ZEN IRODALOM ZEN LITERATURE
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萬松行秀 Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246), aka 萬松野老 Wansong Yelao
(Rōmaji:) Banshō Gyōshū
Wansong wrote two important commentaries on kōan compiled by Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157). In 1224 he published a commentary to a collection of one hundred songgu (頌古) kōan by Hongzhi under the title Congrong Lu (從容錄 T2004), known in English as the Book of Equanimity or the Encouragement (Hermitage) Record. Wansong's commentary edition ensured the survival of Hongzhi's kōan, and came to be regarded as one of the seminal texts of the Caodong school. Wansong also wrote a commentary on Hongzhi's niangu (拈古) kōan, entitled Qingyi Lu (請益錄 X1307), known in English as Record of Seeking Additional Instruction. He also wrote a collection of sayings entitled Wanshou Yulu (萬壽語錄), with a preface dated 1235.
萬松老人塔 Wànsōng Lǎorén Tǎ (Pagoda of the Old Man of Wansong)
宏智正覺 Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) & 萬松行 秀 Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246)
從容録 Congrong lu
(Rōmaji:) Wanshi Shōgaku & Banshō Gyōshū: Shōyō-roku
(English:) Book of Serenity / The Book of Equanimity / The Book of Composure / Encouragement (Hermitage) Record
(Magyar:) Hung-cse Cseng-csüe & Van-szung Hszing-hsziu: Cung-zsung lu / A nyugalom könyve / Higgatag feljegyzések (Az egyensúly könyve)
Full title is 萬松老人評唱天童覺和 尙 頌古從容庵錄 Wansong Laoren pingchang Tiantongjue Heshang songgu Congrong an lu [Manshō Rōnin Hyōshō Tendōkaku Washō juko Shōyō an roku], Old Man Wansong's Evaluations of Tiantong Jue's Versed Comments on Old Cases.
從容錄 Congrong lu
6 fasc.; T 2004; full title is Congrong Hermitage Record: Old Man Wansong's Evaluations of Tiantong Xue's Versed Comments on Old Cases Wansong Laoren pingchang Tiantongjue Heshang songgu Congrong an lu 萬松老人評唱天童覺和 尙頌古從容庵錄. A basic text of the Caodong school 曹洞宗 of Chan, which consists of one hundred versified kōan dialogs compiled by Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺 (1091–1157) (the Hongzhi Songgu 宏智頌古), an eminent monk in the Caodong 曹洞 lineage who was also known as Reverend Jue of Tiantong 天童覺和尙. It includes the commentary of Wansong Xingxiu 萬松行秀 (1166–1246), published in 1224, with the present version based on a republication done in 1607. To each root case 本則 and attached verse comment 頌 found in the core text by Tiantong Jue, Wansong added (1) a prose "instruction to the assembly" 示衆 which precedes the citation of the case and serves as a sort of introductory remark; (2) a prose commentary on the case; and (3) a prose commentary on the verse. Moreover, Wansong added interlinear capping phrases to each case and verse.
Tiantong Hongzhi is mentioned specifically in Dahui's writing as the reviver of the declining Caodong school of Chan, and also, notably, as one who really understood what Dahui was about. Hongzhi, or Tiantong, as he is known in this Book of Serenity, was the crowning masters of restoration of the Caodong house, which had perished and been resurrected by a Linji master of a couple of generations before. He left a rich teaching, which included a set of one hundred poems on selected Chan stories, after the fashion of the ealier Xuedou. He also produced a collection of prose comments on a hundred stories like Xuedou's Cascade Collection. Both of these texts were taken up by the later Caodong master Wansong Xingxiu and expounded in a fashion similar to Yuanwu's treatment of Xuedou's work. The prose collection was expanded into the Record Of Further Inquiries, while the verse collection was expanded into the Book of Serenity.
The original text of the Book of Serenity was lost due to disturbed conditions in northern China where Wansong worked--successive invasions and occupations by foreign powers. The text was eventually reconstructed by Wansong himself at the request of one of his disciples, a statesman named Yelu Chucai. Yelu Chucai was descended from the Khitan people who ruled part of north China under the Liao dynasty, received a Chinese education, and was an officer of the Jin dynasty under the Jurchen people who supplanted the Khitan Liao; eventually he was impressed into the service of Genghis Khan, the Mongol conqueror. He was one of several spiritually trained people from North, East, and Central Asia credited with mitigation of the harshness of Mongol rule over Asia.
