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(Rōmaji:) Shūmon kattōshū
(English:) Entangling Vines
(Magyar:) Gabalyodó indák

282 kōans, emerged in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries as a koan handbook in the 妙心寺 Myōshin-ji tradition, first published in 1689. (Image above: title page of the 1890 edition of the book)



Gabalyodó indák
Fordította: Terebess Gábor

宗門葛藤集 Shūmon kattōshū

Entangling Vines: Zen Koans of the Shūmon Kattōshū
Translated by Thomas Yūhō Kirchner

reviewed by Taigen Dan Leighton


Shūmon kattōshū (32KB)
Collation of the books published in 1822, 1890, and the book edited by Kajitani Sōnin in 1982
http://iriz.hanazono.ac.jp/frame/data_f00d.en.html > Download > Other Data

道前宗閑 Dōmae Sōkan, ed. and annot. 校訂本宗門葛藤集 Kōteibon Shūmon kattōshū. (Zen school koan collection: Revised edition). Kyōto : 禅文化研究所 Zen Bunka Kenkyūsho, Heisei 22 [2010]


Entangling Vines: Zen Koans of the Shūmon Kattōshū. Tr. by Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, published by the Tenryu-ji Institute for Philosophy and Religion, in cooperation with the Institute for Zen Studies, 2004. 237 p.

reviewed by Taigen Dan Leighton, Graduate Theological Union
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 33/1 (2006)

This is an excellent first translation of an important Japanese Rinzai kōan collection compiled in the late seventeenth century, first published in 1689. Shūmon Kattōshū consists of 282 kōan cases, all presented without any appended comments. The title, Shūmon Kattōshū , might be rendered as “Collection of Tangled Vines from the Source Gate,” and the helpful Translator's Preface explains that kattō , or entangling vines, is a Zen synonym for kōans. Nearly a third of the cases are familiar from the classic Song period Chan kōan collections.

The first thing to be noted about this English edition is the exemplary format, with the name of the case and the whole case itself given in Chinese characters before the translations. While no hindrance to those who cannot read Chinese, it is an extraordinary aid to those who are able, allowing Chinese readers to check nuances of the originals against Kirchner's fine translations. The use of so many Chinese characters interspersed in the text seems, unfortunately, unfeasible for most American publishers, so we have reaped the benefit of this volume's private publication in Japan, by the Tenryu-ji Institute for Philosophy and Religion.

Each of the cases, in Chinese and English, is followed immediately by useful annotation from Kirchner, with some cross-referencing of the cases in the better known Chinese Wumenguan ( Mumonkan ), Blue Cliff Record , or Record of Tranquility kōan collections, or in the Record of Linji . The footnotes also provide informative allusions, definitions of terms or phrases, instances where the Chinese terms are complex and might yield other interpretations, and occasionally, helpful interpretive material. However, the annotation is intentionally kept to a modest length, attempting to strike a balance such as never to overwhelm the text itself with what Kirchner calls the “unnecessary and distracting,” while still providing practical assistance. As delineated in the Foreword by Ueda Shizuteru (including a noteworthy excerpt from Kirchner's own training journal), Kirchner is extraordinarily well qualified to provide such assistance, as he has spent decades as a Rinzai unsui , including practice with Yamada Mumon Roshi and periods in the Shōfukuji, Kenchōji, and Kenninji monks' halls, and residence at Daitokuji and Tenryūji, as well as scholarly study and work at Ōtani, Nanzan, and Hanazono Universities.

Easily worth the price of the book by itself is the appended Biographical Notes, a seventy-four page alphabetized reference for all the persons mentioned in the cases, mostly Chinese masters, but also including Indian figures such as Ānanda and Aṅgulimāla as well as archetypal bodhisattvas such as Avalokiteśvara and Maitreya, with the cases wherein they each appear. These comprehensive notes provide an exceptional wealth of historical information, reminiscent of the endnotes in the 1966 classic Zen Dust by Miura and Sasaki, no longer in print or easily available. But Kirchner's invaluable Biographical Notes are further informed by the scholarship that has appeared since then. Other apparatus, along with a Bibliography, consist of alphabetized Wade-Giles and Japanese Name charts, each with both Wade-Giles and Pinyin equivalences along with Chinese characters and Japanese names (the text itself employs pinyin).

This Shūmon Kattōshū is part of the regular kōan curriculum of the Takujū branch of Rinzai Zen, following the Mumonkan (Ch. Wumenguan ; Gateless Barrier ) and the Hekigan roku (Ch. Biyanlu ; Blue Cliff Record ), so this first translation is an important event for Rinzai scholars and practitioners. Of the two hundred and eighty-two cases, forty-three cases also appear (in part, or within the commentary) among the fortyeight cases of the Mumonkan , thirty-nine cases similarly appear in the Hekigan roku , and eleven cases are in the Shōyōroku (Ch. Congronglu ; Record of Tranquility ), another popular collection available in translation. Another fifteen of the cases appear, at least in part, in the Rinzairoku (Ch. Linjilu , Record of Linji ). Of the Kattōshū cases not present in these Song period collections, eight cases interestingly deal with native Japanese figures, and another one even includes a comment by Hakuin, obviously added later since Hakuin was born in 1685, only four years before this collection's first publication. Significantly, along with new, good translations of many familiar cases, with their original Chinese, this collection includes many kōan cases not heretofore available in English. Kirchner notes that seventeen of the cases from the Song involve Xutang Zhiyu (1185–1269), Chinese progenitor of the dominant Japanese Rinzai Ōtōkan lineage (including both Takujū and Inzan lines).

As to Kirchner's translations themselves, generally his renditions are lucid, quite readable, and clearly reflect careful consideration of the Chinese originals. Thanks to Kirchner's experience as an unsui , these translations also are informed by the traditional interpretations conveyed in the modern Rinzai lineages, often described directly in the footnotes (although Kirchner is quick to clarify in his preface that these interpretations do not constitute “answers” to the kōans). One minor example is case 16, the celebrated story of the ox passing through a lattice window except for its tail. Kirchner notes that the preposition can also refer to the ox simply passing by the window, although the underlying meaning of the case is not changed in either reading. While there are current Rinzai and Sōtō masters who read it as passing by, Kirchner notes that most Rinzai masters prefer the more melodramatic reading, right through the window, “for the sake of emphasis.”

Two recent translations of kōan collections by the Japanese Sōtō Zen founder Eihei Dōgen bear mention in comparison to Kirchner's new translation of Kattōshū and its 282 cases without comment. Strikingly similar in form is Dōgen's collection of 300 cases also without any commentary, known as Mana Shōbōgenzō —not to be confused with Dōgen's completely different, renowned work Shōbōgenzō —with long poetic essays, many elaborating on the same kōans. Dōgen's collection of three hundred cases has recently been translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori as The True Dharma Eye (2005). In contrast to Kirchner's work, this edition has no scholarly annotation, though it does have appended very brief Biographical notes, useful lineage charts, and an eight-page glossary. Of much more value is a chart of cross-references, locating each case in the Mumonkan , the Hekigan roku ( Blue Cliff Record ), and the Shōyōroku , as well as in Dōgen's essays in the better known Shōbōgenzō, and in his Eihei Kōroku . In contrast to Kirchner's annotation after each case, this edition follows each case with Loori's original Dharma teaching in brief commentary, capping verse, and added notes for each line, all reminiscent of the format and Dharma-combat style of the Blue Cliff Record . While of little scholarly relevance, practitioners can decide for themselves if these comments are illuminating or “unnecessary and distracting.”

Another new translation of a Dōgen kōan collection can be found in volume nine of this reviewer's translation with Shohaku Okumura of Eihei Kōroku , as Dōgen's Extensive Record (Leighton and Okumura 2004). Volume nine contains ninety cases selected by Dōgen, but also with his own verse commentaries, in the same form as the original cases with verses by Xuedou and Hongzhi, which became the bases for the Blue Cliff Records and Book of Tranquility ( Shōyōroku ), respectively.

One provocative example for a brief comparison of these different collections is case 9 in the Kattōshū , the response of Zhaozhou (Jp. Jōshu) to questioning about the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West as, “the juniper tree in the garden” (in other translations an oak or cypress). In addition to appearing in the two newly translated Dōgen texts, this story also is found in the Mumonkan , Shōyōroku , and in Zhaozhou's Recorded Sayings . Characteristically, the Mumonkan version concisely includes only the initial question and response, while the others (in the commentary for the Shōyōroku ) offer the inquiring monk's follow-up admonition to Zhaozhou to not teach, “using external objects.” Thereupon Zhaozhou insists he is not using external objects, but when the monk asks the basic question again, Zhaozhou repeats his answer of the juniper tree. Whereas all the other versions end there, the Kattōshū continues with the later great teacher Fayan asking a disciple of Zhaozhou if he had indeed spoken of a juniper, which the disciple heatedly denies, saying, “don't slander him!” Thereupon Fayan exclaims, “The true child of a lion gives a good lion's roar!”

Of the above versions, only the Shōyōroku and the Eihei Kōroku offer extensive commentary, the latter not only with three capping verses, unique for volume nine, but also with a variety of Dōgen's stimulating commentary and interlinear comments on the story in three other sections of Eihei Kōroku . As to what kind of tree grew in Zhaozhou's garden, the translation of Zhaozhou's Recorded Sayings (Green 1998) and three of four translations of Mumonkan that I checked call it an oak; the other versions all call it a cypress. Only Kirchner calls it a juniper, but his footnote is most helpful. He notes that the character is a kind of juniper tree (Matthews mentions juniper, cypress, and cedar), but that the reading of “oak” comes from the Japanese reading of the character as kashiwa . He further adds Harada Shōdo Roshi's illuminating comment about “the uselessness of the Chinese juniper for lumber or nearly any other purpose.”

Trying to find shortcomings in Entangling Vines is challenging. Given the high quality of the footnotes, my own preference, and probably that of many academic scholars, would have been for the translator to offer slightly more annotation. The difficulty of availability of this new volume in the West might also be mentioned. While the notes do provide references to other texts, these are not so readily accessible in this format (compared to the helpful cross-reference chart in the Tanahashi and Loori translation). As more translations of kōan materials appear, a full English concordance of cases, including their occurrence in the Recorded Sayings and Lamp Transmission anthologies, will become increasingly desirable. Of course such a kōan concordance would be a considerable, separate project from the translations themselves.

Cleary, Thomas, tr.1990 Book of Serenity . Hudson, N.Y.: Lindisfarne Press.
Cleary, Thomas, and J. C. Cleary, tr.1977 The Blue Cliff Record . Boston: Shambhala.
Green, James, tr.1998 The Recorded Sayings of Zen Master Joshu . Boston: Shambhala.
Leighton, Taigen Dan, and Shohaku Okumura, tr.2004 Dōgen's Extensive Record: A Translation of Eihei Koroku . Boston: Wisdom Publications.
Miura, Isshū, and Ruth Fuller Sasaki1966 Zen Dust: The History of the Koan and Koan Study in Rinzai (Lin-chi) Zen . New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World.
Tanahashi, Kazuaki and John Daido Loori, tr.,2005 The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen's Three Hundred Kōan s , with Commentary and Verse by John Daido Loori. Boston: Shambhala.




Entangling Vines
A Classic Collection of Zen Koans by Thomas Yuho Kirchner. Foreword by Nelson Foster, Wisdom Publications, 2013, 352 p.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Nelson Foster
Introduction by Ueda Shizuteru
Translator's Preface
Preface to the Wisdom Edition
Conventions and Abbreviations

Entangling Vines, Part 1

Case 1: 二祖安心 Pacifying the Mind of the Second Patriarch > Also WUMEN GUAN 41
Case 2: 六祖衣鉢 The Sixth Patriarch's Robe and Bowl > Also WUMEN GUAN 23
Case 3: 五祖他奴 Wuzu's “Someone's Servants” > Also WUMEN GUAN 45
Case 4: 雲門須彌 Yunmen's “Mount Sumeru”
Case 5: 馬祖即心 Mazu's “This Very Mind” > Also WUMEN GUAN 30, 33
Case 6: 趙州放下 Zhaozhou's “Drop It!” > Also CONGRONG LU 57
Case 7: 兜率三關 Doushuai's Three Barriers > Also WUMEN GUAN 47
Case 8: 靈雲見桃 Lingyun Sees Peach Blossoms
Case 9: 趙州柏樹 Zhaozhou's “Juniper Tree” > Also WUMEN GUAN 37 > Also CONGRONG LU 47
Case 10: 黄龍三關 Huanglong's Three Barriers
Case 11: 瑞巖主人 Ruiyan's “Master” > Also WUMEN GUAN 12
Case 12: 趙州勘婆 Zhaozhou Sees Through an Old Woman > Also WUMEN GUAN 31
Case 13: 郎中地獄 Langzhong's “Hell”
Case 14: 長生混沌 Changsheng's “Chaos”
Case 15: 孤峰不白 One Peak Is Not White
Case 16: 牛過窓櫺 An Ox Goes through a Lattice Window > Also WUMEN GUAN 38
Case 17: 乾峰三種 Qianfeng's “Three Types of Sickness”
Case 18: 山谷木犀 Shangu's Sweet-Olive Blossoms
Case 19-1: 香嚴上樹 Xiangyan's “Up a Tree” > Also WUMEN GUAN 5
Case 19-2: 大慧樹上 Dahui's “Up a Tree”
Case 20: 雲門屎橛 Yunmen's “Dry Piece of Shit” > Also WUMEN GUAN 21
Case 21: 雲門蘇盧 Yunmen's “Sulu”
Case 22-1: 徳山托鉢 Deshan Carries His Bowls > Also WUMEN GUAN 13 > Also BIYAN LU 51
Case 22-2: 密庵意旨 Mian's “True Meaning”
Case 23: 馬祖西江 Mazu's “West River” > Also BIYAN LU 42
Case 24: 不入涅槃 Not Entering Nirvana
Case 25: 石霜竿頭 Shishuang's “Top of a Pole” > Also WUMEN GUAN 46
Case 26: 香嚴撃竹 Xiangyan's Sound of a Bamboo
Case 27: 心隨萬境 The Mind Turns with Its Surroundings
Case 28-1: 倩女離魂 Qiannu and Her Spirit > Also WUMEN GUAN 35
Case 28-2: 虛堂頌古 Xutang's Verse
Case 29: 雲門露字 Yunmen's “Exposed”
Case 30: 密庵沙盆 Mian's “Brittle Bowl”
Case 31: 國師三喚 The National Teacher Calls Three Times > Also WUMEN GUAN 17
Case 32: 懶安有句 Lan'an's “Being and Nonbeing” > Also CONGRONG LU 87
Case 33: 南泉鎌子 Nanquan's Sickle
Case 34: 百丈野狐 Baizhang's Wild Fox > Also WUMEN GUAN 2
Case 35: 關山賊機 Kanzan's “Works like a Thief”
Case 36: 二僧捲簾 Two Monks Roll Up Bamboo Shades > Also WUMEN GUAN 26
Case 37: 虛空爲紙 Use the Empty Sky for Paper
Case 38: 賢女屍林 The Wise Women in the Mortuary Grove 60
Case 39: 漂堕鬼國 Drifting to the Land of the Demons
Case 40: 秀才造論 A Scholar Writes a Treatise
Case 41: 室内一燈 The Lamp in the Room
Case 42: 心身共捨 Cast Aside Both Mind and Body
Case 43: 達磨不來 Bodhidharma Didn't Come to China
Case 44: 丹霞燒佛 Danxia Burns a Buddha Image
Case 45: 寤寐恒一 Asleep or Awake, At All Times Be One
Case 46-1: 趙州無字 Zhaozhou's “Wu” > Also WUMEN GUAN 1 > Also CONGRONG LU 18
Case 46-2: 無字之頌 A Verse on Zhaozhou's “Wu”
Case 46-3: 中峰無字 Zhongfeng's Eight-Word Question on “Wu”
Case 46-4: 大慧無字 Dahui's “Wu”
Case 46-5: 僧未問佛 Before the Monk Asked about Buddha Nature
Case 46-6: 古徳透徹 Penetrate It Thoroughly
Case 47: 佛直祖曲 Buddha Straight, Ancestors Crooked
Case 48: 女子出定 A Woman Comes Out of Samadhi > Also WUMEN GUAN 42
Case 49:: 水上行話 East Mountain Walks on the Water
Case 50: 法華禪定 Lotus Samadhi
Case 51: 大通智勝 The Buddha of Great Universal Wisdom Excellence > Also WUMEN GUAN 9
Case 52: 黄龍念讚 Huanglong's “Sutra Chanting”
Case 53: 馬祖塩醤 Mazu's “Salt and Sauce”
Case 54: 柏樹托鉢 Juniper Tree, Carrying Bowls
Case 55: 張公喫酒 Mr. Zhang Drinks Wine
Case 56: 鼓山伽陀 Gushan's Gāthā
Case 57: 一失人身 To Lose a Human Birth
Case 58: 首山此經 Shoushan's “This Sutra”
Case 59: 興化打中 Xinghua's “Hold to the Center”
Case 60: 潙山水牯 Guishan's “Water Buffalo”
Case 61: 古帆未掛 The Sail Has Yet to Be Hoisted
Case 62: 洞山三斤 Dongshan's “Three Pounds of Hemp” > Also WUMEN GUAN 18 > Also BIYAN LU 12
Case 63: 南堂異類 Nantang's “Other Realms”
Case 64: 無功徳話 No Merit > Also BIYAN LU 1
Case 65: 千尺井中 A Man in a Thousand-Foot Well > Also BIYAN LU 18
Case 66: 大梅梅子 Damei's “Plum Pit”
Case 67: 法燈未了 Fadeng Is Not Yet Finished
Case 68: 南泉油糍 Nanquan's Fried Dumplings
Case 69: 無鬚鎖子 A Springless Lock
Case 70: 外道六師 The Six Non-Buddhist Teachers
Case 71: 芭蕉拄杖 Bajiao's Staff > Also WUMEN GUAN 44
Case 72: 世尊未說 The Buddha Never Preached > Also BIYAN LU 28
Case 73: 圜悟禍門 Yuanwu's “Gate of Misfortune”
Case 74: 莫妄想話 Drop Deluded Thought > Also BIYAN LU 19
Case 75: 錯用心話 Misusing the Mind
Case 76: 仰山枕子 Yangshan's Headrest
Case 77: 三佛夜話 The Three Buddhas' Night Talk
Case 78: 馬祖翫月 Mazu's Moon Viewing
Case 79: 佛不知有 The Buddhas Don't Know It > Also CONGRONG LU 69
Case 80: 臨濟孤峰 Linji's “Solitary Peak”
Case 81: 語黙離微 Speech and Silence > Also WUMEN GUAN 24
Case 82: 仰山白槌 Yangshan's Gavel > Also WUMEN GUAN 25
Case 83: 六祖風幡 The Sixth Patriarch's Banner in the Wind > Also WUMEN GUAN 29
Case 84: 五家評商 Comments on the Five Houses
Case 85: 百草頭話 All the Plants
Case 86: 願空諸有 Know the Emptiness of All That Exists
Case 87: 女子定答 Why the Woman Came Out of Samadhi
Case 88: 見色明心 To See Form and Enlighten the Mind > Also CONGRONG LU 82
Case 89: 別峰相見 A Meeting on Another Mountain > Also BIYAN LU 23
Case 90: 南泉水牯 Nanquan's “Water Buffalo”
Case 91: 雲門三句 Yunmen's Three Statements > Also BIYAN LU 8, 90
Case 92: 薫風自南 A Fragrant Breeze from the South
Case 93: 百丈開田 Baizhang's New Paddy
Case 94: 華嚴心喩 The Avataṃsaka Sutra's Simile of the Mind
Case 95: 運庵反衣 Yun'an Returns the Vestment
Case 96: 讚六祖偈 A Verse in Praise of the Sixth Patriarch
Case 97: 一子出家 When Someone Is Ordained
Case 98: 圜悟投機 Yuanwu's Enlightenment Verse
Case 99: 夾山境話 Jiashan's Surroundings
Case 100: 袈裟裏鞋 Straw Sandals in My Vestment > Also BIYAN LU 58
Case 101: 夾山掘坑 Jiashan Digs a Hole
Case 102: 朝聞夕死 Hear in the Morning, Die in the Evening
Case 103: 平常是道 Ordinary Mind Is the Way > Also WUMEN GUAN 19
Case 104: 井楼請救 Calling for Help from the Well Tower
Case 105: 路逢死蛇 A Dead Snake in the Road
Case 106: 慈明行心 Ciming's Practice
Case 107: 大燈三問 Daitō's Three Questions
Case 108: 維摩金粟 Vimalakīrti, the Golden-Millet Tathāgata > Also BIYAN LU 84
Case 109: 胡子無鬚 The Barbarian Has No Beard > Also WUMEN GUAN 4
Case 110: 心不是佛 Mind Is Not Buddha > Also WUMEN GUAN 34
Case 111: 清税孤貧 Qingshui, Poor and Alone > Also WUMEN GUAN 10
Case 112: 維摩丈室 Vimalakīrti's Ten-Foot-Square Room > Also BIYAN LU 84
Case 113: 佛性三轉 Foxing's Three Turning-Phrases
Case 114: 世尊初生 When the Buddha Was Born
Case 115: 南泉失火 Nanquan Loses the Fire
Case 116: 潙山摘茶 Guishan Picks Tea
Case 117: 百丈不食 Baizhang's “No Eating”
Case 118: 南嶽說似 Nanyue's Explanation
Case 119: 洛浦供養 Luopu's “Offerings”
Case 120: 雲門一曲 Yunmen's Tune
Case 121: 趙州救火 Zhaozhou's “Put Out the Fire!”
Case 122: 黄檗烏藤 Huangbo's Staff
Case 123: 濟下三評 Comparing Three Students of Linji
Case 124: 世尊蓮目 The World-Honored-One's Lotus Eyes
Case 125: 東西密付 The Secret Transmission from West to East
Case 126: 孔子一變 Confucius's “Changes”
Case 127: 治生商業 Earning a Living and Producing Things

