ZEN IRODALOM ZEN LITERATURE
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法眼文益 Fayan Wenyi (885-958), aka 清凉文益 Qingliang Wenyi
(Rōmaji:) Hōgen Buneki, aka Shōryō Buneki
Fayan Wenyi (885- 958)
PDF: The Fa Yen Sect:
PDF:"One Got It, the Other Missed"
FAYAN WENYI, “QINGLIANG”
Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools
Fa-yen Wen-i: Founder of the Fa-yen House
Encounter Dialogues of Qingliang (Fayan) Wenyi
FAYAN WENYI, “QINGLIANG”
IN: Zen's Chinese heritage: the masters and their teachings
by Andy Ferguson
Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000. pp. 342-346.
FAYAN WENYI (885–958) was a disciple of Dizang. He came from ancient Yuhang (near the city of Hangzhou). At the age of seven, he entered a monastery headed by a Zen master named Quanwei. Well educated and erudite as a young man, Fayan studied the Confucian classics. He received ordination at the age of twenty at Kaiyuan Temple in Yuezhou (now the city of Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province). He then proceeded to Maoshan, a seaport in Ye County of Zhejiang Province, where he studied under the Vinaya master Xijiao. Later, Fayan studied Zen under Changqing Huileng. While on a pilgrimage with some other monks, Fayan and his friends were sidetracked by a snowstorm and forced to stay at the Dizang Monastery. Luohan Guichen served as abbot there. The Transmission of the Lamp provides the following account of their exchange:
Guichen asked, “Where are you going?”
Fayan replied, “On an ongoing pilgrimage.”
Guichen said, “Why do you go on a pilgrimage?”
Fayan replied, “I don’t know.”
Guichen said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”
At these words Fayan instantly experienced enlightenment.
The record of Zen master Fayan Wenyi provides a different account of his encounter with Dizang and his subsequent awakening:
When the snow was gone, the three monks bade farewell and started to depart. Dizang accompanied them to the gate and asked, “I’ve heard you say several times that ‘the three realms are only mind and the myriad dharmas are only consciousness.’”
Dizang then pointed to a rock lying on the ground by the gate and said, “So do you say that this rock is inside or outside of mind?”
Fayan said, “Inside.”
Dizang said, “How can a pilgrim carry such a rock in his mind while on pilgrimage?”
Dumbfounded, Fayan couldn’t answer. He put his luggage down at Dizang’s feet and asked him to clarify the truth. Each day for the next month or so Fayan spoke about the Way with Dizang and demonstrated his understanding.
Dizang would always say, “The Buddhadharma isn’t like that.”
Finally, Fayan said, “I’ve run out of words and ideas.”
Dizang said, “If you want to talk about Buddhadharma, everything you see embodies it.”
At these words Fayan experienced great enlightenment.
Penetrating the great affair under Zen master Luohan Guichen, Fayan became his Dharma heir. He went on to establish one of the five traditionally recognized schools of Zen. The Fayan school style is popularly traced to Dizang’s teacher, Xuansha. However, Fayan successfully spread the school’s influence, and its teachings became synonymous with his name.
Fayan first taught at Chongshou Monastery in Linchuan. Later he resided at the Qingliang Monastery in Jinling, where his students are said to have numbered up to one thousand. During Fayan’s lifetime the regent of the Southern Song dynasty honored him with the title, “Great Teacher Peaceful Wisdom.” The school he established incorporated elements from the Huayan school of Buddhism, including the principle “in all things manifested.”
The great Zen adepts used everyday events and discourses as leavening for realization. Fayan was no exception. His recorded talks and actions demonstrate numerous examples of turning a pivotal phrase.
Fayan traveled to Linchuan, where the provincial governor invited him to become abbot of Chongshou Monastery. On dedication day, Fayan remained sitting in the tea hall and did not leave it.
A monk said to him, “Monks from everywhere are now crowded around the master’s Dharma seat waiting for you to speak.”
Fayan said, “In that case, the monks are practicing with a genuine worthy!”
After a while, Fayan ascended the Dharma seat.
A monk said, “The assembly has gathered. We ask the master to expound the Dharma.”
Fayan said, “You’ve all been standing here too long!”
Then he said, “Since all of you have assembled here, I can’t say nothing at all. So I’ll give you all an expedient that was offered by one of the ancients. Take care!”
Fayan then left the Dharma seat.
Once, when a monk was visiting Fayan, he pointed to a blind. Two monks went to roll it up. Fayan said, “One gain, one loss.”
A monk asked, “What was the style of the ancient buddhas?”
Fayan said, “Where can it not be completely seen?”
Fayan directed a monk to get soil for the lotus plant basin. When the monk came with the soil, Fayan said, “Did you get the soil from the east side or the west side of the bridge?”
The monk said, “From the east side.”
Fayan said, “It’s real. It’s illusory.”
Fayan asked the monk Jiao, “Did you come by boat or by land?”
Jiao replied, “By boat.”
Fayan said, “Where is the boat?”
Jiao said, “The boat is in the river.”
Jiao then left. Fayan turned to a monk standing to one side and asked, “Did that monk who was just here have the eye or not?”
Fayan asked a monk where he came from.
The monk said, “From Libai Dasheng [‘worship the great holy one’] in Sizhou.”
Fayan said, “Did the ‘great holy’ come out of his stupa this year or not?”
The monk said, “He came out.”
Fayan then asked a monk standing to one side, “Do you say he went to Sizhou or not?”
A monk asked, “If someone is seeking an understanding of Buddha, what’s the best path to doing so?”
Fayan said, “It doesn’t pass here.”
A monk asked, “What is the thing toward which an advanced student should pay particular attention?”
Fayan said, “If the student has anything whatsoever that is particular then he can’t be called advanced.”
A monk asked, “What is a true patch of earth?”
Fayan said, “Not a single patch of earth is true.”
A monk asked, “What is the ultimate teaching of all buddhas?”
Fayan said, “You have it too.”
When Fayan became abbot of Qingliang Temple, he addressed the monks, saying, “Students of Zen need only act according to conditions to realize the Way. When it’s cold, they’re cold. When it’s hot, they’re hot. If you must understand the meaning of buddha nature then just pay attention to what’s going on. There is no shortage of old and new expedients. Haven’t you heard about Shitou? Upon reading the Zhao Lun he exclaimed, ‘Understanding that all things are the self. This is what all the ancient holy ones realized!’ Shitou also said, ‘The holy ones did not have a self. Nor was there anything that was not their selves.’ Shitou composed the Cantongqi. The first phrase in that text says, ‘The mind of the great sage of India.’ There’s no need to go beyond this phrase. Within it is what is always put forth as the teaching of our school. All of you should understand that the myriad beings are your own self, and that across the great earth there isn’t a single dharma that can be observed. Shitou also admonishes, ‘Don’t pass your days and nights in vain.’ What I have just said may be realized if you seize the opportunity before you. If you miss the opportunity, then that is ‘passing your days and nights in vain.’ If you spend your time trying to understand form in the middle of nonform, just going on in this way, you are missing your opportunity. So, do we therefore say that we should realize nonform in the midst of form? Is that right? If your understanding is like this, then you’re nowhere near it. You’re just going along with the illness of two-headed madness. Of what use is it? All of you, just do what is appropriate to the moment! Take care!”