A Confucian by early training, Yelu openly recognized the greater scope of Chan Buddhism and became an attentive disciple of Wansong. He had originally been sent to Wansong by another Chan master because of Wansong's erudition in the secular Chinese classics and consequent ability to connect with Yelu's educational background. Yelu urgently requested the reconstruction of the Book of Serenity during his extended stay at Genghis'headquaters in Mongolia to help him continue his Chan study while separated from his teacher.
The large number of identifications of classical and literary allusions and expressions to be found in the Book of Serenity may be connected with the circumstances of its composition and reconstruction. Wansong himself writes that he did it not only to show he had not invented the interpretations himself but also to reveal the depths of Tiantong Hongzhi's own classical learning. This was not an idle exhibition of literary erudition, but was part of a strategy of the time to outwardly protect Chan from the charge of being a haven for anti-intellectual illiterates and dropouts from the orthodox Confucian establishment and to help make Chan teaching more accessible to the Confucian literati, whose mental development was urgently needed for the welfare of the society as a whole in view of their position in the social structure.
The more fundamental purpose of Wansong's commentaries, naturally, is the elucidation of meanings in the text. While the language may often be derivative, the meaning is not. There is no need, therefore, to be concerned with the authorship or ideological systems of the various texts cited by Wangsong. It was common practice for Chan teachers to draw expressions from any available source--Buddhist, Confucian, Taoist scriptures, folklore, popular song, secular poetry--and use them freely in their own way, without any necessary connection with the original context. The context in which the meaning intended in Chan usage is defined is the context of the Chan outlook; this becomes perceptible by observing the structure of the sayings or anecdotes presented.
This is aided by a basis device of Chan commentary method, one used frequently by Wansong in the Book of Serenity, that of quotation of sayings or stories that are structurally similar to the main topic under consideration. What is of the essence is not the superficial content but the structure, and this is brought out by presentation of the same deep structures through the medium of diverse surface contents. Chan sayings and stories are used as devices for holding certain patterns in mind; structural analysis of such materials dates back at least a thousand years in Chinese Chan, and Japanese Zen later developed a practice of contemplating several stories with the same deep structure at one and the same time.
In reading Chan literature, therefore, it is essential to cultivate the ability to see through and look beyond the stuff of which symbols are made so as to find the underlying design. Following intellectual and emotional associations based on surface content leads to fragmentation far afield of the intent. A general rule sometimes cited in Zen teaching is that before enlightenment one should look into the intent; after enlightenment, one may then look into the expression as a communicative tool.
One reflection of this technique of using relations among certain elements to convey something deeper that is not necessarily at all apparent in the surface content is manisfested in the Book of Serenity in a way that will be apparent to those familiar with Chan history. That is, Wansong has chosen materials that cut across sectarian lines, counteracting the degenerate tendency to sectarianism and exclusivism that is known to have grown up in some Chan circles. This highlights the basic Buddhist hermeneutical principle, first enunciated by the Buddha, that what is important is what is actually being taught, not who is saying it. For those unconcerned with sects to begin with, of course, the issue does not arise, and the only matter of importance is the message, presented by parallel teaching.
This point also calls for emphasis on another aspect of Chan commentary, the offering of different views and the use of praise and censure. These techniques are in fact directed at the reader and have nothing to do with intellectual history of differences of opinion among the Chan adepts. In the Chan understanding, no expression or view can ever be complete, and Chan literature explicitly warns that dialogue and difference among Chan adepts are not to be understood in terms of either/or, win/lose choices. Similarly, Wansong's own added sayings are not necessarily direct comments on or illustrations of the statements they are added to; sometimes they are designed to shift the reader into a different viewpoint or shed light on the same point from a different angle. Then again, sometimes they are directed at incorrect or partial ways of understanding certain patterns that centuries of experience showed were typical of dualistic and fragmentary mentation. A considerable amount of Chan commentary is devoted to prevention of fixation and stereotyping and should be seen as addressing the perspective of the reader, not presenting the personal opinion of the speaker.