Entangling Vines, Part 2

Case 128: 徳山燒疏 Deshan Burns His Commentaries > Also WUMEN GUAN 28 > Also BIYAN LU 4
Case 129: 洞山地神 Dongshan and the Earth Spirit > Also BIYAN LU 97
Case 130: 興化罰銭 Xinghua Levies a Fine
Case 131: 麻谷手巾 Magu and the Hand-Cloth
Case 132: 疎山壽塔Shushan's Memorial Tombstone
Case 133: 塡王思佛 King Udayana Thinks of the Buddha
Case 134: 首山竹篦 Shoushan's Stick > Also WUMEN GUAN 43
Case 135: 世尊拈華 The World-Honored-One Holds Up a Flower > Also WUMEN GUAN 6
Case 136: 迦葉刹竿 Mahākāśyapa's Temple Flagpole > Also WUMEN GUAN 22
Case 137: 廣慧罪業 Guanghui's “Evil Karma”
Case 138: 乾峰一路 Qianfeng's “Single Road” > Also WUMEN GUAN 48
Case 139: 南嶽磨塼 Nanyue Polishes a Tile
Case 140: 兜率茘支 Doushuai's Lychees
Case 141: 佛境魔境 Realm of the Buddha, Realm of Mara
Case 142: 松源三轉 Songyuan's Three Turning-Phrases > Also WUMEN GUAN 20
Case 143: 虛堂三問 Xutang's Three Questions
Case 144: 大燈三轉 Daitō's Three Turning-Phrases
Case 145: 南泉住庵 Nanquan Living in a Hermitage
Case 146: 慈明榜字 Ciming's Signpost
Case 147: 慈明盆水 Ciming's Bowl of Water
Case 148: 鐘声七條 Putting on Your Vestment at the Sound of the Bell > Also WUMEN GUAN 16
Case 149: 微細流注 Subtle Flow
Case 150: 法雲示衆 Fayun Addresses the Assembly
Case 151: 仰山撲鏡 Yangshan Smashes a Mirror
Case 152: 雲門擧令 Yunmen's Sermon
Case 153: 陳操登楼 Chen Cao in a Tower > Also BIYAN LU 33
Case 154: 婆子燒庵 An Old Woman Burns Down a Hermitage
Case 155: 別有生涯 A Different Way of Doing Things > Also BIYAN LU 20
Case 156: 一言駟馬 One Word and a Four-Horse Team
Case 157: 法身喫飯 The Dharmakāya Eats Food
Case 158: 虛堂兩字 Xutang's “Words”
Case 159: 臨濟三句 The Three Statements of Linji
Case 160: 華嚴法界 The Avataṃsaka Sutra's Dharma Realms
Case 161: 洞山夏末 Dongshan's “End of the Training Period” > Also CONGRONG LU 89
Case 162: 曹山大海 Caoshan's “Great Sea”
Case 163: 毘婆尸頌 The Verse of Vipaśyin
Case 164: 雲門失通 Yunmen Loses His Powers > Also BIYAN LU 6
Case 165: 殃崛産難 Aṅgulimāla and the Difficult Delivery
Case 166: 巖頭渡子 Yantou the Ferryman
Case 167: 麻谷鋤草 Magu Digs Up Weeds
Case 168: 皓月償債 Haoyue's “Paying Debts”
Case 169: 大燈鐡話 Daitō's “Iron”
Case 170: 佛教祖意 Buddha's Teaching, Bodhidharma's Intention
Case 171: 末後評頌 Comment and Verse on the Final Word > Also WUMEN GUAN 13
Case 172: 慈明執爨 Ciming Tends the Hearth
Case 173: 慈明虎聲 Ciming and the Tiger's Roar
Case 174: 慈明脱履 Ciming Takes Off a Shoe
Case 175: 關山本有 Kanzan's “Inherently Perfect Buddha”
Case 176: 臨濟赤肉 Linji's “Hunk of Red Flesh” > Also CONGRONG LU 38
Case 177: 臨濟四境 Linji's Four Realms
Case 178: 臨濟四喝 Linji's Four Shouts
Case 179: 一喝商量 One Shout Remains
Case 180: 臨濟主句 Linji's “Host and Guest”
Case 181: 四賓主話 The Four Guest-Host Relationships
Case 182: 百丈再參 Baizhang Goes to See Mazu Again > Also BIYAN LU 11
Case 183-1: 慈明連喝 Ciming's Consecutive Shouts
Case 183-2: 虛堂幽谷 Xutang's Dark Valley
Case 184: 興化兩遭 Xinghua's Two Waves of the Hand
Case 185: 南院啐啄 Nanyuan's “Pecking and Tapping” > Also BIYAN LU 16
Case 186: 虛堂拄杖 Xutang's Staff
Case 187: 臨濟築拳 Linji Delivers a Blow > Also BIYAN LU 11
Case 188: 洞山三頓 Dongshan's “Three-Score Blows” > Also WUMEN GUAN 15 > Also BIYAN LU 12
Case 189: 慈明論棒 Ciming Asks about the Three-Score Blows
Case 190: 州勘庵主 Zhaozhou Checks Two Hermits > Also WUMEN GUAN 11
Case 191: 瑯瑘先照 Langye's “Perception First”
Case 192: 臨濟栽松 Linji Plants Pines
Case 193: 百丈說了 Baizhang's “Already Explained” > Also WUMEN GUAN 27 > Also BIYAN LU 28
Case 194: 徳山行棒 Deshan Uses His Stick
Case 195: 臨濟瞎驢 Linji's “Blind Ass” > Also BIYAN LU 49 > Also CONGRONG LU 13
Case 196: 張拙看經 Zhang Zhuo Sees the Sutra > Also BIYAN LU 36
Case 197: 南方一棒 The Staff of the South > Also BIYAN LU 38
Case 198: 文殊來參 Mañjuśrī Visits > Also BIYAN LU 43
Case 199: 一拳拳倒 To Knock Down with One Blow
Case 200: 雪峰打僧 Xuefeng Strikes a Monk
Case 201: 善財採藥 Sudhana Gets Some Medicine > Also BIYAN LU 87
Case 202: 投子答佛 Touzi Answers “Buddha” > Also BIYAN LU 79
Case 203: 雲門喚遠 Yunmen Calls Attendant Chengyuan > Also BIYAN LU 17
Case 204: 楞厳轉物 The Śūraṅgama Sutra's “Turning Things Around”
Case 205: 守廓跛鼈 Shoukuo's “Lame Nag” > Also CONGRONG LU 14
Case 206: 長沙翫月 Changsha Enjoys the Moon > Also BIYAN LU 36
Case 207-1: 臨濟洗脚 Linji Washes His Feet
Case 207-2: 松源上堂 Songyuan Takes the High Seat
Case 208: 臨濟四料 Linji's Four Positions
Case 209: 陸亙笑哭 Lu Gen's Laughing and Crying > Also BIYAN LU 12
Case 210: 臨濟四用 Linji's Four Functions
Case 211: 乾峰擧一 Qianfeng's “Take Up the One” > Also BIYAN LU 24
Case 212: 文殊起見 Mañjuśrī Gives Rise to Views > Also BIYAN LU 26
Case 213: 徹翁遺誡 Tettō's Admonitions
Case 214: 無邊刹境 The Infinite Realms
Case 215: 樂天問法 Letian Asks about the Dharma
Case 216: 浮盃答婆 Fubei Answers a Woman
Case 217: 色即是空 Form Is Emptiness
Case 218: 臨濟教化 Linji Asks for Alms
Case 219: 趙州爐話 Zhaozhou's “Talk around the Fireside”
Case 220: 潙山擧米 Guishan Picks Up a Grain of Rice
Case 221: 常侍看毬 Changshi Watches a Polo Game
Case 222: 福田惡道 No Merit, Evil Realms
Case 223: 清浄本然 Pure Original Nature > Also BIYAN LU 35
Case 224: 荒草不鋤 An Uncut Weed Patch
Case 225: 金翅鳥王 The Garuḍa King
Case 226: 折半裂三 Split in Two, Torn in Three
Case 227: 斎僧功徳 The Merit of Donating Food to the Sangha
Case 228: 瑯瑘洪鐘 Langye's “Great Bell”
Case 229: 法無二法 In the Dharma There Is No Duality
Case 230: 菩提宿將 A Veteran General of the Dharma Assembly
Case 231: 莊嚴三昧 Flower Adornment Samadhi
Case 232: 一切放下 Let Go of Everything
Case 233: 撃動法鼓 Sound the Dharma Drum
Case 234: 心地含種 The Mind-Ground Contains the Seeds
Case 235: 空空法界 The Dharma Realm of the Emptiness of Emptiness
Case 236: 一法若有 If a Single Dharma Exists
Case 237: 補陀巖上 Atop Mount Putuo
Case 238: 圓相因起 The Origin of the Circle-Figures
Case 239: 宏智四借 Hongzhi's Four “Uses”
Case 240: 生解未分 After Birth and Before Discrimination
Case 241: 智不到處 Where Wisdom Cannot Reach
Case 242: 古徳大死 An Ancient Worthy's “Great Death”
Case 243: 慧覺無罪 Huijue's “No Sin”
Case 244: 宏智八句 The Eight Phrases of Hongzhi
Case 245: 踏著不嗔 To Be Stepped On without Anger
Case 246: 月夜斷索 A Piece of Rope on a Moonlit Night > Also BIYAN LU 48
Case 247: 憲宗問光 Xianzong Asks about the Light
Case 248: 大王来也 The Great King Has Come > Also BIYAN LU 9
Case 249: 路逢逹道 Responding to a Wayfarer on the Road > Also WUMEN GUAN 36 > Also BIYAN LU 82
Case 250: 黄檗禮佛 Huangbo Bows to a Buddha Image > Also BIYAN LU 11
Case 251: 那吒析肉 Prince Nata Tears His Flesh
Case 252: 隱峰推車 Yinfeng Pushes a Wheelbarrow
Case 253: 關山罵僧 Kanzan Scolds a Monk
Case 254: 許老胡知 I Accept That the Old Barbarian Knows > Also WUMEN GUAN 9 > Also BIYAN LU 1, 51
Case 255: 十智同眞 Ten Realizations, Same Reality
Case 256: 天皇恁麼 Tianhuang's “Like This”
Case 257: 夾山法身 Jiashan's “Dharmakāya”
Case 258: 茶陵投機 Chaling's Enlightenment Verse
Case 259: 白雲未在 Baiyun's “Still Lacking”
Case 260: 太宗擎鉢 Taizong Holds a Bowl
Case 261: 斷百思想 Stop All Thoughts
Case 262: 趙州石橋 Zhaozhou's Stone Bridge > Also BIYAN LU 52
Case 263: 佛早留心 A Buddha Long Ago Set His Mind > Also WUMEN GUAN 22
Case 264: 洞山果子 Dongshan's Fruit
Case 265: 長慶拄杖 Changqing's Staff > Also BIYAN LU 18
Case 266: 僧被蛇齩 A Monk Is Bitten by a Snake
Case 267: 國師水椀 The National Teacher's Water Bowl > Also BIYAN LU 48
Case 268: 三界輪廻 Moving through the Three Realms
Case 269: 明眼落井 A Clear-Eyed Person Falls into a Well > Also BIYAN LU 13
Case 270-1: 首山綱宗 Shoushan's Principles of the Teaching
Case 270-2: 拖泥帶水 Filthy, Stagnant Water
Case 271: 撲落非他 The Sound of the Wood Isn't Separate from Me
Case 272: 南泉遷化 Nanquan's Death

Reference Materials

Biographical Notes
Chart of Names in Pinyin
Chart of Names in Wade-Giles
Chart of Names in Japanese
About the Translator


Entangling Vines - Foreword
© Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, Entangling Vines (Wisdom Publications, 2013)

This book offers “entangling vines,” but who would want them and what for? The phrase suggests tough, jungly vegetation that will trip you up, snag you in its rope-like sinews, and hold you captive. As a title, it seems calculated to put off all but the boldest or most foolhardy readers, signaling that exploration of these pages will be a struggle—arduous, exhausting, possibly futile altogether. It invites risk-takers, curiosity seekers, and especially, perhaps, people driven to get to the bottom of life's biggest questions. Shall we count you in?

As the subtitle makes clear, the vines threatening to tie us up here are koans, the famously enigmatic little stories of Zen tradition. The liveliness and strangeness of koans—the humor and inscrutability of their repartee, their unorthodox treatment of Buddhist doctrine, the indifference they exhibit to logic or social convention, their frequent eruption into hitting and hollering, their broad expressive range, from crudeness to banality to poetry of great subtlety and beauty—have made them intriguing to people of diverse cultures ever since they emerged as a feature of Zen's Chinese precursor, Chan, some nine centuries ago.