A monk asked, “What is the first principle?”
Fayan said, “When I speak to you, that is the second principle.”
There is a story that in former times a Zen monk lived alone in a cottage. Above his door he wrote the word “mind.” Above his window he wrote the word “mind,” and on his wall he wrote the word, “mind.”
Zen master Fayan said, “Above his door he should have written, ‘door.’ Above his window he should have written ‘window,’ and on his wall he should have written the word ‘wall.’”
A monk asked, “What is the second moon?”
Fayan said, “The phenomena of the universe.”
The monk asked, “What is the first moon?”
Fayan said, “The universe of phenomena.”
Once, when sand filled in and obstructed a new spring that was being dug at the temple, Zen master Fayan said, “The mouth of the spring is obstructed by sand. When the Dharma eye is obstructed, what is it that obscures it?”
The monks were unable to answer.
Fayan said, “It’s obstructed by the eye.”
Fayan had sixty-three Dharma heirs. Though the influence of his school was widespread during and for a period after his life, the lineage died out after five generations.
After his death, Fayan received the posthumous title “Great Zen Master Dharma Eye.”
Ten Guidelines for Zen Schools
Translated by Thomas Cleary
In: The five houses of Zen, 1997
Author’s Own Preface
I SHED THE CAGE of entanglements in youth and grew up hearing the essentials of the Teaching, traveling around calling on teachers for nearly thirty years. The Zen schools, in particular, are widespread, most numerous in the South. Yet few in them have arrived at attainment; such people are rarely found.
Anyway, even though noumenal principle is a matter for sudden understanding, actualities must be realized gradually. The teaching methods of the schools have many techniques, of course, but insofar as they are for dealing with people for their benefit, the ultimate aim is the same.
If, however, people have no experience of the doctrines of the teachings, it is hard to break through discrimination and subjectivity. Galloping right views over wrong roads, mixing inconsistencies into important meanings, they delude people of the following generations and inanely enter into vicious circles.
I have taken the measure of this, and it is quite deep; I have made the effort to get rid of it, but I have not fully succeeded. The mentality that blocks the tracks just grows stronger; the intellectual undercurrent is not useful.
Where there are no words, I forcefully speak out; where there is no dogma, I strongly uphold certain principles. Pointing out defects in Zen schools, I briefly explain ten matters, using words critical of specific errors to rescue an era from decadence.
1. On False Assumption of Teacherhood Without Having Cleared One’s Own Mind Ground
The teaching of the mind ground is the basis of Zen study. What is the mind ground? It is the great awareness of those who arrive at suchness.
From no beginning, a moment of confusion mistaking things for oneself, craving and desire flare up, and you flow in the waves of birth and death. The radiance of awareness is dimmed, covered up by ignorance; routines of behavior push you on, so you cannot be free.
Once you have lost human status, you cannot restore it. That is why the buddhas emerged in the world with so many expedient methods; if you get stuck on expressions and pursue words, you will fall back into eternalism or nihilism. Through the compassion of the Zen masters, the mind seal was communicated unalloyed, so that people could transcend the ordinary and the sacred at once, without going through stages; it just got them to awaken on their own and sever the root of doubt forever.
People of recent times take a lot lightly. They may enter communes, but they are lazy about pursuing intense inquiry. Even if they develop concentration, they do not select a true master; through the mistakes of false teachers, like them they lose direction to the ultimate. They have not comprehended the faculties and fields of sense, so they have false understandings that lead them into deluded states, where they lose the true basis completely.
Concerned only with hurriedly striving for leadership, they are falsely called teachers; while they value an empty reputation in the world, how can they consider the fact that they are bringing ill upon themselves? Not only do they deafen and blind people of later times, but they also cause the current teaching to degenerate. Having climbed to the high and wide seat of a spiritual master, instead they lie on iron bedsteads, suffering the final shame of Chunda [whose offering caused the death of Buddha], forced to drink molten copper.
Beware! It is not good to be complacent with oneself. The punishment consequent on slandering the Great Vehicle is not minor.
2. On Factional Sectarianism and Failure to Penetrate Controversies
The Zen founder did not come from India to China because there is something to be transmitted. He just pointed directly to the human mind for the perception of its essence and realization of awakening. How could there be any sectarian style to be valued?
Nevertheless, the provisional teachings devised by the guides to the source had differences and accordingly came to differ from one another. For example, the two masters Hui-neng and Shen-hsiu had the same teacher, but their perceptions and understandings differed. Hence the world referred to them as the Southern School and the Northern School.
Once Hui-neng was gone, there were two teachers, Hsingssu and Huai-jang, who continued his teaching. Hsing-ssu taught Hsi-ch’ien, and Huai-jang taught Ma-tsu. Ma-tsu was also called Chiang-hsi, and Hsi-ch’ien was also called Shih-t’ou.
From these two branches diverged individual lineages, each occupying a region. The outflow of the original streams cannot be recorded in full. When it got to Te-shan, Lin-chi, Kuei-shan and Yang-shan, Ts’ao-shan and Tung-shan, Hsueh-feng, Yun-men, and so on, each school had established devices, with higher and lower gradations.
But when it came to continuation, their descendants maintained sects and factionalized their ancestries. Not basing themselves on reality, eventually they produced many sidetracks, contradicting and clashing with one another, so that the profound and the shallow became indistinguishable.
Unfortunately, they still do not realize that the Great Way takes no sides; streams of truth are all of the same flavor. These sectarians spread embellishments in empty space and stick needles in iron and stone, taking disputation for superknowledge and lip-flapping for meditation. Sword-points of approval and disapproval arise, and mountains of egotism toward others stand tall. In their anger they become monsters, their views and interpretations ultimately turning them into outsiders. Unless they meet good friends, they will hardly be able to get out of the harbor of delusion. They bring on bad results, even from good causes.
3. On Teaching and Preaching Without Knowing the Bloodline
If you want to expound the vehicle to the source and bring out the essentials of the Teaching, unless you know the bloodline all you are doing is wrongly propagating heresies.
In this context, there is first extolling and then upholding, criticizing, or praising doctrines, snapping the thrust of intellect. When one is in charge of carrying out the imperative of Zen, enlivening and killing are in one’s hands.
Sometimes one stands like a mile-high wall, totally inaccessible, or sometimes one may consent to let go temporarily and follow the waves. Like a king wielding a sword, the ideal is to attain autonomy.
Active function is a matter of appropriate timing; one grants or deprives like a grand general. Waves leap, peaks tower, lightning flashes, and wind rushes; the elephant king strolls, the true lion roars.
We often see those who do not assess their own strength but steal the words of others. They know how to let go but not how to gather in; they may have enlivening, but they have no killing. They do not distinguish servant from master or true from false; they insult the ancients and bury the essence of Zen.
Everyone figures and calculates in their conceptual faculties, speculating and searching within compounded elements of mind and matter. Since they are ignorant of the enlightenment right before their eyes, they attain only imitation insight.
How could it be an easy matter to set up the banner of the teaching on a nonabiding basis, to preach in the place of Buddha? Have you not seen how the great master Yun-men said, “In all of China it is hard to find anyone at all who can bring up a saying”?