This characteristic of Chan literature, engaging the reader in mental dialogue rather than professing doctrines and dogmas, is what gives it its life. This is what also makes it so challenging; but the challenge is part of the dynamic, as Chan calls for effort on the part of the would-be learner, without which it would be sterile and ineffective. As a matter of practical principle Chan commentary refrains from exhaustive explanation, for this would crowd out the learner and undermine the very effort needed for the mental transfomation the literature is designed to help effect. So Chan literature should be approached with at least the understanding that the desire for quick and convenient understanding has long been recognized as a major barrier to real understanding; and part of the design of Chan literature is to enforce the demand for patience, suspension of preconceptions and judgements, and sustained concentration without which progress cannot be made.
The overall structure of presentation of the Book of Serenity in this translation is as follows:
Introduction by Wansong, generally alluding to particular perspectives, frames of mind, patterns of thought and action.
Case from Chan lore or Buddhist scripture, a saying or anecdote illustrating some aspect or aspects of Chan awareness and praxis.
Commentary by Wansong, expounding upon the case.
Verse by Tiantong reflecting the pattern of the case in poetic form.
Commentary by Wansong on Tiantong's verse.
Added sayings on the case and verse by Wansong: line by line reamarks reflecting or complementing the line or adjusting the understanding of the reader for increased access to potential meaning and function.
(Thomas Cleary: The Book of Serenity)
Hongzhi compiled two collections of one hundred gongan with his own comments, one in prose (拈古 niangu), commented upon by Wansong and published as the 請益錄 Qingyi lu) and one in poetry (頌古 songgu), commented upon by Wansong and published as the 從容録 Congrong lu.
The Caodong monk Wansong Xingxiu (1166–1246) created a work entitled the Congrong lu by adding another layer of commentary to Hongzhi's one hundred songgu pieces, ina manner similar to the famous Biyan lu, Yuanwu Keqin's commentary on koan verses by Xuedou.This text was published in 1224 and came to beconsidered one of the most important texts in the Caodong tradition. In addition, Wansong also compiled a commentary on Hongzhi's niangu entitled Qingyi lu. Hongzhi's songgu collection also became part of a text known as the
Sijia lu* from 1342. This work contained songgu collections by four Chan masters, that is, Hongzhi, Xuedou, Touzi Yiqing, and Danxia Zichun.
*This work was recently rediscovered.
A whole independent genre of Chan literature evolved out of the practice of commenting on the gongan stories of past masters. Many Song Chan masters (or their students) compiled collections of old gongan cases, attaching the master's own brief comments to each. These collections were called niangu (picking up the old [cases or masters]) when a prose commentary was attached and songgu (eulogizing the old [cases or masters]) when the commentary was in poetic form. Such collections were themselves sometimes further subject to another master's commentaries, resulting in rather complex and somewhat confusing pieces of literature. Hongzhi's verses on one hundred gongan cases (a songgu commentary), for example, were further commented on by Wansong Xingxiu (1166–1246) and published as the Congrong lu (Record of equanimity). The treatment of each case in this work begins with an introduction by Wansong followed by the gongan case in question, with brief and often cryptic interlinear commentary by Wansong. Then comes a longer prose commentary on the case by Wansong, followed by Hongzhi's verse on the case, again with brief interlinear commentary by Wansong. Finally comes a prose commentary by Wansong on Hongzhi's verse and on the case in general.
宏智正覺 Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) & 萬松行 秀 Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246)
請益錄 Qingyi lu
(Rōmaji:) Wanshi Shōgaku & Banshō Gyōshū: Shin'eki-roku
(English:) Record of Seeking Additional Instruction / Record of Further Inquiries
(Magyar:) Hung-cse Cseng-csüe & Van-szung Hszing-hsziu: Csing-ji lu / Kitartó keresések*
Full title is 萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚拈古請益錄 Wansong laoren pingchang Tiantong Jue heshang niangu Qingyi lu (Old Man Wansong's Singing Appraisal of Monk Tiantong Jue's Bringing Up the Old Record of Further Inquiries).