Understanding has lagged far behind interest, unfortunately. In attempting to characterize koans, popular writers commonly resort to the words puzzles and riddles , which are so inaccurate as to be positively misleading. Academic specialists fare little better with such arid definitions as “pedagogical tools for religious training.” Zen masters, who seem supremely qualified to explain the nature and working of koans, typically deflect requests for such information, declaring words inadequate to do justice to the phenomenon. Try a koan and see for yourself, they say.

Which brings us back to the entanglement under consideration—yours. Entanglement in koans takes two basic forms, one of them praised in Chan and Zen tradition, the other deplored, even ridiculed. The latter is a fascination with koans that remains merely literary or intellectual. The tradition doesn't reject such pursuits wholesale; indeed, it possesses an extraordinarily rich literature, and many of its great figures have demonstrated nimbleness and delight in the life of the mind. Zen has always insisted, however, that other interests be subordinated to practice and awakening, and it deploys a set of vivid metaphors to emphasize the absurdity and fruitlessness of a Zen student entering the thickets of analysis and interpretation before experiencing insight: heading east when you want to go west, scratching your shoe when your foot itches, beating the cart instead of the horse.

The approved form of entanglement with koans involves thorough, sustained absorption in one koan at a time, in the hope that it will eventually resolve in a deeply liberating realization. Before the process runs its course, however, engaging a koan in this fashion often feels tedious or even torturous— every bit as constricting and exasperating as the title metaphor implies—and the bonds grow still tighter if one thrashes around mentally in the effort to get loose. So whoever originally applied the phrase “entangling vines” to koans undoubtedly deserves a prize for Truth in Advertising (Medieval Chinese Division). It wasn't a private effort, though; institutionally, for centuries Chan and Zen have stressed the hardship of working with koans, promoting images of the process even more painful to contemplate than getting snarled in a web of creepers. The most cringe-inducing of these liken koan study to nightmares at the dining table—gnawing on an iron bun, eating the putrid mash left after the fermentation of alcohol, lapping up the shit and piss of bygone sages, swallowing a red-hot iron ball that can't be disgorged.

Despite such repulsive warnings, generations of Zen practitioners—male and female, lay and monastic, dauntless or terrified—have undertaken koan work and survived to verify its joys and lasting benefits as well as its intermittent miseries. Most descriptions of the process attribute the difficulty of koans to their deliberate thwarting of rationality. By this account, koans function as efficient traps for logical thought because the masters of old designed them expressly for that purpose. While it's true that logic rarely produces significant insight into a koan, the notion that koans are explicitly intended to impede logic doesn't hold up.

Centuries ago, the annals of Chan tell us, a monk questioned his distinguished master about the sayings of his predecessors, asking, “Did the buddhas and ancestral teachers have the intention of tricking people or not?” The master's reply holds for Buddhist texts of all kinds but fits koans particularly well:

Tell me, do rivers and lakes have any intention of obstructing people? Although rivers and lakes have no intention of obstructing people, still people can't cross them, so they become barriers from a human standpoint. Although ancestral teachers and buddhas had no intention of tricking people, right now people can't go beyond them, so ancestral teachers and buddhas trick people after all.

Rather than presuming that koans were created to confound us, we would do well to take them at face value, as good-faith attempts to present the Dharma, the wisdom of the Buddha, in a straightforward, perhaps striking, manner. Many events in everyday life surprise and confuse us, after all, though no one intends them to; we simply don't understand them or even know how to understand them. From this perspective, it seems utterly unremarkable that a koan—a few words cherished for illuminating reality in a profound way—would go over our heads on first encounter (and maybe for quite a while afterward). Koans often perplex the monastics and laypeople who appear in them, and evidence abounds that they've perplexed innumerable monks, nuns, and laypeople who've pondered them as well. You're baffled by them? Big deal. Join the crowd.

Beyond the qualities that have made koans a challenge in any age lie obstacles of a more mundane sort. Readers of this book can't help being hampered by the fact that an enormous gulf of time, language, history, and worldview separates us from the original parties to its content—both the people who speak and act in its koans and those who later transcribed, edited, compiled, and published them. While the latter surely had posterity in mind as they went about their tasks, they had to speak to their culture in its own terms. Even if they could have imagined readers like you and me, they couldn't possibly have tailored their texts to suit modern minds.

Judging it infeasible to bridge this culture gap, some Asian teachers whose own training centered on traditional koans have chosen to set them aside when instructing Westerners, instead improvising koans free of exotic references. Other masters, determined to transmit the legacy of koan study intact, have strived to help non-Asian practitioners cross the cultural gulf. This effort has sometimes led them to minimize cultural differences and assert dubiously universal human qualities and “archetypes,” and it has inevitably necessitated more or less detailed exposition of distinctively Asian elements that crop up in the koan stories.

Entangling Vines presents a lesser problem in this regard than earlier and better-known koan casebooks such as the Gateless Barrier and Blue Cliff Record, for it dispenses with all the embellishments that complicate and enrich those collections. Even so, most readers would be lost without the exemplary assistance that Thomas Kirchner provides in this translation, elucidating as he does every contextual feature that would obscure the basic sense of its koans. Luckily for us, he works from both sides of the cultural divide, coupling scholarly expertise and long years as a Zen priest in Japan with a keen awareness of Westerners' needs deriving from his American upbringing. Besides rendering the text into English with great care, he has supplied the Chinese graphs for convenient comparison, generously annotated terms and allusions that would escape most of us otherwise, and furnished biographical information on every identifiable figure who appears herein.

Thus equipped, in most instances even a newcomer to Zen can readily discern the literal meaning of these koans and get a sense of their players, but engagement with a koan only starts there. What ensues will depend on a number of factors: your background in Zen practice and in koan training particularly, the character of the specific koan under consideration, your teacher's guidance, and so on. In general, however, the process involves finding one's way into the koan, imaginatively inhabiting the situation that it describes and exploring the metaphors and images it uses. Out of this reconnoitering comes an awareness of which point or points in the koan require clarification. Then the hard work begins. To promote full absorption in the koan and penetration of each point, many masters advocate the use of a huatou (話頭, J., watō), a word or brief phrase that stands in for the full koan and that, with enough determination and practice, you can learn to carry in the midst of daily life and even in sleep, as well as during periods of formal, seated practice (zazen).

From this, it should be apparent that we're talking about complete immersion in the koan, an absorption that crosses supposed boundaries between the physical, emotional, psychological, and mental aspects of our lives. Although reason doesn't play a prominent role in this process, it can't be excluded; as engagement with the koan deepens, a type of inquiry develops that doesn't privilege one faculty over another. It often comes as a surprise to Westerners that inquiry of this nature is bodily as much as anything else and that, accordingly, expressions such as “working on a koan” don't boil down to euphemisms for thinking hard. Rather, they signify total commitment to the koan without trying to wring meaning from it. Its resolution can't be forced. One can only trust the process and carry on, however long it may take. Such is the degree of entanglement that koan study calls for.

At no small risk of oversimplification, perhaps we can say that koan work amounts, in the long run, to passing through a koan as a set of words and reanimating the realization from which those words sprang. The experience of resolving a koan has the quality of seeing with your own eyes what its originator must have seen in order to formulate them that way. One has the feeling not of matching wits with some faraway sage but of an intimate, immediate meeting of minds, a variation on the “mind-to-mind transmission” that Chan and Zen have noisily proclaimed and celebrated. A well-known Chinese master of the thirteenth century went so far as to declare that a breakthrough on his preferred koan would enable you to meet its author personally and “walk hand in hand with the generations of ancestral masters, truly knitting your eyebrows with theirs, seeing with the same eyes and hearing with the same ears.”

How this could occur no one can tell. I suppose neuroscientists may hope to document it with their imaging devices, but such an event is rare enough even in serene temple circumstances that the chances of its taking place under laboratory conditions become hopelessly small. To say, as I just did, that resolving a koan entails “reanimating” a prior realization actually attributes too much agency to the practitioner and too little to the koan. I might just as well say that the ancient realization encapsulated in the koan enlivens us practitioners. A phrase favored by the illustrious master Hakuin Ekaku conveys the mutuality of the process: “Mind illuminates old teachings; old teachings illuminate mind.” The preceding overview of koan work derives all but entirely from the lineage of Chan and Zen known in Japan as the Rinzai sect. The other major strain of Japanese Zen, the Sōtō sect, for centuries institutionally disavowed and criticized koan practice, but that's started to change in recent years. Research demonstrating a long and proud heritage of koan work in their own school has prompted some Sōtō leaders in the United States and elsewhere to begin experimenting with ways to revive it. Entangling Vines may prove helpful in this endeavor, for it contains follow-up koans, often referred to as “checking questions,” omitted by earlier koan collections. Masters use these secondary koans to test students' realization and prod them to further insights.

The Sōtō sect historically has denigrated koan practice chiefly on the grounds that it can become delusory in its own right, hooking people on a quest for buddha nature—a quest to grasp the ungraspable and gain what nobody lacks. This criticism, trenchant as it is, doesn't diminish in any regard the benefit countless Chan and Zen practitioners past and present have received from koan work, but it does point up a third form of entanglement with koans perhaps more dangerous than the pair described above. Frequently koans cling for a while after resolving, as practitioners' understandable elation and feeling of accomplishment morph into smugness and obsession with “passing koans.” If this tendency isn't soon scotched, it can easily toughen into private arrogance and condescension and, even more lamentably, sometimes results in exaggerated public attention to kenshō (realization experiences) and koan study per se. Old Chan worthies called this getting bound with a golden chain, since attachment to liberation has brought merely a glorified sort of enslavement.

Consider yourself warned. Entangling Vines is a magnificent book, subject to serious and consequential misuse. If you feel drawn to investigation of koans, get yourself a reliable guide—a Zen master of good reputation who's done protracted, close training in a lineage with a history of koan work—and throw yourself into it headlong. The old vines still hold.

Nelson Foster

Nelson Foster is a Dharma heir of Diamond Sangha founder Robert Aitken and succeeded him at its Honolulu temple. He now teaches mainly at Ring of Bone Zendo in the Sierra Nevada foothills, making periodic visits to the East Rock Sangha in New England.



Entangling Vines - Introduction
© Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, Entangling Vines (Wisdom Publications, 2013)

The koan collection Shūmon kattōshū 宗門葛藤集 has found an able translator in Thomas Kirchner, a ten-year veteran of Zen monastic life and presently the caretaker of Rinsen-ji, the subtemple that serves as the Founder's Hall of Tenryū-ji in Kyoto. In translating this work, one of the most important texts for Japanese Rinzai koan studies, Kirchner worked closely with Rev. Hirata Seikō (1924–2008), the former Chief Abbot of the Tenryū-ji branch of Rinzai Zen and former master of Tenryū-ji monastery.

Born in the state of Maryland in 1949, Kirchner left the United States in 1969 for a junior-year-abroad program at the International Division of Waseda University in Tokyo. There he studied Japanese culture and religion, and practiced the martial art of kyūdō (Japanese archery). His first encounter with a Zen master was with ninety-five-year-old Katō Kōzan Rōshi (1876–1971), the priest of a small temple in the mountains west of Tokyo and one of the greatest Zen teachers of that generation. Through this connection he later met Kōzan Rōshi's successor, Tsukada Kōun Rōshi (1898–1985), priest of the temple Shōan-ji in Nagano Prefecture, where Kirchner moved in early 1971 to begin formal Zen practice.

Kirchner's encounter with these two exceptional teachers determined the course of his subsequent training. In the Spring 1996 issue of the journal Zen Bunka , Kirchner briefly described his stay under Kōun Rōshi. I find it a particularly evocative picture of his early contact with Zen, so I reproduce it here in full:

On the weekends I used to attend the meditation retreats at Katō Kōzan's temple Toku'un-in, located deep in a valley where two rivers joined. It was on one of these visits that I first met Tsukada Kōun Rōshi.

Every autumn, as the Japanese maples started to redden, Kōun Rōshi and several of his students would visit Toku'un-in to pay their respects to Kōzan Rōshi. On these occasions meditation would be cancelled, and everyone would gather around a large table for an informal dinner in honor of the visitors. Kōun Rōshi, seventy-two years old at the time, had none of the mysterious air that I once associated with Zen masters. He was a plain man, looking rather like an old farmer, with a gaze that was open, yet penetrating and perceptive.

Those at the table asked me if there was anything I wished to ask Kōun Rōshi. As it was, a question had been on my mind for some time. I had come to Japan on a student visa for my junior-year-abroad program with Waseda, and had remained after the program to begin Zen practice. To support myself I was working as an English teacher, an activity that my visa status did not, strictly speaking, allow. Full honesty with oneself is central to Zen practice, I felt, and yet in order to practice Zen I was having to lie. I asked Kōun Rōshi what I should do in such a situation. He immediately replied, with a goodnatured laugh, “In a situation like that, you should be completely honest about telling the lie.”

My plan had been to live at Toku'un-in from January 1971, but when I arrived at the temple soon after the New Year's holiday it became obvious that Kōzan Rōshi's failing health would make that impossible. The people there recommended that I stay instead with Kōun Rōshi at Shōan-ji, saying they would notify him of my coming. The next morning I went to the nearby town of Itsukaichi and boarded a local train for Nagano Prefecture, high in the mountains of central Japan. At about seven o'clock in the evening, after several transfers and a few extended stops at snow-covered rural stations, each one colder than the last, I finally arrived at Nakagomi, the town nearest Shōan-ji. A twenty-minute bus ride took me to the foot of the long stone path leading up to the temple through a grove of giant cryptomeria trees. The moonlight, reflected by the snow, cast a pale glow over the winter landscape.

Reaching the temple, I noticed lights on in the room next to the entrance hall, and called out in greeting. Kōun Rōshi had not, it turned out, received word of my coming, but if he and his wife were surprised to see a shaven-headed foreigner standing in their entranceway they did not show it. My request to stay was accepted without so much as a raised eyebrow. Thus began my half-year stay under this unusual master.

Every day Kōun Rōshi would rise with us at four-thirty in the morning for an hour of zazen in the piercing cold of the meditation hall. After seating himself he would lean forward and strike his own shoulders several times with his short warning-stick ( keisaku ), as if to spur himself on to greater efforts. Zazen was followed by private sanzen instruction, then about thirty or forty minutes of sutra chanting in the main hall. At the end of the formal sutra service Kōun Rōshi would take a few sticks of lighted incense out on the porch, raise them toward the morning sky in his wrinkled hand, and read a few short sutras.

Kōun Rōshi read the sutras with an unusual rhythm. Katō Kōzan Rōshi once called him a tanuki (a racoon-like animal with a trickster reputation), and, sure enough, whenever anyone tried to follow his rhythm Kōun Rōshi would subtly change it.

But, tanuki though he may have been, Kōun Rōshi had no deceit. There was a deep integrity about him; at that time I was full of unrealistic ideals about Zen, enlightenment, and Zen masters, yet nothing that Kōun Rōshi said or did during the entire time I was there betrayed those ideals, or seemed in any way dishonest or false.

Unusually for a Zen master, he was something of a philosopher, a man who enjoyed discussing ideas and who had a gift for explaining complex problems in simple terms. No matter how abstract or theoretical a question I would ask, he always had a concrete reply that somehow cut through to the core of the issue. Never in these discussions did I sense any impatience—he would explain until I was satisfied, however long that took. The master also put great value on samu 作務, manual labor. The best jobs for Zen monks

were weed-pulling and emptying the toilets, he said, and even at his age he would help with those chores.

Later, after I left Nagano and began formal monastic life, I would sometimes return to Shōan-ji during the off-season. No matter what my doubts and questions were at the time, merely being with Kōun Rōshi for a few days was enough to dispel them.

The rōshi remained in good health until the end of his life. According to his wife, one evening he said “I'll rest now,” and went to bed. That night he died in his sleep. He was eighty-eight years old.

Desiring to experience formal monastic life, in June 1971 Kirchner entered Shōfuku-ji monastery in Kobe as a lay monk and trained there for three years under Yamada Mumon Rōshi (1900–1988). In 1974 he was ordained and given the name Shaku Yūhō 釋 雄峯, and soon afterward entered Kenchō-ji monastery in Kamakura as an unsui (a formal Zen training monk). He remained at Kenchō-ji under Minato Sodō Rōshi (1912–2006) until 1978, when he left monastic life for several years to complete his college studies. After receiving a B.A. in Buddhist studies from Ōtani University in 1981, he resumed his training under Sodō Rōshi, who had in the meantime moved to Kennin-ji monastery in Kyoto.

In 1984, after three years at Kennin-ji, Kirchner left the unsui life and moved to the Daitoku-ji subtemple Hōshun-in. Returning to his academic studies, he received a masters degree in Buddhist studies from Otani University and in education from Temple University (Japan). In 1992 he accepted the position of copyeditor at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture at Nanzan University in Nagoya, and he worked there for six years on the Institute's journals and monographs. During this period he lived near the Sōtō Zen temple Tokurin-ji, where every morning he tended a large vegetable garden before heading to work. Following a health breakdown in 1997 he resigned his position and returned to Kyoto, where, in addition to his duties as caretaker of the Tenryū-ji subtemple Rinsen-ji, he works at the International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism at Hanazono University.