And have you not seen how Master Huang-po said, “Grand Master Ma produced over eighty teachers; when questioned, each spoke fluently, but only Master Lu-shan amounts to anything”?
Thus we know that when one takes up this position, if one understands how to give direction and guidance, then one is a complete Zen master. How do we know this? Have you not seen how an ancient said, “Know the soil by the sprouts; know people by what they say”? One is already revealed at once even in blinking the eyes and raising the brows; how much the more in being an examplar. How could one not be careful?
4. On Giving Answers Without Observing Time and Situation and Not Having the Eye of the Source
Anyone who would be a guide to the source first distinguishes the false from the true. Once the false and the true have been distinguished, it is also essential that the time and situation be understood. It is, furthermore, necessary to speak with the eye of the source, able to make a point and to respond without inconsistency.
Thus, although there is nothing personal in a statement, we still make provisional use of discernment of the aim within words. The Ts’ao-Tung has “knocking and calling out” for its function, the Lin-chi has “interchange” for its working; Yunmen “contains, covers, and cuts off the flows”; while the Kuei-Yang silently matches square and round. Like a valley echoing melodies, like matching talismans at a pass, although they are different in their manners, that does not inhibit their fluid integration.
In recent generations, Zen teachers have lost the basis; students have no guidance. They match wits egotistically and take what is ephemeral for an attainment. Where is the heart to guide others? No longer do we hear of knowledge to destroy falsehood. Caning and shouting at random, they say they have studied Te-shan and Lin-chi; presenting circular symbols to each other, they claim they have deeply understood Kuei-shan and Yang-shan.
Since they do not handle the all-embracing source in their answers, how can they know the essential eye in their actions? They fool the young and deceive the sagacious. Truly they bring on the laughter of objective observers and call calamity upon their present state. This is why the Overnight Illuminate said, “If you do not want to incur hellish karma, do not slander the Buddha’s true teaching.”
People like this cannot be all told of. They just leave their teachers’ heritage without any insight of their own. Having no basis upon which to rely, their restless consciousness is unclear. They are only to be pitied, but it is hard to inform them of this.
5. On Discrepancy between Principle and Fact, and Failure to Distinguish Defilement and Purity
The schools of the enlightened ones always include both principle and fact. Facts are established on the basis of principle, while principle is revealed by means of facts. Principles and facts complement one another like eyes and feet. If you have facts without principle, you get stuck in the mud and cannot get through; if you have principle without facts, you will be vague and without resort. If you want them to be nondual, it is best that they be completely merged.
Take the example of the manner of the House of Ts’ao-Tung: they have the relative and absolute, light and darkness. The Lin-chi have host and guest, substance and function. Although their provisional teachings are not the same, their bloodlines commune. There is not one that does not include the others; when mobilized, all are mustered. It is also like Contemplation of the Realm of Reality, which discusses both noumenal principle and phenomenal fact, refuting both inherent solidity and voidness.
The nature of the ocean is boundless, yet it is contained in the tip of a hair; the polar mountain is enormous, yet it can be hidden in a seed. Surely it is not the perception of saints that makes it thus; the design of reality is just so. It is not miraculous display of supernatural powers, either, or forced appellations of something false by nature. It is not to be sought from another; it all comes from mind’s creation.
Buddhas and sentient beings are equal, so if you do not realize this truth, there will be idle discussion, causing the defiled and the pure to be indistinct and the true and the false to be undifferentiated. Relative and absolute get stuck in interchange; substance and function are mixed up in spontaneity. This is described in these terms: “If a single thing is not clear, fine dust covers the eyes.” If one cannot eliminate one’s own illness, how can one cure the diseases of others? You should be most careful and thoroughgoing; it is certainly not a trivial matter.
6. On Subjective Judgment of Ancient and Contemporary Sayings Without Going Through Clarification
Once people have joined an association for intensive study, they must select a teacher and then associate with good companions. A teacher is needed to point out the road; companions are valuable for refinement. If you only want self-understanding, then how can you lead on younger students and bring out the teaching of the school? Where is the will to deal with people to their benefit?
Observe how the worthies of the past traversed mountains and seas, not shrinking from death or life, for the sake of one or two sayings. When there was the slightest tinge of doubt, the matter had to be submitted to certain discernment; what they wanted was distinct clarity. First becoming standards of truth versus falsehood, acting as eyes for humanity and the angels, only after that did they raise the seal of the school on high and circulate the true teaching, bringing out the rights and wrongs of former generations, bearing down on inconclusive cases.
If you make your own subjective judgment of past and present without having undergone purification and clarification, how is that different from performing a sword dance without having learned how to handle a sword, or foolishly counting on getting across a pit without having sized it up? Can you avoid cutting your hand or falling?
One who chooses well is like a king goose picking out milk from water; one who chooses poorly is like a sacred tortoise leaving tracks. Especially in this context, where there is negative and positive activity and expression of mutual interchange, to come to life in a way that turns morbid is to relegate the absolute to the relative. It is not right to give rein to the unruly mind and use it as it is to try to fathom the meaning of the sages. This is especially true in view of the fact that the essence of the one-word teaching has myriad methods of setting up teachings. Can we not be careful of this, to prevent opposition?
7. On Memorizing Slogans Without Being Capable of Subtle Function Meeting the Needs of the Time
It is not that there is no guidance for students of transcendent insight, but once you have gotten guidance, it is essential that expanded function actually appear; only then do you have a little bit of intimate realization. If you just stick to a school and memorize slogans, it is not penetrating enlightenment at all, but mere intellectual knowledge.
This is why the ancients said, “When your view equals your teacher, you have less than half your teacher’s virtue. Only when your view is beyond your teacher can you bring out the teacher’s teaching.” The Sixth Patriarch, furthermore, said to Elder Ming, “What I have told you is not something secret; the secret is within you.” And Yen-t’ou said to Hsueh-feng, “Everything flows forth from your own heart.”
So we know that speaking, caning, and hollering do not depend on a teacher’s bequest; how could the marvelous function, free in all ways, demand another’s assent?
When you degrade them, pearls and gold lose their beauty; when you prize them, shards and pebbles shine. If you go when and as you should go, principle and fact are both mastered; if you act when and as you should act, there is not the slightest miss.
The stuff of a real man is not for sissies. Don’t be a servile literalist and get stuck on verbal expressions as if this were the manner of Zen, or flap your lips and beat your gums as if this were sublime understanding. This cannot be penetrated by language or known by thought. Wisdom comes out in the village of infinite nothingness; spirituality is found in the realm of unfathomability. Where dragons and elephants tread is not within the capability of asses.
8. On Failure to Master the Scriptures and Adducing Proofs Wrongly
Whoever would bring out the vehicle of Zen and cite the doctrines of the Teaching must first understand what the Buddha meant, then accord with the mind of Zen masters. Only after that can you bring them up and put them into practice, comparing degrees of closeness.
If, in contrast, you do not know the doctrines and principles but just stick to a sectarian methodology, when you adduce proofs readily but wrongly, you will bring slander and criticism on yourself.