In Chinese: X1307 http://www.cbeta.org/cgi-bin/goto.pl?linehead=X67n1307_p0495b20
Record of Further Inquiries
Translated by Thomas Cleary
In: Timeless Spring, A Soto Zen Anthology,
Weatherhill / Wheelwright Press, Tokyo - New York, 1980,
pp. 24-25, 72-75.
The record of Hongzhi Zhenjue (1091-1153), is
far larger than any other Cao-Dong chan master in China.
When he was abbot at the great monastery at Tiantong
mountain, students came from all over, swelling the ranks
of the community to over fifteen hundred. Included in
Hongzhi's record are hundreds of comments and poems on
ancient chan stories and sayings. A later master, Wansong
Xingxiu (1166-1246) lectured on two collections of one
hundred cases each, made by Hongzhi. One, with Hon-
gzhi's poems, became the nucleus of the Book of Equanim-
ity, and the other, with Hongzhi's prose comments, be-
came the nucleus of the Record of Further Inquiries; the
former is designed like the Blue Cliff Record while the latter
consists of the ancient story, Hongzhi's remarks with Wan-
song's comments and talks.
Wansong studied chan first with master Shengmo, who
told him, "Studying this path is like refining gold; when
it's impure, the pure gold doesn't show. As I look between
your eyebrows, there is very much something there. If you
don't 'pierce through cold bones' once, you won't be able
to cast this thing off. Hereafter, see for yourself; it is not a
matter of my speaking much." And Shengmo had him con-
template Changsha's saying, to turn yourself back into the
mountains, rivers, and earth. For six months he couldn't
get into it. Shengmo said, "I only hope you'll understand
late." After a long time, one day he suddenly had insight,
but he still couldn't understand why an ancient master had
said of the monk who was enlightened upon seeing peach
blossoms, "Quite right, but I dare say the old brother isn't
Eventually Wansong went to Xueyuan, a sixth genera-
tion successor in Furong's line, where he became greatly
enlightened. He said, "It is so near - all my former clev-
erness burnt up in one fire, for the first time I see how
Shengmo helped people." In his talks on ch an cases, Wan-
song quotes Shengmo as well as Xueyuan, telling what
they said about the stories. Wansong stayed with Xueyuan
for two more years investigating the subtleties, and finally
was entrusted with carrying on the teaching. From that time on
he became famous; in 1193, at the age of twenty seven, he was
summoned by the emperor of the Jin dynasty, the [urchen
rulers of northern China. Later he served as abbot of several
monasteries by imperial appointment under the Jurchen Jin
and Mongol Yuan dynasties. In his latter years he retired to the
House of Equanimity, after which his best known work is
Baqiao said to the assembly, "If you have a staff, I'll give you
the staff; if you have no staff, I'll take your staff away."
Tiantong Hongzhi brought this up and said, "If you
have, then all have; if you have not, all have not. Having or
not only depends on the person concerned; is giving or taking
away any business of Baqiao? At this moment, what about
Wansong comments, 'Than master Huiqing of Baqiao
Mountain in Ying province succeeded to Guangyong of the
Southern Stupa, who succeeded to Yangshan; so Baqiao
was a great-grandson of Guishan. In a talk in the hall, he
said, 'When I was twenty-eight I came to Mt. Yang and
saw the master of the southern stupa there (Guangyong)
go up into the hall and say, "You people, if you are the
real thing, you would know how to roar like a lion the
moment you're born from your mother's womb -
wouldn't that be delightful?" At that time, at his words, I
set body and mind to rest, and stayed there for five years.'
"Baqiao said to his group, 'If you have a staff, I'll give
you the staff.' I say, the patriarchal teacher didn't come
from the West, to transmit a wonderful secret at Shaolin;
what's the need for Bodhidharma to point directly to the
human mind? Baqiao also said, 'If you have no staff, I'll
take your staff away.' Even if you don't bring along even a
single thing, yet you must even cast that off before you
will attain realization.
"Master Che of Dagui said, 'I am not so; if you have a
staff, I will take your staff away; if you have no staff, I will
give you a staff. As Dagui is like this, can you people use
it or not? If you can't use it, then for the time being return
it to the original owner.' I say, he poles the boat along
with the flow; people of the time know it exists.