Kirchner's varied life experiences, including monastic training, meditation, academic research, and professional translation and editing, can be seen as part of his overall practice of Zen. These elements have now come together to make the Kattōshū available to the English-speaking world.

The Shūmon Kattōshū

The Shūmon kattōshū is one of the few major koan texts to have been compiled in Japan. The name of the compiler (or compilers) is unknown. So, too, is the date of compilation, but the fact that the first printed version appeared in the year 1689 makes it, at the very latest, a work of the early Tokugawa period (1600–1868).

Most of the 272 cases that constitute the Kattōshū were taken from Chinese koan collections popular in Japan, like the Wumen guan 無門關 (Gateless Gate), Blue Cliff Record 碧巖錄, Record of Linji 臨濟錄, Record of Equanimity 從容錄, and Record of Xutang 虛堂錄, as well as biographical literature like the Jingde-Era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp 景徳傳燈錄 and Compendium of the Five Lamps 五燈會元.

An intriguing additional feature, however, is the presence of eight koans of Japanese origin. Case 61 features the Japanese monk Nanpo Jōmyō 南浦紹明 (1235–1309), who studied in China and transmitted the lineage of Xutang Zhiyu 虛堂智愚 (1185–1269); Cases 107, 144, 169, and 225 feature Shūhō Myōchō 宗峰妙超 (1282–1337), the successor of Nanpo; Cases 35, 225, and 253 feature Kanzan Egen 關山慧玄 (1277–1360), the chief Dharma heir of Shūhō and the founder of Myōshin-ji 妙心寺; Case 213 features Tettō Gikō 徹翁義享 (1295–1369), Shūhō's successor at Daitoku-ji; and Case 225 features Musō Soseki 夢窓疎石 (1275– 1351), a contemporary of Kanzan Egen and the founding priest of Tenryū-ji. The “ancient worthy” mentioned in Case 170 may also have been Musō Soseki. Hakuin Ekaku 白隠慧鶴 (1686–1769), the great reviver of the Japanese Rinzai school, appears in Case 199 of the present Kattōshū text, although this is a later accretion that does not appear in the first edition, published when Hakuin had just been born.

With the exception of Musō, the Japanese masters who appear are all associated with the Ōtōkan 應燈關 lineage, the Japanese Rinzai teaching line starting with Nanpo Jōmyō, Shūhō Myōchō, and Kanzan Egen, and continuing through the generations of their successors (the name Ōtōkan derives from the ō 應 of Daiō Kokushi 大應國師 [Nanpo's honorary title], the tō 燈 of Daitō Kokushi 大燈國師 [Shūhō's title], and the kan 關 of Kanzan Egen 關山慧玄). The text's design, too, follows that of a koan collection by Shūhō entitled Daitō's One Hundred and Twenty Cases 大燈百二十則. It is nearly certain, therefore, that the Kattōshū was compiled by priests of the Ōtōkan lineage. The ascendancy of this school (all present-day Rinzai masters belong to it) secured the position of the Kattōshū in the Rinzai koan training system, a position strengthened by each of the text's successive printings during the seventeenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

The Kattōshū, then, took form in accordance with the special character and approach of the Japanese Rinzai Zen school. The compilers—most likely a series of masters who selected and rearranged its contents in response to the practical needs of their students—created an anthology especially suited for use in koan-oriented Zen meditation practice.

The first distinctive feature of the collection is the large number of koans it contains. Its 272 cases far outnumber the 48 cases of the Wumen guan , the 100 cases of the Blue Cliff Record , and the 100 cases of Record of Equanimit y. A text with this number and variety of koans would provide ample material for a master as he worked with a student over the years, examining and refining the Zen experience first from one standpoint, then from another. Kajitani Sōnin (1914–95), former chief abbot of Shōkoku-ji and author of an annotated, modern-Japanese translation of the Kattōshū , commented that “herein ar compiled the basic Dharma materials of the koan system” (1982, “Kaidai” 解題). And, in fact, most of the central koans in the present Rinzai koan curriculum are contained in this work.

Another distinctive feature of the Kattōshū is that, unlike the Wumen guan and Blue Cliff Record , the koans are presented “bare,” with no introductions, commentaries, or verses. This, too, may be seen as a result of the text's development within the context of active Zen training: the straightforward structure of the koans tends to give them added force and immediacy, emphasizing the point that the koan is asking the student to address. The vitality of this approach is certain to bring home to English-speaking readers the fact that the question each koan confronts us with is the same as the question that Zen as a whole confronts us with, which, at the deepest level, is the question that life itself confronts us with.

Although Kirchner began the Kattōshū translation as a personal project, when the text's many difficulties became apparent he turned to Tenryū-ji's Hirata Seikō Rōshi for advice. Hirata met with Kirchner several times a month over the course of a year and a half to clarify the Chinese readings and discuss approaches to translating the koans themselves. Hirata's two principal Dharma heirs, Sasaki Yōdō and Yasunaga Sodō, joined the seminars on a number of occasions.

Both Sasaki and Yasunaga are, like Hirata, striving to find Zen's place in the modern world even as they maintain the classical Zen tradition. Sasaki, Hirata's successor as master of Tenryū-ji monastery, is a graduate of Kyoto University, where he studied modern academic Buddhology under Kajiyama Yūichi (1925–2004). Sasaki is the author of a book on Tenryū-ji's founder Musō Soseki, and he is at present the leading authority on this figure.

Yasunaga, following completion of his training under Hirata, established an international Zen center at his temple, Shōun-ji, and joined the faculty of Hanazono University in Kyoto as a professor of Zen studies. He is also active in the East-West Spiritual Exchange, a program of interreligious dialogue between Buddhist and Christian monks and nuns.

The participation of these three masters, deeply versed in both traditional Zen practice and modern academic thought, helped lay a solid foundation for the readings and interpretations of the Kattōshū koans.

During the past several decades linguists specializing in Tang and Song Chinese have identified many inaccuracies in the traditional Japanese readings of the Chinese Zen literature, the implication being that these mistaken readings have led to misunderstandings of the texts themselves. This challenge to traditional Japanese Zen is one that must be taken seriously—if the texts are to be used at all, they obviously must be read in a manner that is linguistically correct. This is doubly true when translation is involved.

Nevertheless, merely reading a text in a philologically correct way does not guarantee that one understands the text's message. The reading of any work invariably involves interpretation, and that, in turn, inevitably brings up questions of the depth and horizon of that interpretation. This is particularly true in the case of Zen texts, where the surface meaning of the words does not always directly convey the intention of the author or speaker. The paradoxical result is that readings which are correct from a linguistic point of view can suggest interpretations that are misleading, and vice versa. This is one of the most intriguing aspects of Zen literature.

The question of how to read a text in a philologically sound way does not always correspond to the question of how to read a text in a way that yields the text's true intention (a way of reading that, in Zen, implies an almost physical process, in which the problem addressed by the text is recognized as one's own personal problem). Zen has produced many texts, and Zen without texts is not Zen. Yet texts in and of themselves are also not Zen. Zen encompasses texts; that which the texts cannot express is approached through the texts, then experienced beyond the texts. Mere knowledge of the term “original face,” for example, does not mean that one truly knows what the term is pointing to.

The people most familiar with the use of texts in Zen training are the shike , the masters at the Zen training monasteries. During the one-on-one encounters between master and disciple known as sanzen , koans like those in the Kattōshū are given to the monk in the form of questions or problems that the monk must respond to. These questions are presented in the form of language, and the responses, too, are expressed in the form of language (including body language and silence). Yet the trajectory that connects these two linguistic endpoints is not itself a step-by-step progression of words. There occurs during the deep samadhi of zazen a leap that separates and yet simultaneously bridges the language of the question and the language of the response. This process may be characterized as one of “from language, into language,” with the inquiry emerging from words and the response emerging into words.

In this “from language, into language” dynamic lies the true significance of “text” in Zen practice. At the same time, the text represents a form of invitation to and guidance in experiencing this movement “from language, into language.”

This dynamic continues another step in the case of the present translation: “from Sino-Japanese, into English.” Here too a leap out of language and back into language was required. The synergistic action of this double leap has given birth to a new text, one that emerges into the world of English less influenced than the original text by the outlook of Japanese culture.

In this way, translation can be a valuable approach to the re-creation of a new, more direct expression of Zen. Entangling Vines had its origins in the discussions between three forward-looking Japanese Zen masters and an experienced Zen monk from America. It is my hope that it will not be seen simply as an English translation of the Shūmon kattōshū , but as an important text in its own right.

Ueda Shizuteru

Ueda Shizuteru, Professor Emeritus at Kyoto University, specializes in the philosophy of religion. His areas of interest include Christian mysticism, Buddhist thought, and Kyoto School philosophy. He is a longtime practitioner of Zen meditation.


Translator’s Preface

THERE ARE IN ZEN two texts known as the Shūmon kattōshū. One, alternatively referred to as the Kuzō kattōshō , is a voluminous anthology of phrases used in former times as a source for capping phrases, the words and verses from Chinese literature with which students demonstrated and refined their understanding of koans. The other Kattōshū—the subject of the present translation—is a collection of koans used in Japanese Rinzai Zen training. Though little known outside Zen circles, this Kattōshū is one of the more important of the koan collections. Every Rinzai Zen practitioner who advances in koan work must, sooner or later, examine this text.

Different teaching lines appear to use it in different ways. Some employ it from the early stages of koan training, combining Kattōshū koans with those from better-known works like the Wumen guan, Blue Cliff Record, and the Record of Linji. Others use it at a more advanced stage, subsequent to work with the other koan collections. According to monastic friends who have worked extensively with the Kattōshū as an advanced-level text, the emphasis—even more than in the other collections—is on eliminating the last attachments to dualistic thought. The koans are thus often approached in ways quite unexpected even to experienced Zen students. As one monastic friend commented, “If there’s anything you can say about the Kattōshū koans, it’s that your first response is certain to be wrong.”

This enigmatic quality of the Kattōshū extends to its very origins. The text is known to be a medieval Japanese work, but no one knows exactly who compiled it or when. Koans from Chinese sources predominate, but here and there cases involving Japanese masters appear, with one (Case 61) featuring a Japanese monk (Nanpo) and his Chinese master (Xutang). Even the wording can be quite enigmatic; in the course of translating the text I found that requests to Zen masters for paraphrases of especially obscure passages often resulted in widely varying responses, depending on the individual master’s sense of what the koan might be asking.

The title, Shūmon kattōshū, may be translated as, simply, “The Zen-school koan collection,” since the most common contemporary usage of the word kattō in Zen is as a synonym for “koan.” The word has a long and interesting history, however. The first character, katsu, means “kudzu,” the tough vine infamous among farmers in the American South for its invasive vigor. The second character, tō, means “wisteria,” another tough and vigorous vine but one known also for the beauty of its white or lavender flowers. Together the characters came to indicate entanglements, complications, difficulties, or struggles—the image comes to mind of vines ensnaring a person’s feet as he makes his way across a field.

This sense of “things that ensnare” was adopted in Chinese Zen Buddhism as a natural metaphor for kleśa, the hindrances that impede people’s search for liberation and bind them to the cycle of birth and death. In Zen the term quickly took on the connotation of the specific difficulties and impediments resulting from attachments to words and concepts. Appearances in the Tang-dynasty Zen literature, such as in the Record of Linji and the Recorded Sayings of Muzhou , suggest that the word was used both in this sense and as a disparaging synonym for the verbal exchanges (mondō ) by which Zen monks induced awakening or tested each other’s understanding.

Later, with the rise of koan Zen in the Song dynasty, kattō came to indicate not only words as impediments but also words as expedient devices to help bring the student to enlightenment; hence the connection with koans. The term thus took on the dual nuance, both positive and negative, so often seen in Zen terminology. Zen as a tradition may not be based on words and letters, but it does use, even need, words and letters to help precipitate that awakening which transcends language. Koan work, of course, is the prime example of this approach. As Prof. Ueda Shizuteru writes in his Introduction, the dynamic of koan training “may be characterized as one of ‘from language, into language,’ with the inquiry emerging from words and the response emerging into words.”

The Kattōshū itself is a large work in terms of the number of koans it contains: with 272 cases, it is several times the size of collections like the Wumen guan and the Blue Cliff Record. Yet as a publication it is relatively small. Presenting just the koans themselves and lacking pointers, commentaries, and verses, it fills only forty-five leaves in the wood-block print edition commonly used by Zen monks.

As mentioned by Prof. Ueda, most of the material in the Kattōshū originally comes from the Chinese Zen literature, with a few koans of Japanese origin. Among the Chinese sources are the Wumen guan, with which it shares, in full or in part, forty-five cases; the Blue Cliff Record, with which it shares, in full or in part, forty-six cases; and the Record of Linji, with which it shares sixteen cases, for a total of one hundred and six. With eight of these cases overlapping between either the Blue Cliff Record and the Wumen guan or the Blue Cliff Record and the Record of Linji, a total of ninety-nine of the Kattōshū koans derive from the text’s more famous predecessors in the Rinzai Zen literature. The remaining Chinese koans come from a broad range of materials, including the Record of Xutang , the Recorded Sayings of the Ancient Worthies , the Jingde-Era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp , the Essential Materials from the Zen School’s Successive Lamp Records , and the Compendium of the Five Lamps .

Although it is unknown who compiled the Kattōshū, several unusual features of the collection tell us much about its origins. The first of these features is the prevalence of cases involving the master Xutang Zhiyu (1185–1269). Xutang, although a significant figure in the history of Chinese Zen, is not typically classed with such giants as Nanquan Puyuan (748–835), Linji Yixuan (d. 866), Zhaozhou Congshen (778–897), and Yunmen Wenyan (864–949). Yet Xutang appears in seventeen Kattōshū cases, as many as Nanquan, and nearly as many as Zhaozhou (twenty-three) and Yunmen (also twenty-three). Furthermore, Xutang often serves in the role of commentator, giving him, in effect, the final say on the words and actions of other masters. Few other figures are accorded this authority.

Xutang’s presence assumes even greater significance when one takes into account the fact that five of the six Japanese masters appearing in the standard Kattōshū text—Nanpo Jōmyō (1235–1309), Shūhō Myōchō (1282–1338), Kanzan Egen (1277–1360), Tettō Gikō (1295–1369), and Hakuin Ekaku (1686–1769)—are in Xutang’s direct teaching line. (The sixth master and sole exception is Musō Soseki [1275–1351], an illustrious priest in another lineage and a contemporary of Shūhō Myōchō and Kanzan Egen.) Nanpo was Xutang’s student and successor, and transmitted the lineage to Shūhō; Shūhō, in turn, transmitted it to Kanzan and Tettō; and Hakuin (known in the West as the creator of the famous “sound of one hand” koan) was the great revitalizer of the lineage in Japan’s early modern era. Taken together, these features strongly suggest compilation of the Kattōshū within the teaching line of Xutang’s Japanese successors, known as the Ōtōkan lineage (for an explanation of the derivation of the name Ōtōkan, see the Introduction, page 10).

Further evidence of Ōtōkan involvement is provided by the actual koans selected for inclusion in the collection. In a detailed study of the historical background of the Kattōshū, Andō Yoshinori of Komazawa Women’s University traces a likely process of development starting with the Daitō hyakunijissoku, a collection of 120 koans with comments by Shūhō Myōchō (Andō 2002). The two lineages stemming from Shūhō—the Daitoku-ji school under Tettō and the Myōshin-ji school under Kanzan—further developed Shūhō’s koan system in their literature of secret koan records (missan roku ), all of which predate the earliest edition of the Kattōshū.

Andō, comparing the contents of the various missan roku collections, shows that the text he labels Hekizen hekigo var. a, associated with the Tōkai lineage of the Myōshin-ji school, contributes 153 koans to the Kattōshū, well over half of the total cases. Moreover, Cases 2–73 of the Kattōshū are arranged in the same order as they appear in the “Hekizen,” the first fascicle of the Hekizen hekigo, while Cases 128–95 appear in the same order as they do in the “Hekigo,” the second fascicle. The remaining koans are largely taken from a class of koan texts known as the kinshishū (golden turd collections), which are also associated with the Tōkai lineage, being an outgrowth of the Hekizen hekigo var. a material.

Andō’s research thus points to the development of the Kattōshū as part of a process of koan systematization occurring in the Myōshin-ji school’s Tōkai lineage. To the Tōkai-lineage materials the Kattōshū compilers added a small number of koans from other traditions, such as Tettō’s Daitoku-ji school (e.g., Case 213) and the Sōtō school (e.g., Cases 239 and 244).

As noted in the Introduction, the earliest known edition of the Kattōshū was that of 1689; Andō lists the dates and publishers of the various editions as follows:

1689 (Genroku 2): Yamatoya Jūzaemon

1858 (Ansei 5): Kyōto Ryūshiken

1859 (Ansei 6): Tanbaya Eisuke

1886 (Meiji 19): Yano Muneo , ed.

1890 (Meiji 23): Unkyō Chidō , ed.

1914 (Taishō 3): Unkyō Chidō, ed., Shimada Shunpo

1916 (Taishō 5): Zudokko, Shōhen , Fujita Genro , ed.

1950 (Shōwa 25): Zudokko, Shōhen, Fujita Genro, ed.

