Zen Speaks

Uploaded by noingongiobatdau on 09.09.2012

What is Zen?
A small fish asked a big fish:
I often hear others talking about the sea.
Big fish...
But what is the sea?
All around you is the sea.
Why can't I see it?
You live, move, and have your being in the sea.
The sea is within as well as outside you.
The sea gave you life and at death you return to the source.
The sea surrounds you as your own being.
People live in the sea of Zen,
yet do not know the nature of Zen.
Do you know what is Zen?
Please watch.
Realization of the wave.
Little wave, take care...
I feel distressed.
Other waves are so big whereas I am so small.
Other waves are so powerful
whereas I am puny...
It is because you have not seen clearly your original nature
that you have sorrow.
Am I not a wave? Then what am I?
The wave is only a temporary form of your nature
In actuality you are water.
Once you perceive clearly that your actual nature is water,
you will no longer be obsessed with the form of the wave,
and thus you will no longer be in sorrow.
I understand now.
Humans are egocentric.
One thinks that the " self" is " me" ,
Thereby differentiating oneself from others
and comparing oneself with others,
thus bringing about sorrow.
Actually, humans
are one of the constituents in the immensity of Nature.
Think about it.
Zen in a teacup.
A university professor approached
Japanese Zen master Nan-in to find out about Zen.
Nan-in served him tea.
Nan-in poured tea into the cup,
even though the cup was full, he kept pouring.
Master, the cup is overflowing with tea.
Please do not pour any more.
You are just like this cup.
full of your own views and with your own way of thinking.
If you do not empty your up first,
how am I to show you Zen?
Those who are full of their own opinions...
will be deaf to words of wisdom from others.
In a discussion between two persons,
what often happens is that each is intent on asserting his own views,
as a result, apart from hearing his own voice or views,
he does not learn anything else.
Go on pouring tea please.
Result of enlightenment.
Since olden times, many people have left their homes and families
to enter the door of Buddhism and practice Zen.
They do not mind devoting so much energy to inquiry and contemplation,
And what do they gain from it?
If such a question is put to the Zen masters,
they will invariably answer,
Once a person has stopped discrimination, banished delusion,
and ended the tricks of thought,
he will be full of inner peace
and there is naturally the state of nothingness.
Heart to heart
When Shakyamuni Buddha was in Gridhrak uta Mountain,
he seated himself on a platform, as if about to give a talk.
Suddenly, Shakyamuni took out a flower,
and watched his disciples for their reaction.
The onlookers did not understand the Buddha's action
and stared at him in silence.
Only Kasyapa smiled at this revelation.
My way of understanding is to perceive thoroughly the process of thought
and exclude nothing,
and with a joyous heart look into the actual nature of things.
Such a subtle dharma is beyond words,
beyond philosophical speculation.
One cannot understand it through logical reasoning,
but only through insight.
Just now, Kasyapa responded and showed his understanding,
therefore I will transmit to him the heart of Zen.
The way of Zen is: The uncontaminated divine law
and the uncontaminated heart...
bring forth perception and insight,
and right living is naturally sustained.
To live in the " Now"
How long is the human lifespan?
70 years.
Forty years?
Wrong again.
30 years?
Then just how long is the human lifespan?
Life is all in the breathing.
Do not dwell on what is past and what is to come,
but live in the world of the present.
One has to always understand
the " now" and perceive all the wonderful things.
Do remember it!
Buddha transmitted to Kasyapa his gold brocade robe.
Ananda asked Kasyapa,
The World-honoured One transmitted to you the gold brocade robe,
did he transmit anything else to you?
It is getting dark,
go and remove the flag on the flag-pole in front of the temple.
We must remember one thing,
Ordinary-mindedness is the way.
Do not delude yourself by seeking truth elsewhere.
Just pay close attention to the small daily happenings,
and gain insight from life.
Carrying a girl across the stream.
The Japanese Zen master Tanzan and the monk Ekido...
came across a beautiful girl who was unable to cross a stream.
I will carry you across the stream.
Master, thank you!
The two of them continued walking for half the day.
We monks do not go near women, right?
Why did you do that earlier?
What woman are you referring to?
I put her down long ago. Are you still carrying her?
The one who carried the girl across the stream...
had no feelings of lust.
He acted spontaneously and with nonchalance.
The other monk is the one who all along had lustful desires.
Gates of Heaven
A military officer
approached Japanese Zen master Hak uin Ekak u and asked,
Is there really heaven and hell?
I really want to know is there really heaven and hell.
What are you?
I am a general.
Which fool employed you to be a general?
You look more like a butcher.
What did you say? I will cut you down!
Here open the gates of hell!
I am sorry... Please forgive me for my rudeness.
Here open the gates of heaven.
Heaven and hell are not places one goes to after death,
But in the here and now!
Good and evil are all in the thought,
All the gates of heaven and hell will open to you at any time.
Blockhead official
Japanese Zen masters Gudo and Daigu...
were invited to visit a high official who was keen to learn Zen.
You are wise by nature...
and have an inborn ability to learn Zen.
Nonsense! This blockhead official may have a high position,
But he knows nothing about Zen.
After hearing the esteemed views of you two,
I know what to do.
Eventually, instead of building a temple for Gudo,
the high official built it for Daigu
and studied Zen with him.
Daigu did not care that he was facing a high official
and spoke frankly and in a straightforward way,
and was thus esteemed.
Not to be influenced by outward appearances
and not to harbour good or evil in one's heart,
This is to be close to Zen.
If I do not enter hell, who will?
A man asked a Zen master,
After a life of a hundred years, where does a monk end up?
He becomes a donkey or a horse.
And after that?
I will go to hell.
But you are a paragon of virtue,
How come you will descend to hell?
if I do not enter hell,
Who will enter hell to enlighten you?
If one associates the dharma only with clean places,
Would this imply that the dharma
is not present in defiled places such as dirty toilets?
The dharma is all-embracing and has no fixed abode.
The dharma is present in paradise,
But is hell not where the dharma is more in need?
Colours of the bamboos.
A man invited an artist to draw a painting of bamboos.
But the colour is wrong.
You have painted the bamboos red...
What colour do you want for the bamboos then?
Black, of course.
Who has ever heard o black bamboos?
Though you may point out the errors of others,
your own conclusions may also not be right.
And yet you believe they are!
Order in life and death.
A rich man stood next to Japanese Zen master Sengai Gibon,
he asked Sengai to write something
Master, what's wrong with you?
I asked you to write something auspicious.
Why did you make such a joke as this?
You want to curse me death?
But this is a good statement.
If before you yourself die your son should die,
this would grieve you greatly.
If your grandson should pass away before your son,
Both of you would be broken-hearted.
If your family, generation after generation,
passes away in the order I have named,
it will be the natural course of life.
I call this real prosperity.
Sounds logical!
The state of death...
is like a traveler having returned home.
To die according to the natural order of things,
is that not better than untoward death?
Breaking the silence
Four monks made an agreement to meditate in silence for a week,
and not to speak a single word.
On the first day, the maintained silence,
But as darkness fell, the flame of the candle began to flicker...
Oh, the flame is going out.
We should not speak a single word.
Why do you two want to talk?
I didn't say anything...
Many people, in admonishing others and pointing out their errors,
very likely are themselves fallible.
So, never copy them.
All is emptiness.
A young Japanese student of Zen,
Yamaoka Tesshu visited one mater after another.
One day, he called upon Dok uon of Shokok u.
He wanted to show his attainment and was full of pride.
The mind, Buddha, sentient beings, after all, do not exist. Right?
The true nature of phenomena is emptiness.
There is no realization, no delusion, no wisdom...
no mediocrity, no giving and nothing to be received.
Why did you hit me?
If nothing exists, where did this great anger come from?
No good, no evil, no sorrow, no happiness, all is emptiness.
This profound statement is not even understood by ordinary people.
The Zen uttered by Yamaoka Tesshu is but empty words.
Buddha at home.
Yang Pu left home and went to Sichuan Province to visit a bodhisattva.
Where are you going?
I want to be a disciple of a bodhisattva.
Instead of searching for a bodhisattva, isn't it far better to seek Buddha?
