Asia Online (TAO) Zen Index
THE TEN OXHERDING PICTURES
The author of these "Ten Oxherding Pictures" is said to be a Zen master of the Sung Dynasty known as Kaku-an Shi-en (Kuo-an Shih-yuan) belonging to the Rinzai school. He is also the author of the poems and introductory words attached to the pictures. He was not however the first who attempted to illustrate by means of pictures stages of Zen discipline, for in his general preface to the pictures he refers to another Zen master called Seikyo (Ching-chu), probably a contemporary of his, who made use of the ox to explain his Zen teaching. But in Seikyo's case the gradual development of the Zen life was indicated by a progressive whitening of the animal, ending in the disappearance of the whole being. There were in this only five pictures, instead of ten as by Kaku-an. Kaku-an thought this was somewhat misleading because of an empty circle being made the goal of Zen discipline. Some might take mere emptiness as all important and final. Hence his improvement resulting in the "Ten Oxherding Pictures" as we have them now.
According to a commentator of Kaku-an's Pictures, there is another series of the Oxherding Pictures by a Zen master called jitoku Ki (Tzu-te Hui), who apparently knew of the existence of the Five Pictures by Seikyo, for jitoku's are six in number. The last one, No. 6, goes beyond the stage of absolute emptiness where Seikyo's end: the poem reads:
beyond the ultimate limits there extends a passageway,
Whereby he comes back among the six realms of existence;
Every worldly affair is a Buddhist work,
And wherever he goes he finds his home air;
Like a gem he stands out even in the mud,
Like pure gold he shines even in the furnace;
Along the endless road [of birth and death] he walks sufficient unto himself,
In whatever associations he is found he moves leisurely unattached."
Jitoku's ox grows whiter as Seikyo's, and in this particular respect both differ from Kaku-an's conception. In the latter there is no whitening process. In Japan Kaku-an's Ten Pictures gained a wide circulation, and at present all the oxherding books reproduce them. The earliest one belongs I think to the fifteenth century. In China however a different edition seems to have been in vogue, one belonging to the Seikyo and Jitoku series of pictures. The author is not known. The edition containing the preface by Chu-hung, 1585, has ten pictures, each of which is preceded by Pu-ming's poem. As to who this Pu-ming was, Chu-hung himself professes ignorance. In these pictures the ox's colouring changes together with the oxherd's management of him. The quaint original Chinese prints are reproduced below, and also Pu-ming's verses translated into English.
Thus as far as I can identify there are four varieties of the Oxherding Pictures: (1) by Kaku-an, (2) by Seikyo, (3) by Jitoku, and (4) by an unknown author.
Kaku-an's "Pictures" here reproduced are by Shubun, a Zen priest of the fifteenth century. The original pictures are preserved at Shokokuji, Kyoto. He was one of the greatest painters in black and white in the Ashikaga period.
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, I.
The Ten Oxherding Pictures, II.
V. FROM THE JAPANESE ZEN MASTERS
Dai-o (1235-I308), Daito (1282-1336), and Kwanzan (1277-1360) are the three outstanding luminaries in the history of the Japanese Rinzai school of Zen. All the masters of this school now in Japan are their descendants. Dai-o went to China and studied under Kido (Hsu-t'ang) in southern China, whose high expectations of the foreign disciple were fully justified as we can testify in the Japanese history of Zen. Daito is the founder of Daitokuji monastery and Kwanzan that of the Myoshinji, both Kyoto. Muso (1273-1351) who followed another lineage of the Zen masters was versatile in artistic accomplishments. There are many noted gardens designed by him which are still well preserved. He was the founder of many Zen temples throughout Japan which the most notable one is Tenryuji at Saga, near Kyoto. Hakuin (1685-1768) is the father of modern Rinzai Zen. Without him it would be hard to tell the fate of Zen in Japan. He was no founder of a temple of any ecclesiastical importance; he lived his unpretentious life in a small temple in Suruga province, devoting himself to the bringing up of Zen monks and to the propagation of his teaching among laymen.