1982 (Shōwa 57): Shūmon kattōshū , Kajitani Sōnin , trans. and annot.

The Genroku edition of 1689 was somewhat shorter than the Ansei edition of 1858, containing only 254 cases, of which six are duplicates that appear in both fascicles of the book. Altogether the Ansei edition contains thirty-one koans not found in the Genroku version. Six of these koans are replacements for the duplicates; when carving the new woodblocks the Ansei editors carefully replaced the second occurrence of the repeated cases with different koans consisting of exactly the same number of lines, thus preserving as much as possible the original Genroku layout. Other additions included koans that neatly filled the spaces (even of a single line) that had been left blank in the Genroku edition.

The nearly 170-year gap between the Genroku-era first edition (1689) and Ansei-era second edition (1858), followed by numerous editions and reprintings, is intriguing. Although the sudden popularity of the text from the mid-nineteenth century may owe in part to the emergence of established publishing houses and improvements in printing technology, Andō (2002, p. 9) argues that it primarily reflects the upsurge of interest in Zen from late in the Tokugawa era (1600–1868) through the middle of the Shōwa era (1925–89).

Another and perhaps more pertinent explanation, however, may lie in the establishment and rapid development of the modern Rinzai monastic system during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Rinzai training monasteries—known as senmon dōjō or sōdō —were established and taught almost entirely by masters in the Myōshin-ji school’s Hakuin lineage, which by the Shōwa period included all Japanese Rinzai teachers. The coincidence of the Kattōshū’s new popularity and the ascendancy of the Hakuin lineage provides further evidence of the text’s roots in the Myōshin-ji tradition.

Indeed, the Kattōshū as it appeared in its complete form in 1858 can rightly be considered a product of the Hakuin school, particularly since several of the koans newly included in the Ansei edition (e.g., Case 259, “Baiyun’s ‘Still Lacking,’” and Case 272, “Nanquan’s Death”) are considered pivotal in Hakuin Zen koan training (Andō 2011, p. 158). The importance of the text in the Rinzai monastic koan system is indicated by its inclusion in the Poison-Painted Drum , a compendium of essential materials for Rinzai koan study published by Kennin-ji.

That the Kattōshū, despite its popularity within the Rinzai monastic world, remains relatively unknown outside of that world may be attributed to several factors, most relating to the textual difficulty of the collection itself. As mentioned above, many of the cases are expressed in extremely obscure Chinese; this is particularly true of those involving the Chinese master Xutang Zhiyu. Although the general thrust of these koans is usually apparent (which is generally sufficient for koan work, where a pivotal phrase or two is often all that is at issue), on a sentence-by-sentence level the meaning is often quite unclear. Compounding the problem is the lack in the Inzan lineage—one of the two main branches of Hakuin Zen—of an oral tradition regarding many of the koans. Although monks in the Takujū lineage (the other main branch) usually go over the entire text in the course of their training, Inzan masters inform me that in their tradition only about one-third of the koans are used.

I suspect that these are among the reasons that Zen masters seldom take up the Kattōshū as a subject for Zen lectures and writings, choosing instead better-known and better-researched texts like the Wumen guan, Blue Cliff Record, and Record of Linji. This paucity of commentary has meant that, although an interested reader can easily obtain books on most of the important Zen texts, almost no literature exists on the Kattōshū. Of the nine editions listed above, all but one are simply presentations of the Chinese koan texts, without amplification. The sole exception, Kajitani’s Shūmon kattōshū, provides the only scholarly research on the work. Privately published in 1982 by Kajitani’s temple, Shōkoku-ji, it offers the original text, the kakikudashi (Sino-Japanese rendering), Kajitani’s Japanese translation and interpretive commentary, and annotation on persons and terminology.

It was thus to Kajitani’s book that I turned first when I started my English translation in 1999. Before describing my own efforts, however, I should first mention two partial translations that provided me with much valuable help and encouragement during the early stages of the project. First, Burton Watson, retired professor of Columbia University and one of the finest translators of Chinese and Japanese literature, generously shared with me his translations of those Kattōshū cases taken up by Yoshida Shōdō Rōshi, Chief Abbot of Kenchō-ji, in his lectures on this text (among the very few lecture series on the Kattōshū). Second, Victor Sōgen Hori, a fellow Zen monk in Japan during the 1970s and 1980s and now professor of Japanese religions at McGill University in Montreal, provided his translations of those Kattōshū koans he had examined during the course of his own monastic training. His translations were in part based on earlier renditions by Walter Nowick, a Zen student at Daitoku-ji during the 1950s and 1960s and the retired teacher at Moonspring Hermitage in Surry, Maine.

These preliminary materials provided me with much-needed momentum as I turned to Kajitani’s 650-page Shūmon kattōshū for more in-depth analysis and commentary. I originally considered doing a straight translation of Kajitani’s book, but it did not prove to be entirely suitable for that purpose. The work contains a number of problematic readings and scribal errors, and the commentary, although of course an acceptable expression of Kajitani’s own viewpoint, does not necessarily accord with the way other masters would regard the koans.

Since over a third of the Kattōshū koans are also found in the Wumen guan, Blue Cliff Record, and Record of Linji, the first place I turned to for “second opinions” was the excellent research and commentary on these works found in the Japanese Zen literature. For the Wumen guan, the extensive and detailed commentaries of Yamada Mumon (1976), Katō Totsudō (1939–40, vols. 13–15), Yamamoto Genpō (1960), Iida Tōin (1913), and others were especially helpful. For the many, often quite difficult, koans taken from the Blue Cliff Record, the studies of Katō (1939–40, vols. 1–12) and Yamada (1985) were indispensable, as they are among the few works that examine not just the Blue Cliff Record’s main cases and verses but also the lengthy commentaries. For the Record of Linji, the studies by Asahina (1968), Yamada (1997), and Yanagida (1972) were very useful, although the excellent English translations of this work by Ruth Fuller Sasaki (1975, 2009) and Burton Watson (1993a) lessened the need for extensive research in the Japanese literature. The translations of those Kattōshū koans taken from the Record of Linji are largely based on the 2009 Sasaki edition.

Other valuable English translations were found in the works of Zenkei Shibayama (1974), Robert Aitken (1990), and J. C. Cleary (1999) for the Wumen guan, Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary (1977), and Thomas Cleary (1998) for the Blue Cliff Record. The Kattōshū also quotes from a broad spectrum of other Chinese sources, ranging from classics like the Confucian Analects, to Buddhist sutras like the Vimalakīrti Sutra, to Zen texts like Huangbo’s Essentials on the Transmission of Mind and Yongjia’s Song of Enlightenment . For these, lucid translations were provided by the works of Arthur Waley (1938), John Blofeld (1958, 1962), Robert Thurman (1976), Sheng-yen (1987, 1997), and others.

After researching what I was able to in the Japanese and English literature, I was still faced with a large amount of difficult text for which little reference material was available. For help with this I turned to Hirata Seikō, Chief Abbot of Tenryū-ji. Rev. Hirata, whose background in Zen practice, Western philosophy, and foreign languages made him particularly qualified for the task, generously agreed to meet for weekly study sessions, during which we would discuss traditional readings and the general intent of the koans. Later, as described in detail by Prof. Ueda in his Introduction, monthly seminars were arranged at the Tenryū-ji Institute for Philosophy and Religion with Rev. Hirata, myself, and Hirata’s two Dharma heirs, Sasaki Yōdō and Yasunaga Sodō. As a result of this cooperative effort a preliminary translation was finished by the summer of 2003.

However, a number of questions still remained regarding the most difficult passages; the cryptic comments and verses of Xutang Zhiyu were generally the problem. Valuable help with these was provided by Dōmae Sōkan , priest of the small Kyoto temple Fukujō-ji and an old friend from my monastic years at Kenchō-ji and Kennin-ji. Rev. Dōmae, translator and annotator of a recently published study of the Tales from the Land of Locust-Tree Tranquility , Hakuin’s notoriously difficult commentary on the Record of Daitō (Hakuin 2003), combines a deep knowledge of Zen arcana with expertise in the extensive database of primary and secondary Zen sources compiled by the Institute for Zen Studies in Kyoto. With his help I was finally able to come up with workable translations for the Kattōshū’s more difficult passages. Especially valuable in this respect was Dōmae’s familiarity with the unpublished commentaries of the great Myōshin-ji scholar-monk Mujaku Dōchū (1653–1744), whose Cultivating the Record of Xutang provides detailed analyses of Xutang’s writings.

Inevitably, over the course of the translation process a fair amount of note material accumulated. Despite a personal preference for lengthy annotation (one of the features I like most about Miura and Sasaki’s classic Zen Dust), I tried to limit the notes to information essential for understanding the koans on a literary level (understanding them in the context of koan training is, of course, an entirely different matter). In several cases, however, the obscurity of the text or the ambiguity of the terms and images made it necessary to include interpretive material, some of it rather detailed. In other cases, I was unable to resist including what is little more than interesting background information; often this is material that, important or not, is presented in virtually all Zen lectures on the koan in question. Again, I would like to emphasize that such comments do not constitute “answers” to the koans in question (they would certainly not be accepted as such by a competent Zen master) but rather interpretations of what the koan is asking.

It should be kept in mind, too, that such interpretations are in no way absolute. One lesson that was particularly impressed upon me in the course of translating this text was that there are various ways of viewing and working with these koans. A metaphor, for example, may be interpreted one way by a certain teacher and in quite a different way by another. Thus, although I have tried as much as possible to eliminate outright errors of translation, I cannot claim to have eliminated “errors” of interpretation.

The painstaking task of checking the first English translation was begun by my friend Wayne Yokoyama of Hanazono University, who examined the manuscript for stylistic and grammatical errors, and who offered a number of creative alternatives to my translations. He also had many valuable suggestions on matters of book design and layout. Later, after the manuscript had been revised, he proofread the entire text several times.

Burton Watson agreed to check the manuscript for Chinese readings, in the course of which he caught a number of inconsistencies and textual errors, and suggested smoother wordings for several of my translations. Liang Xiaohong, a Chinese Buddhist scholar associated with Nanzan University in Nagoya, kindly took time from her busy schedule to examine the Pinyin readings in the Biographical Notes and Name Chart sections.

When the translation was finally more or less complete, Nelson Foster, a Dharma heir of the American Zen master Robert Aitken and teacher at the Honolulu Diamond Sangha and Ring of Bone Zendo, closely examined and commented upon the entire manuscript. His professional editing skills resulted in a much more tightly and suitably worded manuscript, and his keen Zen eye caught a number of questionable readings and interpretations. He also looked over my often overgenerous annotation, separating that which was genuinely useful from that which was unnecessary and distracting.

A final check of the translations was made by Victor Hori, who identified further dead weight in the annotation, suggested alternatives for overly abstract terminology, and used his deep knowledge of the Zen literature (gained through his experience in translating the Zen phrase anthologies for his excellent book Zen Sand, 2003) to suggest alternative renditions of a number of particularly difficult expressions.

Much of the research and editorial work for the Kattōshū was carried out at the International Research Institute (iriz) at Hanazono University, where I am employed as an associate researcher. For this and much other invaluable support I must offer especial thanks to Nishimura Eshin, President of Hanazono University; Okimoto Katsumi, Director of the iriz; and Yoshizawa Katsuhiro, chief researcher at the Institute.

Toga Masataka, secretary general of Tenryū-ji and executive director of the Institute for Zen Studies, has throughout the years provided unfailing support for this translation. It is thanks to his firm but good-natured pressure in setting clear deadlines that Entangling Vines is being published now and not at some ever-receding time in the future. Important roles in the translation, editing, and publication of this work were also played by many others at the Institute for Zen Studies, especially Maeda Naomi and Nishimura Egaku.

Finally, I would like to thank my teacher, Harada Shōdō Rōshi; Priscilla Daichi Storandt; and the rest of the community at Sōgen-ji for their steady interest in the project, their trial use of preliminary versions, and their feedback on points of difficulty. This was of inestimable help in maintaining momentum and bringing Entangling Vines to completion.

To these and many other people who contributed to this translation in ways both direct and indirect, I owe a deep debt of gratitude. Their cooperation was essential in helping me produce as accurate a translation as possible at this time; responsibility for any remaining errors lies entirely with me.

Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, Rinsen-ji, Kyoto


Entangling Vines - Selections
© Thomas Yūhō Kirchner, Entangling Vines (Wisdom Publications, 2013)


Case 1: 二祖安心 Pacifying the Mind of the Second Patriarch

二祖慧可、問達磨大師云、某心未安、乞師安心。師云、將心來與汝 安。祖云、覓心不可得。師云、與汝安心竟。

Huike, the Second Patriarch, said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is not yet at rest. Master, I implore you, set my mind to rest.”
The master replied, “Bring your mind here and I'll set it to rest for you.”
Huike said, “I've searched for my mind, but am unable to find it.”
“There,” said the master, “I've set your mind to rest.”


Case 2: 六祖衣鉢 The Sixth Patriarch's Robe and Bowl

六祖因明上座趁至大庾嶺。祖見明至、即擲衣鉢於石上云、此衣表 信、可力爭耶、任君將去。明遂擧之、如山不動。踟蹰悚慄。明云、 我來求法、非爲衣也。願行者開示。祖云、不思善不思惡、正與麼 時、那箇是明上座父母未生已前本來面目。明當下大悟、遍體汗流。 泣涙作禮問云、上來密語密意外、還更有意旨否。祖曰、我今爲汝說 者、即非密也。汝若返照自己面目、密却在汝邊。明云、某甲雖在黄 梅隨衆、實未省自己面目。今蒙指授入處、如人飮水冷暖自知。今行 者即是某甲師也。祖云、汝若如是、則吾與汝同師黄梅、善自護持。

The senior monk Huiming pursued Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch, to Dayu Peak. Huineng, seeing him come, put the robe and bowl on a rock and said, “This robe represents faith. How can it be taken by force? You may have it.”
Huiming tried to pick it up, but, like a mountain, it couldn't be moved. Shaken and frightened, Huiming said, “I came in search of the Dharma, not for the sake of the robe. Lay brother, please instruct me.”
Huineng said, “Think not of good, think not of evil. At this very moment, what is your original face before your father and mother were born?”
At that moment Huiming was deeply enlightened, and his entire body flowed with sweat. With tears in his eyes, he bowed and asked, “Is there any meaning still more profound than the hidden meaning and words you have just imparted to me?”
“There's nothing hidden about what I have revealed,” replied Huineng. “If you turn your own light inward and illuminate your original face, what is hidden is within yourself.”
Huiming said, “Although I practiced with the assembly under Hongren, I had yet to realize my original face. Now that you have shown the way in, I'm like one who has tasted water and knows for himself whether it's cold or warm. You, lay brother, are now my teacher.”
Huineng replied, “If that's how it is with you, then you and I are equally the disciples of Hongren. Take good care of yourself!”


Case 3: 五祖他奴 Wuzu's “Someone's Servants”


Wuzu Fayan of Mount Dong said to the assembly, “Even Śākyamuni and Maitreya are merely someone's servants. Tell me, who is it?”


Case 4: 雲門須彌 Yunmen's “Mount Sumeru”


A monk asked Yunmen Wenyan, “Is anything amiss when not a single thought arises?”
Yunmen replied, “Mount Sumeru!”


Case 5: 馬祖即心 Mazu's “This Very Mind”

明州大梅山法常禪師、問馬祖云、如何是佛。祖云、即心即佛。後有 僧又問、如何是佛。祖云、非心非佛。

Damei Fachang of Ming Province asked Mazu Daoyi, “What is buddha?” Mazu answered, “This very mind is buddha.”
Later another monk asked Mazu, “What is buddha?” The master replied, “Not mind, not buddha.”


Case 6: 趙州放下 Zhaozhou's “Drop It!”

嚴陽尊者問趙州、一物不將來時如何。州云、放下著。者云、已是一 物不將來、放下這什麼。州云、恁麼則擔取去。者於言下大悟。

Yanyang Shanxin asked Zhaozhou Congshen, “If I come with nothing, what then?”
“Drop it!” replied Zhaozhou.
“But I've come with nothing,” answered Yanyang. “How can I drop it?”
“Then go on carrying it!” said Zhaozhou. At this Yanyang was deeply enlightened.


Case 7: 兜率三關 Doushuai's Three Barriers

兜率悦和尚、設三關問學者、撥草參玄、只圖見性、即今上人性在甚 處。識得自性、方脱生死。眼光落地時、作麼生脱。脱得生死、便知 去處、四大分離、向甚麼處去。

Doushuai Congyue devised three barriers to test his students:
Pulling weeds and exploring the mystery are solely for the purpose of seeing your true nature. So, right now, where is your true nature?
If you realize your true nature, you escape birth-and-death. So as the light in your eyes dims, how do you escape?
When you escape birth-and-death, you know where you go. So as your four elements separate, where do you go?


Case 8: 靈雲見桃 Lingyun Sees Peach Blossoms

福州靈雲志勤禪師、因見桃花悟道。有頌云、三十年來尋劍客、幾囘 葉落又抽枝。自從一見桃花後、直至如今更不疑。後擧似潙山。山 曰、從縁入者、永不退失。汝善護持。玄沙聞云、諦當甚諦當、敢保 老兄猶未徹在。雲門云、說甚徹不徹、更參三十年。後來、大川濟和 尚上堂、僧出擧前頌問、大川答云、作賊人心虛。

Lingyun Zhiqin of Fuzhou was enlightened upon seeing the blossoms of a peach tree. In a verse he said:

For thirty years I sought a sword-master.
How many times have leaves fallen and new buds appeared?
But ever since seeing the peach blossoms,
From then till now I have never doubted again!