Yet the canon of sutras is nothing but pointing out tracks; the complete all-at-once Higher Vehicle is just like a signpost. Even if you can understand a hundred thousand concentrations and countless doctrines and methods, you only increase your own toil and do not get at the issue.
What is more, comprehending the provisional and returning to the absolute, gathering the outgrowths back to the source, not admitting a single atom in the realm of absolute purity while not rejecting anything in the methodology of enlightened activity, inevitably deciding the case on the basis of the facts, getting to the substance and removing the complications, has no connection whatsoever with the source of Zen.
There are many great people who are experts in the scriptures, real devotees of broad knowledge of the ancients, who flaunt their eloquence like sharp blades and set forth their wealth of learning like stocks in a storehouse; when they get here, they must be taught to be still and silent, so that the road of speech cannot be extended. Finding that all their memorization of words and phrases has been an account of others’ treasures, for the first time they will believe in the specialty of Zen, which is the separate transmission outside of doctrine.
Younger people should not bog themselves down, incurring the derision of others and disgracing the way of Zen. Do not say you do not need cultivation, or consider a little bit enough. Since you do not even understand the outgrowths, how can you realize the root?
9. On Indulging in Making Up Songs and Verses Without Regard for Meter and Without Having Arrived at Reality
There are many styles of song and verse in Zen; some are short, some long, some modern, some ancient. They use sound and form to reveal practical application, or call on events to express states. Some follow principle to talk of reality; some oppose the trend of affairs to rectify customs and morals.
Thus, although their approaches are different—which is inevitable, since their inspirations were different—they all bring out the great cause. Together they extol the meditations of the Buddha, inspiring students of later times and criticizing the intelligent people of former times. In each case, the main meaning is in the words, so how could it be proper to compose them arbitrarily?
Sometimes I see established Zen teachers and advanced students of meditation who consider songs and verses to be leisure pursuits and consider composition to be a trivial matter. They spit out whatever they feel, and in many cases their works are similar to vulgar sayings. Composed on impulse, they are just like common talk.
These people say of themselves that they are not concerned by coarseness and are not picky about grubbiness; they are thus trying to suggest that theirs are words beyond worldly convention, advertising them as hearkening back to ultimate truth. The knowledgeable laugh in derision when they read them, while fools believe in them and circulate them. They cause the principles of names to gradually disappear, and add to the growing weakness of the doctrinal schools.
Have you not seen the tens of thousands of verses of the Flower Ornament Scripture and the thousands of poems of the Zen masters? Both are profuse and vivid, with elegant language; all of them are refined and pure, without padding. They are hardly the same as imitation of worldly customs with all their fripperies.
For writing to be a pathway in later times and true in the mouths of the multitudes, it is still necessary to study precedents, and then it is essential to suit it to the occasion. If you happen to have little natural ability, then you should be natural and content with simplicity; why pretend to genius or aspire to intellectual brilliance?
If you spout vulgar inanities, you disturb the influence of the Way. Weaving miserable misconceptions, you cause trouble. Unconvincing falsehoods will increase later disgrace.
10. On Defending One’s Own Shortcomings and Indulging in Contention
As the land is full of religious communes and the Zen societies are extremely numerous, with communities numbering not less than half a thousand gathered there, are there not one or two working for the furtherance of the Teaching?
There are some people among them who embrace the Way, people of pure conduct, who agree to temporarily go along with the feelings of the community and exert their strength to continue the Zen teaching, gather colleagues from all over, and establish a site of enlightenment in one region. With morning questioning and even assembly, they do not shy away from toil and hardship, wanting only to continue the life of wisdom of the buddhas, guiding beginners.
They do not do it for the sake of increasing fame or out of greed for profit and support; rather, like a bell ringing when struck, they dispense medicine when they encounter illness. Showering the rain of the Teaching, they have no bias toward great or small; as they sound the thunder of the Teaching, far and near all respond. Their prosperity or austerity naturally varies, their activity and concealment differ; but this is not on account of choosiness or because of attachment and rejection.
There are those who inherit succession by sycophancy, who hold position by stealing rank and then claim to have attained the highest vehicle and to have transcended mundane things. They defend their own shortcomings and derogate the strengths of others. Fooling around in cocoons of ignorance, they smack their lips in front of meat markets. Emphasizing their temporal power, they take pride in glibness.
They gossip and call that compassion; they are sloppy and call that virtue in action. Violating Buddhist prohibitions and precepts, abandoning the dignity of the religious community, they disparage the Two Vehicles and wrongly dispense with the three studies. What is more, they fail to investigate the great matter, yet approve of themselves as masters.
Thus, at the end of the age of imitation, the demons are strong and the Teaching is weak. They use the Buddha’s robe of righteousness to steal the benevolence and dignity of kings. Their mouths speak of the basis of liberation, but their minds play with the obsessions of ghosts and spirits. Since they have no shame or conscience, how can they avoid wrongdoing?
Now I have exposed these folks to warn people in the future. Meeting with a chance for wisdom is not a small matter; choosing a teacher is most difficult. If you can bear the responsibility yourself, eventually you will fulfill maximum potential. I am forcibly dispensing a stunning medicine, willing to be subjected to slander and hatred, so that people on the same path may be assisted in awakening.
Fa-yen Wen-i: Founder of the Fa-yen House
by John C. H. Wu
In: The Golden Age of Zen
Taipei : The National War College in co-operation with The Committee on the Compilation of the Chinese Library, 1967, pp. 229-245.
The House of Fa-yen was founded by Fa-yen Wen-i (885-958). It was the last of the Five Houses to be established. Although it was short-lived, yet its influences have been farreaching. In order to understand and appreciate its characteristic features, we should remember that it stretched its roots deep into the traditions, not only of Chinese Buddhism, but also of Chinese culture in general. It is in the lineage of Ch’ing-yüan, one of the two outstanding disciples of the Sixth Patriarch Huineng. Fa-yen was in the 9th generation after Hui-neng, and among his intermediary ancestors were such spiritual giants like Shih-t’ou, Teh-shan, Hsüeh-feng, Hsüan-sha, and Lo-han Kueich’eng, whose disciple Fa-yen was.
Let us recall that Shih-t’ou’s enlightenment was occasioned by his reading of the Chao-lun, a book written by Seng-chao, an outstanding disciple of Kumarajiva. Seng-chao was well steeped in the philosophy of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu; and his book constituted an effective synthesis of Buddhist and Taoist thought. His whole system was built upon the mystic identity of the noumenal and the phenomenal, as taught by Lao Tzu in the first chapter of the Tao Teh Ching. From Chuang Tzu he assimilated the mystic insight into the non-duality of the self and the world, making his own what Chuang Tzu had said: “Heaven and earth spring from the same root as myself, and all things are one with me.”
When Shih-t’ou, in reading the Chao-lun, arrived at the sentence: “Who but the sage can realize that all things are one with himself?” he exclaimed, “The sage is selfless, and therefore to him there is nothing that is not himself. The Dharmakaya is formless, where can the distinction between the self and the other come in. The round mirror reflects ineffably the shapes of all things; and the world of phenomena springs from the hidden fountain of the noumenon and becomes visible. As there is no duality between the knowing and the known, how can there be any talk of going and coming? Oh, what a supreme vision is unfolded by those words!”