FROM THE JAPANESE ZEN MASTERS
DAI-O KOKUSHI "ON ZEN"
is a reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it; It has no voice for ears to detect;
To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way,
It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.
It is Dharma truly beyond form and sound;
It is Tao having nothing to do with words.
Wishing to entice the blind,
The Buddha has playfully let words escape his golden mouth;
Heaven and earth are ever since filled with entangling briars.
O my good worthy friends gathered here,
If you desire to listen to the thunderous voice of the Dharma,
Exhaust your words, empty your thoughts,
For then you may come to recognize this One Essence.
Says Hui the Brother, "The Buddha's Dharma
Is not to be given up to mere human sentiments."
DAI-O KOKUSHI'S ADMONITION
Those who enter the gate of Buddhism should first of all cherish a firm faith in the dignity and respectability of monkhood, for it is the path leading them away from poverty and humbleness. Its dignity is that of the sonship of the Dharmaraja of the triple world; no princely dignity which extends only over a limited area of the earth compares with it. Its respectability is that of the fatherhood of all sentient beings; no parental respectability belonging Only to the head of a little family group equals it. When the monk finds himself in this position of dignity and respectability, living in the rock-cave of the Dharma where he enjoys the greatest happiness of a spiritual life, under the blissful protection of all the guardian gods of the Triple Treasure, is there any form of happiness that can surpass his?
The shaven head and the dyed garment are the noble symbols of Bodhisattvahood; the temple-buildings with all their ornamental fixtures are the honorific emblems of Buddhist virtue. They have nothing to do with mere decorative effects.
[1. Left to his disciples as his last words when he was about to pass away.]
That the monk, now taking on himself these forms of dignity and respectability, is the recipient of all kinds of offerings from his followers; that he is quietly allowed to pursue his study of the Truth, not troubling himself with worldly labours and occupations-this is indeed due to the loving thoughts of Buddhas and Fathers. If the monk fails in this life to cross the stream of birth-and-death, when does expect to requite all the kindly feelings bestowed upon him by his predecessors? We are ever liable as time goes on miss opportunities; let the monk, therefore, be always on e watch not to pass his days idly.
The one path leading up to the highest peak is the mysterious orthodox line of transmission established by Buddhas and Fathers, and to walk along this road is the essence of appreciating what they have done for us. When the monk fails to discipline himself along this road, he thereby departs from the dignity and respectability of monk-hood, laying himself down in the slums of poverty and misery. As I grow older I feel this to be my greatest regret, and, O monks, I have never been tired day and night of giving you strong admonitions on this point. Now, on the eve of my departure, my heart lingers with you, and my sincerest prayer is that you are never found lacking in the virtue of the monkish dignity and respectability, and that you ever be mindful of what properly belongs to monkhood. Pray, pray, 'be mindful of this, O monks!
This is the motherly advice of Nampo; old monk-mendicant of Kencho Monastery.
DAITO KOKUSHI'S ADMONITION
O you, monks, who are in this mountain monastery, remember that you are gathered here for the sake of religion and not for the sake of clothes and food. As long as you have
[1. This is Dai-o Kokushi's own name, Dai-o being his posthumous honorary title.]
shoulders [that is, the body], you will have clothes to wear, and as long as you have a mouth, you will have food to eat. Be ever mindful, throughout the twelve hours of the day, to apply yourselves to the study of the Unthinkable. Time passes like an arrow, never let your minds be disturbed by worldly cares. Ever, ever be on the look-out. After my departure, some of you may preside over five temples in prosperous conditions, with towers and halls and holy books all decorated in gold and silver, and devotees may noisily crowd into the grounds; some may pass hours in reading the sutras and reciting the dharanis, and sitting long in contemplation may not give themselves up to sleep; they may, eating once a day and observing the fastdays, and, throughout the six periods of the day, practise all the religious deeds. Even when they are thus devoted to the cause, if their thoughts are not really dwelling on the mysterious and untransmissible Way of the Buddhas and Fathers, they may yet come to ignore the law o moral causation, ending in a complete downfall of the true religion. All such belong to the family of evil spirits; however long my departure from the world may be, they are not to be called my descendants. Let, however, there be just one individual, who may be living in the wilderness in a hut thatched with one bundle of straw and passing his days by eating the roots of wild herbs cooked in a pot with broken legs; but if he single-mindedly applies himself to the study of his own [spiritual] affairs, he is the very one who has a daily interview with me and knows how to be grateful for his life. Who should ever despise such a one? O monks, be diligent, be diligent.