Later he related this verse to his master, Guishan Lingyou. Guishan said, “Those who enlighten through circumstances never regress. Take good care of yourself!”
When Xuansha Shibei heard about this, he said, “Lingyun may well have been right, but I'll guarantee that his understanding was incomplete.”
Wuzu Fayan said, “You talk of complete and incomplete? Thirty more years of training!”
Later, during a lecture, a monk asked Dachuan Puji about the verse. Dachuan said, “A thief has no peace of mind.”


Case 9 趙州柏樹 Zhaozhou's “Juniper Tree”

趙州因僧問、如何是祖師西來意。州云、庭前柏樹子。僧云、和尚莫 將境示人。州云、我不將境示人。僧云、如何是祖師西來意。州云、 庭前柏樹子。後來法眼問覺鐵觜云、承聞、趙州有柏樹子話是否。觜 云、先師無此話、莫謗先師。眼云、眞獅子兒能獅子吼。

A monk once asked Zhaozhou Congshen, “What is the meaning of Bodhi- dharma's coming from the West?”
Zhaozhou answered, “The juniper tree in front of the garden.” The monk replied, “Master, don't teach me using external objects.” Zhaozhou said, “I'm not teaching you using external objects.”
The monk asked, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?”
Zhaozhou answered, “The juniper tree in front of the garden.”
Afterward Fayan Wenyi asked Jue Tiezui, “I heard that your teacher, Zhaozhou, spoke of a juniper tree. Is this true?”
Jue Tiezui replied, “My late teacher never said such a thing—don't slander him!”
Fayan commented, “A true lion's cub gives a good lion's roar!”


Case 10 黄龍三關 Huanglong's Three Barriers

黄龍禪師、問隆慶閑禪師云、人人有箇生縁處、如何是汝生縁處。對 曰、早晨喫白粥、至今又覺飢。又問、我手何似佛手。對曰、月下弄 琵琶。又問、我脚何似驢脚。對云、鷺鶿立雪非同色。師毎以此三語 問學者、莫能契其旨。天下叢林、目爲三關。纔有酬者、師無可否、 斂目危坐。人莫涯其意。延之又問其故。師云、已過關者、掉臂徑 去。安知有關吏。從吏問可否、此未透關者也。

Huanglong Huinan asked Longqing Qingxian, “Everyone has their own native place. What is your native place?”
Longqing answered, “Early this morning I had some rice gruel, and now I feel hungry again.”
“How does my hand resemble a buddha's hand?” Huanglong asked. “Playing a lute in the moonlight,” Longqing answered.
“How does my leg resemble a donkey's leg?” he asked.
Longqing answered, “A snowy egret stands in the snow, but their colors are not the same.”
Huanglong always presented students with these three statements, but no one could come up with a satisfactory response. Monks everywhere called them the Three Barriers of Huanglong. Even with the few who gave answers, the master would neither agree nor disagree but only sit there in formal posture with eyes closed. No one could fathom his intent. When the layman Fan Yanzhi asked the reason for this, Huanglong replied, “Those who have passed through the gate shake their sleeves and go straight on their way. What do they care if there's a gatekeeper? Those who seek the gatekeeper's permission have yet to pass through.”


Case 1 to Case 272 (English only!) in DOC



Index of Names

Aṅgulimāla (Yangjue Moluo, Yang-chüeh Mo-lo, Ōkutsu Mara; Case 165) was a mass murderer who later became one of Śākyamunis greatest students.

Āryadeva (Tipo, Ti-po, Daiba; n.d.; Case 228), also known as Kānadeva (Jianatipo, Chia-na Ti-p'o, Kanadaiba) because he had only one eye (kāna means “one-eye”). Honored as the fifteenth ancestor of the Indian Zen lineage.

Āryasiṁha (Shizi Puti, Shih-tzu Pu-ti, Shishi Bodai; n.d.; Case 168), honored as the twenty-fourth ancestor of the Indian Zen lineage

Aśvaghoṣa (Ashifujusha, A-shih-feng-chüsha, Ashibakusha; 2nd c.; Case 228), a name often rendered in Chinese as Mama (Ma-ming; J., Memyō) or Anapudi (A-na-pu-ti; J., Anabotei). Aśvaghoṣa is regarded as the twelfth ancestor of the Indian Zen lineage.

Avalokiteśvara (Guanyin, Kuan-yin, Kannon; Cases 12 n., 88, 237), the bodhisattva of great compassion

Bai Juyi (Pai Chü-i, Haku Kyoi; 772–846; Case 215); also known as Bai Letian (Pai Lo-tien, Haku Rakuten)

Baiyun Shouduan (Pai-yün Shou-tuan, Hakuun Shutan; 1025–72; Cases 95, 199, 259)

Baizhang Huaihai (Pai-chang Huai-hai, Hyakujō Ekai; 720–814; Cases 34, 78, 95 n., 117, 123, 170 n., 182, 221)

Baizhang Weizheng (Pai-chang Wei-cheng, Hyakujō Isei ; 8th–9th c.; Cases 93, 193) was also known as Baizhang Fazheng (Pai-chang Facheng, Hyakujō Hōshō) and Baizhang Niepan (Pai-chang Nieh-pan, Hyakujō Nehan)

Bajiao Huiqing (Pa-chiao Hui-ching, Bashō Esei; 10th c.; Case 71)

Baling Haojian (Pa-ling Hao-chien, Haryō Kōkan; 10th c.; Case 269)

Baoshou Zhao (Pao-shou Chao, Hōju Shō; 9th c.; Case 123)

Beijian Jujian (Pei-chien Chü-chien, Hokkan Kokan; 1164– 1246; Case 95)

Bhikku Meghaśri (Deyun Biqiu, Te-yün Pi-chiu, Tokuun Biku; Case 89)

Bodhidharma (Putidamo, Pu-ti-ta-mo, Bodaidaruma; d. 528? 536? 543?; Cases 1, 9, 19-1, 34 n., 43, 46-2 n., 64, 109 n., 113, 170, 207-1, 207-2, 221, 254 n., 255 n., 270-1 n.)

Caoshan Benji (Tsao-shan Pen-chi, Sōzan Honjaku; 840–901; Cases 15, 111, 162)

Chaling Yu (Cha-ling Yü, Charyō Iku; n.d.; Case 258)

Changqing Huileng (Chang-ching Hui-leng, Chōkei Eryō; 854– 932; Case 265)

Changqing Lanan (Chang-ching Lan-an , Chōkei Ranan; 793– 883; Cases 32, 209)

Changsha Jingcen (Chang-sha Ching-tsen, Chōsa Keishin; 9th c.; Cases 25 n., 79, 168, 196, 206, 272)

Changsheng Jiaoran (Chang-sheng Chiao-jan, Chōshō Kōnen; n.d.; Case 14)

Changshui Zixuan (Chang-shui Tzu -hsüan, Chōsui Shisen; d. 1038; Case 223)

Chen Cao (Chen Tsao, Chin Sō; 9th c.; Case 153), a government official and a Dharma heir of Muzhou Daozong, was one of the great lay Zen practitioners of the Tang dynasty

Chouyan Liaoyun (Chou-yen Liao-yün, Chūgan Ryōhin; n.d.; Case 46-2)

Chuanzi Decheng (Chuan-tzü Te -cheng, Sensu Tokujō ; 9th c.; Case 257)

Ciming (Tzu-ming, Jimyō). See Shishuang Chuyuan

Cui Langzhong (Tsui Lang-chung, Sai Rōchū; 9th c.; Case 13)

Dachuan Puji (Ta-chuan Fu-chi, Daisen Fusai; 1179 –1253; Case 8)

Dadao Guquan (Ta-tao Ku-chüan, Daidō Yokusen; 10th–11th c.; Case 173), also known as Bajiaoan Guquan (Pa-chiao-an Ku-chüan, Bashōan Yokusen)

Dahui Zonggao (Ta-hui Tsung-kao, Daie Sōkō; 1089–1163; Cases 19-2, 32, 46-4, 92, 134, 141 , 227, 229, 230 n., 231 n., 232)

Daitō (or, more generally, National Teacher Daitō). The posthumous title of the Japanese monk Shūhō Myōchō.

Damei Fachang (Ta-mei Fa-chang; Daibai Hōjō; 752 –839; Cases 5, 66)

Danxia Tianran (Tan-hsia Tien-jan, Tanka Tennen; 738/ 39– 824; Case 44)

Danyuan Yingzhen (Tan-yüan Ying-chen, Tangen Ōshin; 8– 9th c.; Cases 65, 238)

Daowu Yuanzhi (Tao-wu Yüan-chih, Dōgo Enchi; 768/ 69– 835; Cases 220 n., 257), also known as Daowu Zongzhi, with the lay name Zhang.

Daoxuan (Tao-hsüan, Dōsen; 596–667; Case 227)

Dayu (Ta-yü, Daigu; 8–9th c.; Case 187)

Dazhu Huihai (Ta-chu Hui-hai, Daiju Ekai; n.d.; Case 70)

Deng Yinfeng (Teng Yin-feng, Tō Inpō; n.d.; Case 252)

Deshan Xuanjian (Te-shan Hsüan-chien, Tokusan Senkan; 782– 865; Cases 22-1, 22-2, 54, 123, 128, 155, 166 n., 170 n., 171, 194, 197 n., 205, 256)

Devadatta (Tipodaduo, Ti-po-ta-to, Daibadatta; Case 113)

Dongpo (Tung -po, Tōba; 1037–1101; Case 237 n.), also known as Su Dongpo (Su Tung-po, So Tōba) or Su Shi (Su Shih, Soshoku), was a government official and literary figure

Dongshan Huikong (Tung-shan Hui-kong, Tōzan Ekū ; 1096– 1158; Case 19-2)

Dongshan Liangjie (Tung-shan Liang-chieh, Tōzan Ryōkai; 807– 69; Cases 109 n., 129, 155 n., 161, 264)

Dongshan Shouchu (Tung-shan Shou-chu, Tōzan Shusho ; 910– 90; Cases 62, 188, 189, 198)

Doushuai Congyue (Tou-shuai Tsung-yüeh, Tosotsu Jūetsu; 1044–1091; Cases 7, 140)

Fan Yanzhi (Fan Yen-chih, Han Enshi; n.d.; Case 10), also known as Layman Qingyi

Fayan Wenyi (Fa-yen Wen-i, Hōgen Moneki; 885– 958; Cases 9, 36, 58 n., 67, 99, 194)

Fayun Gao (Fa-yun Kao, Hōun Kō; n.d.; Case 150)

Fengxue Yanzhao (Feng-hsüeh Yen-chao, Fuketsu Enshō; 896–973; Cases 81, 124, 185, 192, 197)

Fenyang Shanzhao (Fen-yang Shan-chao, Funyō Zenshō; 947–1024 ; Cases 174, 229, 255)

Fenzhou Wuye (Fen-chou Wu-yeh, Funshū Mugō; 760–821; Case 74)

Foguo. See Yuanwu Keqin

Fojian Huiqin (Fo-chien Hui-chin, Bukkan Egon; 1059–1117; Case 77)

Fori Qisong (Fo-jih Chi-sung, Butsunichi Kaisū; 1007–72; Case 238)

Foyan Qingyuan (Fo-yen Ching-yüan, Butsugen Seion; 1067– 1120; Cases 77, 221, 266)

Fu Dashi (Fu Ta-shih, Fu Daishi; 497–569; Case 80) is the title of Fu Xi, a Buddhist layman

Fubei (Fu-pei, Fuhai; 8th c.; Case 216)

Guanghui Yuanlian (Kuang-hui Yüan-lien, Kōe Ganren; 951–1036; Case 137)

Guangxiao Huijue (Kuang-hsiao Hui-chüeh, Kōkō Ekaku; 9–10th c.; Cases 9, 243), also known as Jue Tiezui (Chüeh Tieh-tsui, Kaku Tetsushi)

Guishan Lingyou (Kuei-shan Ling-yu, Isan Reiyū; 771–853; Cases 8, 60, 63 n., 65, 76, 116 , 149, 151 , 187, 192, 220, 238 n.)

Guizong Zhichang (Kuei-tsung Chih-chang, Kisu Chijō; 8th–9th c.; Case 123), also known as Lushan Zhichang (Lu-shan Chih-chang, Rozan Chijō)

Gulin Qingmao (Ku-lin Ching-mao, Kurin Seimo; 1262–1329; Case 113)

Gushan Shigui (Ku-shan Shih-kuei, Kuzan Shikei; 1083–1146; Cases 56, 237), also known as Zhuan Shigui (Chu-an Shih-kuei, Chikuan Shikei)

Hakuin Ekaku (1686–1769; Cases 14 n., 16 n., 24 n., 185 n., 199 n.)

Han Yu (Han Yü, Kan Yu; 768–824; Case 247) was one of the greatest of Tang dynasty poets

Hanshan (Han-shan, Kanzan; 8–9th c.; Case 268) was an eccentric Tang-period Buddhist poet

Haoyue (Hao-yüeh, Kōgetsu; 9th c.; Case 168)

Hongren (Hung-jen, Gunin; 600– 674; Case 2), usually referred to by his traditional title, the Fifth Patriarch, was born in Huangmei in Qizhou

Hongzhi Zhengjue (Hung-chih Cheng-chüeh, Wanshi Shōgaku; 1091–1157; Cases 239, 244), also called Tiantong Hongzhi (Tien-tung Hung-chih, Tendō Wanshi)

Hu Dingjiao (Hu Ting-chiao, Ko Teikō; 9th c.; Case 123)

Huangbo Weisheng (Huang-po Wei-sheng, Ōbaku Ishō; 11th c.; Case 52)

Huangbo Xiyun (Huang-po Hsi-yün, Ōbaku Kiun; d. 850?; Cases 34, 42, 95 n., 121, 122, 123 n., 182, 187, 192, 199 n., 221, 250)

Huanglong Huinan (Huang-lung Hui-nan, Ōryō Enan; 1002–69; Cases 10, 52, 140, 189, 199)

Huike (Hui-ko, Eka; 487–593; Cases 1, 43, 113, 168), the Second Patriarch of the Chinese Zen lineage

Huiming (Hui-ming, Emyō; 7th c.; Cases 2, 260 n.)

Huineng (Hui-neng, Enō; 638–713; also Dajian Huineng, Ta-chien Hui-neng, Daikan Enō; Cases 2, 83, 96, 118 , 238, 260 n., 261 n., 272) is honored as the Sixth Patriarch of Chinese Zen and founder of the Southern school

Huitang Zuxin (Hui-tang Tsu-hsin, Maidō Soshin; 1025–1100; Case 18), also known as Huanglong Zuxin

Huiyuan (Hui-yüan, Eon; 334–416; Case 186)

Huoan Shiti (Huo-an Shih-ti, Wakuan Shitai; 1108–1179; Case 109 n.)

Hutou (Hu-tou, Kotō; n.d.; Case 19-1)

Ji Xin (Chi Hsin, Ki Shin; n.d.; Case 191) was a prominent retainer of Liu Bang (247–195 BCE), one of the two great generals in the wars that led to the fall of the Qin dynasty (221– 206 BCE).

Jianfu Chenggu (Chien-fu Cheng-ku, Senpuku Shōko; d. 1045; Case 235)

Jiashan Shanhui (Chia-shan Shan-hui, Kassan Zenne; 805–81; Cases 99, 101, 105, 257)

Jingqing Daofu (Ching-ching Tao-fu, Kyōsei Dōfu; 868– 937; Cases 158, 197 n., 200)

Jingshan Hongyin (Ching-shan Hung-yin, Kinzan Kōin; d. 901; Case 200)

Jingzhao Mihu (Ching-chao Mi-hu, Keichō Beiko; n.d.; Case 246), also known as Qishi , Mi Qishi , and Mihu

Jue Tiezui. Another name for Guangxiao Huijue.

Juefan Huihong (Chüeh -fan Hui -hung, Kakuhan Ekō; 1071–1128; Case 140), also known as Jiyin Zunzhe (Chi-yin Tsun-che, Jakuon Sonja)

Juzhou Baotan (Chü-chou Pao-tan, Kisshū Hōdon; 1129–97; Case 123)

Kanzan Egen (1277–1360; Cases 35, 175 n., 225, 253)

Kāśyapa Buddha (Jiashe Fo, Chia-she Fo, Kashō Butsu; Cases 34, 70 n.)

Langye Huijue (Lang-yeh Hui-chüeh, Rōya Ekaku; 11th c.; Cases 27 n., 114, 191, 223, 228)

Li Tongxuan (Li Tung-hsüan, Ri Tsūgen; 635– 730 [646–740]; Case 235)

Li Ying (Li Ying, Ri Yō; d. 169; Case 262) was a Han-dynasty official

Liang, Venerable (Liang, Ryō; n.d.; Case 238), may refer to Wufeng Puliang (n.d.)

