venerable ones, time is precious! Yet you run about hither and thither, studying Zen, learning the Way, chasing names and phrases, seeking the Buddha and patriarchs and good teachers, full of arbitrary judgments. Do not commit such errors.

Followers of the Way, you each have a father and mother. So what more do you seek? Turn round and look into yourselves.

An old master said: “Yajnadatta thought he had lost his head. When he ceased from his frantic looking for it, he had nothing further to seek.”

e. Venerable ones, just be your ordinary selves and refrain from fanciful imaginings.

There are old bald-heads33 who cannot tell true from false. They see gods and devils; they point to the east or indicate the west; they fancy fine weather or are fond of rain; and so they carry on and on. One day they will have to face Yama (Judge of the Dead) to repay their debts and swallow red-hot iron balls, for men and women misled by the antics of such wild fox sprites, get entangled in their fables.

33. A derogatory term for teachers lacking genuine insight.

Blind old fools! The day is sure to come when they will have to pay back the cost of their keep.34

33. A derogatory term for teachers lacking genuine insight.

34. Traditionally, a "leaver of home" who receives alms for his sustenance, is responsible to put them to good use and get true understanding so as to help

others. If he fails to fulfill his side of the contract, when he dies, Yama, Judge of the Dead, asks back the cost for his keep, or the money for the straw sandals he has vainly worn out. Since he cannot refund the money, his punishment will be severe.

12.a. Instructing his monks, the master said: Followers of the Way, it is most important that you come to see clearly. Then you can go your way and confront the world, without letting yourselves be deceived by those delusive fox sprites. Nothing is

more precious than to be a man who has nothing further to seek. Just do not give rise to any fancies, and be your ordinary selves.

The trouble is, you look to the outside, and, pursuing it hotly, you doubt whether you have hands and feet. Do not be deceived. If you only think of seeking Buddha, Buddha becomes a mere name. And the very one who runs to seek Buddha, do you know him? All the Buddhas and patriarchs in the Three Worlds and the ten directions have appeared only for the purpose of seeking the Dharma. And today's diligent Followers of the Way are also seeking the Dharma. Only when one has got it is there an end to it. As long as one has not got it, one transmigrates through the

Five Paths.35

35. Five Paths — more usually Six Paths or Six States — of the Wheel of Life: Devas or heavenly beings, Asuras or fighting demons, Preta or hungry ghosts, hellish demons, animals, and humans. In the Five Paths, the fighting and the hellish demons are lumped together. Liberation is possible from the human state only, hence Buddha or a liberated being teaches "men and gods;" or converted demons become the fierce guardian deities. None of these states are permanent, for "subject to change are all compounded things."

What is Dharma? Dharma is the Law of the Heart. The Law of the Heart is without form; pervading everywhere, it is perceptible and active right before your eyes. But, if there is lack of faith, then one chases names and phrases and, in a welter of words, arbitrarily speculates on the Buddha-Dharma which is as far away as is heaven from earth.

b. Followers of the Way, what Dharma do I expound? I expound

the Dharma of the Heart-ground.36

36. The fundamental Dharma that underlies all things. But the fine and the coarse, the worldly and the sacred cannot be known to man by the name only.

Followers of the Way, realize this and make use of it, but do not slap labels on it, for these tend to be like pen-names, only creating mystery.

This pervades everything; it is in the worldly and in the sacred, in the pure and impure, the fine and the coarse. The most essential thing is that you refrain from making labels, such as fine or coarse, worldly or sacred, and (mistakenly) think that by naming them you now know them. But the fine and the coarse, the worldly and the sacred cannot be known to man by the name only.

Followers of the Way, realize this and make use of it, but do not slap labels on it, for these tend to be like pen-names, only creating mystery.

c. The Dharma that I expound is different from that of all others. Should even a Manjusri or a Samantabhadra appear before

me and inquire about the Dharma, I should quickly test and settle them.

I sit calmly and, when followers of the Way come and seek interviews with me, I test and settle them all. How do I do this? My seeing is different. In the outside world I do not lay hold on either the worldly or the sacred; and inside, I do not stick to rock-bottom.

Seeing clearly, I have no doubts.

13.a. Followers of the Way, the Buddha-Dharma needs no skilled

application.37 Just be your ordinary selves with nothing further to seek, relieving nature, wearing robes and eating. “When tired I sleep. Fools laugh at me, the wise understand.”

37. It is, and acts, of itself. It needs no help to do so. This is a crucial point of Rinzai's and indeed of all Zen teaching. Intentions, however good, are fundamentally I-directed, and so obscure this acting of itself. The sun shines—that is its nature. Clouds may obscure it to our eyes, but they do not affect the sun. In Zen practice, these obscuring clouds need to be worked away to become aware of the sun — or the moon, as Zen texts prefer it. Since it is easy to mistake the means for the end, one is prone to become a perpetual "cloud-shifter," and hypocritical in the process. Rinzai seems to remind his disciples that the Buddha-Dharma is also inherent in us, as indeed in everything that exists. If we do not obstruct it with our desires, volitions, intentions — whether good or bad — it acts by itself, through us; the Buddha Nature. This is often mistakenly taken as full license — "I do what I want, everything goes." But just that "I" which wants to do that, which is permanently insecure and hence itches to interfere — in short, the "cloud" — has dissolved. And with this, it is fulfilled. All Zen texts stress this point again and again. We easily misunderstand it, because we do not know what the actual daily practice is, not how much it entails. But there is a world of difference between spontaneity and blind impulse.

An old master said: “Turning to the outside and applying oneself (to it) is a stubborn fool's errand.”

If you master any situation17 you are in, wherever you stand, all becomes true; you can no longer be driven around by circumstance. Even if in your former, unregenerate days you had

committed the Five Heinous Crimes,38 they turn into the ocean of deliverance.

17. Object, thing, environment, situation, circumstance. (See Translator's Foreword). 38. The Five Heinous Crimes are: To kill the father, to harm the mother, to spill Buddha's blood, to disturb the peace of the Sangha, and to destroy scriptures and images.

But students nowadays do not know the Dharma. They are like goats, nuzzling and nibbling at everything they come across. They cannot distinguish the servant from the master, nor the guest from the host. They enter religion with a wild heart, shouting noisily.

One cannot call them true leavers of home; they are just ordinary laymen. A man who has left home should know how to see clearly and calmly, should know Buddha from Mara, the true from the false, the worldly from the sacred. If he has got this knowledge, he can truly be called a leaver-of-home.

If he does not know Buddha from Mara, then in effect he leaves one home only to enter another, and is what is called a karmaproducing living being. He cannot yet be called a true leaver-ofhome. For if Buddha and Mara happen to appear in one form, he could not differentiate them. Yet, as the gander king knows how to drink only the milk from a mixture of milk and water, so does the clear eye (know how to differentiate).

Followers of the Way, just beat up both Buddha and Mara. For if you love the sacred and hate the worldly, you go on floating and sinking in the ocean of birth and death.

b. A monk asked: “What are Buddha and Mara?”

The master said: A moment of doubt in your heart is Mara. But if you can grasp that the ten thousand things are unborn and that the heart is like an illusive fantasy, then no thing even of the size of a speck of dust exists — everywhere is purity — this is Buddha. It may be said that Buddha and Mara present the pure and the tainted state; yet as I see it there is no Buddha, no living being, no past, no present.

Those who can realize this, do so at once, without training or testimonial, without gain or loss. There is no other Dharma. Were there a special one, I say it is like a phantom and a dream. This is all that I teach.

c. Followers of the Way, the one who at this moment stands alone, clearly and lively right before the eyes and is listening, this

one is nowhere obstructed; unhindered he penetrates everywhere and moves freely in the Three Worlds.

Entering all kinds of situation, he is never affected by them. In the fraction of a moment he goes to the bottom of the scheme of things. Meeting Buddha, he talks with Buddha; meeting

patriarchs, he talks with patriarchs; meeting Arhats,39 he talks with Arhats; meeting hungry ghosts,40 he talks with hungry ghosts.

  1. Arhat — in Southern Buddhism a man who has attained genuine insight, has overcome all the hindrances, and is free from passions, i.e. liberated.
  2. See note 35 (35. Five Paths—more usually Six Paths or Six States—of the Wheel of Life: Devas or ^ii heavenly beings, Asuras or fighting demons, Preta

or hungry ghosts, hellish demons, animals, and humans. In the Five Paths, the fighting and the hellish demons are lumped together. Liberation is possible from the human state only, hence Buddha or a liberated being teaches "men and gods;" or converted demons become the fierce guardian deities. None of these states are permanent, for "subject to change are all compounded things.")

He goes everywhere, roaming through the kingdoms and talking with living beings, yet never strays for a single thought from his shining purity. Penetrating the ten directions, the ten thousand things are of one suchness.

d. Followers of the Way, if you know that fundamentally there is nothing to seek, you have settled your affairs. But because you

have little faith, you run about agitatedly, seeking your head which you think you have lost. You cannot stop yourselves.

Such are the Bodhisattvas of sudden enlightenment who enter the scheme of manifested things, turning to the Pure Land, disliking the worldly and desiring the sacred. They have not yet forgotten either grasping or letting go, and so their hearts contain both taints and purity. But the Zen School does not see it like this. It is truly apparent now without any further delay.

All I am talking about is only medicine appropriate for curing specific ailments. In my talks there is nothing absolutely real. If you see it thus, you are a true leaver-of-home and can spend ten thousand pieces of yellow gold per day (enjoy yourself).

e. Followers of the Way, do not be deceived by teachers who everywhere say "I know Zen, I understand the Way," and who

endlessly deliver discussions like mountain torrents. All this is action that produces hellish Karma.

If one is a true learner of the Way, one does not search for the faults of the world, but rather speedily applies oneself to attain genuine insight. If one only can see with perfect clarity, then all is completed.

14.a. One asked: “What is genuine insight?”

The master said: "Entering the realms of the worldly and the

sacred, the tainted and the pure, the land of the Buddha, the upper chambers of Maitreya, and Vairocana's Dharma world,41 you will see them all as subject to (the law of) coming to be and ceasing to be. Buddha appeared in the world, turned the wheel of the Dharma, and then entered Nirvana. But he did not see these as the features of coming and going. Searching around birth and death, in the end you cannot attain.

41. Doctrinally; realms of the heavenly hierarchy.

Just enter the birthless Dharma realm and play about in it; enter the world of the Lotus Treasury; everywhere, all things are without form, and are not the real Dharma.