DAITO KOKUSHI'S LAST POEM
and Fathers cut to pieces--
The sword is ever kept sharpened!
Where the wheel turns,
The void gnashes its teeth.
[1. In those monasteries which are connected in some way with the author of this admonition, it is read or rather chanted before a lecture or Teisho begins.]
KWANZAN KOKUSHI'S ADMONITION
It was in the Shogen period (1259) that our forefather venerable Dai-o crossed the stormy waves of the great ocean in order to study Zen in Sung. He interviewed Hsu-t'ang (Kido) the great Zen master at Ching-tz'u (Jinzu) and under him Dai-o whole-heartedly devoted himself to the realization of Zen experience. Finally at Ching-shan (Kinzan) he was able to master all the secrets longing to it. For this reason he was praised by his master as "having once more gone over the path", and the prophecy was also given him that his "descendants would ever be increasing." That the rightful lineage of the Yang-ch'i, (Yogi) school was transported to this country of ours is to be ascribed to the merit of our venerable forefather.
Daito, my old venerable teacher, followed the steps of Dai-o who stayed in the western part of the capital; personally attending on him, he was in close contact with the "Master during his residence at Manju in Kyoto and at Kencho in Kamakura. Throughout the many years of attendance Daito never laid himself on a bed for sleep. He reminds us in many respects of the ancient worthies. When finally he mastered Zen, the venerable Dai-o gave him his testimony but ordered him to mature his experience for twenty years in quiet retirement. Surely enough, he proved to be a great successor truly worthy of his illustrious master, Dai-o. He resuscitated Zen which had been in a state of decline; he left an admonition for his followers to be ever mindful of keeping vigorously alive the true spirit of Zen discipline; all this is his merit.
[1. Muso Daishi is the honorific title posthumously given by an Emperor to Kwanzan Kokushi, the founder of Myoshinji, Kyoto, which is one of the most important Zen headquarters in Japan. All the Zen masters of the present day in Japan are his descendants. Some doubt is cherished about the genuineness of this Admonition as penned by Kwanzan himself, on the ground that the Content is too "grandmotherly".]
That in obedience to the august order of his Holiness the Ex-Emperor Hanazono I have come to establish this monastery, is due to the motherly love of my late master who chewed food for his helpless baby. O my followers, you may some day forget me, but if you should forget the loving thoughts of Dai-o and Daito, you are not my descendants. I pray you to strive to grasp the origin of things. Po-yun (Hakuun) was impressed with the great merit of Pai-chang (Hyakjo), and Hu-ch'iu (Kokyu) was touched with the words of warning given by Po-yun (Hakuun). Such are our precedents. You will do well not to commit the fault of picking leaves or of searching for branches, [instead of taking hold of the root itself].
MUSO KOKUSHI'S ADMONITION
I have three kinds of disciples: those who, vigorously shaking off all entangling circumstances, and with singleness of thought apply themselves to the study of their own [spiritual] affairs, are of the first class. Those who are not so single-minded in the study, but scattering their attention are fond of book-learning, are of the second. Those who, covering their own spiritual brightness, are only occupied with the dribblings of the Buddhas and Fathers are called the lowest. As to those minds that are intoxicated by secular literature and engaged in establishing themselves as men of letters and are simply laymen with shaven heads, they do not belong even to the lowest. As regards those who think only of indulging in food and sleep and give themselves up to indolence-could such be called members of the Black Robe? They are truly, as were designated by an old master, clothes-racks and rice-bags. Inasmuch as they are not monks, they ought not to be permitted to call themselves my disciples and enter the monastery and sub-temples as well; even a temporary sojourn is to be prohibited, not to speak of their application as student-monks. When an old man like myself speaks thus, you may think he is lacking in all-embracing love, but the main thing is to let them know of their own faults, and, reforming themselves, to become growing plants in the patriarchal gardens.