Unlike the other Houses of Zen, whose approach to Supreme Reality is mainly through an experiential realization of the inner self, the House of Fa-yen, while not neglecting the True Man in us, arrived at the same goal of ne plus ultra by opening its eyes to the unlimited horizons of the cosmos. In its vision, all things in the universe speak of the Absolute and lead to Him. An anecdote about Hsüan-sha, one of the most important forebears of this House, may serve as a good illustration of this point. One day, he was scheduled to discourse to his assembly. But as he arrived at the platform, he heard the twittering of a swallow outside the hall. Thereupon he remarked, “What a profound discourse on Reality and a clear exposition of the Dharma!” And he retired from the platform as though signifying that his sermon was done.
That all things, including even the insentient, speak of the Dharma or Law has nothing new or strange about it. The National Teacher Hui-chung, who was one of the immediate disciples of Hui-neng, had defended this doctrine very effectively. A monk asked him, “An ancient Worthy once declared:
Green, green the emerald bamboos!
They belong, one and all, to the Dharmakaya.
Lush, lush, the yellow flowers!
They belong, one and all, to the Prajna.
Some do not agree with this, saying that it represents an erroneous view. Others think it a true insight, unfathomable in its profundity. How do you regard it?” Hui-chung said, “This is probably the vision of Visvabhadra and Manjushri, beyond the faith and conception of the mediocre and literal-minded. But it is in perfect accord with the ultimate message of all the Mahayana scriptures. For example, the Avatamsaka Sutra says:
The Buddha-kaya fills the whole Dharmadhatu,
Manifesting itself universally to all beings.
It responds to their every wish and need according to their karmas,
While at the same time never leaving the Bodhi seat.
Now, since the emerald bamboos are not outside the Dhar- madhatu, can it be said that they do not belong to the Dharmakaya? Again, in the Wisdom Sutras, we find: ‘Just as the forms and colors are without limit, so is the Prajna without limit.’ Now, since the yellow blossoms do not lie beyond the world of forms and colors, can it be said that they do not belong to the Prajna? But it is hard for men of no understanding to make out the sense of these truths.”
This strain of speculative contemplation was assimilated by the House of Fa-yen, and became its dominant trait. Instead of focusing its attention on the inner self, it attempted to transcend both the subject and the object and to aspire after the mysterious Beyond. Compelled to use language, it designated this Beyond as Mind or Spirit ( Hsin), the unique fountainhead from which spring the three realms and all things in them. It is beyond the subjective and the objective, beyond unity and multiplicity, beyond identity and difference, beyond the inner and the outer, beyond the universal and the particular, beyond the noumenal and the phenomenal. In one word, it is beyond all attributes. This being the case, the method that this House adopted was of necessity the via negativa and the way of unknowing.
So far we have only presented the background of the Fa-yen Ch’an. Let us now proceed to look into the teachings of its founder and his heirs in the few generations it was destined to last.
Fa-yen Wen-i was a native of Yü-hang in present Chekiang, born into a Lu family. He joined a monastery early in his childhood. At first he studied under the outstanding Vinaya master Hsi-chüeh in the famous Yü-wang Temple (named after Ashoka) in present Ningpo. A lover of learning, he not only studied the Buddhist scriptures but also steeped himself in the Confucian classics. Urged by a mystic impetus stirring in him, he went southward to Fuchou (Foochow) to seek instruction from a Ch’an master there, but his mind was not opened, and hence he took to the road again. As he was passing by the monastery of Ti-tsang, he was caught in a snowstorm, so that he had to stop over for a while. As he was warming himself by the stove, the Abbot Lo-han Kuei-ch’eng asked him, “What is the destination of your present trip?” “I am only a pilgrim,” he answered. “What is the meaning of your pilgrimage?” asked the Abbot. “I don’t know,” was the reply. “Unknowing is the closest intimacy,” came the cryptic remark of the Abbot. When the snow had stopped, he took leave of the Abbot, who accompanied him to the door, and asked him, “You say that the three realms are nothing but Mind, and all dharmas nothing but Consciousness. Now tell me, is that stone out there in the courtyard within your mind or outside your mind?” “Within my mind,” he replied. At this the Abbot said, “Oh you wanderer, what makes it so necessary for you to travel with a stone on your mind?” Fa-yen was taken aback by this remark, and, laying down his bag, he decided to stay longer with the Abbot in order to settle his doubts. Every day he presented his new views and new reasons to the master; but all that the master commented was, “The Buddha Dharma is not like that.” At the end of a month, Fa-yen said to the master, “I have exhausted my stock of words and reason.” The master said, “As regards the Buddha Dharma, everything is a present reality.” At the hearing of these words Fayen was greatly enlightened.
Later, when Fa-yen became an Abbot, he used to say to his assembly, “Reality is right before you, and yet you are apt to translate it into a world of names and forms. How are you going to re-translate it into its original?” Learned as he was, he warned his monks against mere learning. Since Reality is right before us, it can only be perceived by direct intuition, and reflection and reasoning will only blindfold our eyes.
Fa-yen once quoted an old master Ch’ang-Ch’ing’s wellknown verse: “In the midst of myriad phenomena the solitary Body ( Dharmakaya) reveals itself”; and asked Tzu-fang, a former disciple of Ch’ang-ch’ing, how he understood it. Tzu-fang just raised his dust-whisk; but Fa-yen said, “How can you understand it in this way?” “What is your view?” asked Tzu-fang. Fa-yen asked back, “What are the myriad phenomena anyway?” “Well,” said Tzu-fang, “the ancients did not brush aside the myriad phenomena.” Fa-yen was quick with his repartee, “Since the solitary body reveals itself in the very midst of the phenomenal world, what need is there to talk about brushing aside or not brushing aside?” At this Tzu-fang was instantaneously enlightened.
Once a monk asked, “In what way must one expose oneself to Tao so as to be in tune with Tao?” Fa-yen asked back, “When have you ever exposed yourself to Tao without being in tune with it?”
It does not seem likely that the monk who asked that question had ever exposed himself to Tao. The question itself reveals that he was still playing Tao instead of letting Tao play. The master’s subtle counter question should have awakened him to his error; however, still unenlightened, he proceeded to ask, “But what can you do when the six senses are incapable of appreciating the subtle voice of Truth?” Obviously he was trying to pass the buck to the senses. But the master, not to be hoodwinked, said, “They are all your own children!” There was no shirking of responsibility. The master then proceeded to point out to him, “You say that the six senses do not apprehend the subtle voice of Truth. Is it the ear that is at fault, or is it the eye? But if fundamental Reality truly is, how can it be negated (even though the six senses have no perception of it)? As the ancients said, ‘To leave the senses is to be attached to the senses, and to leave names and letters is to be attached to names and letters.’ This is why the devas of the thoughtless heaven fell in a single day back to their original state of ignorance and delusion after eighty thousand mahakalpas of self-cultivation and mortification. This was bound to happen, seeing that they did not have an authentic insight into fundamental Reality.”