There is only the Independent Man of the Way who is now listening to the Dharma. He is the mother of all the Buddhas. Therefore is the Buddha born from independence. If you truly understand this independence, then you know that the Buddha is not something to be attained!

One who can see it like this is a man of genuine insight.

b. Students ceaselessly take hold of names and phrases, and get

obstructed by words like "worldly" and "sacred" which obscure the eye, and so they cannot see clearly.

The Twelve Divisions of the Teachings are only surface explanations. But students, not realizing this, take to these surface explanations of words and letters and deliver interpretations of them. All this is only supporting their dependence and, accordingly, they fall into cause and effect and so do not escape birth and death in the Three Worlds.

If you want to get free from birth and death, from coming and going, from taking off or putting on (as clothes), know and take hold of him who is now listening to the Dharma. He has neither form nor shape, neither root nor trunk; nor does he have a dwelling place; he is as lively as a fish leaping in the water, and performs his function in response to all situations.

However, the place of his functioning is not a locality. Therefore, if you search for him, he eludes you. The more you seek him, the farther away he is. That is why he is called "mysterious."

c. Followers of the Way, do not trust yourselves to a companion

who is only a phantom and a dream (the body). Sooner or later it will return to impermanence.

What means of deliverance can you find in this world? Eat a handful of rice to keep going and pass your time, but it behooves you to see a good teacher. Do not procrastinate and chase after pleasures. Time is precious, and the moments are fleeting. On the material plane you are obstructed by earth, water, fire and air; on the mental plane you are blocked by the four conditions of all compounded forms, birth, being, change, and extinction.

Followers of the Way, right now realize the nonexistence of these and escape from being driven by circumstance.

d. One asked: “What are these four conditions?”

The master said: A moment of doubt in your heart is your being obstructed by earth; a moment of desire in your heart is your drowning in water; a moment of anger in your heart is your burning in fire; a moment of joy in your heart is your being carried away by the wind. If you can realize this, you will no longer be at the mercy of circumstance but will make use of circumstances wherever you are — rise in the east and set in the west, appear in the south and vanish in the north, rise in the middle and disappear at the circumference, appear at the circumference and vanish in the center. Then you (will) walk on water as if it were land and on land as if it were water. How comes that this is so? Because you have come to understand that the four elements are like a dream, or a phantom.

Followers of the Way, he who is now listening to the Dharma, he is not the four elements; he is the one who can use the four elements. If you can see it thus, then you are free in your coming or going. As I see it, there is not a thing to be disliked. If you love the sacred, the sacred becomes a mere word and a snare.

Once there was a student who climbed Mount Godai in search of Manjusri. How he deceived himself! There is no Manjusri on Mount Godai.

Do you want to know Manjusri? He is here right before your eyes functioning ceaselessly without change, everywhere clearly perceptible and beyond doubt. This is the living Manjusri.

And a moment of the light of non-differentiation in your heart, this is the true Samantabhadra everywhere and always. If for a moment your heart of itself gets released from its bonds, everywhere is deliverance; this is the Dharma-Samadhi Kannon (Avalokitesvara). Mutually they appear as master and companions; and simultaneously they appear as one in three and three in one.

Only when one can understand thus is one fit to read the Teachings.

15.a. The master addressed his monks: What students of the Way need is to have self-reliance.

Do not search for anything outside, for all is idle dust, and you cannot discern the false from the true. Even if there are patriarchs and Buddhas, these are only the traces in the Teachings.

There are people who select one single phrase which is half hidden and half revealed, and from that doubt is born. So they search heaven and earth, run around asking others and keep themselves busily occupied. But the man who has nothing further to seek does not pass his days arguing about ruler and robber, this and that, is and is not, form and essence, and other vain propositions.

As for me, if anyone comes with a question, I know him to the bottom, whether he be monk or layman. Whatever position he may come with, all are only words and names, dreams and phantoms.

The aim of the profound teachings of all the Buddhas is rather to see the man who can ride all circumstances. The state17 of Buddha cannot say of itself “I am a Buddha-state.” It is rather the independent man of the Way who avails himself of all states.

17. Object, thing, environment, situation, circumstance. (See Translator's Foreword). that happens to come along. In a moment of doubt Mara enters the heart, as did the demon of birth and death in the case of the doubting Bodhisattva.

If one comes to ask me where to look for the Buddha, I will show myself in accordance to a state of purity. If one asks me on Bodhisattvas, I appear accordingly in a state of compassion. If one asks me on Bodhi, I respond by showing a state of pure mystery. And if one questions me on Nirvana, I show a corresponding state of quiet calm.

States (or circumstances) are manifestations; they are the differentiation into the ten thousand things; but there is only one who is always the same man, who does not differ at all. That is why forms appear in response to circumstance, as the moon is reflected on the moving waves.

Just put your heart at rest and seek nothing outside. When things come towards you, look at them clearly. Have faith in the one who is functioning at this moment, and all things of themselves become empty.

b. Followers of the Way, do you want to attain this Dharma?

Then it is indeed necessary to become a man who has nothing further to seek.

Weakness and complacency make one incapable ot it, just as thin butter milk cannot be kept in a cracked pot. To become a great vessel, it is important not to put into it any errors of others. If one is one's own master everywhere, then wherever one stands, all is truth.

Do not take in everything. If your heart gives rise to the Three Worlds, you follow the causal conditions and — relating to circumstances — understand the six dusts.42 Thus (smoothly) functioning in response to the moment, what are you lacking?

42. The Six Senses.

In a split second you enter the pure and the denied, enter Maitreya's upper chambers, enter the realm of the Three Eyes (see below).

Freely roaming about, you see everywhere that there are only empty names.

c. One asked: “What is the realm of the Three Eyes?”

The master said: I enter with you the realm of utter purity, wear the robe of purity and expound the Dharmakaya Buddha. Or we enter the realm of non-differentiation and expound the Sambhogakaya Buddha. Or again, we enter the realm of deliverance, wear the robe of radiance and speak of the Nirmanakaya Buddha. The realms of the Three Eyes depend on change.

To explain it from the point of the Sutras and Treatises, the Dharmakaya is the fundamental. The Sambhogakaya and the Nirmanakaya are the functions. But, as I see it, the Dharmakaya cannot expound (or comprehend) the Dharma.

Thus an old master said: "The (Buddha's) bodies are set up with reference to meaning; The (Buddha's) realms are differentiated with reference to the bodies."

The nature of the bodies and of the realms is clear; they are the temple of the Dharma, and so are only relative. "Yellow leaves in the empty fist to entice unweaned children." Spikes of water-chestnuts — what juice are you looking for in those dry bones?

There is no Dharma outside the heart, nor anything to find inside. So what are you looking for?

16.a. You say that everywhere there is training and there is realization. Do not be deceived. Though something can be

attained by training, it only creates the Karma of rebirth and death.

You say you train in the Six Perfections and the Ten Thousand Practices. As I see it, they are all productive of Karma. To seek the Buddha, to seek the Dharma, those produce only Karma in hell. To seek the Bodhisattvas is again producing Karma. Reading the Sutras and Treatises also produces Karma.

The Buddhas and patriarchs are men who have nothing further to seek. So that whether it (the heart) moves or does not move, and whether consequently there is action or not, all are pure deeds (not producing Karma).

b. There are shaven pates who eat their fill and then sit down to

do zazen. They arrest the flow (of the heart) and do not let it act. They dislike noise and seek quietude.

These are the practices of other ways.

A patriarch said: “If you stay (fix) the heart, you see quietude. If you arouse it, it beholds the outside; if you recollect it, the inside is clear. If you concentrate it, Samadhi is entered.” But all these are merely forms of activity.

Do you not know him who is right now listening to the Dharma? Why should you need to approach him by practice, ascertain him and solemnity him? He is not one whom you can approach or dignify. Moreover, if he would exalt himself, then everything would gain exaltation.

Do not be deceived.

c. Followers of the Way, you take the words that issued from the mouths of old teachers, saying “this is the True Way, this old

sage is wonderful; I am but an ordinary fellow and dare not compare myself with such great masters.”

Blind fools! Your whole life you hold such views, going against the evidence of your single eye, trembling like asses on ice, your teeth clenched with fear.

I am not afraid to speak out against these teachers not of speech that is productive of Karma.

Followers of the Way, only a great teacher dares to disparage the Buddhas and patriarchs, dares to criticize everything, to defy the Teachings of the Three Baskets, and abuse immature students, and so, whether straight or crooked, find the man within.

For a dozen years I have been looking for one (who is suitable), but have not been able to find as much as a mustard seed. I am afraid those Zen teachers are rather like newlywed brides, uneasy and worried about being chased out of their homes and starving to death.

Since olden times people have not believed the old masters, and only after they had been driven away did their greatness become known. He who is approved by everyone, what good is he? “The lion's roar shatters the brain of the jackal.”

17.a. Followers of the Way, there is talk of the Way to be

practiced and the Dharma to be realized. Tell me, then, what Dharma is to be realized, what Way is to be practiced.

At this moment, what do you lack for your functioning? And what do you need to restore by your training?

Young students, not understanding anything, put their faith in wild fox sprites and so get entangled in their random talk and fancies such as that in the law, theory and practice must tally, to

guard against the three karmic actions43 and so to attain Buddhahood. Such and other discourses are as frequent as April showers.

43. Thought, speech, and acts.

An old master said: “If you meet a man of the Way on the road, do not stand in the Way.” Therefore it is said: “If one tries to attain the Way, one cannot walk the Way. Ten thousand wild fancies arise, chasing each other in the head. When the sword of wisdom flashes, there is nothing at all. Even before the light shines, darkness is already bright.” And because of that, another old master said: "The ordinary heart is the Way."

Venerable ones, what do you seek? He who stands clearly revealed and distinct before your eyes, listening to the Dharma, this Independent Man of the Way lacks nothing at all.

If you do not want to be different from the Buddha and the patriarchs, just see it thus and do not indulge in doubts and speculations.

When the attitude of your heart does not change from moment to moment, this is called the living patriarch. For if it changes, then your essential nature and your actions come apart. But when your heart does not differ, there is also not difference between your essential nature and your actions.

b. One asked: “What is the attitude of the heart which does not change from moment to moment?”

The master said: From the moment you set yourself to ask this question, there is already the difference, and your essential nature and your action become separate.

Followers of the Way, do not be deceived. In and out of the world there is not a thing that has a self-nature, nor a nature that is productive of a self. All is but empty names, and the very letters of these names are also empty.