Where is Buddha to be found?
When you reach home and find yourself being greeted by a person...
wrapped with a blanket and wearing shoes in the wrong order,
that is Buddha.
He followed the instructions and when he returned home,
it was already nightfall.
His mother, on hearing her son's voice at the door,
was so happy that she was in too much of a rush to get dressed,
so she threw a blanket around herself
and even wore her shoes in the wrong order.
She rushed out to open the door.
When Yang Pu saw his mother, he was dumbfound.
One may travel far and wide in search of truth,
but he must realize it in himself or he will find it not
It may ring our bell to make us understand many things.
Just remember it.
Finger pointing at the moon
The nun Wu Jincang asked the Sixth Patiarch Huineng,
I have studied the Mahaparinirvana sutra for many years,
yet there are many areas I do not quite understand.
Please enlighten me.
I am illiterate. Please read out the characters to me...
and perhaps I will be able to explain the meaning.
You cannot even recognize the characters,
How are you able then to understand the meaning?
Truth has nothing to do with words.
Truth can be likened to the bright moon in the sky.
Words, in this case, can be likened to a finger.
The finger can point to the moon's location.
However, the finger is not the moon.
To look at the moon, it is necessary to gaze beyond the finger, right?
Language and words are merely symbols...
with which to express the truth.
But to mistake words for the truth,
is just as laughable as to mistake the finger for the moon.
The fallible disciple
When a Zen master held retreats, many pupils came to attend
Caught you in the act of stealing money again!
You can never deny again!
Do forgive him, please.
No way! He has been let off many times already.
This time he cannot be forgiven again.
If you do not expel him,
we shall all leave together.
You are wise brothers. You can tell right from wrong.
But he does not even know right and wrong.
If I do not instruct him, who will?
I am going to keep him here.
Even if all of you leave the temple, it makes no difference.
After hearing the words,
that monk who stole regretted
and understood goodness.
In a flock of one hundred sheep, one goes missing.
A thorough search is made for that lost sheep...
while the other 99 are left untended in the pasture or wilderness.
Help the one that needs help most.
Thief who learnt his lesson.
A thief confronted Japanese Zen master Shichiri Kojun.
Hand over your money, or I will take your old life.
The money is in the drawer. Get it yourself,
but leave a little behind for me to buy food.
After receiving things from others, you ought to say thank you.
Thank you.
Eventually the thief was arrested.
He stole your money, right?
He did not steal from me, I gave him the money
and he also thanked me.
After his release
he immediately went to see the master.
The master then took him as a student
"Putting aside the butcher's knife and instantly becoming a Buddha"
is extremely difficult to realize in practice.
What power is it that compels one to lay down the butcher's knife?
Have you got it?
Compassion, that's all.
Master, please put it properly with care.
Better be careful.
What a sin...
Wide off the mark.
How is this tune?
Could you tell me the meaning of this tune?
I don't know.
So, he played all over again.
That is the meaning of this tune.
If you use words to explain,
there is bound to be some error.
The most complete answer is in the question itself.
Remember that.
The mute and the parrot.
When a man realizes that there is, but does not know how to express it,
What is he like?
He is like a mute who has tasted honey.
When a man who actually does not realize that there is,
yet talks glibly about it,
what would he be like?
He is like a parrot greeting people.
Just like it.
How are you? How are you?
One has to appear to be like a mute in learning Zen.
To be inwardly whole,
yet be conventional standards one seems to suffer deficiency.
The worst is one who is impoverished inwardly and,
like a parrot, talks meaninglessly.
This is merely mouthing Zen.
Death of a teacup.
The Japanese Zen master Ikkyu Sojun broke a teacup one day.
That cup is a rare antique highly prized by his teacher.
Master, why do people have to die?
This is natural.
In the world, where there is life, there is death.
Master, I'd like to tell you one thing,
it was time for your teacup to die.
For human beings, what is most precious is the process of living.
Where there is life, naturally there is death.
One who can understand thoroughly the cycle of human life and deat...
will naturally also understand the life and death of objects.
Master, your favourite teacup died.
Who is he?
Kitagaki, the governor of Kyoto
was a friend of Keichu, the head of the temple.
Kitagaki, governor of Kyoto seeks an audience.
I do not know any governor.
Master, I know how to handle it.
My master requests that you go back...
for he does not know any governor.
In that case, please announce that Kitagaki seeks an audience.
Very well, I will try again.
Oh, it's you, Kitagaki, please have a seat inside.
Fame, statue, achievements and wealth...
have a tendency to boost one's little ego.
As a result, one is led astray like a traveler who has lost his way home.
Never copy that, got it?
Coming to terms with oneself
There was an army physician
who followed the troops as they went into battle.
He tended to wounded soldiers in the battle field.
Whenever his patients had recovered from their injuries,
they were once again sent to continue fighting.
As a result, they are wounded once again or killed.
After seeing this scenario again and again,
he eventually suffered a mental breakdown.
If he is fated to die,
why should I save him?
If my medical knowledge has any meaning,
Why must he go into battle and lose his life?
He didn't understand
whether there was any meaning to be an army physician,
and he was so troubled that he could not continue healing others.
As a result, he went up a mountain to seek out a Zen master.
After being with a Zen master for a few months,
Finally, he understood his problem completely.
He descended the mountain to continue practicing as a physician.
He said,
It is because I am a physician.
Not to identify oneself with something,
or to associate things with the " me" ,
and to see that the idea that there is a " me"
which is distinct from things is a delusion.
That is the true wisdom.
It's dawn! Good morning, master.
Fatal words.
There was a wealthy old lady
who often went to the temple to pray.
Whenever she knelt in front of the statue of Buddha, she would say,
I am now so advanced in years,
you can claim my life any time you wish.
Amitabha Buddha!
I'll play a prank on her.
I am now so advanced in years,
you can claim my life any time you wish.
Amitabha Buddha!
Old lady, in that case, please come over tonight.
the old lady died of shock.
Nice-sounding words intended to sway others are of questionable value,
and often lead to mishap.
Not saying what is false...
is the foundation for right action.
How are you?
The sound of the valley.
Once there was a Buddhist devotee...
he went into the mountains to visit a Zen master...
and ask him about the gateway to Zen.
On your way here, you passed through the valley, right?
Did you hear the sound of the valley?
Yes, I heard it.
In that case, the source from which you heard the sound of the valley...
is the gateway to Zen.
There is wonder in the budding of flowers,
there is beauty in the falling of flowers.
to be able to perceive the beauty of the things all around...
is to enter the gateway of Zen.
Fate is in one's own hands.
In ancient times, there was a general who led his troops
to fight the enemy whose strength was greater than his by tenfold.
On the way,
he stopped at a shrine to pray and seek guidance.
Now I am going to toss a coin.
If head comes, we will win.
If tail comes, we will lose.
Our lives are in the hands of destiny.
Oh, it is head! We'll be victorious!
Let's charge and wipe out the enemy!
Victory is assured!
During the battle, the numerically superior enemy was indeed defeated.
it is heaven's will, no one can change destiny.
Is that true?
The general took out the coin which he used for divination,
and both sides were heads.
Heaven is impartial to all,
and no one is specially favoured.
the only help you can get is your own.
It's so poor that you just can't help yourself.
The greater the haste, the slower it is.
A youth went up a mountain
to look for a famous swordsman to learn swordsmanship.
Master, if I practice diligently,
How long would it take me to become adept at it?
Perhaps ten years.
My father is getting old and I must take care of him.
If I work far more intensively,
How long would it take me?
In that case, it might have to take 30 years.
You first mentioned 10 years,
and then you said it takes 30 years,
I do not mind undergoing whatever hardship.
I must learn it within the shortest possible time.
Then you would need 70 years to master it.
Those who are too eager for results
are apt to end up not having achieved anything.
"Ordinary-mindedness is the way" means exactly this.
Please bear this in mind.
The general's antique.
A general was toying with his prized antique.
That was close!
I was afraid of nothing in time of war,
but this antique scared me.
He finally realized it was attachment that brought about the fear of loss,
thus causing him anxiety.
Hence he flipped the cup over his shoulder and smashed it.