Lingshu Rumin (Ling-shu Ju-min, Reiju Nyobin; d. 920; Case 164 )

Lingyun Zhiqin ( Ling-yün Chih-chin, Reiun Shigon; 9th c.; Cases 8, 14)

Linji Yixuan (Lin-chi I-hsüan, Rinzai Gigen ; d. 866; Cases 32, 80, 84, 95 n., 122, 123, 141, 155, 159, 170 n., 173, 176, 177, 178, 180, 181, 187, 191 n., 192, 195, 197 n., 199, 207-1, 207-2, 208, 210, 218, 221, 224, 229, 239 n., 270-2, 272)

Longqing Qingxian (Lung-ching Ching-hsien, Ryūkei Keikan; d. 1081; Case 10)

Longtan Chongxin (Lung-tan Chung-hsin, Ryūtan Sōshin; 9th c.; Cases 128, 256)

Longya Judun (Lung-ya Chü-tun, Ryūge Kodon; 835– 923; Case 155)

Lu Gen (Lu Ken, Riku Kō; c. 765– c. 835; Case 209)

Luopu Yuanan (Lo-pu Yüan-an, Rakuho Genan; 834–898; Case 119)

Luoshan Daoxian (Lo-shan Tao-hsien, Razan Dōkan; 9th c.; Case 132)

Ma Fang (Ma Fang, Ba Hō; n.d.; Case 179) was a government official

Magu Baotie (Ma-ku Pao-tieh, Mayoku Hōtetsu; 8th c.; Cases 131, 167)

Mahākāśyapa (Mohe Jiashe, Mo-ho Chia-she, Makakashō; Cases 95, 135, 136, 213 n.)

Maitreya (Mile, Mi-le, Miroku; Cases 3, 82, 213) is the buddha of the next world age

Mañjuśrī (Wenshu, Wen-shu, Monju; Cases 12 n., 17 n., 24, 48, 72, 87, 133, 159, 181 n., 191 n., 198, 201, 212) is the Mahayana bodhisattva representative of prajñā wisdom

Manora, or Manorhita, Manorata (Monaluo, Mo-na-la, Manura; Case 27) is traditionally regarded as the twenty-second ancestor of Indian Zen

Maudgalyāyana (Mulian, Mu-lien, Mokuren; Cases 97, 133) was one of the Ten Great Disciples of Śākyamuni

Mazu Daoyi (Ma-tsu Tao-i, Baso Dōitsu; 709–788; Cases 5 , 23, 53, 78, 103 n., 123, 139, 170 n., 182, 221, 234 n., 252)

Mian Xianjie (Mi-an Hsien-chieh, Mittan Kanketsu; 1118–1186; Cases 22-2, 30, 113 n.)

Mingzhao Deqian (Ming-chao Te-chien, Myōshō Tokken; ca. 9–10th c.; Case 32 )

Musō Soseki (1275–1351; Cases 170 n., 225), an early Japanese Zen priest best known by his title National Teacher Musō

Muzhou Daozong (Mu-chou Tao-tsung, Bokujū Dōshō; 8–9th c.; Case 221), also known as Daoming (Tao-ming, Dōmyō)

Nāgārjuna (Longshu; Lung-shu, Ryūju; 150– 250?; Case 228), one of the greatest Buddhist philosophers, is honored as the fourteenth ancestor of indian Zen

Nalakūvara (Nazha, Na-cha, Nata; Cases 46-2, 261)

Nanpo Jōmyō (1235– 1309; Cases 61, 225 n.). He received the imperial title National Teacher Enzū Daiō. Daiō Kokushi, as he is now generally called, was the first of the three masters— Daiō, Daitō, and Kanzan Egen—who established the Ōtōkan lineage. This lineage, through Hakuin Ekaku, presently includes every Rinzai Zen master in Japan.

Nanquan Puyuan (Nan-ch'üan Pu-yuan, Nansen Fugan; 748–835; Cases 33, 63 n., 68, 78, 79, 90, 103, 104, 110, 115, 123, 133, 145, 193, 209, 212, 241, 272)

Nantang Yuanjing (Nan-tang Yüan-ching, Nandō Genjō; 1065–1135; Cases 40, 63)

Nanyang Huizhong (Nan-yang Hui-chung, Nanyō Echū; 675–775; Cases 31, 238, 267)

Nanyuan Huiyong (Nan -yüan Hui -yung, Nanin Egyō; ca. 860–930; Cases 185, 192 n., 197), also known as Baoying

Nanyue Huairang (Nan-yüeh Huai-jang, Nangaku Ejō; 677–744; Cases 53, 118, 139, 206 n., 234)

Niaoke Daolin (Niao-ko Tao-lin, Chōka Dōrin; 741–824; Case 215)

Pang Yun (Pang Yün, Hō On; d. 808; Cases 23, 66, 85, 86), generally known as Pang Jushi (Pang Chü-shih; Hō Koji), meaning "Layman Pang"

Pei Xiu (Pei Hsiu, Hi Kyū; 797–870; Case 32), a government official and famous Buddhist lay devotee

Piyun (Pi-yün, Hiun; 8th c.; Case 131)

Qianfeng. See Yuezhou Qianfeng.

Qingliang Taiqin (Ching-liang Tai-chin, Shōryō Taikin; d. 974; Case 67)

Qingshui (Ching-shui, Seizei; ca. 9–10th c.; Case 111)

Qingsu (Ching-su, Seiso; 11th c.; Case 140)

Qinshan Wensui (Chin-shan Wen-sui, Kinzan Bunsui; 9th c.; Case 256)

Ruiyan Shiyan (Jui-yen Shih-yen, Zuigan Shigen; ca. 9th c.; Case 11)

Śākyamuni (Shijiamouni, Shih-chia-mou-ni, Shakamuni; ca. 5th c. BCE; Cases [including references to “the Buddha”] 3, 17 n., 28-2 n., 34 n., 38, 47, 48, 62 n ., 70, 72, 79 n., 87 n., 95, 108, 112, 113 n., 114, 124, 133, 135, 136, 137, 140, 141, 164 n., 165, 170, 171 n., 177 n., 204, 213 n., 223 n., 224, 225 n., 232, 235 n., 247, 250, 254 n., 255 n., 267, 270-1 n.).

Samantabhadra (Puxian, Pu-hsien, Fugen; Cases 12 n., 17 n., 181 n., 191 n., 198, 212, 231, 236), "The One of All-Pervading Beneficence"

Sansheng Huiran (San-sheng Hui-jan, Sanshō Enen; 9th c.; Cases 123, 195, 272)

Śariputra (Shelifu, She-li-fu, Sharihotsu; Case 228)

Sengcan (Seng-tsan; Sōsan; d. 606?; Case 229) is traditionally honored as the Third Patriarch of Chinese Zen

Sengzhao ( Seng-chao, Sōjō; 374/ 78– 414; Case 81 n.)

Shangu (Shan-ku, Sankoku; 1050– 1110; Case 18) is the style of the poet Huang Tingjian (Huang T'ing-chien, Kō Teiken). He was fond of Buddhist speculations, and gave himself the sobriquet of Shangu Daoren.

Shending Hongyin (Shen-ting Hong-yin, Shintei Kōin; 10– 11th c.; Case 174)

Shexian Guixing (She-hsien Kuei-hsing, Sekken Kisei; 10– 11th c.; Case 134)

Shishuang Chuyuan (Shih-shuang Chu-yüan, Sekisō Soen; 986–1039; Cases 25, 106, 140, 146, 147, 156, 172, 173, 174, 183-1, 183-2, 189, 245), commonly referred to in Zen texts by his posthumous title Ciming (Tzu-ming, Jimyō)

Shishuang Qingzhu (Shih-shuang Ching-chu, Sekisō Keisho; 807–888; Cases 25 n., 69, 161, 220 n.)

Shishuang Xingkong (Shih-shuang Hsing-kung, Sekisō Shōkū; n.d.; Case 65)

Shitou Xiqian (Shih-tou Hsi-chien, Sekitō Kisen; 700–791; Cases 125 n., 272)

Shoukuo (Shou-kuo, Shukaku; ca. 9–10th c.; Case 205)

Shoushan Shengnian (Shou-shan Sheng-nien, Shuzan Shōnen; 926–993; Cases 58, 124, 133 n., 134, 270-1, 270-2)

Shouzhou Liangsui (Shou-chou Liang-sui, Jushū Ryōsui; n.d.; Case 167)

Shuangshan Yuan (Shuang-shan Yüan, Sōsan Gen; n.d.; Case 30)

Shūhō Myōchō ( 1282–1338; Cases 107, 144, 169, 225), best known by his title Daitō Kokushi

Shuian Shiyi (Shui-an Shih-i, Suian Shiichi; 1107–76; Case 109)

Shushan Guangren (Shu-shan Kuang -jen, Sozan Kōnin; 837–909; Cases 32, 132), also known as Shushan Kuangren (Su-shan Kuang-jen, Sozan Kyōnin)

Sixin Wuxin (Ssu-hsin Wu-hsin, Shishin Goshin; 1043–1114; Case 18)

Songshan Huian (Sung-shan Hui-an, Sūzan Ean; 582–709; Case 118), also known as Laoan , Daoan , or Daan , was one of the sixteen great disciples of the Fifth Patriarch, Hongren.

Songyuan Chongyue (Sung-yüan Chung-yüeh, Shōgen Sūgaku; 1132–1202; Cases 95, 142, 207-2, 228)

Sudhana (Shancai Tongzi, Shan-tsai Tung-tzu, Zenzai Dōshi; Cases 88 n., 89, 201)

Taihang Kebin (Tai-hang Ko-pin, Taikō Kokuhin; ca. 9th c.; Case 130)

Taizong (T'ai-tsung, Taisō; 939–997; Case 260), also known as Zhao Kuangyi (Chao K'uang-i, Jō Kyōgi)

Tettō Gikō (1295–1369; Case 213), also known as Reizan Tettō

Tianhuang Daowu (Tien-huang Tao-wu, Tennō Dōgo; 748–807; Case 256)

Tiantai Deshao (Tien-tai Te-shao, Tendai Tokushō; 891–972; Case 271)

Touzi Datong (Tou-tzu Ta-tung, Tōsu Daidō; 819–914; Case 202) was a Dharma successor of Cuiwei Wuxue (9th c.), honored with the posthumous title Great Master Ciji

Touzi Fazong (Tou-tzu Fa-tsung, Tōsu Hōshū; n.d.; Case 100) was a Dharma successor of Xuedou Chongxian

Udayana (Youtianwang, Yu-tien-wang, Utenō; Case 133)

Vimalakīrti (Weimojie, Wei-mo-chieh, Yuimakitsu; Cases 80, 108, 112, 133, 175)

Vipaśyin (Piposhi, Pi-po-shih, Bibashi; Cases 34 n., 163, 263). The first of the six nonhistorical Buddhas said to have preceded Śākyamuni.

Wanan Daoyan (Wan-an Tao-yan, Manan Dōgan; 1094–1164; Cases 19-2 n., 146), also known as Donglin Daoyan

Wang Changshi (Wang Chang-shih; Ō Jōji; 9th c.; Case 221), better known as Wang Jingchu

Wang Sui (Wang Sui; Ō Zui; 10th–11th c.; Case 260) was prime minister and a lay disciple of Shoushan Shengnian.

Wolun (Wo-lun, Garin; n.d.; Case 261) was a monk of the early Tang dynasty

Wumen Huikai (Wu-men Hui-kai, Mumon Ekai; 1183–1260; Case 171), compiler of the important koan collection Wumen guan

Wuzu Fayan (Wu-tsu Fa-yen, Goso Hōen; 1024?–1104; Cases 3, 8, 16, 28-1, 32, 37, 40, 77, 84, 98 n., 249, 259, 266)

Wuzu Shijie (Wu-tsu Shih-chieh, Goso Shikai; 10th c.; Case 151)

Xiang Yu (Hsiang Yü; Kō U; 232–202 BCE; Case 191), also known by his given name, Xiang Ji (Hsiang Chi, Kō Seki), was, with his rival Liu Bang (247–195 BCE), one of the two great generals in the wars that led to the fall of the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE).

Xianglin Chengyuan (Hsiang-lin Cheng-yüan, Kyōrin Chōon; 908–987; Cases 41, 203)

Xiangyan Zhixian (Hsiang-yen Chih-hsien, Kyōgen Chikan; d. 898; Cases 19-1, 19-2, 26, 123, 240)

Xianzong (Hsien -tsung, Kensō; 778–820 ; Case 247) was the title of the eleventh Tang emperor, Li Chun

Xinghua Cunjiang (Hsing-hua Tsun-chiang, Kōke Zonshō; 830–888; Cases 59, 123, 130, 184)

Xingjiao Hongshou (Hsing-chiao Hung-shou, Kōkyō Kōju; 944–1022; Case 271)

Xitang Zhizang (Hsi-tang Chih-tsang, Seidō Chizō; 735–814; Case 78)

Xiu (Hsiu, Shū; n.d .; Case 272)

Xuansha Shibei (Hsüan-sha Shih-pei, Gensha Shibi; 835–908; Cases 8, 43, 113, 158)

Xuanzong (Hsüan-tsung, Sensō; 810–859; Case 250) was the title of Li Shen, the sixteenth Tang emperor; he is also known by the title Dazhong

Xuedou Chongxian (Hsüeh-tou Chung-hsien, Setchō Jūken; 980–1052; Cases 19-1, 194)

Xuefeng Yicun (Hsüeh-feng I-tsun, Seppō Gison; 822–908; Cases 22-1, 43, 200, 256)

Xutang Zhiyu (Hsü tang Chih-yü, Kidō Chigu; 1185–1269; Cases 28-2, 61, 71, 87, 104, 105, 133 n., 143, 145, 146, 158, 183-2, 186 , 200, 205, 270-2, 271)

Yang Danian (Yang Ta-nien, Yō Dainen; n.d.; Case 137), also known as Yang Yi (Yang I, Yō Oku)

Yangqi Fanghui (Yang-chi Fang-hui, Yōgi Hōe; 992–1049; Cases 172, 183-1), founder of the Yangqi branch of Linji-school Zen

Yangshan Huiji (Yang-shan Hui-chi, Kyōzan Ejaku; 807–883; Cases 60, 65, 76, 82, 116, 123, 149, 151, 187, 192, 206, 238)

Yantou Quanhuo (Yen-tou Chuan-huo, Gantō Zenkatsu; 828–887; Cases 22-1, 61, 166, 171, 256)

Yanyang Shanxin (Yen-yang Shan-hsin, Genyō Zenshin; n.d.; Case 6) was a Dharma heir of the great Zen master Zhaozhou Congshen

Ying'an Tanhua (Ying-an Tan-hua, Ōan Donge; 1103–1163; Cases 30, 59, 75)

Yongjia Xuanjue (Yung-chia Hsüan-chüeh, Yōka Genkaku; 675–713; Cases 168 n., 229 n.), one of the greatest disciples of the Sixth Patriarch Huineng

Yongming Yanshou (Yung-ming Yen-shou, Yōmei Enju; 904–975; Case 271 n.)

Yu Di (Yü Ti, U Teki; d. 818; Cases 39, 86), governor

Yuanming (Yüan-ming, Enmyō; n.d.; Case 194) was the imperially bestowed title of Deshan Yuanmi

Yuanwu Keqin (Yüan-wu Ko-chin; Engo Kokugon; 1063–1135; Cases 32, 73, 77, 89, 92, 96, 98, 99 n., 112, 155 n., 266)

Yuezhou Qianfeng (Yüeh-chou Chien-feng; Esshū Kenpō; n.d.; Cases 17, 138, 211)

Yun'an Puyan (Yün-an Pu-yen, Un'an Fugan; 1156–1226; Cases 95, 218)

Yunju Daojian (Yün-chü Tao-chien, Ungo Dōkan; n.d.; Cases 105 n., 108)

Yunju Shanwu (Yün-chü Shan-wu, Ungo Zengo; 1074–1132; Case 266)

Yunmen Wenyan (Yün-men Wen-yen, Unmon Bunen; 864–949; Cases 4, 8 n., 17, 20, 21, 29, 49, 55 n., 84, 88, 91, 92, 114, 120, 138, 148, 152, 157 n., 164, 185, 188 , 189, 203, 211, 226), founder of the Yunmen school and the last of the Tang-period Zen giants

Zhang Wujin (Chang Wu-chin, Chō Mujin; 1043–1121; Case 140), better known as Zhang Shangying ( Chang Shang -ying, Chō Shōei)

Zhang Zhuo (Chang Cho, Chō Setsu; n.d.; Case 196) was a layman of the Five Dynasties and early Song period

Zhang Zishao (Chang Tzu-shao, Chō Shishō; 1092–1159; Case 141), better known as Zhang Jiucheng (Chang Chiu-chêng, Chō Kujō)

Zhao Biaozhi (Chao Piao-chih, Jō Hyōshi; n.d.; Case 32)

Zhaozhou Congshen (Chao-chou Tsung-shen, Jōshū Jūshin; 778–897; Cases 6, 9, 12, 13, 35, 46-1, 46-2, 46 -3, 46-4, 46 -5, 46-6 n., 54, 90, 103, 104, 121, 123 n., 190, 207-1, 207-2, 212, 219, 229, 248, 262)

Zhenjing Kewen (Chen-ching Ko-wen, Shinjō Kokubun; 1025–1102; Cases 27, 71, 140, 199), also known as Letan Kewen (Le-tan Ko-wen, Rokutan Kokubun) and Baofeng Kewen (Pao-feng Ko-wen, Hōhō Kokubun)

Zhongfeng Mingben (Chung-feng Ming-pen, Chūhō Myōhon; 1263–1323; Case 46-3)

Zhuozhou Kefu (Cho-chou Ko-fu, Takujū Kokufu; n.d.; Case 141), also known as Zhiyi Daozhe (Chih-i Tao-che, Shii Dōsha, a name that means "Paper-robed Wayfarer")

Zilin (Tsu-lin, Shirin; n.d.; Case 267)

Ziyu Daotong (Tsu-yü Tao-tung, Shigyoku Dōtsū; 727– 813; Case 39)




宗門葛藤集 Gabalyodó indák
Fordította: Terebess Gábor

1. Huj-ko szelleme megbékül

Bódhidharma* a barlang falának fordulva ült és hallgatott. Kint Huj-ko** a magas hóban térdelt hiába, végül levágta és felmutatta egyik karját, hogy szóra bírja mesterét:
– Tanítványod szelleme nem ismer nyugalmat – mondta kétségbeesetten. – Könyörgök, békítsd meg!
– Hozd ide azt a nyughatatlan szellemed – szólt a pátriárka. – Megbékítem.
– Mihelyt keresem, megtalálhatatlan.
– Akkor meg is békült.