Once confirmed in this authentic insight, you no longer look at things through your fleshly eyes but the Eye of that fundamental Reality itself. This Eye is called the Dharma Eye ( Fa- yen) or, as Fa-yen himself used to call it, the Tao Eye. Once he put a question to his monks, “When the ‘eye’ (the channel) of a wellspring gets stuck, it is because it is filled up with sand. Now, when the Tao Eye is not opened, what is obstructing it?” Getting no answer from the assembly, he answered it himself, “The obstruction lies in the eye!”
This does not mean that our natural eyes have no use. They are quite useful, so long as they do not try to fill the place of the Tao Eye. In the Tao Eye of Fa-yen, all things have their place and function and their relative reality in the one fundamental Reality, so long as we take them for what they are—expedients and intermediary stages. For him, Buddha is not the Ultimate, only a name created for expediency. On the other hand, in the Ultimate there are no more stages or states. Once a monk asked, “What is the state of one Reality.” Fa-yen replied, “If it is a state, there cannot be the one Reality.” “
Fa-yen was realistic through and through, empirically as well as metaphysically. That he was a metaphysical realist is clear from his explicit emphasis on the fundamental Reality beyond all attributes. His empirical realism is to be found in the operational way he defined things. For instance, when he was asked what is the mind of the ancient Buddhas, he said, “It is that from which flow compassion and joyful giving.” When asked what is the right and true Way, he answered, “That which I have vowed, once and again, to teach you to walk on.” Again, when a monk asked, “It has been said, ‘All the worthies and sages of the ten quarters belong to this school.’ Now, what is exactly this school?” His answer was, “That to which all the worthies and sages of the ten quarters belong.”
Although Fa-yen was an immensely learned man, well-versed in the traditional teachings, yet he never became a slave to learning and book knowledge. It seems that all learning was grist to the mill of his own mind. He frequently quoted the wise sayings of the ancients, but in his lips they became integral parts of his own discourses. He never took the means for the end, and the end was always to lead his hearers to themselves and ultimately to the Eternal Tao which is beyond words and conception. Everywhere he directed the attention of his monks to the here and now. When a monk asked about the ancient Buddhas, he remarked, “Even now there are no barriers.” That is, no barriers between you and the fundamental Reality. When another monk asked how to conduct himself in the twenty hours of the day and night, he said, “Let each step tread on it.” That is, on the path of Tao. When he was asked what was the secret aim of all the Buddhas, he said, “You also have it in yourself.” On another occasion, a monk said to him, “I am not asking about the pointer, I only wish to know what is the moon?” The master answered him with a counter-question, “Who is the pointer that you do not ask about?” Another monk then asked, “I am not asking about the moon; I only wish to know who is the pointer.” “The moon,” said the master. The monk protested, “I was asking about the pointer; why did you answer me with the moon?” The master replied, “Because you were asking about the pointer!” In other words, the moon, like everything else in the universe, is but a pointer to the supreme Mystery. In the words of Chuang Tzu, “The whole cosmos is but a pointer.”
When Fa-yen was the Abbot of the Ch’ing-liang Temple in present Nanking, he was on very intimate terms with the Lord of Southern T’ang, Prince Li Ching (916-961). One day, when they had finished with their spiritual discussions, they went together to look at the blooming peonies. At the request of the Prince, Fa-yen hit off a poem on the spot:
Donned in felt, I commune secretly with the blooming bush,
With feelings peculiarly my own.
Just this day, my hairs have begun to turn white;
Last year, the flowers looked redder than these.
Their tender beauty is going the way of the morning dew;
Their fragrant breath is evaporating into the evening breeze.
Why must we wait for their wilting and falling
Before we can realize the evanescence of life?
From this we can say that Fa-yen was not only a philosopher and a scholar, but a poet. The second couplet is a very original imitation of Tu Fu’s well-known lines:
Tonight the dew has begun to whiten into frost:
The moon is bright only in the homeland.
Technically, Fa-yen’s poem leaves nothing to be desired. But one wonders at its sad tone, and misses the cheerful spirit and untrammeled freedom of some of the great masters like Nanch’üan, Chao-chou and Yün-men. Can the blooming peonies ever fade and fall? Or can the swallow that Hsüan-sha heard ever cease to twitter, anymore than the flock of wild swans that Matsu saw can ever fly away? Was Fa-yen not an enlightened master and an apostle of the here and now, to whom everyday should be the best day? Could he possibly be one of the worldlings who, as Nan-ch’üan said, look at the flowers as in a dream?
My answer to all these queries is that the poem was not meant to articulate his deepest thoughts but to administer a salutary medicine to his royal disciple, who, it is recorded, understood the master’s meaning immediately. In fact, Fa-yen was noted for his exceptional qualities as a spiritual guide, and he has been compared to a skillful medical doctor who knows how to apply the proper remedies to various patients. He was at once enlightened and practical.
That the above poem did not reveal his interior landscape will be crystal-clear from another poem, which was obviously written to amuse himself:
A bird in a secluded grove sings like a flute.
Willows sway gracefully with their golden threads.
The mountain valley grows the quieter as the clouds return.
A breeze brings along the fragrance of the apricot flowers.
For a whole day I have sat here encompassed by peace,
Till my mind is cleansed in and out of all cares and idle thoughts.
I wish to tell you how I feel, but words fail me.
If you come to this grove, we can compare notes.
This lovely poem puts Fa-yen in the company of Tao Yüanming and Wang Wei. It is a spontaneous leap of mind in the eternal breaking out into sound.
At bottom, Fa-yen was a mystic. His was not a natural or cosmic mysticism, but a metacosmic one. Although as a keen student of the Avatamsaka Sutra, he was intensely interested and well versed in the doctrine of six basic attributes of being and their interpenetration, he did not identify the phenomenological universe of attributes with the ultimate Reality or Being, which is entirely devoid of all attributes. For him fundamental Reality is formless Void. This is clearly shown in a dialogue Fayen had with his disciple Yung-ming Tao-ch’ien. The first time Tao-ch’ien came to call, the master asked him what sutras he was reading. Learning that he was reading the Hua-yen ching, the master asked, “The six attributes of being: the universal and the particular, the same and the different, the positive and the negative—in what part of the Hua-yen Ching is this subject treated?” Tao-ch’ien replied, “It is treated under the section on ‘The Ten Stages.’ But logically speaking, the six attributes are universally applicable, since every dharma, whether in the mundane sphere or in the supra-mundane, possesses the six attributes.” The master then asked, “Does Shunyata or formless Void possess the six attributes?” The newcomer was baffled by the question, and did not know what to say. The master said, “Suppose you ask me the same question; I will give you my answer.” Tao-ch’ien accordingly asked, “Does the formless Void possess the six attributes?” “Formless Void!” was the immediate answer from the master, and the disciple’s mind was suddenly opened to enlightenment. Jumping about for joy, he paid his obeisance in gratitude. When the master asked him how he understood it, his immediate answer was “Formless Void!” and the master was delighted.
After the master’s death (958), Prince Li Ching conferred on him the posthumous title of Ta Fa-yeh Ch’an-Shih (The Great Ch’an master of Dharma Eye), and named his stupa “Wu Hsiang” (the Formless).
Among his immediate disciples, T’ien-t’ai Teh-shao (891972) was the most prominent. We cannot go into the details of his teaching. Suffice it to quote here a gatha he wrote when he was Abbot of a temple on Mount T’ung-hsüan-feng:
Over the crest of the T’ung-hsüan-feng,
The human world is no more.