Where there is knowledge and feeling of gain and loss,
there is pleasure and sorrow.
To go beyond good and bad, gain and loss...
is true fortune.
Just let it be.
Giving and receiving.
I am getting old. I am going to give you a book of teachings...
to represent your successorship.
I received your Zen without written words
and I am satisfied with it as it is.
You had better keep the book.
This book has been handed down for 7 generations.
So you ought to keep it as a symbol of having received the teachings.
Very well.
What are you doing?
What are you saying?
Understanding and action are one.
If one expounds the teachings but does not live them,
then it is just like merely mouthing Zen.
Thank God!
A friend after one's own heart.
Bo Ya was a skillful zither player
and his friend Zyhong Ziqi had a fine ear for the music of the zither.
Whenever Bo Ya played a tune about the mountains...
It is as lofty as Mount Taishan.
Whenever Bo Ya played a tune about the flowing waters...
Wonderful indeed!
It's as meandering as the Changjiang and the Yellow River.
Eventually Zhong Ziqi fell ill and died.
Bo Ya never played his zither again.
He slashed the strings of his zither.
Since that time,
"cutting the zither's strings"
has always been used to describe friendship.
A frienc after one's own heart is hard to find.
After the death of his good friend,
although Bo Ya was still hale and hearty,
it was as if half of him had departed.
The light has been extinguished.
As a blind man was taking leave of his friend,
the friend gave him a lantern.
I do not need the lantern.
Light or darkness makes no difference to me.
Thank you.
Yes, I know that.
But if you do not take it with you,
others may bump into you in the dark.
All right.
Can't you see the lantern?
The light in your lantern went out long ago.
Those who make use of the words of others to instruct people...
can be likened to the blind man.
The light of his lantern had gone out long ago,
yet he was himself unaware of it.
Things of real worth.
A thief went to the home of Japanese Zen master Ryokan Daigu,
However, the thief found nothing of value in the hut.
You have come a long way here and should not return empty-handed.
Here, take this robe with you.
Poor fellow!
It is a pity I cannot present him with this beautiful moon.
Most people only pursue wealth and status,
but in the world how much can one acquire?
The stars, the moon, mountains and flowing waters,
Each flower and blade of grass are all there for you to appreciate.
A blade of grass, a drop of water.
Japanese Zen master Gisan was taking a bath.
Because the water was too hot,
he asked his disciple to add some cold water.
Yes! This is just right.
You dunce! Everything can be put to good use.
Even trees like to have water, there is life in water.
Why did you not give the rest of the water to the plants?
What right have you to waste even a drop of water?
The disciple became awakened in that instant.
He changed his name to Tekisui, meaning " a drop of water" .
All things have their uses.
However humble its origin,
every little thing has a place in nature.
Not because of anything.
Why is that man standing on the peak?
Let's ask him to find out why.
Are you standing here to wait for a friend?
Then is it because you want to get some fresh air?
Are you standing here to view the scenery?
Since these are no the reasons,
Then why are you standing here?
I am just standing here.
Most people live in a world of duality.
Hence there is gain and loss.
If the scenery is beautiful, I feel elated.
If the scenery is not beautiful, I am disappointed.
Try to get rid of the hindrance of the world of duality.
See whether you can make it or not.
Past, present and future.
A man encountered a tiger in the wilderness.
He ran to a cliff ...
and with both hands grabbed hold of an over-hanging vine,
while the tiger growled menacingly below with its jaws wide open.
Two mice, one white and one black, began to gnaw away at the vine.
Suddenly, he saw a luscious strawberry near him.
He plucked the strawberry and popped it into his mouth.
Such an exquisite taste!
Not to think about the past and the future,
but to cherish one moment after another...
is real fortune.
Great waves of the mind.
There was a wrestler named " Great Waves.
He was immensely strong
and knew the art of wrestling.
In his private bouts, he was so powerful that
even his teacher was no match for him.
But in public, he was so bashful that...
even hi sown pupils defeated him.
All right, the winner is here.
Great Waves, you lost.
He therefore went into the mountain s to seek the advice of a Zen master.
Your name is Great Waves.
Imagine that you are those billows.
You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them.
You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid.
Do this...
and you will be the greatest wrestle in the land.
No one will be able to defeat you.
Great Waves remained in the temple sitting in meditation.
Trying to imagine himself as waves.
At first, his mind was restless and he thought about all kinds of things.
Before long...
He turned more and more to the feeling of the waves.
As night advanced the waves became larger and larger.
They swept away the flower vases and the Buddhist statues.
The waves inundated the great Buddha state and then the temple.
Before dawn,
the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea.
Wake up! You have done it.
Nothing can disturb you now.
You can be like the waves which overwhelm all.
Thank you, master.
Since then, during competitions,
Great Waves imagined himself to be like those sweeping waves.
He became the greatest wrestler in the land
and no one was able to defeat him.
As long as you make direct contact in any given situation,
you will become the thing
and the thing will become you.
Because I am here.
There was an elderly monk who was drying vegetables under the hot sun.
How old are you?
Why must you work so hard here?
Because I am here.
But you do not have to work under the hot sun.
Because the sun is there.
Nature nourishes all things,
neglects none, and does not claim credit when successful.
A man who works hard without complaints
is at one with Nature's way.
Yizhong was a famous painter.
Please paint the heart in this situation:
"directly pointing to one's heart
seeing one's original nature & becoming a Buddha."
What are you doing?
I have finished painting. This is the heart.
Seeing one's original nature and becoming a Buddha,
can you draw the original nature so that I can have a look?
First show me the original nature...
and I will draw it for you.
The " original nature" is complete in itself and lacks nothing.
It is up to everyone to discover one's original nature for oneself...
because there is no other path...
that leads to it.
Buddha or demon, all in a thought.
There was an old woman nicknamed " Weeping Hag"
She cried when it rained,
she also cried when it did not rain.
Old lady, what are you crying for?
I have two daughters,
the elder sells cloth shoes
and the younger sells umbrellas.
When the whether is fine,
I think of my younger daughter whose umbrellas are not in demand.
When it rains, I think of my elder daughter.
During rainy days, no customer will want to go to her shop to buy shoes.
When the weather is fine,
you should think of business being good for your elder daughter.
During rainy days,
your younger daughter's umbrellas will definitely sell well.
Since then, "Weeping Hag" no longer cried.
She smiled at all times, rain or shine.
"Approaching the heart is approaching buddhahood"
Whether something is favourable or unfavourable,
Depends on how you look at it.
The unruffled heart.
One night, while monk Dashe was reading in his room...
Do you want valuables or are you here to take someone's life?
I want some money.
Give me money, then I won't hurt you.
Here, take these things.
When you go out,
please shut the door to prevent petty thieves from entering.
Later, this burglar told others.
I have broken into houses and robbed for many years,
but never have I been so off-color as that time.
It's really scaring.
The happenings in life
correspond with original nature.
When the thing is over,
the heart returns to nothingness.
Mountain dharma is constant
There was a general
who often fought fiercely to kill enemies in the battlefield.
As he grew older,
he felt that the events in life
were ephemeral and thus embraced Buddhism.
He was often asked by people...
why he changed his life and he replied:
The mountain and the way of the mountain do not change.
What has changed is my heart.
The straightforward man painstakingly observes himself...
and is true to himself
So when he is a layman, he acts like a layman.
When he is a monk he acts like one.
the lovesick monk.
The Japanese nun Eshun was very beautiful.
During a dharma lecture, a monk secretly fell in love with her.
He wrote her a love letter,
requesting a private meeting.
The following day, the Zen master gave a lecture and when it was over,
Eshun arose. Addressing the monk who had written her the love letter,
she said, "If you really love me so much,
Come and embrace me now."
Human nature is characterized by conflict,
the state of being torn between opposing desires.
This leads to disharmony of the mind.
Therefore one has to be unceasingly aware at all times.
Where does one go after death?
In Zen this very mind is Buddha, is this correct?
If I say yes,
you will think that you understand without understanding.
If I say no,
I would be contradicting a fat which many understand quite well.
Where does the enlightened man go when he dies?
I don't know.
Why don't you know?
Because I have not died yet.
When living, one should appreciate life's beauty and mystery...
from the standpoint of being alive.