HAKUIN'S "SONG OF MEDITATION"
beings are primarily all Buddhas:
It is like ice and water,
Apart from water no ice can exist;
Outside sentient beings, where do we find the Buddhas?
Not knowing how near the Truth is,
People seek it far away,--what a pity!
They are like him who, in the midst of water,
Cries in thirst so imploringly;
They are like the son of a rich man
Who wandered away among the poor.
The reason why we transmigrate through the six worlds
Is because we are lost in the darkness of ignorance;
Going astray further and further in the darkness,
When are we able to get away from birth-and-death?
regards the Meditation practised in the Mahayana,
We have no words to praise it fully:
The virtues of perfection such as charity, morality, etc.,
And the invocation of the Buddha's name, confession, and ascetic discipline,
And many other good deeds of merit,--
All these issue from the practice of Meditation;
Even those who have practised it just for one sitting
Will see all their evil karma wiped clean;
Nowhere will they find the evil paths,
But the Pure Land will be near at hand.
With a reverential heart, let them to this Truth
Listen even for once,
And let them praise it, and gladly embrace it,
And they will surely be blessed most infinitely.
such as, reflecting within themselves,
Testify to the truth of Self-nature,
To the truth that Self-nature is no-nature,
They have really gone beyond the ken of sophistry.
For them opens the gate of the oneness of cause and effect,
And straight runs the path of non-duality and non-trinity.
Abiding with the not-particular which is in particulars,
Whether going or returning, they remain for ever unmoved;
Taking hold of the not-thought which lies in thoughts,
In every act of theirs they hear the voice of the truth.
How boundless the sky of Samadhi unfettered!
How transparent the perfect moon-light of the fourfold Wisdom!
At that moment what do they lack?
As the Truth eternally calm reveals itself to them,
This very earth is the Lotus Land of Purity,
And this body is the body of the Buddha.
VI. THE BUDDHIST STATUES AND PICTURES IN A ZEN MONASTERY
Visitors to a Zen monastery in Japan will be greeted by various Buddhist figures enshrined in the different parts of the institution. This section is devoted to the description of such figures.
Each Buddhist sect in Japan has its own Honzon, i.e. "the chief honoured one" as its main object of worship: for instance, the Jodo and the Shin have Amida Nyorai; the Shingon, Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana); the Nichiren and the Zen, Shaka Nyorai (Sakyamuni). But this tradition Is not uniformly observed by the Zen sect and much latitude has been allowed to the founder of each temple or monastery.
The Buddha Sakyamuni is the proper one no doubt for all Zen institutions, for Zen claims to transmit the Buddha-heart--the first transmission taking place between Sakyamuni and Mahakashyapa. Sakyamuni thus occupies the main seat of honour on the Zen altar. But frequently we find there a statue of Kwannon (Avalokitesvara), or Yakushi (Bhaishajyaguru), or Jizo (Kshitigarbha), or Miroku (Maitreya), or even a trinity of Amida, Shaka, and Miroku. In this latter case Amida is the Buddha of the past, Shaka of the present, and Miroku of the future.
When the Honzon is Sakyamuni he is sometimes attended by a pair of Bodhisattvas and another of Arhats. The Bodhisattvas are Monju (Manjusri) and Fugen (Samantabhadra), and the Arhats are Kasho (Mahakashyapa) and Anan (Ananda). Sakyamuni is here both historical and "metaphysical", so to speak. Seeing him attended by his two chief disciples, he is a historical figure, but with Monju and Fugen who represent or symbolize wisdom and love, the two ruling attributes of the highest Reality, Sakyamuni is Vairocana standing above the world of transmigration s. Here we see the philosophy of the Avatamsaka or Gandavyuha incorporated into Zen. In fact, our religious life has two aspects--the experience itself and its philosophy.