*Bódhidharma / Puti Damo [Rōmaji: Bodai Daruma] 菩提達磨 (?-532)
**Taj-ce Huj-ko / Dazu Huike 太祖慧可 [Rōmaji: Taiso Eka] (487-593)


3. Vu-cu: „szolgák csupán”

A Tung-hegyi Vu-cu Fa-jen* így szólt a gyülekezethez:
– Még Sákjamuni vagy Maitréja buddha is csupán valaki szolgája. Mondjátok meg, kié!

*Vu-cu Fa-jen / Wuzu Fayan [Rōmaji: Goso Hōen] 五祖法演 (1024-1104)


4. Jün-men: „Akár a Szumeru-hegy”

– Hibádzik-e valami, ha nem merül föl egy árva gondolat se? – kérdezte egy szerzetes Jün-mentől.*
– Egy Szumeru-hegy! – felelte Jün-men.

*Jün-men Ven-jen / Yunmen Wenyan [Rōmaji: Ummon Bun'en] 雲門文偃 (864-949)


5. Ma-cu: „Az elme maga a buddha”

A Ming-tartománybeli Ta-mej Fa-csang* megkérdezte Ma-cu Tao-ji-t,** mi az a buddha.
– Az elme maga a buddha – mondta Ma-cu.
Később egy másik szerzetes kérdezte tőle:
– Mi az a buddha?
– Nem is elme, nem is buddha – válaszolta Ma-cu.

*Ta-mej Fa-csang / Damei Fachang [Rōmaji: Daibai Hōjō] 大梅法常 (752-839)
** Ma-cu Tao-ji / Mazu Daoyi [ Rōmaji: Baso Dōitsu] 馬祖道一 (709-788)


6. Csao-csou: „Tedd le!”

– Üres kézzel jöttem – szabadkozott Jen-jang San-hszin,* mikor meglátogatta Csao-csou-t .**
– Tedd le! – mondta Csao-csou.
– Mit tegyek le, ha egyszer semmit se hoztam?
– Akkor csak cipeld tovább!
Jen-jang abban a pillanatban megvilágosult.

*Jen-jang San-hszin / Yanyang Shanxin [Rōmaji: Genyō Zenshin]   嚴陽善信 (?-?)
**Csao-csou Cung-sen / Zhaozhou Congshen [Rōmaji: Jōshū Jūshin] 趙州從諗 (778-897)


8. Ling-jün Cse-csin viráglátása

A Fucsouból való Ling-jün Cse-csin* egy barackfa virága láttán világosodott meg. Verset is írt róla:

„Mester kardját kerestem harminc évig,
Hullt a levél, fakadt a rügy hányszor,
Ám barackfa virágát egyszer megláttam,
És többé nem gyötör a kétség.”

Később felidézte megvilágosodás-versét mesterének. Kuj-san Ling-ju** azt mondta: „Akik élményeken keresztül világosulnak meg, sosem esnek vissza. Vigyázz magadra!”

Hszüan-sa Si-pej*** hallván erről, azt mondta: „Ling-jün-nek akár igaza is lehet, de lefogadom, hogy korántsem értette meg teljesen.”

Vu-cu Fa-jen**** azt mondta: „Mit nem beszélsz, hogy teljes-e, vagy sem? Még harminc év gyakorlást neki!”

Még később Ta-csuan Pu-csi***** tanítóbeszéde közben egy szerzetes rákérdezett ama versre. Ta-csuan azt mondta: „Aggódik a tolvaj.”

*Ling-jün Cse-csin / Lingyun Zhiqin [Rōmaji: Reiun Shikin] 霊雲志勤 (?-?)
** Kuj-san Ling-ju / Guishan Lingyou [Rōmaji: Isan Reiyū] 溈山靈祐 (771-853)
***Hszüan-sa Si-pej / Xuansha Shibei [Rōmaji: Gensha Shibi] 玄沙師備 (835-908)
****Vu-cu Fa-jen / Wuzu Fayan [Rōmaji: Goso Hōen] 五祖法演 (1024-1104)
*****Ta-csuan Pu-csi / Dachuan Puji [Rōmaji: Daisen Fusai] 大川普濟 (1179–1253)


9. Csao-csou ciprusfája

– Miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
– Ciprusfa az udvaron – felelte Csao-csou.*
– Mester, ne taníts engem külső tárgyak segítségével.
– Nem tanítalak külső tárgyak segítségével.
– Miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma? – kérdezte újra a szerzetes.
– Ciprusfa az udvaron – felelte újra Csao-csou.

A későbbiekben Fa-jen Ven-ji** megkérdezte Csüe Tie-cuj-tól:***
– Hallottam, hogy mestered, Csao-csou, beszélt valami ciprusfáról. Igaz ez?
– Tanítómesterem sose mondott ilyet –, ne rágalmazd őt!
– Egy valódi oroszlánkölyök bömbölte el magát – jegyezte meg Fa-jen.

***Csao-csou Cung-sen / Zhaozhou Congshen [Rōmaji: Jōshū Jūshin] 趙州從諗 (778-897)
**Fa-jen Ven-ji / Fayan Wenyi [Rōmaji: Hōgen Buneki] 法眼文益 (885-958)
*** Csüe Tie-cuj / Jue Tiezui [Rōmaji: Kaku Tetsushi) 覺鐵 嘴 (?-?)


10. Huang-lung három kapuja

Huang-lung Huj-nan* megkérdezte Lung-csing Csing-hszien-től:**
– Mindekinek van szülőhelye. Hol van a tied?
– Kora reggel rizskását ettem, mostanra újra megéheztem – felelt Lung-csing.
– Mennyire hasonlít a kezem Buddha kezére? – kérdezte Huang-lung.
– Lantot pengetnek holdvilágnál.
– Mennyire hasonlít a lábam szamárlábra?
– Havas kócsag áll a hóban, de színük nem egyforma fehér – felelt Lung-csing

*Huang-lung Huj-nan / Huanglong Huinan [Rōmaji: Ōryū Enan] 黃龍慧南 (1002-1069)
**Lung-csing Csing-hszien / Longqing Qingxian [Rōmaji: Ryūkei Keikan] 隆慶慶閑 (1029-1081)


11. Zsuj-jen szólítja mesterét

Zsuj-jen Si-jen* mindennap szólította saját magát: „Ó, mester!” „Tessék” – válaszolt rá ő maga. „Ébren vagy?” „Ébren.” „Vigyázz magadra, nehogy becsapjanak!” „Jó – tette hozzá –, vigyázok.”

*Zsuj-jen Si-jen / Ruiyan Shiyan [Rōmaji: Zuigan Shigen] 瑞巖師彦 (9. sz.)


12. Csao-csou átlát az öreganyón

Egy szerzetes a Vutaj-hegyre zarándokolt. Útközben megkérdezett egy öreganyót, merre tartson.
– Csak egyenesen előre.
A szerzetes úgy is ment.
– Ez is csak arra tér le – mormogta utána az öreganyó.
A szerzetes elmesélte Csao-csounak*, hogy járt.
– Kipuhatolom én azt az öreganyót – mondta Csao-csou.
Másnap maga is megkérdezte tőle, merre menjen.
– Csak egyenesen előre.
A mester úgy is tett.
– Ez is csak arra tér le – mormogta utána is az öreganyó.
Amikor Csao-csou visszatért, a szerzetesek már várták.
– Rajtakaptam az öreganyót – biztosította őket Csao-csou.

*Csao-csou Cung-sen / Zhaozhou Congshen [Rōmaji: Jōshū Jūshin] 趙州從諗 (778-897)


13. Cuj Lang-csung pokla

Cuj Lang-csung* megkérdezte Csao-csou Cung-sen-t:*
– Pokolra juthatnak valaha a megvilágosult tanítómesterek is?
– Elsőként megyek oda.
– Megvilágosult tanítómester létedre – csodálkozott Lang-csung –, hogy juthatsz a pokolra?
– Ha nem megyek a pokolra, hogy segítsek rajtad?

*Cuj Lang-csung / Cui Langzhong [Rōmaji: Sai Rōchū] 崔郎中 (9th c.)
**Csao-csou Cung-sen / Zhaozhou Congshen [Rōmaji: Jōshū Jūshin] 趙州從諗 (778-897)


16. Bivaly bújik át az ablakon

Vu-cu Fa-jen* mondott egy példát:
– Olyan, mintha bivaly mászna át az ablakrácson. A feje, a szarva, a négy lába mind átbújt – miért nem fér át a farka?

*Vu-cu Fa-jen / Wuzu Fayan [Rōmaji: Goso Hōen] 五祖法演 (1024-1104)


18. San-ku illatcserjéje

Egy nap a költő San-ku* meglátogatta Huj-tang Cu-hszin-t**. Huj-tang azt mondta:
– Ismered Konfuciusz*** mondását: „Azt hiszitek, barátaim, van valami titkom előttetek? Semmit sem titkolok előletek.” Ugyanez a helyzet a zen legfontosabb ügyében is. Érted, miről van szó?
– Nem értem – válaszolta San-ku.
Később Huj-tang és San-ku kirándultak a hegyekben, a levegőt betöltötte az virágzó illatcserje**** bódító aromája. Huj-tang azt kérdezte:
– Érzed a virágok illatát?
– Érzem – mondta San-ku.
– Látod, nem titkolok előled semmit.
Abban a pillanatban San-ku megvilágosult.

Két hónappal később meglátogatta Sze-hszin Vu-hszin-t.***** Sze-hszin üdvözlésül azt mondta:
– Én is meghalok, te is meghalsz, végül két kupac hamu lesz belőlünk. Akkortájt hol találkozunk?
San-ku próbált valami felelni, de semmi nem jutott az eszébe. Később a Csiennanba vezető út szélén, felocsudva álmából, megértette Sze-hszin szándékát. Ezután elérte a tökéletes szabadság szamádhiját.

*San-ku Tao-zsen / Shangu Daoren [Rōmaji: Sankoku Dōjin] 山谷 道人 (1045–1105), Huang Ting-csien / Huang Tingjian [Rōmaji: Kō Teiken] 黃庭堅 költői álneve
**Huj-tang Cu-hszin / Huitang Zuxin [Rōmaji: Kaidō Soshin] 晦堂祖心 (1025–1100)
*** Konfuciusz beszélgetései és mondásai, VII:23
**** illatcserje virága / muxihua [Rōmaji: mokuseika] 木犀花 (Osmanthus fragrans)
*****Sze-hszin Vu-hszin/ Sixin Wuxin [Rōmaji: Shishin Goshin] 死心悟新 (1044-1115)


19-1. Fönn a fán

Hsziang-jen* így szólt a gyülekezethez:
– Mintha fogadnál fogva lógnál egy fa tetejéről, kezed nem éri ágát, lábad nem éri törzsét. Arra jön valaki, és megkérdi, miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma. Ha nem szólalsz meg, veszni hagysz egy embert, ha megszólalsz, magad veszejted el. Hát most válaszolsz, vagy nem válaszolsz?
Egy Csao** nevű szerzetes a mester elé járult, és azt mondta:
– Hagyjuk békén, ha már egyszer fenn lóg a fán. Inkább arról mesélj, mi van, mielőtt felmászott rá!
Ezzel aztán jól megnevettette a mestert.

*Hsziang-jen Cse-hszien / Xiangyan Zhixian [Rōmaji: Kyōgen Chikan] 香嚴智閑 (?-898)
**Csao / Hutou Zhao shangzuo [Rōmaji: Kotō Shō jōza] 虎頭招 上座, shangzuo = sthavira = rangidős szerzetes


20. Jün-men seggtörlője

– Mi a Buddha? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
– Egy használt seggtörlő – felelt Jün-men.*

*Jün-men Ven-jen / Yunmen Wenyan [Rōmaji: Ummon Bun'en] 雲門文偃 (864-949)


25. Si-suang és a pózna vége

Si-suang* azt kérdezte:
– Hogyan tovább egy száz láb magas pózna tetejéről?

*Si-suang/Ce-ming Csu-jüan / Shishuang/Ciming Chuyuan [Rōmaji: Sekisō/Jimei Soen] 石霜 / 慈明楚圓 (986–1039)


29. Jün-men nyilvánvalója

– Ha az ember megöli apját, anyját, vezekelhet a Buddha előtt, de ha megöl Buddhát, pátriárkát, vajon ki előtt vezekelhet? – kérdezte egy szerzetes Jün-mentől.*
– Tényleg – mondta Jün-men.

*Jün-men Ven-jen / Yunmen Wenyan [Rōmaji: Ummon Bun'en] 雲門文偃 (864-949)


33. Nan-csüan sarlója

Egyszer Nan-csüan* füvet sarlózott a mezőn. Arra járt egy vándor szerzetes, és azt kérdezte tőle, melyik út vezet a Nan-csüan kolostorba.
Nan-csüan fölegyenesedett, és odatartotta sarlóját a szerzetes orra alá:
– Harminc pénzt fizettem érte – mondta.
– De én a Nan-csüanba vezető útról kérdeztelek!
– Bizony jól vág! – mondta Nan-csüan.

*Nan-csüan Pu-jüan / Nanquan Puyuan [Rōmaji: Nansen Fugen] 南泉普願 (748-835)


36. Két szerzetes felgöngyöli a bambuszredőnyt

Egyik nap a délebédre gyülekezők előtt Fa-jen* a bambuszredőnyre mutatott. Mindjárt két szerzetes sietett oda, hogy felgöngyölje.
– Az egyik nyert, a másik vesztett – mondta Fa-jen.

*Fa-jen Ven-ji / Fayan Wenyi [Rōmaji: Hōgen Buneki] 法眼文益 (885-958)


49. A Keleti-hegység jár a vízen

– Milyen az a hely, ahonnan minden buddha származik? – kérdete egy szerzetes.
– A Keleti-hegység vízen járkál – felelt Jün-men.

*Jün-men Ven-jen / Yunmen Wenyan [Rōmaji: Ummon Bun'en] 雲門文偃 (864-949)


55. Csang úr borozott

Így szól a régi nóta:
– „Csang úr borozott, s Li úr berúgott.”


62. Tung-san három mérő zsákvászna

Egy szerzetes azt kérdezte Tung-santól:*
– Mi az a Buddha?
– Három mérő zsákvászon – felelt Tung-san.

*Tung-san Sou-csu / Dongshan Shouchu [Rōmaji: Tōzan Shusho] 洞山守初 (910-990)


64. Nincs érdem

Vu-ti császár* kihallgatásra rendelte Bódhidharmát:
– Lám, templomokat alapíttattam, szerzeteseket avattattam – hivalkodott a császár. – Milyen érdemeket szereztem?
– Semmilyet – mondta Bódhidharma.

*Vu-ti császár, Liang-dinasztia, uralk. 502-549
**Bódhidharma / Puti Damo [Rōmaji: Bodai Daruma] 菩提達磨 (?-532)


252. Jin-feng talicskázik

Ma-cu* mester az út szélén üldögélt és a lábát nyújtóztatta. Tanítványa, Jin-feng** arra tolt egy kordét, és kérte szépen, hogy húzza be a lábát.
– Amit egyszer kinyújtok, azt vissza nem húzom! – makacsolta meg magát Ma-cu.
– Ha én egyszer nekiindultam, vissza nem fordulok! – viszonozta Jin-feng, és kordéstul átgázolt a mester lábán.
Kisvártatva Ma-cu bárddal viharzott be a csarnokkapun:
– Jöjjön elő, aki megsebezte a lábam! – zengett a hangja.
Jin-feng előlépett, lehajtotta a fejét, a mester pedig letette a bárdot.

*Ma-cu Tao-ji / Mazu Daoyi [Rōmaji: Baso Dōitsu] 馬祖道一 (709-788)
**Vu-taj (Teng) Jin-feng / Wutai (Deng) Yinfeng 五臺 (鄧) 隐峰


254. Elismerem a vén barbár bölcsességét

A vén barbár* bölcsességét elismerem, de a tudását aligha.

*Sákjamuni vagy Bódhidharma