There is no need to be concerned about the world after death.
When it is today, live for today.
There is no need to be depressed over tomorrow,
because tomorrow's events will come tomorrow.
The swordless sword.
A swordsman's skill was exceptional,
no one was able to ward off his twin swords.
During his sunset years, he had already renounced killing,
and no longer carried a sword by his side.
Mater says his entire body is like a sword.
Let us test him, shall we?
The master made a swift turn and gave his straw mat a tug...
In profound practice of a skill,
the mind is like still water reflecting something.
Such a mind uses the correct means...
to respond to any given situation.
Act according to different situations.
Fanning the flames.
When Zen master Dahui Zonggao
was meditating in the mountain wilderness,
a former general expresses a wish to leave home and become a monk.
When I have got rid of my bad habits,
I will come to follow you, master.
Master, I have got rid of my ego,
and come specially to embrace Zen.
If is still too early for that destiny. Your wife is sleeping with another man.
Which bald head dares to utter nonsense?
If is still far too early for you to leave home.
Go back and practice for a few more years
before you think about leaving home.
Words and actions..
are two manifestations of one's state of mind.
But with most people, there are more words than actions,
or even actions that contradict words.
The demon within.
There was a monk
who always encountered
a big spider that bothered him just as he began to meditate.
Once I begin to meditate, the giant spider appears,
and no matter what I do to chase it away,
it just would not go.
What should I do?
Next time when you begin to meditate, have a brush ready.
If the spider comes again,
you draw a big circle on its body to leave a mark,
so that you can later trace where that strange creature came from.
The monk did as he was told.
When he drew a big circle on the spider's body,
the spider went away,
and he could continue meditating.
When he had finished his meditation,
the monk was bewildered to see...
the big circle on hi sown belly.
In human life, one encounters many vexations and perturbations.
The worst vexations are usually brought about by oneself.
Poverty and wealth.
There was a framer...
who dug up a very valuable gold lohan statue in the mountain wilderness.
Wah! A gold lohan!
It must weigh at least fifty kg of solid gold.
Now we can enjoy all we want for the rest of our lives.
His family, relatives and friends felt very happy for him.
But this framer was not happy.
He pulled a long face the whole day and kept on sighing...
You are now a millionaire,
What is there left for you to be depressed about?
How depressing!
Because I do not know where the other 17 lohans are to be found.
True wealth...
is not in how much riches one has,
but whether one knows contentment.
Hand of generosity.
There was a rich man, although extremely wealthy,
was so stingy that
he could not bear to spend even one coin.
One day, Master Mok usen Hiki came to visit him.
Suppose my fist were always like that,
What would you call it?
Suppose it were always like that,
What would you call it then?
Still the same, deformed.
If you understand that much,
you are a happy rich man.
Since then, the rich man became more understanding.
Not only was he thrifty,
but he also knew how to distribute his wealth & spend money.
All concepts of good and bad, having and not having,
benefit and harm, me and others,
are products of the mind that discriminates.
Zen is the Middle Way that...
is neither the one...
nor the other.
Never static but constantly changing.
There were two neighbouring Zen temple.
Each had a child protege
and one of them always
went to the market to buy vegetables in the morning.
Without fail, he would meet the other.
Where are you going?
I am going wherever my feet go.
Next time he gives you this answer, ask him,
"Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?"
This time he would not be able to give me any answer.
Where are you going?
I am going wherever the wind blows.
I have lost again in the exchange.
He did not mention feet, but changed it to wind.
Next time you ask him,
"If there is no wind, where are you going?"
Where are you going?
I am going to the market.
Defeated again!
To keep changing one's response to a situation,
is to stray further and further away from meeting it.
Such changes have their limit.
The method of constancy is therefore the best.
Laughter that unites heaven and earth.
One evening, Yaoshan Weiyan went up to the mountain.
Suddenly, the clouds and mist lifted, revealing the bright moon.
Yaoshan burst into laughter.
His laughter was so loud that it could be heard at the village below.
Last night I suddenly heard loud laughter.
I wonder where it came from?
I heard it too.
That was the sound of our master laughing on the mountain last night.
In whatever situations, as long as there is no" me" ,
you are not separate from the thing.
Yaoshan's laughter, in which the self was absent,
became one with heaven and earth.
Zen cannot be spoken of
We disciples would very much like to listen to master's discourses.
Can you teach us?
Very well. Sound the bell to summon everyone to the hall.
Master, why did you leave without saying a word?
There are sutra teachers to talk about the sutras.
There are also shastra masters to talk about the commentaries.
I am a Zen teacher,
and yet Zen cannot be expressed in words.
Even if I talk about it, that serves no purpose.
How can you blame me then?
Zen is beyond time - past, present, and future.
It has always been so,
and words cannot convey Zen.
Cloud in the clear sky, water in the pitcher.
Man of letters Li Ao went to visit Yaoshan.
Yaoshan did not turn to face him.
Seeing the face is not like hearing the name.
Mister Li.
You believe your ears, yet you belittle your eyes.
I am sorry for my bad manners. Please forgive me, master.
Dharma master, what do you think is the Tao?
The cloud is in the clear sky, the water is in the pitcher.
No need to bother whether it is cloud becoming water,
or water changing back into cloud.
As cloud, float freely in the sky like clouds do,
and as water be just as what water is like.
Layman Pangyun, an enlightened lay person, visited the monk Yaoshan.
When he was about to leave,
Yaoshan asked the Zen wayfarers to send him off.
Please send of the guest on my behalf.
Beautiful snowflakes one and all,
each one falling where it should fall.
It's great.
Where do they fall?
Your eyes see like a blind man's, your mouth speaks like a mute's.
How dare you call yourself a Zen wayfarer?
All things in the world, whether big or small, valuable or not,
have their uses.
Each has its place.
Why ask why they are just right?
It has always been so.
Zhaozhou's stone bridge.
Rumour has it that the Guanyin Temple in Hebei Province...
has the very famous Zhaozhou stone bridge.
I heard that this place has a Zhaozhou stone bridge,
but all I saw was just a log bridge.
Where is the stone bridge?
You can only see the wooden bridge.
You cannot see Zhaozhou's stone bridge.
What actuallyis Zhaozhou's stone bridge?
The one that acts as a bridge for donkeys, horses...
and all other" lost" people.
The wooden bridge which has a form
has only limited use in helping people cross over to a point.
The formless stone bridge of Zhaozhou
is the bodhisattva's compassionate nature...
that benefits all beings.
Go wash the bowl
A man became a monk at the Guanyin Temple.
He met the abbot, Zhaozhou Congshen of the tang Dynasty.
It is the first time your disciple is here.
Please give me some guidance, master.
Have you eaten the porridge?
Yes, I have eaten.
Ten, go wash the bowl.
Perception, practice of Zen and everyday action...
are the same thing.
It is vital to understand this point.
To be absolutely alert is practicing Zen.
It is not that in making an effort to practice one then gains insight.
There are so many bowls!
Where to practice Zen?
May I ask...
What kind of person practices the Tao?
Someone just like me.
Master, you have to practice Tao too?
Practicing the Tao concerns changing one's clothing...
And eating...
These are but mundane tasks.
So, what is practicing?
What kind of mind study can be considered practice of Zen?
Practice of Zen comes from
everyday conversation, washing and eating.
One must do them with full awareness.
Perception into the nature of things.
comes from doing such things wholeheartedly
The cypress tree and Buddhahood
Master, may I ask...
Does the cypress tree have Buddha-nature of not?
Yes, it does.
How long would it take to attain Buddhahood?
It will attain Buddhahood when the sky falls down.
When will the sky fall down?
When the cypress tree attains Buddhahood.
Buddha-nature is the original nature of all things.
The meaning of Zen concerns the existence of the world.
It is one with truth.
This truth has been around for millions of years.
it will still be the same after millions of years.
The many return to the one.
All things return to the one.
To what does the One return?
When I was in Qingzhou district,
I made a hemp robe that weight 7 pounds.
The source of all things produces myriad forms.
Each distinctive, and yet all these things have the same origin.
The One and the many are not separate but in harmony.
If the many return to the One,
then the One also returns to the many.