If you take these empty names for real, you make a big mistake. For though they exist, they belong in the realm of dependent change and are like robes to put on and off.

There is the robe of Bodhi, of Nirvana, of deliverance, of the Trikaya, of objective wisdom, of Bodhisattvas and of Buddha.

What are you seeking in the realm of changing dependance? The Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings, all are so much old paper to mop up messes. The Buddha is an illusory phantom. The patriarchs are old monks.

You yourselves, are you not born of a mother? If you seek the Buddha, you will be caught by the Buddha-Mara (demon); if you seek the patriarchs, you will be bound by the patriarch-Mara.

Whatever you are seeking, all becomes suffering. It is better to have nothing further to seek.

18.a. There are certain shaved monks who tell their students that the Buddha is the ultimate (of wisdom) and that he only

accomplished the Way by bringing to complete maturity the practices cultivated during three great world ages.

Followers of the Way, if you say the Buddha is the ultimate, how does it come that at the age of eighty he died lying on his side between the twin trees at the town of Kushinagara?

The Buddha, where is he now? It is clear that like us he lived and died and so is not different from us. You say that the thirty-two

marks and the eighty characteristics44 distinguish the Buddha. But then the mighty sage who turned the wheel of the Dharma45 should also have been a Tathagata. Clearly all this is just fantasy and illusion.

44. Doctrinally, Buddha is said to possess all of them. 45. Chakravarti Raja, mythical Indian Sage-King, turned the wheel, had the marks, but was not a Buddha.

An old master said: “The (three) bodies of the Tathagata, are but adaptation to the sentiments of the world, fearing that otherwise men might fall into nihilism. Empty names are only expedient means. Temporarily the thirty-two marks and eighty characteristics are spoken of. In themselves, they are empty sounds. The physical body is not the body of realization; no-form is the true shape.”

b. You say the Buddha has the six supernatural powers and that they are miraculous. But all the Devas, Immortals, Asuras, and

the Great Demons have supernatural powers. Should they be Buddha?

Followers of the Way, do not be deceived. The Asura, beaten in his war against the Deva king Shakra, made his troops of 84,000 hide in the hollow stem of a lotus. But that does not constitute holiness.

As I see it, all those supernatural powers are karmic and dependent. They are not the six supernatural powers the Buddha possessed: entering the realm of forms without being deluded by forms; entering the realm of hearing without being deluded by sounds; of smelling without being deluded by smells; of taste without being deluded by tastes; of touch without being deluded by touch; and of mental configurations without being deluded by mental configurations.

Therefore the six fields of form, sound, smell, taste, touch and mental configurations are all formless; they cannot bind the man of true independence.

Though the Five Skandhas are leaky46 by nature, mastering them they become your supernatural powers here on earth.

46. Easily dispense, "run out" (towards objects).

c. Followers of the Way, the true Buddha has no shape, the true Dharma has no form. You put on top of your delusion only further fantasies. Such is the way of outsiders. Though you may

attain something that way, it is only the spirit of a wild fox, and not the true Buddha.

The true student of the Way clings neither to Buddha, nor to Bodhisattvas, nor to Arhats; he clings not to anything that passes as supreme in the Three Worlds. He keeps his distance, stands alone and free, and is not bothered by things.

Though heaven and earth be turned upside down, he will not be

bewildered. Though all the Buddhas of the ten directions appear before him, he will not care. And if the three deepest hells47 suddenly gape before him, he will not be afraid.

47. Literally, the "three bedaubed hells." Doctrinally; the deepest and most fearful ones in the hellish hierarchy.

Why not? Because he sees everything as empty.

If there is change, there is also existence. Without change, there is nothing. "The Three Worlds are the heart only; The ten thousand things are but its differentiation." This is why it is said: "Dreams and phantoms, flowers in the empty sky; why trouble yourself to seize them?"

Followers of the Way, the one right here before your eyes and listening to the Dharma is he who "enters fire without being burnt, goes into water without being drowned, and plays about in the three deepest hells, as if in a fairground; he enters the world of Pretas and dumb animals without being molested by them."

Why is this so? Because there is nothing he dislikes. If you love the sacred and dislike the worldly, you will go on floating and sinking in the ocean of birth and death. The passions arise depending on the heart. If the heart is stilled, where then do you seize the passions? Do not tire yourselves by making up discriminations, and quite naturally, of itself, you will find the Way.

If you chase wildly around, wanting to follow others, even after three great world ages you will only end up by returning to birth and death. Better it is to have nothing further to seek, and crossing one's legs on the meditation cushion, just sit.

19.a. Followers of the Way, when from everywhere students

come to inquire, host and guest are clearly distinguished. A phrase is uttered to test the teacher he has before him.

(For example) the student devises a weighty sentence and then facing the corner of the teacher's mouth shouts out: "Do you know that or not?" If (the teacher) recognizes it as a trap, he grabs it, throws it into a pit and buries it there.

The student then reverts to normal and seeks the teacher's instruction, his trap having been snatched away, and says: "What superior wisdom, what a truly great teacher." The teacher just says: "You really do not know what is good and bad."

b. Or again, the teacher takes up this attitude and plays it before the student. But the student sees through it; suddenly he becomes

the host because he does not fall into the trap. The teacher then reveals half of himself; the student shouts a Katsu.

Or again, the teacher enters all kinds of differentiations to play with them. The student says: "You bald old rascal, you do not know good from bad." The teacher is pleased and responds: "A true follower of the Way."

c. There are everywhere teachers who do not distinguish the false from the true.

When students come to question (them) on Bodhi, on Nirvana, on the Trikaya, or on objective wisdom, the blind teacher at once begins to explain them verbosely to the student. And if the student abuses him, he takes his stick and rudely beats the student.

Such a teacher has neither eye nor manners. Do not hope for anything from him.

d. There is still another lot of blind old rascals who do not know good from bad.

They point to the east and indicate the west, they like fine weather and fancy rain, like stone lanterns and uncarved pillars.

Look — have they any eyebrows left?48 If the students do not know that "all are supplied with concurrent causes," their hearts become infatuated. Teachers like this are all like wild fox sprites or demons.

48. Traditionally, teaching without genuine insight or true understanding, causes the hairs of the eyebrows to fall out.

But the good student gives a deep chuckle and merely says: "Blind

old fools, beguiling the people."

20.a. Followers of the Way, the leaver-of-home must study the Way.

I myself was formerly interested in the Vinaya and diligently studied the Sutras and Treatises. Then I realized that they were only drugs suitable for appeasing the ills of the world, only relative theories.

At one stroke I threw them away, set myself to learn the Way, started Zen training and met great teachers.

Only then did my eye of the Way begin to see clearly, and I was able to understand all the old masters and to know the false from the true. Man born of woman does not naturally know this. But after long and painful practice, one morning it is realized in one's own body.

b. Followers of the Way, if you wish to see this Dharma clearly, do not let yourselves be deceived.

Whether you turn to the outside or to the inside, whatever you encounter, kill it.

If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha; if you meet the patriarchs, kill the patriarchs; if you meet Arhats, kill Arhats; if you meet your parents, kill your parents; if you meet your relatives, kill your relatives; then for the first time you will see dearly.

And if you do not depend on things, there is deliverance, there is freedom!

c. Of those followers of the Way who come (to me) from

everywhere to learn the Way, there is none who does not depend on things.

Whatever they bring before me, I beat it down at once. If it is in the hands, I beat it in the hands; if it comes from the mouth, I beat it there; if through the eyes, I beat it in the eyes.

Up ‘til now there has not been one who could stand alone. All fall into the traps of the old masters.

I have no Dharma to give to men. I only cure diseases and undo knots.

Followers of the Way who come from everywhere, try not to depend on anything. I only want to ponder this matter with you.

You see, for ten or fifteen years I have not found one single man. All are like hobgoblins lurking in thickets or on trees, wild fox sprites — mouthing clods of filth, they struggle in confusion. Blind old rascals who unduly squander alms given them by the faithful, and who declare loudly: "I have left home!" That is how they see it.

21.a. I tell you this: There is no Buddha, no Dharma, no training and no realization. What are you so hotly chasing? Putting a

head on top of your head, you blind fools? Your head is right where it should be. What are you lacking?

Followers of the Way, the one functioning right before your eyes, he is not different from the Buddhas and patriarchs. But you do not believe it, and so turn to the outside to seek.

Do not be deceived. If you turn to the outside, there is no Dharma; neither is there anything to be obtained from the inside. Rather than attaching yourselves to my words, better to calm down and seek nothing further. Do not cling to what has come to be (the past), nor hanker after what has not yet come to be (the future).

This is better than a ten year's pilgrimage.

b. As I see it, there is nothing complicated. Just be your ordinary

selves in an ordinary life, wear your robes and eat your food, and having nothing further to seek, peacefully pass your time.

From everywhere you have come here; all of you eagerly seek the Buddha, the Dharma, and deliverance; you seek escape from the Three Worlds.

You foolish people, if you want to get out of the Three Worlds, where then can you go? The Buddhas and patriarchs are only phrases of adoration.

Do you want to know the Three Worlds? They do not differ from the sensation of your listening to the Dharma now! One of your passionate urges, however fleeting, is the world of desire. A momentary anger is the world of form. And a second's foolish ignorance is the formless world. These are the furniture of your own house. The Three Worlds do not of themselves proclaim: We are the Three Worlds!

Followers of the Way, it is the one clearly manifested and lively before your eyes, who perceives, weighs and measures the Three Worlds, and it is he who puts names to them.

22.a. Venerable ones, the physical body made up of the Four Elements is impermanent. From spleen and stomach, liver and

gall, down to head — body-hair, nails and teeth — one sees the empty forms of all these things.

When you can bring your heart to rest, that is called the Bodhitree. When you cannot bring your heart to rest, that is called the tree of obscurity (ignorance). Obscurity has no local abode, it has neither beginning nor end.

If you cannot bring your heart to rest, you will climb up the tree

of obscurity and enter the six ways and four modes of birth49 and wear horns and fur. If you can put your heart to rest, this is the realm of pure body.29

49. From the womb, from the egg, from moisture, or through metamorphosis.

29. Essence. "Body" in the sense of the "body" of a wine.

If not one thought arises, you will at once climb up the Bodhitree, have the supernatural powers to transform yourselves at will in the Three Worlds, have the joy of the Dharma and the bliss of Zen. The radiance of the essence shines of itself.