This is represented in Buddhism by the historical trinity of Sakyamuni, Kashyapa, and Ananda, and by the metaphysical one of Vairocana, Manjusri, and Samantabhadra. Ananda stands for learning, intellection, and philosophizing; Kashyapa for life, experience, and realization; and Sakyamuni naturally for the unifying body in which experience and intellection find their field of harmonious co-operation. That religion needs philosophy is sometimes forgotten, and one of the great merits achieved by Buddhism is that it has never ignored this truth, and wherever it is propagated it helps the native genius of that land to develop its philosophy or to supply an intellectual background to its already-existing beliefs.
Perhaps it is only in the Zen monastery that the birth of the Buddha, his Enlightenment, and his Nirvana are commemorated. Mahayana Buddhism is much given up to the idealistic or metaphysical or transcendental interpretation of the historical facts so called in the life of the Buddha, and the evolution of the Bodhisattva-ideal has pushed the historical personages to the background. Vairocana or Amitabha has thus come to take the place of Sakyamuni Buddha, and a host of Bodhisattvas has completely displaced the Arhats.
But Zen has not forgotten the historical side of the Buddha's life. While Zen is not apparently concerned with earthly affairs, the fact that it has been nurtured in China where history plays an important rôle in the cultural life of the people, points to its connection again with the earth. So the three most significant events in the development of Buddhism are properly remembered and elaborate rituals are annually performed at all the main Zen monasteries in Japan for the Buddha's birth-day, his attainment of Enlightenment, and his entrance into Nirvana.
[1. Respectively: April 8, December 8, and February 15.]
The Buddha's birth as represented by Zen followers laces him in the most remarkable contrast to that of Christ. The baby Buddha is made to stand straight up with his right hand pointing at heaven and with his left at the earth, and he exclaims: "Above the heavens and below the heavens, I alone am the honoured one!" The voice reaches the furthest ends of the chiliocosm, and all the living being--even matter is not dead in Buddhism-share in the joy of the Buddha's birth, realizing that they too are destined to be Buddhas.
On April 8 this baby Buddha standing in a bronze basin is taken out of the shrine, and the ceremony of baptizing the baby with sweet tea made of some vegetable leaves is performed; the tea thus used is afterwards given away to children. Recently, the celebration of this day takes place on a grand scale in all the larger cities of Japan, not only by Zen followers but by all Buddhists including monks, priests, laymen, laywomen, and children.
Sakyamuni as the Enlightened One sits on the lotus throne enshrined in the main hall of the Zen monastery. He is generally in the meditation posture.
The Nirvana scene is generally represented pictorially, except perhaps the one at the Nirvana Hall of Myoshinji, Kyoto, which is a bronze-slab. The most noted Nirvana picture is by Chodensu, of Tofukuji, the whole length of which is about sixteen yards.
When Sakyamuni is not found in the Main Buddha all, one of the following Bodhisattvas is enshrined in his ace: Monju (Manjusri), Fugen (Samantabhadra), Kwan-non (Avalokitesvara), Yakushi (Bhaishajyaguru), Miroku (Maitreya), Jizo (Kshitigarbha), or sometimes Kokuzo (Akasagarbha).
Monju and Fugen generally go in pairs and are the chief Bodhisattvas in the Avatamsaka (Kegon) conception of the world. Monju stands for Prajna. Sitting on a lion he holds a sword which is meant to cut all the intellectual and affectional entanglements in order to reveal the light of transcendental Prajna. Fugen is found on an elephant and presents love, Karuna. Karuna is contrasted with Prajna in that Prajna points to annihilation and to identity whereas Karuna points to construction and to multiplicity. The one is intellectual and the other emotional; the one unifies and the her diversifies. Fugen's ten vows are well known to students of the Kegon.
Kwannon is exclusively the Bodhisattva of compassion. In this respect he resembles Fugen. A special chapter is devoted to him in the Hokkekyo (Saddharma-pundarika) and so in the Ryogonkyo (Suramgama). He is one of the most popular Bosatsus or Bodhisattvas of Mahayana Buddhism. For an English translation of the Kwannongyo as rendered into Chinese by Kumarajiva see p. 30 of the present Manual.