Because, in the universe,
Every tiny thing will return to One.
What is Zhaozhou?
The master spent his old age in Zhaozhou and after which he is named.
The master spent his last years at the Guanyin Temple.
What is Zhaozhou?
East Gate, West Gate, North Gate, South Gate.
Zhaozhou's Zen wind is like Zhaozhou town,
open on all sides.
It is also like a golden bounty,
take what you want and it is still inexhaustible.
Zhaozhou finding out about Zhaozhou.
What did you say?
I am looking for Zhaozhou.
How should I proceed?
Go straight,
do not turn west nor turn east.
The old woman I met seems
to understand clearly the principles of Zen.
I will go and test her.
I am looking for Zhaozhou.
How should I proceed?
Go straight,
do not turn east nor turn west.
She is ignorant after all.
Is Zhaozhou not right in front of her?
An unchanging standard answer...
is not suitable for every occasion.
Life is action and change.
Right, the truth of life is ever changing.
The cypress tree in the courtyard.
The cypress tree in the courtyard.
What is the meaning of the Dharma?
The cypress tree in the courtyard.
Please do not refer me to an object.
I did not refer you to an object.
Why did you say so?
What is the meaning of the dharma?
The cypress tree in the courtyard.
Green mountains are a life of purity.
The sound of flowing water is like Buddha talking.
Through the sound of flowing water,
The cypress tree is one with the whole of creation.
No substitute.
May I ask what is the meaning of Zen?
I would very much like to tell you.
But now I have to go to urinate.
I have no time to talk to you.
Think about it.
Even for such a trifling thing I have to do it myself.
May I ask whether you can do it on my behalf?
To understand matters of life and death.
Others cannot do it for you.
To rely on explanations from others is to be like a parrot learning to speak.
It speaks whatever it is taught,
but does not know the meaning of the words.
Not attached to anything.
I have cast aside everything,
and with a tranquil heart here I come.
In that case, throw it out.
I have said there is nothing in my mind.
What else is there to throw out?
Then carry it out.
One who says he is not attached to anything,
even that idea of non-attachment must be abandoned.
One who is attached to
the idea of non-attachment will never know silence of mind.
Have a cup of tea.
It's hot...
Ave you been here before?
Yes, I have.
Please go inside and have a cup of tea.
This is my first time here.
Please go inside and have a cup of tea.
Those who have been here are invited to have a cup of tea.
Those who have not been here are also invited to have a cup of tea.
What is the meaning of this?
Temple overseer!
Go inside and have a cup of tea.
Whether they have been to the temple or not,
Zhaozhou invited them all without distinction to have a cup of tea.
Though offering a cup of tea may seem a mundane thing,
it is an expression of the crux of Zen.
Deshan Xuanjian,
a native ofJiannan in Sichuan province,
whose given name was Zhou,
He was a Buddhist scholar
and was especially well-versed in teachings of...
the Diamond Sutra and had composed a commentary on it.
Thus he was also known as Diamond Zhou.
When he heard that
the Southern School of Zen held that" mind itself is Buddha" ,
he packed up his commentaries and headed south with the intention...
of refuting this false teaching.
The Southern School is heretic.
even daring to advocate "pointing directly to one's mind,
seeing one's original nature and instantly attaining buddhahood" .
I am going to demolish their position.
Thus he brought along
his Green Dragon commentary on the Diamond Sutra,
and left Sichuan for Hunan Province.
One the way, he met an old woman selling buns.
Old lady, I would like to buy a couple of buns from you.
What are you carrying?
It is my Green Dragon commentary.
Which sutra does it explain?
The Diamond Sutra.
Let me ask you one question.
If you can give me an answer, I will give you free refreshment.
The Diamond Sutra says:
Past mind cannot be attained, present mind cannot be attained,
future mind cannot be attained.
Which mind does the learned monk desire to refresh?
I... I am unable to answer that.
I am sorry. I cannot let you have my refreshments.
Please buy from elsewhere.
Deshan had no choice
but to go with an empty stomach to Master Longtan Chongxin.
Long have I heard of Longtan (Dragon Pond),
but now that I have arrived here.
There is no pond to see and no dragon appears.
You have really arrived at Longtan.
Deshan was silent
and was in attendance at Master Longtan's side till late at night.
It is late into the night already. Go to the room to retire.
It is very dark outside.
I will give you light.
All right.
Longtan suddenly blew it out.
At that instant, Deshan was enlightened.
The following day,
Deshan burned his Green Dragon commentary in the temple hall.
Even if we have mastered the profound doctrine,
it is only like placing a hair in a vast space.
Even if we have exhausted the human knowledge of the world,
it is only like letting a drop fall into a great abyss.
Once the external light was extinguished,
the inner light was able to come into existence.
Once dependence on others is gone,
then only can one's potential be realized.
Amitabha Buddha.
Founder of the Linji sect Linji Yixuan.
Linji was a native of Nanhua in Caozhou district.
His family name was Xing.
As a child, he was exceptionally brilliant.
He entered a Budddhist monastery as a boy,
and devoted himself to the study of the Vinaya school and the sutras.
After his awakening, he traveled and finally settled in Hunan Province,
and established the Linji Temple.
Linji often used a shout to put a stop
to his disciples dualistic or conceptual thinking.
Linji's shout and Deshan's use of the staff were well-known...
and gave rise to the saying: Linji's shout and Deshan's staff.
As a result, Linji's disciples imitated him and used shouts,
although they were ignorant of the purpose.
You people are always imitating my shout.
Now Iam going to test all of you.
Suppose a monk emerges from the Eastern Hall
and another emerges from the Western Hall.
They meet and both give a shout.
Can you distinguish which is host and which is guest?
If you cannot,
from now on, do not imitate my shout.
Actually, the shout is not important.
What is important is to realize that host and guest are one and the same.
Who is host?
None other than your real self.
Linji once told a monk.
Sometimes a shout is like
the precious sword of the Vajraraja (Diamond King).
Sometimes a shout is like
a golden-haired lion that creeps forward in a crouch.
Sometimes a shout is like
a lure stick with a tuft of grass dangling on the end.
Sometimes a shout is not used as a shout at all.
Do you understand?
The monk hesitated and just when he was about to formulate an answer,
Linji gave a shout.
Once the distinction
between self and others, inside and outside, big and small,
good and bad, ignorance and wisdom,
life an death, to have and not to have, etc,
has been eliminated, then the truth of Zen and insight can be realized.
This gives one a new life.
To bring this about, one cannot employ thought.
One has to use one's own perception.
What is living and what is dying?
Qianyuan and his teacher Daowu
went to a house to make a condolence call.
Alive or dead?
I won't say alive, and I won't say dead.
Why won't you say?
I simply won't say.
If you still won't say, I am going to hit you.
You may hit me, but I won't say.
How wicked of you! You refuse to tell your disciple what you know.
What kind of a teacher are you?
If you do not want to say, so be it.
Daowu later died.
Qianyuan went to Shishuang...
and asked him the same question.
I won't say alive, and I won't say dead.
Upon hearing these words, Qianyuan had an insight.
One day,
Qianyuan took a hoe
into the teaching hall and crossed back and forth.
What are you doing?
I am looking for relics of our later mater.
Vast waves spread far and wide, foaming billows flood the skies.
What relics of our late mater are you looking for?
I am diligently working on it.
When alive, life is everything.
After a person's death,
even when one talks to the dead person,
the state of death is then everything.
When alive, there is only life,
and hence there is no agitation over death.
Not to be dependent is to be saved.
One day, Linji went to the pagoda of Bodhidharma.
Will you pay your reverence first to Buddha or the patriarch?
Neither to Buddha nor to the Patriarch.
What enmity is there between Buddha, Patriarch and you?
Linji shook out his long sleeves and left.
To seek Buddha's help is to lose Buddha.
to seek the Patriarch's help is to lose the Patriarch.
The most valuable treasure is with you.
It can be found in yourself.
Once you seek it outside, you will lose it.
I want to punish you, this is not for fun!
Juzhi's one finger Zen.
Master Juzhi left home to become a monk,
he stayed in a hermitage and practiced meditation of his own.