"Tiantong brought this out - for a great man, having or
not rests with oneself; it is not subject to Baqiaos judge-
ment and disposition . This has since time immemorial
been called the staff of a patchrobed monk. Tiantong
feared that the person responsible would avoid it, so he
said further, 'At this moment, what about your staff?' Even
if you can bring it out, don't let me see it, or I'll break it
into eight pieces, burn it up and let the ashes blow away.
I am old - it's all right to keep it too. Why? Sometimes It
helps one across a river where the bridge is broken; how
many times has it accompanied me back to the moonht
When Yantou took leave of Deshan, Deshan said, "Where
are you going?" Yantou said, "For now I'm taking leave of
you , Master, and going down the mountain." Deshan said,
"After that, then what?" Yantou said, "I won't forget you,
master." Deshan said, "By virtue of what do you say
this?" Yantou said, "Haven't you heard that when one's
knowledge is equal to his teacher's, he has less than half
his teacher's virtue; when one's knowledge surpasses the
teacher's, only then is he qualified for the transmission."
Deshan said, "So it is. So it is. Guard it well on your
Tiantong Hongzhi brought this up and said, "Deshan usu-
ally did not set up buddhas or patriarchs under his cane,
but here, in this situation, he was so kind. Even though
this is sustenance for an adopted son, how can he avoid
getting criticism from people of later times? When (Yantou)
said, 'When one's knowledge surpasses the teacher, only
then is he qualified for the transmission,' I would drag out
a staff and hit him right across the back."
Wansong comments, ''Chan master Yantou Quanhuo,
when he first called on Deshan, carried his sitting mat up
into the hall and looked up at Deshan, who saw him and
said, 'What are you doing?' Yantou scolded him; Deshan
said, 'Where is my fault?' Yantou said, 'A double case,'
then went down to meditate in the hall. Deshan thought to
himself, 'This monk somewhat resembles a pilgrim.' So at
the end, when he took leave of Deshan, Deshan said,
'Where are you going?' and Yantou said, 'For now I'm
leaving you and going down the mountain.' Deshan said,
'After that, then what?' Yantou said, 'I won't forget you,
master.' All of this is proper to teacher and apprentice, no
different from anywhere else. Deshan also asked, 'Based
on what do you say this?' Yantou said, 'Haven't you heard
that when one's knowledge is equal to his teacher, he has
less than half the teacher's virtue; when one's knowledge
surpasses the teacher, only then is he qualified for the
transmission.' Many say 'when one's view is equal to the
teacher' and 'when the view surpasses the teacher' - this
doesn't miss the principle. Wangshan Fazu said, 'There are
three kinds of lions: the first transcends sect, with a dif-
ferent eye; the second is shoulder to shoulder, in the same
track; the third is shadow and echo, not real.' One who
transcends sect with a different eye has a view which goes
beyo~d his teacher, and is capable of being a seedling; one
who IS shoulder to shoulder in the same track has less than
half his teacher's virtue, and is stuck in the present; one
who is shadow and echo, not real, is a mixture of fox and
jackal, a sheep in a tiger's skin.
"Tiantong brings up how Deshan usually never let even
buddhas or patriarchs stand under his cane, but at this
this is sustenance for an adopted son, how can he avoid
getting criticism from people of later times?' When Linji
left Huangbo, the latter asked him 'Where are you going to
go?' Linji said, 'If not south of the river, then north of the
river.' Huangbo then hit him; Linji grabbed and held
him, and gave him a slap. Huangbo laughed loudly and
called to his attendant, 'Bring me my late master
Baizhang's meditation brace and desk.' When the at-
tendant brought them, Linji repeatedly shouted, 'At-
tendant, bring me fire!' Huangbo said, 'Just take them and
go - later on you will cut off the tongues of everyone on
earth.' Tiantong just knows how to examine the man who
transmits the Dharma, but doesn't know that the man who
receives the Dharma deserves it even more. At that time if
I were Linji, when I heard him say, 'Just take them and go
- later on you'll cut off the tongues of everyone on earth,'
I'd just say to him, '1£ you want to cut off the tongues of
everyone on earth, then indeed you should bring fire and
bum up today's public case, and just merge with the ordi-
nary.' If I had seen Deshan say, 'So it is, so it is - guard
it well on your own,' I would have shouted thunderously
and left, and our posterity would not be cut off.