Yakushi is the Bodhisattva-doctor. He holds a medicine jar in his hands and is attended by twelve gods each of whom presents one of his twelve vows. The main object of his appearance among us is to cure us of ignorance, which is the most fundamental of all the ills the flesh is heir to.
Jizo is principally or popularly the protector of children nowadays, but his original vows are to save us from wandering in the six paths of existence. He thus divides himself into six forms each of which stands as guardian in each one of the six paths. Hence the six Jizo we often find by the country roadside. He is generally represented in priestly robe, with a shaven head, and carries a long walking staff in his hand. In the Kamakura and the Ashikaga period he was quite a popular object of worship, and we find many fine artistic sculptures of this Bodhisattva in Kamakura.
Miroku is the future Buddha and at present has his abode in the Tushita Heaven waiting for his time to appear among us. He is also essentially compassionate as his name implies. He is sometimes called a Buddha and sometimes a Bodhisattva. Although he is supposed to be in one of the heavens, he is frequently encountered on earth.
The Arhats, generally sixteen in number, are enshrined in the second storey of the tower gate. They are all registered as dwellers in some remote mountains, and each is the leader of a large following. Their superficially grotesque and irregular appearances contrast in a strange way with those of the Bodhisattvas. They are miracle workers and tamers of the wild beasts. This characteristic seems to have excited the interest of the Zen monk-artist who has turned them into one of the favourite objects of his artistic imagination.
In a large Zen monastery the five hundred Arhats are given a special shelter in the premises.
Bhadrapala is one of the sixteen Arhats and had his satori while bathing. He is now enshrined in a niche in the bath-room attached to the Meditation Hall. When the monks take their bath, they pay respect to his figure. The picture shown below belongs to Engakuji, Kamakura, and is one of the national treasures of Japan.
[1. The Training of the Zen Monk, p. 40.]
THE PROTECTING GODS
Of the many protecting gods of Buddhism the following may be counted as belonging more or less exclusively to Zen, and they have each his or her own special quarter where they perform their several official duties for Buddhism.
The Niwo or "two guardian kings" are found enclosed at either side of the entrance gate. They represent the Vajra god in two forms; the one is masculine with the mouth tightly closed, and the other is feminine with an opened mouth. They guard the holy place from intruders.
The Shitenno or the four guardian gods are enshrined in the Buddha-hall at the four corners of the altar. Of these gods the most popular one is Tamonten (Vaisravana), the guardian of the North. This fact comes perhaps from his being the god of learning and also of wealth.
It is difficult to trace historically how Benzaiten (Sarasvati), who is the goddess of the River, finds her shrine in a Zen monastery. Some say that Benzaiten is not Sarasvati but Sridevi. Whoever she may be, a female form is often found among the audience of a saintly priest, and later she appears in his dream telling him how she who was formerly an enemy of Buddhism is now enlightened and will be one of its protectors, and so on. In any event there is room even in the Zen monastery, where the severest kind of asceticism is supposed to prevail, for a goddess to enter.
Idaten is a god of the kitchen looking after the provisions of the Brotherhood. The original Sanskrit term for it seems to be Skanda and not Veda as may be suggested from i-da or wei-t'o. He is one of the eight generals belonging to Virudhaka, the guardian god of the Southern quarter. He is a great runner and wherever there is a trouble he is instantly found there. In the Chinese monastery he occupies an important seat in the hall of the four guardian gods, but in the Japanese he is in the little shrine attached to the monks' dining-room.
Ususama Myowo is a god of the lavatory. Ucchushma in Sanskrit means "to dry", "to parch", that is, to clean up filth by burning, by fire, for fire is a great purifying agency. Myowo is Vidyaraja, a special class of the gods who assume a form of wrath.
Sambo Kojin seems to be a Japanese mountain god in the form of an Indian god. He is found outside the temple buildings. As the monasteries are generally located in the mountains this god who is supposed to preside over such districts, is invited to have his residence in the grounds so that he would be a good protector of the Brotherhood against the inimical influence of evil spirits.