One day, a nun named Shiji came to his hut.
she walked in a circle three times in front of him.
If you can speak, I will take off my rain hat.
There must be some Zen revelation in her action.
Btu what exactly is it?
Since you cannot give an answer, I will take my leave.
What was she trying to convey?
What does her rain hat represent?
I cannot even compare with this nun.
What is the point of my solitary mediation?
He meant to abandon his hermitage
and travel to various places to call on teachers..
to ask for instruction and
that night he wrapped up his things for foot-traveling.
My name is Hangzhou Tianlong, from your ashen expression,
Is there anything troubling you?
Juzhi gave a full account of the previous day's happenings.
Although I inhabit the body of a man,
still I lack a man's spirit.
I cannot even answer the question posed by a nun...
Do you want to know the right answer?
Please enlighten me, master.
The truth is entirely in this.
In this finer of varied phenomena.
At one moment it is Shiji with her smiling face.
At one moment it is the cries of the multitude...
At one moment is it the murmuring stream,
and then a myriad butterflies in flight...
At one moment it is the peak,
at one moment it is the precipice...
It seems like the immovable peak,
and the gust of the cool and fresh wind...
Master, I understand completely.
One is all, and all is one.
Master! Mater has gone.
from the One comes many, the many comes from the One.
Since then, whenever anyone asked Master Juzhi about Zen,
he would raise one finger.
This is it.
From the One comes many, the many comes from the One.
There is variety in things of the world.
But they all come from the same source.
The world is in a finger,
the finger is not separate from all things.
Master, my finger hurts.
Juzhi cuts off disciple's finger.
This is it.
Whenever Juzhi was not around,
the servant boy used to answer questions in his place.
This is it!
Master, someone came to enquire about the dharma,
So I raised my finger to answer on your behalf.
This is like a parrot learning to speak words.
What kind of Zen is that?
What is the Dharma?
The master and the servant boy each raised a finger.
The boy saw his shortened finger,
and was instantly awakened.
the insight of others is always theirs,
and can never be made ours...
unless one can have a perception by oneself.
Whether you can make it, it depends on your perception.
What is it?
Xiangyan's man up a tree.
Xiangyan once said to his disciples,
Supposing there is a man
climbed up a tree and held onto a branch with his mouth.
Just then somebody comes along and asks him...
May I ask what is the supreme meaning of the dharma?
If he does not answer, he evades his duty...
If he answers, he will lose his life.
Tell me, how is he to resolve such a dilemma?
Let us not ask about the man who is already on the tree.
Can you tell me what he was like before he climbed up the tree?
Regarding the truth that existed before words,
one must perceive it with a life that is beyond words.
Same destination, different paths.
A monk asked Master Baling.
Are the meaning of the patriarchs and...
the meaning of the teachings the same or different?
When chickens are cold, they roost in trees.
When ducks are cold, they enter the water.
Cold is cold,
but the methods to avoid cold are varied.
Each has his own way of reaching the same gold.
There is not only one path,
and not everyone follows the same path.
If you stick to just one method, you may not reach the goal.
Six in One.
Yuanghan asked Master Shongyi Hongen,
How is one to have the experience of seeing one's original nature?
It is like a house
that has six windows with a monkey inside.
One the eastern side someone calls out to the monkey Shan Shan,
Shan Shan replies,
and the six windows all emit one sound.
Is the world that one experiences through the six senses of sight...
hearing, smell, taste, touch and thought the real world?
If you break through the limitations of the sense organs and,
for example, hear with the eyes and see with the ears,
then you will have
a sudden realization of the oneness of all the senses.
Too near and cannot see.
One day, while Nanquan Puyuan was cutting grass,
a wandering monk asked him for directions.
May I ask how to get to the famous temple of Nanquan?
I spent 30 coins to buy this sickle.
I am not asking you about the sickle.
But how to go to Nanquan's temple.
This sickle proves to be very sharp when used.
One who is caught in thought loses one's original nature.
All he knows are words and descriptions,
when he sees the actual thing he fails to perceive it.
The universe in a mustard seed.
During the Tang Dynasty, Li Bo was very fond of reading books.
Because he read extensively,
he was nicked named "ten-thousand-volume Li"
Once, he asked the monk Guizong Zhichang,
The Vimalakirti-nirdea Sutra says,
Mount Sumeru contains in it a mustard seed,
and a mustard seed contains in it Mount Sumeru,
Can it be more than a senseless tale?
Everybody calls you "Ten-thousand-volume Li" ,
May I ask how
those 10000 volumes of books can be contained in your little sk ull?
You can find Tao everywhere.
The universe is in a mustard seed.
The monk who lacks compassion.
There was an old woman,
who supported a monk for 20 years.
Amitabha Buddha.
A pretty lass used to bring food
to the monk and attended to him while he mediated.
Afterwards when you send food to him,
embrace him to test the outcome of his meditation.
How do you feel?
It is like an old tree that grows on a cold rock in winter.
Like the absence of a feeling of warmth in the depth of winter.
When the old woman heard this, she drove the monk out of the hut...
and burned it down.
All I have supported for 20 years is but an unremarkable fellow.
Of course, monks are not supposed to lust after women.
But after practicing meditation for 20 years,
the monk did not have a compassionate heart.
Truly an unremarkable bum!
True self, awake.
The Zen master Ruiyan
was given to talking to himself every now and then.
True self.
Awaken yourself!
Yes! Yes!
Do not be deceived by others.
Yes! Yes!
Man is often at the mercy of circumstances
and is confused and agitated...
because of the lack of inner clarity and the scars left by past experiences.
Everyone has to be deeply award of oneself,
and thus be master of oneself.
Simple truth but difficult to follow.
This is a lecture of the sutra.
Nothing would be containing all tastes.
In this world,
How many people would know its real taste?
I know how this candy tastes.
Bai Juyi went to Bird Nest Master to enquire about Zen.
What need to be practiced faithfully every day
in order to be in accord with the Tao?
To avoid doing evil, to do as much good as possible.
Even a 3 year old child knows this.
Though it is true that even a 3 year old child knows this,
yet even a man of 80 fails to live up to it.
Although we are all aware of the maxim
"not easy to know
but easy to act thoughtlessly" , but difficult to practise.
everybody knows the logic of a truth,
But how many people actually practise it?
Ordinary-mindedness is the way
Master, how to diligently practise the Tao?
When hungry, eat; When tired, sleep.
Is this not what most people do?
No, no, no!
Most people are not like that.
Most people, when eating, are full of thoughts and desires,
and when sleeping, are full of cares.
How many people awake each morning...
with a mind unburdened by things of the past?
One has to dispel dangerous things that cause inner turmoil
and live according to one's original nature,
Because Tao is in everyday life.
Which one is not the best?
Punshan Baoji saw some people buying wild boar meat in the street.
Give me a pound of he good stuff.
My dear fellow, which portion here is not the good stuff?
When Panshan heard the butcher's words,
he had an insight.
Any moment is the best moment...
and any place, the best place.
If only you perceive this whole-heartedly.
The fragrance of the osmanthus.
What is the profound mystery of Zen?
The Analects of Confucius say,
"I have concealed nothing from you."
In Zen, nothing is also hidden from you.
I still do not understand.
Come with me for a walk at the back of the mountain.
Did you smell the fragrance of the osmanthus?
In that case, I have not hidden anything from you.
Live in the now and insight is there before you.
Be aware of each and every moment of your life.
Every night is then like
the joy of springtime and every day is a good day.
Tall and short bamboo.
Qingping asked Master Cuiwei,
What is the root meaning of the dharma?
Wait until others are not around and then I will tell you.
Others have all gone away already.
Perhaps you can tell me now.
Follow me.
Look, the bamboo on this side is tall,
and that on the other side is short.
People can be wise or ignorant; bamboo can be tall or short.
Tall or short, wise or ignorant,
there is no definite good or bad about it.
Tall has its advantage and short has its usefulness.
No me, no other.
Yunyan went to visit Zen Master Baizhang,
You work so hard every day,
And for whose sake?
There is someone who requires it.
Why not have him do it himself?
He does not have the wherewithal to do it.
Self and other-
this form of dualistic thinking is the source of sorrow.