Nothing is outside the Mind;
And the eye is filled with green mountains.
It is said that this gatha was heartily approved by Fa-yen. Perhaps, it would have been the answer to the question posed by his late master Lo-han about the stone and the mind. The stone is certainly not in the human mind or eye; but just as certainly it is not outside the Mind transcendent to the world.
Teh-shao is important also as the master of Yung-ming Yenshou (904-975), who came to be one of the greatest Buddhist writers China has produced. He was a man of speculative genius and a great systematizer. His Tsung-ching lu is a monumental work of a hundred volumes, purporting to be a presentation of the principles of Zen. But as a matter of fact, Yen-shou was fundamentally an eclectic, absorbing ideas and materials from all sources, in order to buttress the principles of Zen or what he regarded as such. Although his book is of considerable value as an interpretation of Mahayana Buddhism in general, yet, as far as the School of Zen is concerned, it did more disservice than service. It is ironic that the School of Ch’an which had started with leading ideas as “a special transmission outside of the scriptures” and “no setting up of or dependence on words and letters,” should have ended by producing such a long-winded treatise. Of course, it did not kill Zen but it certainly hastened the extinction of the House of Fa-yen, of which Yen-shou was a member. The spirit of Ch’an is fundamentally inimical to the spirit of systematization and eclecticism, of which Yen-shou happened to be an embodiment. The fact is that Yen-shou’s dominant passion was to unify the School of Zen and the School of Pure Land, holding, in the apt words of a modern historian, “that invocation of the Buddha’s name, reciting the sutras, and observing the precepts should accompany Ch’an’s meditation.”1 But the tragedy is that when Zen is wedded to a particular set of practices and rituals, it loses independence and ceases to be itself, although it is not to be denied that this wedding enlivened the School of Pure Land.
However, it cannot be said Yen-shou did not have any spark of Zen in him. Some of his dialogues and gathas reveal his great potentialities as a Zen master. The reader will find the following gatha delightfully refreshing:
You wish to know the spirit of Yung-ming Zen?
Look at the lake in front of the gate.
When the sun shines, it radiates light and brightness.
When the wind comes, there arise ripples and waves.
What a simple and charming picture it presents, and at the same time how pregnant with insight! There is a time for peaceful contemplation; there is a time for dynamic action; and all the time the lake remains itself.
Yen-shou belonged to the third generation of the House of Fa-yen, which was yet to last for two more generations. In both the third and the fourth generations, there were still a galaxy of masters, showing that the spirit of Fa-yen was still running in their blood. I will only mention a couple of examples here. One was Hung-chou of Hang-shou, whose enlightenment was occasioned by hearing the sound of a piece of firewood falling on the ground. The gatha he wrote on that occasion was a direct and simple utterance of his own mind and at the same time embodies an insight typical of the House of Fa-yen. I need not reproduce it here, because it is quoted by Chu Hsi (1130-1200) in a passage which I intend to present at the end of this chapter.
The other delightful personality I wish to mention is Hangchou Wei-chen (986-1049), who was noted for his congenial humor and easy-going philosophy of life. Evidently, he was steeped in the Confucian classics, especially the Analects. Now, Confucius had once said, “People speak of ritual, ritual! Does ritual merely mean jades and silks? People speak of music, music! Does music merely mean the bells and drums?” Weichen, mimicking the style of Confucius, said, “People speak of Buddha, Buddha! Does Buddha merely mean portraits and images? People speak of monk, monk! Does a monk consist merely in dignified vestments?” But he never talked about Zen. Once somebody took him to task, saying, “Are you not called a Zen master? Yet you have never spoken about Zen!” The master said, “Why should I waste my words? Besides, I am too lazy to resort to ingenious and devious methods of presentation. So I can only rely upon the endless phenomena of nature to expound and play out day and night the truths of Ch’an. Speech easily comes to an end, but this agency of Nature is inexhaustible, and that’s why it is called the Creator’s limitless treasury.” This is the last word of the last of the Fa-yens.
The significance of the House of Fa-yen for Chinese philosophy in general lies in the fact that of all the schools and sects of Buddhism it seems to be the most congenial to the minds of Confucian scholars. It is not for nothing that Chu-Hsi, the leading Neo-Confucian philosopher of the Sung period, and one of Buddhism’s severest critics, should have picked out the teachings of the House of Fa-yen for his unstinted praise in a conversation with one of his disciples. Here is what he said:
There is a certain current in Buddhist thought which is very similar to our Confucian traditions, as where they say:
Something there is, which preceded heaven-and-earth:
Without form, without sound, all alone by itself.
Yet It has the power to be the master of all things,
Not subject to decay in the course of the four seasons.
Or take this:
Plop, there it is! Nothing else than that which,
Devoid of matter, fills all corners of the universe!
Mountains, rivers, the entire world,
One and all, they manifest the body of the Dharma-King.
Or take this:
To the man who is intimately aware of Creative Mind,
There is not an iota of matter throughout the whole earth.
Just think what marvelous insights these are! How could the ordinary Confucian scholars of today hope to measure up to those men of high vision? What wonder if they are beaten to the ground? Now, the above insights represent the essential points of the House founded by the Ch’an master Fa-yen. But contemporary students of Ch’an are of one accord critical of these principles, on the ground that they ‘contain some rational element’ and ‘fall into the beaten track,’ thus ‘hindering the perception.’ The Ch’an of today consists mostly of ‘Three catties of hemp,’ ‘Dry toilet strip,’ and sayings of that sort. Only such expressions, they maintain, do not fall into the beaten track or the path of reason. Miao-hsi, for example, is of this opinion, though at times he seems to reverse his own views.
From this excerpt, it is clear that Chu Hsi was a sincere and open-minded seeker of Truth, not a sentimental defender of the old traditions. It remains for me to add some necessary comments which have occurred to my mind in reading through the passage. The first gatha quoted by Chu Hsi was originally uttered by the famous Fu Ta-shih in the 6th century, whose lively personality and profound teachings exercised an uplifting influence on the School of Zen which was to come later, and who is regarded as one of its important precursors. The said gatha was probably a frequent subject of discussion in the House of Fayen, although I have seen only one reference to it in the extant literature. There could be no question that the idea embodied in the gatha constituted the sinew and marrow of Fa-yen’s doctrine. But when Chu Hsi said that this was similar to “our Confucian traditions,” I think he made a hasty statement, for the gatha was evidently of Taoist inspiration. However, by Chu Hsi’s time Confucianism had very probably assimilated most of the fundamental insights of Lao and Chuang.
The second gatha quoted by Chu Hsi was uttered by Hungshou, to whom we have referred in a preceding page. As to his third quotation, I have not been able to trace it to its source.2
Chu Hsi’s unreserved appreciation of the Zen of Fa-yen House bespeaks the catholicity of his mind, and his strictures against the exaggerated tendencies toward irrationalism manifested in some Ch’an students were called for. But if he had delved into the traditions and origins of the other Houses as he had done with the House of Fa-yen, it is likely that he would have found in them much that was “similar to our Confucian traditions.” Perhaps, every one of us is more or less preconditioned in his predilections. This is true not only in matters of taste, but to some extent also in purely intellectual pursuits. Lu Hsiang-shan, for example, would have been impressed by things which left Chu Hsi cold.