When you think of robes — a thousand kinds of gauze and brocade; when you think of food — a supply of a hundred flavors; and you will live to a ripe old age.

Bodhi (awakening) has no local abode, and so there is nobody who can obtain it.

b. Followers of the Way, what should a real man doubt?

Who is he who freely functions right before the eyes? Seize and use him—but do not slap a name on him. If you name him, he becomes a mystery! If you see it like this, there is nothing to be rejected.

An old master said: "The heart turns with the ten thousand things; its turning is truly mysterious. Following the current, recognizing one's nature, there is neither joy, nor is there any sorrow."

23. a. Followers of the Way, as the Zen school sees it, life and death are under a certain order. In interviews the student should

consider the smallest details. When host and guest appear, there is an exchange of discourse.

b. Sometimes form is shown as corresponds to things. Sometimes the whole body (essence) is brought into function. Sometimes the full power of solemn authority is exercised to evoke awe. Sometimes half the body (essence) is revealed. Sometimes the

lion is mounted, sometimes the elephant (respectively Manjusri's and Samantabhadra's mounts - wisdom and compassion).

24.a. In the case of a true student, he gives a Katsu; then he puts out a tray with sticky lacquer. The teacher does not discern this device, falls into the trap, and at once begins to elucidate fanciful theories. The student gives a Katsu. If the other still cannot let

go, it becomes a disease that has penetrated to the very marrow (become incurable). This is called "guest sees host."

b. Or it may be that the teacher does not posit anything at all,

but follows the student's lead, and then snatches the question away from him. Though robbed, the student cannot drop it and clings to it till death. This is called "host sees guest."

c. Or else the student comes to the teacher with some device of purity. The teacher discerns it as but a device, grabs it and throws it into a pit. The student exclaims: "What a great teacher." (The

teacher) responds: "Bah! You don't know bad from good." The student then bows. This is called "host sees host."

d. Again, a student wearing cangue and chains presents himself before the teacher. The teacher then puts another set of cangue and chains on him. The student is overjoyed. Neither the one nor

the other are capable of discernment. This is called: "guest sees guest."

    1. Venerable ones, the examples I have just cited serve only to
    2. discern Mara, to select differences and to make you know the straight from the crooked.
  1. Followers of the Way, the true sentiment is very difficult,

the Buddha-Dharma is a profound mystery. But if you understand, you smile.

Day for day I expound only this, but students do not grasp my meaning. They walk on and on in their pilgrimage, enveloped in black and foggy darkness, and will not come to understand that even if there is no form, the brightness shines of itself.

But students have not enough faith. So they cling to names and phrases and try to find the meaning of these names. For fifty years and more they run about carrying their corpses, their staffs and bundles.

The day will surely come when the price of their worn out straw sandals will be exacted from them.

27. Followers of the Way, when I say that there is no Dharma

outside, the students do not understand and deduce it is necessary to search within themselves. Then they sit, leaning against a wall, tongue pressed to the upper palate, and remain so motionless. That is what they take for the patriarchal gate of the Buddha-Dharma. What a great error! If you take the state of immovable purity for THIS, you acknowledge ignorance as your master. An old master said: "To get lost in the depth of the dark cave, is surely a cause for fear and trembling." But if you take the moving as THIS, all the grasses and trees can move and so should possess the Way. Therefore, what moves belongs to the element of air (wind); what does not move belongs to the element of earth; and what both moves and does not move has no being in itself. If you think to grasp the moving, it will hold itself motionless. And if you try to grasp the motionless, it will take to moving, "as a fish in a pool rises when waves are stirred."

So, venerable ones, the moving and the motionless are two types of circumstance. But the man of the Way who does not depend on anything makes use of both the moving and the motionless.

28. Students flock to me from all parts. I sort them out according to three kinds of root-ability.

If a middling to low one comes, I snatch away the circumstance but leave him the Dharma.

If one with a middling to high ability comes, I snatch away both the circumstance and the Dharma.

If one with an exceptionally high ability comes, I snatch neither the circumstance nor the Dharma nor the man.

And if there should come one whose understanding is outside the norm, I act from the wholeness without bothering about the rootability.

Venerable ones, if a student has reached this, he is so firm and strong that no storm can pass through, immediate as spark flies from flint, or lightning flares. If a student has the true eye, nothing further needs to be said. All deliberation of heart misses the target. All movement of thought goes to a contrary end. If people can understand this, they are not separate from the one here before the eyes.

And yet, venerable ones, you go burdened with your bowl and bag, carrying your load of excrement and run about looking for the Buddha and the Dharma. Do you know him who thus runs about seeking? He is lively as a fish in water, and has neither root nor trunk; though you embrace him you cannot possess him; though you move away from him, you cannot get rid of him. The more you seek him, the farther away he is; and if you do not seek him, he is right before your eyes. If a man has no faith, in vain will he labor for a hundred years.

Followers of the Way, in an instant one enters the Lotus Paradise, Vairocana's realm, the land of deliverance, the domain of the supernatural powers; the Pure Land, the Dharma world, enters the tainted, the pure, the worldly, the sacred, the condition of Hungry Ghosts and of animals. In all of those, however much you search them, nowhere will you find the existence of birth and death — for those are but empty names.

"Changing phantoms, flowers in the empty sky, Why tire yourself in trying to seize them? Gain and loss, yes and no, Throw them all away in one go."

29.a. Followers of the Way, I hold the transmission of the generations from Mayoku Osho, Tanka Osho, Doitsu Osho,

Rozan Osho, Sekikyo Osho. All have gone the same way. Nobody could believe in them, all were reviled.

Doitsu Osho's actualization was pure, it was not coarse. None of his three hundred or five hundred students could make out his meaning.

Rozan Osho was free and true, master of his actualization, whether adapting it or going contrary. But none of his students could fathom his vast horizon and were startled.

Tanka Osho played with the pearl (of wisdom, hidden in the sea), sometimes hiding it and sometimes revealing it. He was slandered by all students who came to him.

Mayoku's actualization was painful to bear, bitter as Obaku; nobody dared to come near him.

Sekikyo's actualization was to search for the man with the point of an arrow. All who came were afraid of him.

b. As to my own actualization these days, it is truly creative and destructive. I play about with miraculous transformations,

entering all circumstances, and wherever I am, I have nothing further to seek.

Circumstances could not change me. If students come to seek, I go out to look at them. They do not see me, so I put on all kinds of robes. The students at once start speculating about them, taken in by my words.

It is all very sad.

Blind shaven ones, men who have no eyes, they lay hold of the robes I am wearing — green, yellow, red or white. When I take those off and put on the robe of purity, the students cast one glance and are beside themselves with joy. And when I take it off, they are disappointed and shocked, run about frantically and complain that I go naked.

So I say to them: "Do you at all know me who puts on all these robes?" And suddenly they turn their heads and recognize me.

c. Venerable ones, do not look for robes! Robes cannot change the man. It is the man who wears the robes.

There is the robe of purity, the robe of the unborn, the robe of Bodhi (awakening) and the robe of Nirvana, the patriarchal robe and the robe of the Buddha.

Venerable ones, those are only noisy names, wordy sentences, and are all a mere change of robes. Names arise from the ocean of breath in the region of the belly; their fierce drum beat rattles your teeth so that they stutter out interpretations. Do you not see that these are but illusory phantoms?

Venerable ones — outwardly voice, speech and action are brought forth; within they are but surface expressions of the Dharma. When you have thoughts, there is also volition and all these make the various robes.

If you seek those robes that are worn and mistake them for the real thing, you will spend innumerable Kalpas only to learn these robes, will be driven around in the Three Worlds, and circulate among birth and death. Far better it is to have nothing further to seek.

"To meet him without recognizing him; to speak with him without knowing his name."

30. Students of today cannot grasp that names and words do not constitute understanding. They copy the words of some old fellow, long dead, into a great book which they wrap up in three or five layers of brocade. They do not show it to anybody, and

hold that therein is contained the secret and ultimate, and treasure it as their sacred possession.

What a great error!

Blind idiots, what juice are you looking for in those dry bones? Such as these do not know good from bad, only pour over the meaning of the Sutras and Treatises and speculate about them. It is like taking a clod of dung, putting it into one's mouth and, spitting it out again, then handing it on to another.

They are but vulgar tongue twisters who spend their whole lives for nothing, yet claim that they have gone forth from home. But when others ask them on the Buddha-Dharma, they shut up and have nothing to say. Their eyes become blank like beads of black lacquer, and their lips are like sagging rafters (the corners of the mouth turned down in perplexity).

That breed, at the coming of Maitreya, will already be in another world (cannot therefore meet him and be liberated) and will suffer the torments of hell.

31.a. Venerable ones, what are you running about desperately

seeking everywhere; getting fallen arches from your ceaseless wanderings?

There is no Buddha to seek, no Way to accomplish, no Dharma to be obtained. If you seek Buddha in external forms, he would not be more than yourself. Do you want to know your original heart? You can neither know it nor separate yourself from it.

Followers of the Way, the true Buddha has no shape, the true Way has no substance, the true Dharma has no form. These three blend together harmoniously and unite into one.

Who does not yet discern this is called a sentient being confused by Karma.

b. One asked: "What is the true Buddha, the true Dharma, the true Way? Please explain."

The master said: "What you call the Buddha, that is your heart in its purity. What you call the Dharma, that is your heart in its radiance. What you call the Way, that is when in sheer light there is nowhere any obstruction. The three are one; but they are empty names and have no real existence.

The man who has truly gone the Way keeps them ever present in his heart. Since Bodhidharma came from the West, he only looked for a man who would not let himself be deluded. Finally he met the Second Patriarch, who at a single sentence realized the vanity of his former efforts.

As I nowadays see it, I do not differ from the patriarchs and Buddha. One who attains understanding at the first phrase will be a teacher of patriarchs and Buddhas; one who attains understanding at the second phrase will teach men and gods; and one who attains understanding at the third phrase cannot even save himself.

32. One (monk) asked: "What is the meaning of (Bodhidharma's) coming from the West?"

The master said: Had he had a purpose, he could not even have liberated himself.

The monk asked: "If he had no purpose, how could the Second Patriarch attain the Dharma?"

The master said: "To attain is not to attain."

The monk asked: "If it is not to attain, then what is the meaning of not to attain?"

The master said: "It is because you are running about seeking everywhere and cannot put your heart at rest that the patriarchs say 'My, the fellow with his head on his shoulders is looking for his head!' When on hearing this you turn your own light in upon yourself, and do not seek for anything special, you will know that in your body and heart you do not differ from the patriarchs and Buddhas.