One has to have a compassionate heart...
that does not discriminate between self and other,
and help the one who needs help most.
I am here.
Yunyan was brewing tea...
when his fellow disciple Daowu walked in.
Who are you brewing tea for?
Someone wants to drink it.
Can't the person who wants to drink it brew the tea himself?
Well, I happen to be here.
One who understands does not discriminate between host and guest.
He is I and I am he.
One can make a distinction between who is host and who is guest,
and yet also reverse the order.
Jingqing and the sound of raindrops.
Jingqing said to his disciple.
What is the sound outside?
Sentient beings are inverted. They lose themselves and follow after things.
Teacher, what is then right way to feel?
I am the sound of raindrops.
One has to be one with phenomena, with no distinction between the two.
Not even the sound of a raindrop is excluded.
Thus two become one and there is complete insight.
Not seeing the truth.
An official named Wei asked Zen Master Xuansha Shibei,
Somebody said we use " it" all the time,
but do not know what " it" is,
What thing is this?
Have some fruit.
Thank you.
Master, you have not answered me.
What thing is this?
It is this.
You use it every day but do not know what it is.
It is not difficult to understand
the Tao only do not discriminate and choose.
If you ask where is the path to understanding,
you are making a great mistake.
This is because there is no path,
we are living in the midst of Tao.
To lack nothing.
Shitou Xiqian was a disciple of the Sixth Patriarch Huineng.
After Huineng died,
he went to see Master Qingyuen and wanted to learn from him.
Where do you come from?
From Caoxi, where Huineng taught.
Where did you learnt at Caoxi?
That I lacked nothing before I went to Caoxi.
Then why did you go to Caoxi?
If I did not go to Caoxi,
Then how would I know that I lack nothing?
No teacher can confer insight on a disciple,
but he can help a disciple to understand all at once,
and have insight by himself.
Master, my glasses are broken.
Can you help me to see what is ahead?
Beyond words.
Two persons are waling with raindrops falling from the sky,
And heaven does not drench one person, can you explain this?
Because one of them is wearing a straw coat and the other is not.
Because the rain is scattered and does not fall onto both,
so one of them got drenched but not the other one.
Because one of them is walking along the middle of the road,
while the other is walking under the shelter of buildings.
All of you based your answers on " does not drench one person" ,
so of course you cannot figure out the meaning.
Actually, by " does not drench one person" ,
Does it not mean that both persons got wet?
Oh my God!
A finger points at the moon,
but the moon is not at the tip of the finger.
Words point at the truth,
but the truth is not in words.
To seek illumination through words...
is to get lost in the web of word,
and not see the truth.
Danxia burning a Buddha statue.
Zen master Danxia Tianran was once at Huiling Temple,
Because it was extremely cold that day,
he burnt a statue of Buddha to keep warm.
How dare you burn a statue of Buddha?
Well, I am trying to see if I can find...
any sharira by burning a statue of Buddha.
How can you expect to find sharira in a wooden statue?
If there are no sharira to be found in it,
Then let me have the remaining two Buddha statues for my fire.
A man of Tao has no self.
So how can he be guilty of wrongdoing?
To act without any sense of self is to be free of wrongdoing.
Act according to circumstances.
What do you make the Danxia burning the statue of Buddha?
to keep warm amid the cold.
Is he or is he not guilty of wrongdoing?
When it is hot, take shelter under the bamboo to keep cool.
Lie in actuality takes the natural course.
Follow what comes naturally to the uncorrupted heart in daily living...
When hungry, eat;
and when tired, sleep.
Fools may laugh at this, but the wise will understand.
Oneness with the universe.
May I ask how to make the mountains,
Rivers, and earth become part of myself?
Make yourself one with the mountains, rivers and earth.
The " me" who desires to grasp the truth,
but still clings to the idea of " me" as opposed to truth,
will never understand completely what truth is.
One has to be in union with the world,
and in complete self-abandonment be one with the truth.
Change is the eternal truth.
Master, the physical body rots away;
Is there a truth that never changes and is eternal?
Yes, there is.
It is like the beautiful flowers on the mountain,
as lovely as brocade...
It is like the calm water in the stream,
actually it is flowing.
Flowers wither easily, yet they never cease to bloom;
the water in gully is constantly flowing
yet the stream seems unchanging.
The meaning of life can be realized in the process of living.
Change is the eternal truth.
What is not the dharma?
A disciple was taking leave of Zen Master Daolini
Thank you for your guidance. I am leaving.
Where are you going?
To wander all over the world and learn about the dharma.
Regarding the dharma, I have a bit of it here.
Where is it?
He pulled out a thread from his robe...
Is this not the dharma too?
The essence of the universe is not to be found in a faraway place.
but in one's mind.
Everything ha Buddha-nature, so what is not the dharma?
This is so only if one grasps the truth.
There is and there is not.
Scholar Zhangzhou asked Zen master Xitang Chizang.
Is there paradise and hell?
That is not correct. I once asked Mater Qinshan Wensui about Zen,
All he said was nothing.
Mister, how many family relations do you have?
A wife and two children.
And how many family relations does Qinshan have?
Qinshan is a monk, who has left home,
How can he have family relations?
Miser, you speak form the standpoint of being a family man.
You must be like Qinshan before you can say all is " nothing" .
There is variation in everything.
Therefore there is no "fixed standard" in the world.
It varies with a person's circumstances.
Follow the flow
After Zen Master Damei Fchang's enlightenment,
he secluded himself in a mountaintop hermitage.
One day, a novice monk who had lost his way...
came upon Damei.
How long have you been living here?
I only see the surrounding mountains
changing from green to yellow with the seasons.
Which path can I take to get out of this mountain?
Follow the flow.
Action is actually very easy.
But it is often circumscribed by self-imposed restrictions,
making even the slightest movement of freedom difficult.
Difficult to advance and to retreat.
Zen master Fayun once said to his disciple.
If you advance one step, you lose the Tao.
If you retreat one step, you lose phenomena.
Not to advance and not to retreat is to be like a stone that knows nothing.
What is to be done then?
How to avoid the state of not-knowing?
Disciple, do your utmost.
How not to lose the Tao and also not forsake phenomena?
Advance one step, and at the same time, retreat one step.
To advance is to retreat, to retreat is to advance.
The two states are both to gain and to give up.
This is the sate of harmony.
Monk without a sense of humour.
Baiyun Shouduan was very diligent,
but he lacked a sense of humour.
Once, his master Yangqi Fanghui asked him:
Which techer did you previously study under?
Master Yue of Chaling.
I heard that while crossing a bridge,
he fell into the water and was enlightened.
He wrote a gatha about it.
I still remember the contents of the gatha.
I have one jewel shining bright.
Long buried it was underneath worldly worries.
This morning the dusty veil is off and restored is its luster.
Illumining rivers and mountains and ten thousand things.
Shauduan could not understand why his teacher burst into laughter.
He did not sleep the whole night.
the next morning...
why did you laugh after hearing Master Yue's gatha?
Did you see the exorcists in the street yesterday?
Yes, I did.
In what way are you no better than the exorcists?
Master, what are you referring to?
the exorcists want people to laugh,
but you are afraid of people laughing.
When Shouduan heard this, he was enlightened.
Zen is beyond the state of logic.
Its practice is to examine...
thoroughly the life of a common person,
and to steer clear of stifling rigidity and abstraction.
To grasp nothingness.
Shigong Huicang asked his younger fellow disciple Xitang Chizang.
Can you grasp nothingness?
You try.
Is that all?
You have grasped nothing.
How do you think I should grasp it?
Grasp it like this.
Ouch! It is painful.
Since form is emptiness and emptiness is form,
then instead of a hand grasping at nothing,
it is better to grasp at someone's nose because this is closer to reality.
The fire spirit comes for fire.
Xuanze asked Qingfeng...
What is Buddha?
The fire spirit comes for fire.
I understand! I understand!
I understand!
What did you get?
The fire spirit is no different from fire. When he comes for fire,
it is like myself who, being a Buddha from the very beginning,
wants to know what Buddha is.
Jut as I thought,
you have not understood.
That is strange!
My answer was obviously right, so why is it not correct?