Daikokuten whose Indian prototype is sometimes regarded as Mahakala is at present a purely Japanese god. He carries a large bag over his shoulder and stands on rice bales. Though his phallic origin is suspected, he has nothing, as he is, to do with it. He is a god of material wealth and like Idaten looks after the physical welfare of the Brotherhood. He is not such a universal object of respect in the Zen monastery.
Wherever the Prajnaparamita is preached or copied or recited, the sixteen "good gods" stand about the place and guard the devoted spirits against their being lured away by the enemy. As Zen is connected with the philosophy of Prajna they are also the gods of Zen. The picture below shows more than sixteen figures. Of the extra four personages standing in the foreground the two on the left are the Jotai Bosatsu (Sadaprarudita) and Jinsha Daio while the two on the right are Hsuan-Chuang with a kind of carrying-case on his back and Hoyu Bosatsu (Dharmodgata). Jotai and Hoyu are the principal characters in the Prajnaparamita as told in the second series of my Essays in Zen Buddhism. Hsuan-chuang is the translator of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra in six hundred fascicles and also that of Nagarjuna's commentary
[1. See also my Training of the Zen Monk, p. 106.
2 Ibid., p. 44.]
on the sutra in one hundred fascicles. While he was travelling through the desert, he was accosted by Jinsha, the god of the wilderness, who was responsible for the unsuccessful trips repeatedly attempted by the devoted Chinese pilgrims to India prior to Hsuan-chuang. The god was carrying six of the skulls of such victims about his neck. Listening to the Prajnaparamita as recited by Hsuan-chuang, he was converted and became a most devoted protector of the holy text. Hence his presence here.
SOME OF THE HISTORICAL FIGURES
Besides these mythical personages the Zen monastery gives shelter to some other historical characters deeply connected not only with Zen but with Buddhism as a whole. Bodhidharma as founder of Zen Buddhism naturally occupies a chief seat of honour beside the Buddha Sakyamuni. With Japanese Zen followers, however, the founder of a given temple is more highly honoured, and in each of the principal Zen institutions in Japan there is a special hall dedicated to the founder of that particular monastery, where an oil-lamp is kept burning all day and night. Bodhidharma is a unique figure and may be identified wherever he is. He is one of the favourite subjects for the Zen masters to try their amateurish brush. Kwannon is perhaps another such subject.
Fudaishi (Fu Ta-shih), also known as Zenne Daishi (Shan-hui), 493-564, was a contemporary of Bodhidharma. Although he does not belong to the orthodox lineage of Zen transmission, his life and sermons as recorded in the Transmission of the Lamp (Ch'uan-teng Lu) are full of Zen flavour, so to speak. His famous gatha is well known to all Zen students. Tradition makes him the inventor of what is known as Rinzo (luntsang), which is a system of revolving shelves for keeping the Chinese Tripitaka. For this reason he, together with his two sons, is set up in the Buddhist library as a kind of god of literature.
The Zen monastery harbours many old eccentric characters of whom the most noted of a Chinese origin are Kanzan (Han-shan) and Jittoku (Shih-te). They are vagabond poet-ascetics. Another belonging to this group of
[1. Fas. XXVII.
2. Introduction to Zen Buddhism, p. 58.
3. Zen Essays, III, Plates XIV and XV, with their accompanying explanations.]
characters is Hotei (Pu-tai). That Hotei plays quite a different rôle in Japanese Buddhism from what he does in Chine, I have explained in my article in the Eastern Buddhist, VI, 4, "Impressions of Chinese Buddhism".
Shotoku Taishi (574-622) was really one of the most remarkable figures in the cultural history of Japan, and it is no wonder that the Japanese Buddhists pay special monastery buildings. One of the legendary stories circulating in Japan with regard to Bodhidharma is that he came to Japan after he had finished his work in China and was found in the form of a miserable beggar at Kataoka Yama, near Nara. Shotoku Taishi met him there and it is said that they exchanged poems.
[1. Ibid. Plates X and XVI, and also Second Series.]