All at once you will have nothing further to seek. That is what is called attaining the Dharma!"

33.a. Venerable ones, I cannot these days cease from using a lot of words, and come out preaching many inept things, but do not let yourselves be deceived!

As I see it, there are not really so many principles. If you want to act, just act; and if you do not want to act, then rest.

It is said that the Six Paramitas and the Ten Thousand Practices are the Buddha-Dharma. I say they are but methods for spiritual adornment and for carrying on the Buddha's work; they are not the Buddha-Dharma.

That and all the rest, (such as)observing the rules of food and conduct with the care of a man carrying a bowl of boiling oil so as not to spill a drop, yet all these practices do not make the eye clear.

The day will come when the debts are to be paid and the cost of being kept will be exacted.

And why is this so? "Who enters the Way without penetrating its principle, will return to the flesh and has to pay back the alms received by the faithful.

When the notable reached the age of eighty-one, the tree no longer bore edible fungi.50

50. Allusion. A notable had, in his youth, given alms to an unworthy monk who on accepting them became an edible fungus on a tree stump in the notable's garden. It was said that he would be released when the notable reached the age of 81.

b. Even though one lives on a lonely mountain peak, eats a single meal at dawn, meditates without lying down through the six periods of practice, he is only a Karma-producing man. One who gives away as alms all that he has: his head, eyes, marrow, brain; his home, wife and children; elephants and horses — the seven precious things — look, all such actions cause only

suffering to body and heart, and contrary to expectation incite further sorrow.

Far better it is to have nothing further to seek, to be simple and plain. Then even the Bodhisattvas who have completed the ten stages (of training) are seeking the traces of you, Followers of the Way, and cannot find them. Wherefore all the Devas rejoice, the spirits of the earth support your feet (gesture of adoration), and of all the Buddhas of the ten directions, none hold back with their praise.

And how does this come to be so? Because the man of the Way who now is listening to the Dharma leaves no trace of his activities.

34. One (monk) asked: "'Daitsu Chisho Buddha, (the Buddha of Supreme Penetration and Surpassing Wisdom) sat for ten Kalpas in the Hall of Enlightenment. But the Buddha-Dharma did not

reveal itself to him, and he did not attain Buddhahood.' I do not understand this saying, please point out the meaning.

The master said: "Supreme Penetration is your own understanding that the ten thousand things everywhere have no being of their own and have no form; this is called Supreme Penetration.

Surpassing Wisdom is not to doubt anything, for there is nothing to be attained; this is called Surpassing Wisdom.

Buddha is the heart in its purity; its radiance interpenetrating the plane of things is called to become Buddha.

To “sit for ten Kalpas in the Hall of Enlightenment” refers to the practice of the Ten Paramitas.

“The Buddha-Dharma did not reveal itself” means that since Buddha is originally unborn and the Dharma is originally indestructible, how can it reveal itself?

“Did not attain Buddhahood” is that Buddha has no need to become Buddha.

An old master said: "The Buddha is always present in the world, but is not stained by the things of the world."

35. Followers of the Way, if you want to become Buddha, do not follow the ten thousand things.

When the heart rises, the ten thousand things arise too. When the heart is stilled, the manifold things cease. And when the heart does not rise, the ten thousand things are without blame. In the world and beyond the world, neither Buddha nor Dharma manifest themselves, nor do they disappear.

Though things exist, they are only as names and words, sentences and catch phrases to attract little children; or expedient remedies for treating diseases, superficially revealed as names and phrases.

36. Venerable ones, committing the Five Heinous Crimes, deliverance can be attained. One (monk) asked: "What are the Five Heinous Crimes?"

The master said: "To kill the father, to harm the mother, to spill Buddha's blood, to break the peace of the Sangha, and to burn scriptures and statues, these are the Five Heinous Crimes."

(The monk) asked: "What is the father?"

The master said: “Basic ignorance is the father. In the concentrated heart you cannot find the place of arising or ceasing. Like the echo which responds to emptiness and thus reaches everywhere. When you have nothing further to seek, this is called killing the father."

(The monk) asked: "What is the mother?"

The master said: "Desirous coveting is the mother. If you enter the realm of desire with concentrated heart and see everything empty of forms and that nowhere is there anything to be attached to, this is harming the mother."

{The monk) asked: "What is the spilling of Buddha's blood?"

The master said: "In the realm of purity, if you do not give rise to any itch of interpretation, all is darkness; this is spilling the Buddha's blood."

(The monk) asked: "What is breaking the peace of the Sangha?"

The master said: "If with concentrated heart you truly understand that the passions, these emissaries which bind you, are empty and without support, then you break the peace of the Sangha."

(The monk) asked: "What is the burning of scriptures and statues?"

The master said: "To see that the causal relations are empty, that the heart is empty, and that the Dharma is empty — and in one stroke decisively to cut it all off in order to transcend all, and to have nothing further to seek, this is burning the scriptures and statues."

37. Venerable ones, if one comes to see things thus, one gets rid of being obstructed by names like worldly and sacred.

Thoughts in your mind do nothing but "create understanding from the fingers of an empty fist," and "vainly kneading dough (conjuring up phantoms) with the senses and the sense fields."

You belittle yourselves by modestly saying: "we are but common men—he is a sage." You bald idiots! What is the frantic hurry to deck yourselves in a lion's skin when all the while you are yapping like wild foxes? A real man has no need to give himself the airs of a real man!

You do not believe in the things in your own house, so you go outside searching, and fall into the trap of words and phrases of the old masters; relying on Yin, leaning on Yang, you cannot arrive at any real understanding of your own. So, encountering circumstances, you enter into relationship with them.

Encountering the dusts,42 you cling to them. Everything you touch leads you astray, for you have no standard of judgment of your own.

42. The Six Senses.

Followers of the Way, do not lay hold of what I am saying.

Why not? My teachings have no fixed foundation; they are only designs of an instant in space, like images painted in color, or other teaching devices.

38. Followers of the Way, do not take the Buddha for the supreme aim.

I myself see him as a privy hole, and the Bodhisattvas and Arhats as beings who bind men with cangue and chains. This is why Manjusri grasped the sword to kill Gautama, and Angulimalya took the knife to assassinate Shaka. (Allusion: Manjusri's sword of wisdom; Angulimalya cut off the fingers of nine hundred and ninety nine men, wanting the Buddha to be his thousandth victim, but was converted when the Buddha showed him that all is illusion.)

Followers of the Way, Buddha is not to be attained. The Three Vehicles and the Five Natures,51 as well as the Complete and Sudden Teachings are only traces. All are but expedient means, temporary remedies for curing diseases.

51. Three Vehicles: Sravaka or follower of the teachings; Pratyeka who seeks liberation for himself; and Bodhisattva who seeks liberation for all' This is a theoretical and doctrinal classification. Five Natures: Buddha, Bodhisattva, Pratyeka, Sravaka, and no seed-roots. These are dogmatic classifications of various schools, as are the "complete and sudden teachings."

There is no real Dharma. It is all but surface manifestations, like printed letters on a sign board to indicate the Way. This is my teaching.

39. Followers of the Way, there are certain bald fellows who apply their effort inwardly, imagining themselves to be seeking

in themselves the Dharma for getting out of the world. They deceive themselves.

To seek the Buddha is to lose the Buddha. To seek the Way is to lose the Way. To seek the patriarchs is to lose the patriarchs.

Venerable ones, do not be deceived. I do not care whether you are well versed in the Sutras and Treatises. I do not care whether you are Imperial ministers. I do not care if your eloquence is like a mountain torrent. I do not care whether you are sagacious and wise. I only care whether you have true and genuine insight.

Followers of the Way, even if you know how to explain and interpret a hundred volumes of Sutras and Treatises, better it is to be peaceful and a master who has nothing further to seek. If you know how to interpret and explain, you hold others in contempt. The fighting of the Asuras and the ignorance of man's ego create hellish Karma like Zensho Bishi (the monk "Good Star") who completed the study of the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings, yet fell living into hell. The earth no longer could hold him.

Far better to have nothing further to seek, and to put oneself at ease. When hungry, I eat my food. When sleepy, I shut my eyes. Fools laugh at me; the wise understand

Followers of the Way, do not seek for anything in written words.

You will tire your heart and inhale icy air without profit. Better not to let the heart be enticed by affinity linkage52 and so to go beyond the Three Vehicles and the Bodhisattvas with all their impressive apparatus of learning.

52. Something one inclines to or responds to (affinity) and so tends to get caught by it (linkage)—"this is it," and stops going further.

40.a. Venerable Ones, do not delay and spend your days idly.

In former days when I could not yet see clearly, all the world seemed dark to me. I could not get beyond light and shade. I ran around with fever in my belly and with my heart in a flurry, asking about the Way. Later I gained strength, and now I am here, preaching deliverance to you, followers of the Way.

My advice is not to come here for just your food and clothes. Life in the world passes quickly, and it is difficult to meet good teachers; the Udambara plant only flowers once in a while. You heard of this old fellow Rinzai, and so you came here asking difficult questions, trying to shut me up. If I give you the actualization of the whole body (wholeness, essence), you students can but stare stupidly, unable to utter a word. And I tell you that the ass cannot endure the trampling of the king-elephant.

But you, on all occasions, hit your chest, point at your ribs, and claim: "I understand Zen, I know the Way." And yet you cannot refrain from coming here in droves.

Bah! You all have body and heart, yet when you come your lips are flapping like winnowing baskets as you deceive the villagers.

The day will surely come when you receive the iron rod. You are not leavers-of-home, your province is the world of Asuras.

b. The inherent principle of the Way cannot be enhanced by

theorizing or controversy, and it is not by ringing bells and beating gongs that Other Ways are refuted.

There is no special meaning in the transmission of Buddha and patriarchs. Though there is a verbal teaching, it falls into the temporary explanation of cause and effect of the Three Vehicles

and the Five Natures,51 and of men and Devas.

51. Three Vehicles: Sravaka or follower of the teachings; Pratyeka who seeks liberation for himself; and Bodhisattva who seeks liberation for all' This is a theoretical and doctrinal classification. Five Natures: Buddha, Bodhisattva, Pratyeka, Sravaka, and no seed-roots. These are dogmatic classifications of various schools, as are the "complete and sudden teachings."

But this does not apply to the complete and sudden teachings. The young Sudhana did not seek anything.