May I ask... what is Buddha?
The fire spirit comes for fire.
I understand... This time I have really understood.
No matter the question or the answer,
the first answer was just a response of memory.
But when Xuanze had exhausted thought,
he had a sudden enlightenment.
The way to truth is right before you.
A Zen pupil asked Master Yuezhou Qianfeng...
All Buddha of the ten parts of the universe.
enter the one road of nirvana
Where does that road begin?
Right here.
The meaning of life is not to be found in a distant world of abstraction.
But in paying attention to everyday happenings and details of ones life.
One's perception has to be in the field of living.
In contemplating where the truth may be found,
it just might be right before you.
Dongshan's " no cold or heat"
When cold and heat come, how can we avoid them?
Why not go to a place where there is no cold or heat?
What is the place where there is no cold or heat?
When it is cold, your ego freezes to death.
When it is hot, your ego swelters to death.
In the practice of Zen,
there is no need for a special place.
Once the heat of the ego is put out,
naturally there is a sense of well-being.
In life there are the opposites
of our likes and dislikes such as heat and cold.
A person who is one
with heat or cold does not regard them as opposites.
As a result, to him there are no such opposites as heat and cold.
The nun becomes a monk.
A nun asked Master Longtan...
How should I practice Zen so that in my next life I become a monk?
How long have you been a nun?
My question is:
Do I have any chance of becoming a monk?
What are you now?
I am a nun, who does not know that?
Who knows you?
Men and women may seem different, but in the world of Zen,
they are each other. To maintain they are different is an absurdity.
What can one who believes in such an absurdity hope to learn?
Three pounds of hemp.
A novice monk asked Master Dongshan,
What is Buddha?
Three pounds of hemp.
Puzzled, the monk went to ask Master Zhimen Guangzu...
I asked Dongshan about the meaning of Buddha,
and he answered: three pounds of hemp.
What does it mean?
Flowering groves, multicoloured forests.
I still do not understand.
Bamboo of the South, wood of the North.
Got it?
The more I hear, the more I do not understand.
Thus the monk went back to Dongshan to find out from him.
Words do not express facts. Speech does not accord with the situation.
Those who accept words are lost,
and those who linger over phrases are deluded.
If can be likened to the situation where a stone strikes a dog.
But if a stone strikes a lion,
the lion disregards the stone and charges at the person who threw it.
One must not be like the dog
but be like the lion in Zen practice.
The Zen practitioner's utterances are but words suited for the occasion,
a kind of " word head" that draws one into a deeper realm.
One must not think that the literal meaning is what Zen is all about.
Buffalo passing through a window.
A buffalo passes through a window,
the horns and the four legs go past.
Only the tail does not pass through.
A person may resolve to give up worldly things
and undergo hardship to practice Zen,
but the desire for fame is still there.
Such a person still has traces of weakness,
like a buffalo which passes through
the window but whose tail fails to get through.
Having such blind spots, one cannot be considered perceptive.
To be master of oneself.
Nature begets all things.
The formless is by nature alone yet complete and silent.
To be like a master to all things.
And to go beyond time.
Humans are in essence one with the whole.
A person who sees
that one is not separated from the whole is the Tao,
Buddha, and the spirit of Zen.
To be master of oneself,
one must not regard environment and circumstances as obstacles,
but change oneself.
A day of wind and rain.
Shunneng was a Zen master of the Southern Song Dynasty.
An eternity of endless space, a day of wind and rain.
We must not cling to the wind and moon of a day...
and ignore the eternal emptiness.
Neither should we cling to the eternal emptiness.
And give no attention to the wind and moon of the day.
People complain of the heat.
But I love the summer day because it lasts so long.
Warm wind comes from the south, and a comfortable coolness
is born around the temple and the terrace.
To understand or not to understand, be sure to avoid dualistic thinking.
People generally have to wait until their times of difficulty are over
to realize that there is also a bright side to them.
If one can have perception at the moment,
then summer has its advantage
and winter is also wonderful.
The snake's two conflicting heads
There was a snake in the forest
which was leading a carefree life until one day...
Hey, snake head, why is it that you are always moving forward.
and I can only follow behind? This is not fair.
Snake tail, I have eyes,
so of course I take the lead in going forward.
How could you be moving forward?
If not for the motion of my tail,
how could you move forward?
I go wherever I please.
You cannot do anything about it.
Move by yourself if you are able to.
Disgusting! I am determined to move away.
No way out! I really cannot move.
You win! I am not going to contend with you.
You can take the lead in moving forward.
You win!
Just go ahead.
As a result the snake tail very haughtily moved forward...
and felt very conceited.
However, it did not have eyes and could not see where it was going...
What's the use of letting you go ahead?
Now, we just can't move.
Watch out! There is a cliff!
In the end, the snake fell to its death in the ravine.
Heaven and earth merge with me,
all things and I are one.
The myriad things may have countless forms
but their essence is the same.
The frog's soliloquy.
Don't you understand?
Let me tell you a story of the frog.
Pay attention!
In the undergrowth by the side of a pond...
lived a group of frogs.
What a nice place!
Heaven exists for us.
Earth exists for us,
So that we have space to live.
Bravo! Wonderful!
Water exists for us,
the air exists for us frog.
The insects in the air exist for us.
The fruits on earth exist for us frogs.
The snake is here!
Poor little frog 1
Don't tell me the snake exists for us too.
Right, the snake exists for frogs too.
If there were no snakes, the frogs would consume everything...
and over breed.
Then there would be no space to live.
That is logical.
There is no definite good or bad about anything in the world.
After something has happened,
it depends on how you look at it,
whether as good or bad.
The spider's lifeline.
Shakyamuni Buddha was once sitting by a well in a garden
when he gazed into the well.
Save me...
Save me...
I am suffering greatly. Save me!
When this man was living,
he committed many atrocities. So he went into hell after death.
In his lifetime, all he did was to kill and destroy.
Did he not do even a single good deed?
Ah yes!
While walking along the road once,
he was about to step on a spider
when he felt a momentary spark of compassion,
and did not kill the spider.
Though this maybe a small matter, still it can be considered a good deed.
Alright, I will use the power of this little spider
to save him from the bitter sea of suffering.
A spider's lifeline coming down from heaven.
Do not climb up. This spider's lifeline is mine.
I will not allow all of you to climb up. Get down.
You bastard!
Get lost! If all of you still climb up,
the spider's lifeline will break.
Get down!
We want to go up, too.
The more love we give,
the more love we have.
The more we share our bounty with others,
the greater is our bounty.
The robber failed to understand this truth.
Therefore even the one good deed he ever did in his lifetime
was nullified.
Luosheng Gate
During a time of turmoil,
there were corpses everywhere outside Luosheng Gate.
The sight of crows everywhere...
and their cawing added to the eerie atmosphere.
When night fell,
nobody dared to venture around the area.
business is very poor.
I have no choice but to dismiss you.
If I go on like this,
I will starve to death...
and be like those corpses left behind.
If I don't want to starve to death,
I will have not be a robber
All right.
So be it!
In order to survive, there is no choice but to rob.
Though he did not have the nerve to do cruel things,
in order to survive he steeled himself.
There's someone there.
It's only an old woman,
who is as thin as a monkey.
In that case, I have nothing to fear.
You are really wicked!
Doing such a despicable thing!
I am only pulling out the hair of corpses.
Those who died are pitiful enough,
Why still violate their body?
I am only pulling out these hairs to make wigs,
and to exchange them for food.
Taking the hair from the dead maybe a bad deed,
but those who died here are not good people.
She sold snakes like she was selling salted fish.
I don't consider what she did to be bad.
If she didn't do this, she would starve to death.
She really had no choice.
Like her, if I didn't do this,
I would starve to death. I have no choice.
Please forgive me.
Than k you for clearing my doubts.
I am also someone who, if I did not do this,
would starve to death.
You would also not hate me, would you?
Give me something you have.
Return me my clothing. It is the only thing I have left.
Oh, how miserable is my life!
Often, in order to survive,
people resort to doing very low-down things.
However, there are many others who,
merely to satisfy their vanity and their desires,
commit all kinds of evil.
Thank God!