Venerable ones, do not use your heart wrongly! The great ocean does not retain corpses. You, carrying your burden, think only of running about and yourselves raise obstacles to your seeing which obstruct your heart. When there is no cloud across the sun, the serene heaven is radiant with light. Without a blind spot in the eye, there are no flowers in the empty sky.

41. Followers of the Way, if you want to conform to the Dharma, just keep yourselves from doubting. If expanded, it fills the Dharmakaya; if contracted, not a single hair has room to stand on it. It shines solitary and bright, and has never lacked

anything. The eye does not see it, the ear does not hear it. How to call this thing?

An old master said: "To say it is like a thing is to miss the point."

Just look into your own house! What more is there? One would never finish speaking of it. Each one by himself, work diligently! And take good care of yourselves.

Part II

42.a. Obaku came into the kitchen and asked the cook what he was doing. The cook said: "I am sorting out the rice for the community (of monks)." Obaku said: "How much do they eat a day?" The cook answered: "Two and a half stone." Obaku asked: "Isn't that rather a lot?"

The cook replied: "I rather fear it is too little." Obaku hit him.

b. The cook reported this to the master (Rinzai — throughout his record he is always referred to as "master").

The master said: "I will go and test that old fellow (Obaku) for you."

When he came to attend Obaku, the latter at once mentioned the

above dialogue with the cook. The master said: "The cook does not understand. Please, Osho, say a turning word,53 and then he asked: "Isn't that rather a lot (of rice)?"

53. To help a student, the master may "turn" a phrase, or may answer a question in a new way that contains a pointer for the questioner.

Obaku said: "Why not say, tomorrow they'll have to eat still more."

The master said: "Why talk of tomorrow, eat it all at once!"

So saying, the master slapped Obaku, who replied: "What madman has come here to stroke the tiger's whiskers!" gave a

Katsu and left.

c. Afterwards, Issan asked Gyosan: "How do you understand what those two venerables were talking about?" Gyosan countered: "How do you understand it?" Issan said: "Only when rearing a child does one come to understand a father's kindness." Gyosan said: "Not at all." Issan asked: "Then what?"

Gyosan said: "It is like ruining one's home by inviting a thief into it."

43.a. The master asked a monk: "Where do you come from?" The monk gave a Katsu.

The master folded his arms and told him to sit down. The monk hesitated – then the master hit him.

b. The master saw a monk coming. He raised his Hossu (fly whisk).

The monk bowed — the master hit him.

c. Again, he saw a monk coming and again raised his Hossu. The monk did not know what to do.

The master hit him.

44.a. One day the master and Fuke went to a vegetarian banquet given them by a believer. During the meal, the master asked Fuke: " 'A hair swallows the vast ocean, a mustard seed contains

Mt. Sumeru' — does this happen by means of supernatural powers, or is the whole body (substance, essence) like this?"

Fuke kicked over the table.

The master said: "Rough fellow."

Fuke retorted: "What place is this here to speak of rough and refined ?"

b. The next day, they went again to a vegetarian banquet. During

that meal, the master asked: "Today's fare, how does it compare with yesterday's?"

Fuke (as before) kicked over the table.

The master said: "Understand it you do — but still, you are a rough fellow."

Fuke replied: "Blind fellow, does one preach of any roughness or finesse in the Buddha-Dharma?"

The master stuck out his tongue.

45. One day the master and the two old teachers Kayo and Mokuto were sitting in the hearth pit of the meditation hall. The master remarked: "Every day Fuke plays the fool in the street

markets. Does anyone know whether he is a vulgar fellow or a sage?"

Before he had finished speaking, Fuke came in. The master asked him: "Are you a vulgar fellow or a sage?"

Fuke replied: "Say it yourself whether I am a vulgar fellow or a sage." The master gave a Katsu.

Fuke, indicating each with his pointing finger, said: "Kajo's style of the newlywed bride, Mokuto's grandmotherly Zen, Rinzai's little servant — all three have the single eye."

The master remarked: "This robber."

Fuke left, shouting "robber, robber."

46. One day Fuke was eating raw cabbage before the meditation

hall. The master saw him and said: "You have quite the air of an ass." Fuke began to bray.

The master said: "This robber."

Fuke went away, shouting "robber, robber."

47. Fuke always used to roam about in the street markets, ringing a bell and shouting: "When it comes in brightness, I hit the brightness. When it approaches in darkness, I hit the darkness. When it comes from the four quarters and eight directions (of

space), I hit like a whirlwind, and if it comes out of the empty sky, I thrash like a flail."

The master made one of his attendants go there, instructing him to grab Fuke while speaking and ask him "If it does not come in any of these ways, what then?"

Fuke freed himself from the grasp of the attendant and said: "Tomorrow is a vegetarian banquet in the monastery of Great Compassion."

The attendant returned and told the master, who remarked: "I was always intrigued with this fellow."

48.a. There was an ancient who came to consult the master.

Instead of going through the usual formalities, he at once asked: "Is it making a bow, or is it not making a bow?"

The master gave a Katsu. The ancient bowed.

The master said: "A good robber of the green wood!"

The ancient left shouting "robber, robber."

The master remarked: "To think there is nothing further to seek is not good."

b. Then the master addressed his senior attendant: "Was there a

fault or not?"

The attendant said: "There was." The master said: "Was the fault with the guest or with the host?" The attendant said: "Both were at fault." The master asked what the fault was. At that, the attendant left. The master remarked: "Better not think there is nothing further

to seek."

c. Later on, a monk related the above to Nanzen, who commented: "Two lathered horses clash in full tilt."

49. The master had been invited to an army camp for a vegetarian banquet. At the gate post he happened to meet two of

the officers. Pointing at the unhewn post, the master asked: "Is this worldly or is this sacred?"

The officers were speechless.

The master struck the unhewn post and uttered: "Whatever you can say, it is but a wooden post," and then went within.

50.a. The master asked the head monk: "Where do you come from?" The head monk said: "I have just returned from the prefecture where I sold rice." The master asked: "Did you sell the lot?" The head monk said: "Yes, all of it." The master drew a line before him with his stick, and said: "Did

you sell this, too?" The head monk gave a Katsu — the master hit him.

b. When the cook approached, the master related what had just happened. The cook said: "The head monk did not understand you." The master asked: "And how do you understand it?"

The cook bowed. The master hit him, too.

51.a. A scripture teacher came to see the master. The master asked him: "What Sutras and Treatises are you studying?"

The scripture teacher answered: "I am trying to study the Treatise of the Hundred Dharmas."

The master said: "One gets insight into the Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings; one does not get insight into the Three Vehicles and the Twelve Divisions of the Teachings; are they the same or do they differ?"

The scripture teacher said: "For the one who can see, they are the same; for the one who cannot see, they differ."

b. Rakuho, who was standing behind the master as his attendant,

said to the scripture teacher: "What place is this to speak of sameness and difference here?"

The master turned round and said to the attendant: "And how do you understand it?"

The attendant gave a Katsu.

The master went with the scripture teacher to see him off. On returning, he asked the attendant: "Is it fitting for you to do a Katsu at me?"

The attendant said: “Yes, it is” — then the master hit him.

52. The master heard that the second Tokusan used to instruct

his monks saying: "Whether you can speak or not, either way thirty blows."

The master told Rakuho: ' "Go and ask him 'Why does the one who understands get thirty blows?,' wait ‘til he beats you, then grab the stick, hit back, and see what he will do."

Rakuho went and did as bid.

On being thus asked, Tokusan at once hit out. Rakuho hit back. Tokusan then returned to his quarters.

Rakuho came back and told the master, who said: "So far I have suspected that fellow; but since it has happened like this, do you for yourself now see Tokusan?"

Rakuho hesitated.

The master hit him.

53. Governor Wang come one day to visit the master. When

they happened to pass the monk's hall, he asked the master: "Do the monks in this monastery all study the Sutras?"

"No, they don't."

"Do they then practice meditation?"

"No, they don't."

"If they neither study the Sutras nor practice meditation, what then do they do?"

The master said: "All are training to become Buddhas or patriarchs."

The Governor said: "Though gold dust is precious, in the eyes it clouds vision." The master remarked: "And I almost took you for a common fellow!"

    1. The master asked Anzan: "What is the white bull on the open ground?" Anzan said: "Moo, moo!" The master asked: "Are you dumb?"
    2. Anzan said: "How about the worthy elder?" The master said: "This beast."
    1. The master asked Takuho: "Hitherto, one used the stick, another the Katsu. Which one is nearer the truth?" Rakuho said: "Neither is near." The master said: "What is it to be near?"
    2. Rakuho gave a Katsu. The master hit him.
  1. On seeing a monk approach, the master stretched out both

hands, palms upwards. The monk had nothing to say. The master said: "Do you understand?"

The monk said: "No, I do not."

The master said: "If you cannot break the high mountain, I will give you two pence." (Cost of a pair of straw sandals — i.e. further practice.)

57. Daikaku came for an interview with the master.

The master lifted up his Hossu. Daikaku spread his Zagu (prostration mat, carried folded over the left arm in ceremonial attire).

The master then threw down his Hossu and Daikaku took up his Zagu and entered the monks' hall.

The monks gossiped: "Surely this monk is not a new comer but a close friend of the master; he approached him without formalities, and yet did not receive the stick!"

Hearing about this, the master sent for Daikaku and said: "The monks say that you have had no interview with me yet."

Daikaku commented: "How strange," and simply rejoined the monks.

58. Joshu, when wandering on pilgrimage,54 came for an interview with the master. He arrived just as the master was

washing his feet and asked him: "What is the meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West?"

54. See introduction. Only attained and well settled monks went on pilgrimage

to match themselves with great masters, or to find one under whom to complete their training.

The master replied: "Just as meeting me washing my feet."

Joshu came closer as if he wanted to listen better.

The master said: "I am about to throw out the second lot of dirty water."

On that, Joshu withdrew.

59. The Joza55 Jo came to have an interview with the master. He asked: "What is the essence of the Buddha-Dharma?"

55. Title for monks of long standing; also polite address.

The master came down from his seat, grabbed him, gave him a slap, and then let go of him. Jo remained motionless.

A monk said: "Joza Jo, why do you not bow?"

While bowing, Jo suddenly had the great awakening.

60. Mayoku came for an interview. Spreading out his Zagu, he asked: "Of the twelve heads of Kannon, which is the true one?"

The master came down from his seat, took up the Zagu with one hand, with the other grabbed Mayoku, and said: "The twelve headed Kannon, where is she now?"

Mayoku twisted his body and made as if to climb the (master's) seat. The master lifted his stick and hit him. Mayoku grabbed the stick, and both went together to the master's quarters.

61. The master asked a monk: "Sometimes a Katsu is like the precious sword of the Vajra king; sometimes a Katsu is like a golden-maned lion crouching on the ground; sometimes a Katsu is like a probing pole (for fishing) to which a grass bushel is

fastened to cast shade; and sometimes a Katsu is not used as a Katsu. How do you understand that?"

The monk hesitated.

The master gave a Katsu.

62. The master asked a nun: "Welcome? Not welcome?" The nun gave a Katsu. The master held up his stick and said: "Speak, speak!"

The nun again gave a Katsu. The master hit her.

63.a. Ryuge asked what was the meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West. The master said: "Pass me the armrest."

When Ryuge handed it to him. The master took it and hit him. Ryuge said: "You may hit as much as you like, but it is not the

meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West."

b. Later, Ryuge went to Suibi (another great master) and asked what was the meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West.

Suibi said: "Pass me the cushion." Ryuge handed it to Suibi who took the it and hit him.

Ryuge said: "Hit as much as you like, it still it is not the meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West."

c. Later on, when Ryuge was the incumbent of a temple, a monk came into his room and asked for instruction, saying: "While you

went on pilgrimage, you did go to consult those two masters. Did you agree with them?"

Ryuge said: "However deep the agreement, still it is not the meaning of the patriarch's coming from the West."

64.a. Kinzan had a community of five hundred monks, but there were few who consulted him for interviews. Obaku charged the

master to go to Kinzan, and asked him: "When you arrive, what will you do?"

The master said: "When I get there, means will present themselves."

Having arrived, he went up the Dharma Hall in his traveling outfit. Upon the master’s entrance, Kinzan raised his head. The master gave a Katsu. Kinzan hesitated to open his mouth.

The master shook his sleeves and left.

b. With regards to that, a monk then asked Kinzan: "That monk

who just entered and left, what words were exchanged? He just gave a Katsu and went out?"

Kinzan said: "That monk came from among Obaku's assembly; if you want to know, ask him yourself."

More than half of the monks left Kinzan's community.

65. One day at the street market Fuke was begging all and sundry

to give him a robe. Everybody offered him one, but he did not want any of them.

The master made the superior buy a coffin, and when Fuke returned, said to him: "There, I had this robe made for you."

Fuke shouldered the coffin, and went back to the street market, calling loudly: "Rinzai had this robe made for me! I am off to the East Gate to enter transformation" (to die)." The people of the market crowded after him, eager to look.

Fuke said: "No, not today. Tomorrow, I shall go to the South Gate to enter transformation." And so it went for three days, until nobody believed it any longer.

On the fourth day, and now without any spectators, Fuke went alone outside the city walls, and laid himself into the coffin. He asked a traveler who chanced by to nail down the lid. The news spread at once, and the people of the market rushed there.

On opening the coffin, they found that the body had vanished, but from high up in the sky they heard the ring of his hand bell.

Part III

66.a. When the master was a new monk in Obaku's community, his behavior was simple and direct. The head monk recommended

him, saying: "Though he is a new monk, yet he differs from all the others." And asked him: "How long have you been here?"

The master replied: "For three years."

The head monk asked: "Have you been for an interview yet?"

The master said: "Never. I do not know what to ask."

The head monk said: "Why do you not go and ask the reverend head of the monastery what is the essence of Buddhism?"

The master accordingly did as bid. But even before he had finished speaking, Obaku hit him.

The master withdrew.

When the head monk asked him how the interview had gone, he

said: "Even before I had finished speaking, the Osho56 hit me. I do not understand."

56. Japanese term for a Buddhist priest and teacher, best thought of as "Venerable."

The head monk said: "Simply go and ask again."

The master did so and Obaku hit him again. Like this it happened for still a third time, the questioning and the hitting.

The master went to the head monk and said: "You had the kindness to send me to question the Osho. Three times I asked, and three times I was beaten. I am afraid I am obstructed by my previous circumstances, and do not understand his deep intention. So for the time being, I am resigning and am leaving."

The head monk said: "If you are going, you have to take leave of the Osho."

The master bowed his acceptance and left.

b. The head monk went at once to Obaku and said: "That young monk who came and questioned you is really suited for the Dharma. When he comes to take leave of you, find a way for

him to continue. Planting for times to come, he will grow into a big tree that will give shade for all men."

When the master came to take leave, Obaku said to him: "You must not go anywhere else but to Daigu who lives near the shoals of Koan (a place). He will explain to you."

c. The master went to Daigu, who asked where he came from. The master replied that he came from Obaku.

Daigu asked: "And what did Obaku have to say?"

The master replied: "I asked him three times what was the essence of Buddhism, and three times he beat me. I do not know whether I was at fault or not."

Daigu said : "When Obaku, like a good old grandmother, has taken all this trouble over you, you still come here asking me whether you were at fault or not?"

During these words, the master had the great awakening, and said: "After all, there is nothing much to Obaku's Buddha-Dharma."

Daigu grabbed him and said: "You little devil still wetting your bed! You come here saying you do not know whether you were at fault or not, and now you say that after all there is nothing much to Obaku's Buddha-Dharma. What have you seen? Speak quickly, speak quickly!"

The master, while Daigu was still grabbing him, gave him three punches into the ribs.

Daigu released him and said: "Your master is Obaku. This has nothing to do with me.

d. The master left Daigu and returned to Obaku who, seeing him

come, remarked: "When will there be an end to the comings and goings of this fellow?"

The master said: "It is only because of your grandmotherly kindness."

Then, after the usual courtesies, he stood to attend on Obaku. The latter asked where he had come from and the master replied: "The other day you were kind enough to send me to Daigu for an interview."

Obaku asked: "What did Daigu have to say?"

The master then related what had happened, whereupon Obaku said: "How do I have this fellow coming here? Just wait, I'll beat you up."

The master said: "What do you mean about waiting? Get it right now!" and accordingly punched Obaku who said: "This madman who comes here to stroke the tiger's whiskers."

The master gave a Katsu and Obaku called: "Attendant, bring this madman into the monks' quarters.

e. Later, Issan mentioned this story to Gyosan and asked him:

"At that time, was it with Daigu or with Obaku that Rinzai found his strength?"

Gyosan said: "He not only knew how to ride the tiger, he also knew how to grab its tail."

67.a. The master was planting pine trees. Obaku asked him:

"Why do you plant so many pines in this remote mountain monastery?"

The master answered: "First, they make good scenery around the

monastery gate, and then they are for the benefit of those who come after," and struck the ground three times with his hoe.

Obaku said: "Though this may be so, yet I'll give you thirty blows of my stick to taste."

Again, the master struck the ground three times with his hoe, sighing deeply.

Obaku said: "Through you, our school will nourish throughout the world."

b. Later, Issan mentioned this story to Gyosan and asked: "Did

Obaku at that time entrust (the transmission to) Rinzai alone, or did he have someone else in mind?"

Gyosan answered: "Yes, he had; only I do not want to tell you as it is yet far ahead in the future."

Issan said: "Though this may be so, I'd still like to know. Please tell me."

Gyosan said: "A man will head South, where his orders will be put into force in Go and Etsu (old Chinese provinces). There he will meet a great wind, and then he will have rest. (This is said to be a prophesy concerning Fuketsu, "Wind-Cave" — a master in the fourth generation after Rinzai.)

68. When the master was standing by Tokusan as his attendant, Tokusan remarked: "Today I am tired." The master said: "What is this old fellow mumbling in his sleep?" Tokusan hit him.

The master upended Tokusan's seat cushion. Tokusan retired.

69.a. The master and all the monks were out hoeing. When the

master saw Obaku approach, he stopped working and propped himself up on his hoe. Obaku said: "Would this fellow be tired?"

The master replied: "I have as yet not even lifted my hoe. Why should I be tired?"

Obaku hit him.

The master grabbed the stick, gave Obaku a good blow and knocked him over. Obaku called the superintendent to help him up. The superintendent, doing so, remonstrated: "Venerable, how can you permit the impudence of this madman?"

Obaku was hardly on his feet when he hit the superintendent.

The master, having started to hoe, remarked: "Cremation is the custom everywhere, but here, I bury alive with a single stroke!"

b. Later, Issan asked Gyosan: "What is the meaning of Obaku's beating the superintendent?"

Gyosan said: "The real robber ran off; the pursuer got the stick."

70. One day the master was sitting in front of the monks' hall. Seeing Obaku come, he closed his eyes as if asleep. Obaku, as if

frightened, returned to his quarters. The master followed him there and bowed his apology.

The head monk was present, attending Obaku in his quarters. Obaku remarked: "Though this is but a young monk, yet he does understand this great matter."

The head monk said: "Old Venerable, the tread of his feet does not point to the earth, yet you confirm this youngster's understanding?" Obaku slapped him across the mouth. The head monk said: "If one understands, it is all right."

71.a. The master was asleep in the meditation hall. Obaku came

down the hall, saw him there, and struck the sounding board once with his staff.

The master lifted his head, but when he saw it was Obaku, he went back to sleep.

Obaku again gave a whack on the sounding board, then went up

to the head monk who was sitting in meditation, and said: "The young one down the hall57 is truly sitting. You with your fancy notions, what are you doing here?"

57. The arrangement of seats, or sitting order, follows strict precedence. The higher up the hall, the more senior the person.

The head monk said: "What does this old fellow want of me?"

Obaku gave one more stroke on the sounding board and left.

b. Later, Issan asked Gyosan: "What was the meaning of Obaku's entering the meditation hall?"

Gyosan said: "Two colors—one throw.58

58. A phrase often used in Zen texts, referring to a game of dice; idiomatically, to get two birds with one stone.

72.a. One day during the work period, the master was last in the

row. Obaku looked back and saw that the master was empty-handed. "Where is your hoe?" Obaku asked.

"Someone has gone off with it," replied the master.

Obaku said: "Come here and we'll talk about it."

When the master came near, Obaku lifted his hoe high and said: "Nobody in the world can take this away from me."

The master then grabbed the hoe, held it high and said: "How comes it is now in my hand?"

Obaku said: "Today there is one who works with all his might," and returned to the monastery.

b. Later, Issan asked Gyosan: "Why did Rinzai snatch the hoe out of Obaku's hand?"

Gyosan said: "The robber was a wastrel, but in wisdom he prevailed over the noble man."

73.a. Obaku sent the master to carry a letter to Issan. At that time Gyosan was guest muster. He took the letter and asked: "This letter is from Obaku; but his special messenger, what has he to do with it?" The master slapped him. Gyosan stopped him and said: "Elder brother, since you know about this matter, let's cease." Together they went to Issan who asked: "How many monks are in the community of Master Obaku, my elder brother?" The master replied: "Seven hundred." Issan said: "Who is the leader?" The master said: "His letter has just reached you." Then the master asked Issan: "And how large is your community here?" Issan said: "One thousand and five hundred." The master remarked: "Too large."

Issan said: "There are quite a few at my elder brother's, Master Obaku."

b. The master left Issan. Gyosan went with him to see him off, and said: "If later on you go north, there will be a place for you."

The master said: "How should that happen?" Gyosan said: "Just go there. Later there will be someone to help

you, elder brother. That someone will have a head but no tail, a beginning but no end."

When the master later went to the prefecture of Chin, Fuke was already there and helped the master when he started teaching. But soon after the master had settled in there, Fuke cast off his body and vanished.

74. The master went to Obaku in the middle of the summer retreat. He encountered Obaku reading Sutras and remarked: "I

thought it was a man! But it is only the old Venerable who crams black beans into his mouth!"

A few days later he took leave again Obaku said: "You broke the summer retreat in coming here. And now you leave without finishing it."

The master said: "I only came to pay my respect to you." Obaku finally hit him and ordered that he be chased away.

When the master had gone but a few miles, he had doubts about this affair, returned, and finished the summer retreat.

75.a. When the master took leave of Obaku, the latter asked: "Where will you go?"

The master replied: "If it is not to the south of the River, it will be to the north of the River."

When Obaku moved to hit him, the master stopped him and gave him a slap instead. Obaku gave a shout of laughter and ordered his attendant: "Bring the armrest and stool of my late master Hyakujo!"

The master said: "Attendant, fetch fire."

Obaku said: "Though this may be so, you'd better take them. In future they will serve you to shut up everybody."

b. Later on, Issan asked Gyosan: "Did Rinzai show himself ungrateful to Obaku?"

Gyosan said: "Not at all."

Issan said: "What do you mean?"

Gyosan said: “One has to know the kindnesses one has received in order to be able to repay them.”

Issan said: "Have there been similar precedents among the old masters?"

Gyosan said: "Yes, there were. But it was long ago and I do not want to talk about it."

Issan said: "Though this may be so, yet I would like to know. Just tell me."

Gyosan said: "It is as the incident in the Ryogon Sutra when at the assembly Ananda made this gatha of the Buddha: ‘This profound heart serves in a dusty temple. This is called requiting the Buddha's kindness. How could it not be a case of requiting kindness?’”

Issan said: "Just so, just so! Insight deep as that of the master diminishes by half the master's virtue; insight surpassing that of the master makes worthy to receive the succession."

76. The master came to the memorial pagoda of Bodhidharma.

The incumbent asked: "Old Venerable, will your first bow be to the Buddha or to the Patriarch?"

The master said: "I shall bow neither to the Buddha nor to the Patriarch."

The incumbent asked: "What feud is there between you, old Venerable, and the Buddha and Patriarch?"

The master shook his sleeves and left.

77. During his period of wandering the master came to Ryoko.

At the High Seat, the master stepped forward and asked Ryoko: "Without making a thrust with the sword, how could one conquer?"

Ryoko clutched his seat.

The master said: "How should a great teacher not have skillful means?"

Ryoko stared and let out a long sigh.

The master, pointing at him with his finger, said: "This old fellow, today he was reduced to bewilderment!"

    1. The master went to Sambyo, who asked him where he came from. The master answered that he came from Obaku. Sambyo said: "What did Obaku have to say?" The master said: "Last night the golden bull vanished in the dark, and no trace of him has since been seen." Sambyo said: "The autumn wind blows on the flute of jade. Who is it that understands such music?" The master said: "Having passed ten thousand barriers, he dwells not even in the deep blue sky." Sambyo remarked: "You are are getting too high with this." The master said: "The dragon gave birth to the golden phoenix, The lapis lazuli breaks into sparkling radiance." Sambyo said: "Sit down and have some tea," and then asked again: "Where have you been lately?" The master said: "At Ryoko's."
    2. Sambyo asked: "And how is Ryoko these days?" The master left.
    1. The master came to Daiji who was sitting in his quarters. The master asked: "Sitting in your room how do you pass the time?" Daiji said: "The winter pine keeps the same color for a thousand years; old peasants pick flowers, and spring covers all lands." The master said: "The body of perfect wisdom transcends all time; ten thousand barriers shut off the Three Mountains." Daiji gave a Katsu. The master also gave a Katsu.
    2. Daiji said: "How?" The master shook his sleeves and left.
  1. The master came to Kegon in the prefecture of Jo. Kegon

pretended to be fast asleep, supported on his staff. The master addressed him: "Old Venerable, how is it you are fast asleep?"

Kegon answered: "A visitor of Zen from our own family; you are unusual."

The master said: "Attendant, go and make tea for the Venerable."

Kegon called the superior and said: "Install this senior in the third seat.57

57. The arrangement of seats, or sitting order, follows strict precedence. The higher up the hall, the more senior the person.

81. The master came to Suiho. Suiho asked: "Where do you come from?" The master replied: "From Obaku." Suiho said "How does Obaku instruct his monks?" The master replied: "Obaku has nothing to say." Suiho asked:

"How come he has nothing to say?" The master replied: "Even if he had something to say, there

would be no place to say it." Suiho said: "Just tell me and let's see." The master said: "An arrow flies into the Western sky."

82. The master came to Zoden, and asked him: "Neither worldly nor sacred — I beg of you, master, speak quickly!"

Zoden said: "I am simply thus."

The master gave a Katsu and said: "This crew of shave heads here, what food are they looking for?"

    1. The master came to Myoge who asked him: "What for all this coming and going?" The master said: "Vainly wearing out the straw sandals." Myoge said: "And in the end what?"
    2. The master retorted: "This old fellow does not even know what we are talking about."
  1. On the way to Horin the master met an old woman who asked him: "Where are you going?"

"To Horin," replied the master.

The old woman informed him: "Honn is away just now, so you cannot visit him."

"Where did he go?", asked the master. But the old woman was already walking off. The master called after her and, when she turned around, he hit her.

85.a. The master came to Horin who remarked: "As it happens, I want to ask you something, may I?"

The master said: "Why gouge out healthy flesh to make a wound?"

Horin said: "Brilliant shines the moon over the sea casting no shade. Sporting about in it, the fish goes astray."

The master said: "As the moon over the sea casts no shade anyway, how can the playful fish go astray?"

Horin said: "Observing wind, I know waves will blow up; sail boats skim the water with straining sheets."

The master said: "Alone shines the solitary moon, rivers and mountains are quiet. One laugh by itself startles heaven and earth."

Horin said: "Your tongue may brighten heaven and earth, but let's have a word to test it."

The master said: "When you chance upon a swordsman, show him your sword. Do not give your poem to a man who is not a poet."

Horin retired, and the master made this verse of praise: "The Great Way surpasses all that is, free to go West or East. Spark does not fly from flint so fast, nor lightning flash by."

b. Issan asked Gyosan: " 'Spark does not fly from flint so fast,

nor lightning flash by — but how did the old masters help people?"

Gyosan asked: "How do you understand it?"

Issan said: "Mere words in explanation, nowise the true meaning."

Gyosan disagreed: "No, not so."

Issan said: "Then how do you understand it?"

Gyosan said: "Officially not a needle can pass. Unofficially carriages go through."

86.a. The master came to Kingyu. Seeing him approach, Kingyu sat down at the gate barring it with his staff. The master struck the staff three times with his hand, went into the monks' hall and sat himself down in the first place. Kingyu came after, saw him, and remarked: "When guest and host meet, the usual courtesies

are observed. Elder, where have you come from to be so ill mannered?"

The master retorted: "What are you mumbling, old venerable?"

Kingyu hesitated, mouth open. The master hit him. As Kingyu tried to pull himself together, the master hit him again.

Kingyu observed: "It's not my day today."

b. Issan asked Gyosan: "Who of those two venerables won and who lost?"

Gyosan replied: "The winner won the lot. The loser lost the lot."

87. The master was about to enter transformation (to die).

Sitting, he said: "After my death do not allow my True Dharma Eye to perish."

Sansho burst out: "How could your True Dharma Eye perish?"

The master asked: "What then will you say when in future people put questions to you?"

Sansho gave a Katsu.

"Who could know that my True Dharma Eye would perish through this blind ass," said the master, and revealed his Nirvana.

Bibliography

Parts of, and excerpts from The Record of Rinzai translated into English can be found in:

Charles Luk, Ch'an and Zen Teachings, Second Series, Shambhala, Berkeley.

Sokei-an Sasaki, Zen Notes, First Zen Institute of America, New York.

D. T. Suzuki, Essays hi Zen Buddhism, Vols. 1-3, Rider, London.

Chang Chung-yuan, The Original Teachings of Ch'an Buddhism, Pantheon, New York.

Yanagida, The Life of Lin-Chi l-hsuan, The Eastern Buddhist, Vol. V, No. 2, Kyoto, Japan.

Back Cover

The Zen Teaching of Rinzai

A translation from the Chinese of the Lin-Chi Lu

by Irmgard Schloegl

Rinzai was the founder of one of the Main Schools of Zen Buddhism. This record of his life, written by his disciple, is one of the main texts of Zen. It contains the teachings, episodes from his training, and from his teaching career. This is the first complete translation of this important Zen text into the English Language.

“The Record of Rinzai’s teachings, the Lin-Chi Lu (Japanese Rinzai Roku), shows a character of immense vitality and originality, lecturing his students in informal and often somewhat “racy” language. It is as if Rinzai were using the whole strength of his personality to force the student into immediate awakening. Again and again he berates them for not having enough faith in themselves, for letting their minds ‘gallop around’ in search of something which they have never lost, and which is ‘right before you at this very moment.’ Awakening for Rinzai seems primarily a matter of ‘nerve’— the courage to ‘let go’ without further delay in the unwavering faith that one’s neutral, spontaneous functioning is the Buddha mind. His approach to conceptual Buddhism, to the students’ obsession with stages to be reached and goals to be attained, is ruthlessly iconoclastic.” -Alan Watts-

Shambhala Berkeley 0-394-73176-X