1) Chen, History of Chinese Buddhism, p. 404.
2) I have found it quoted by a member of the Lin-Chi School.
Encounter Dialogues of Qingliang (Fayan) Wenyi
compiled by Satyavayu of Touching Earth Sangha
DOC: Treasury of the Forest of Ancestors
Master Qingliang Wenyi (often called by his posthumous, honorific name Fayan) grew up in Yuhang, near the city of Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. He became a novice at the young age of seven, and soon distinguished himself as a diligent student and promising scholar. He received full ordination in his late teens in nearby Yuezhou, and devoted himself to studying both the details of monastic discipline, as well as the Confucian classics and the wider literary culture of the day. Even after changing his focus to Zen practice, his literary background would play an important role in shaping the character of his writings and teaching style.
When Wenyi developed a deep interest in Zen teaching, he gave up his other pursuits and went to look for a teacher. Heading south into Fujian Province, Wenyi first entered Eternal Celebration Monastery in Fuzhou to study with Master Changqing Huileng. After some time at this monastery, Wenyi decided to travel further, and set out on pilgrimage with three fellow monks heading west and north towards the famous centers of Zen near the Yangze River in Jiangxi and Hunan. Early on in their travels, however, they were said to have encountered a period of heavy rainstorms that led them to take shelter in the Earth Treasury Temple just to the west of Fuzhou, where Wenyi had a chance to encounter Master Dizang Guichen.
As Wenyi and his companions were ready to travel on, Master Dizang accompanied them to the gate. Addressing Wenyi, the master said, “I've heard you say several times that the three realms are only mind and the myriad phenomena are only consciousness.” The master then pointed to a large rock by the gate and said, “So is that rock inside or outside of your mind?”
Wenyi said, “Inside.'
The master said, “It's going to be a difficult journey carrying such a large rock in your head.”
Wenyi couldn't respond. He set down his bag and asked the master to clarify the truth.
The master then asked him, “Venerable, where is it you are going?”
Wenyi said, “I'm wandering on pilgrimage.”
The master asked, “What is the meaning of pilgrimage?”
After a pause, Wenyi said, “I don't know.”
The master said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”
With these words Wenyi had a deep realization. He decided to stay longer at the temple and study with Master Dizang.
All four traveling companions decided to remain at Earth Treasury Temple and all became disciples of Master Dizang. Eventually, though, Wenyi decided to continue his travels and headed west and north into northern Jiangxi Province. When staying in the city of Linchuan, Wenyi was invited by the local governor to take up a teaching position at Honorable Longevity Temple (Chongshou Yuan) and here his teaching career began.
At one of Wenyi's early talks, the senior monk Zhizhao, who had also studied with Master Changqing Huileng, asked Wenyi, “Who is your teaching handed down from?”
Wenyi replied, “Master Dizang”
Zhizhao said, “Aren't you turning your back on our late honorable teacher Master Changqing?'
Wenyi said, “I don't understand one of Master Changqing's sayings.”
Zhizhao said, “Why don't you ask me about it?”
Wenyi said, “Among the ten thousand things, a single body is revealed. What does this mean?”
Zhizhao lifted a fly whisk.
Wenyi said, “This is just something you learned at Changqing. In your position here as head monk, what can you do?”
Zhizhao couldn't respond.
Wenyi then asked, “When a single body is revealed among the ten thousand things, does this dispel the ten thousand things or not?”
Zhizhao said, “It doesn't dispel them.”
Wenyi said, “You're stuck in duality.”
Some other monks then said, “The ten thousand things are dispelled.”
Wenyi shouted. Then he said, “Among the ten thousand things, just a single body is revealed.'
As Wenyi's reputation began to grow, he attracted the attention of Li Jing, the ruler of the newly independent kingdom of the “Southern Tang” in the present-day province of Jiangsu. Wenyi was invited by Li Jing to become the abbot of Expressing Gratitude (Bao'en) Monastery outside of the city of Nanjing, and, accepting the post, began an influential teaching career in this new region. He was soon transferred to the nearby Clear Coolness (Qingliang) Monastery which became his main teaching center and here he attracted a large following. Known as Master Qingliang from this point and for the remainder of his life, upon his passing the ruling officials granted him the title “Great Dharma Eye Zen Master (Da Fayan Chanshi). This prestigious title, shortened to “Fayan”, was the name ascribed to the master by the main compiler of the influential Jingde Era Transmission of the Lamp Record, the monk Daoyuan, who was a second-generation disciple of the master. The close relationship between Master Qingliang and this important text ensured that the master was well represented and honored in the annals of Zen history.
One day a monk asked Master Qingliang Wenyi, “What is the first principle?'
The master said, “When I speak to you, that is the second principle.”
Once a monk asked Master Qingliang, “What is the second moon?”
The master said, “The phenomena of the universe.”
The monk asked, “What is the first moon?”
The master said, “The universe of phenomena.”
Someone once brought up a story about a hermit with Master Qingliang. Above the door to his hut the hermit had written the character “mind”; above his window he had written “mind”; and on his wall he had written “mind.” Master Qingliang commented, “Above his door he should have written 'door'; above his window he should have written 'window'; and on his wall he should have written 'wall.'”
The monk Huichao once asked Master Qingliang, “What is the Awakened One?”
The master said, “You are Huichao.”
One day Master Qingliang and some of his monks went to examine the monastery's spring-fed water cistern. The outlet had become clogged with sand. The master said, “When the eye of the spring is obstructed, sand is in the way. When the eye of the truth is obstructed, what is in the way?”
The monks were unable to answer. The master said, “The eye is in the way.”
Once the monk Xuanze, who had practiced with several teachers including Master Dizang Guichen, and was now serving as director of Qingliang Monastery, was asked by Master Qingliang, “How long have you been in this community?”
Xuanze replied, “I've been here for three years.'
The master asked, “How come you've never asked me questions about the teaching?”
Xuanze said, “I don't want to mislead you. When I was in the assembly of Master Yuezhou Qianfeng, I was able to realize peace and joy.”
The master asked, “With what words were you able to enter?”
Xuanze said, “When I asked Master Yuezhou what my true self was, he said, 'The fire spirit comes seeking fire.'”
Master Qingliang said, “Good words, but I'm afraid you didn't understand them.”
Xuanze explained, “The fire spirit has the nature of fire – already being fire but still seeking fire is just like being the self but still seeking the self.”
The master said, “Now I'm sure that you don't understand. If the teaching of awakening was like that, awakening wouldn't have come down to this day.”
Xuanze, in anger, immediately left the room, packed his bag, and departed from the monastery. But as he walked down the road he began to reconsider, thinking, “He is respected by many practitioners; perhaps his pointing out my mistake might have some validity.” He then returned to the monastery and apologized to the master.
The master said, “Why don't you ask me your original question?”
So Xuanze asked, “What is my true self?”
The master said, “The fire spirit comes seeking fire.”
Xuanze had a deep awakening.
Fa-jen Ven-ji összegyűjtött mondásaiból
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
Vö.: Folyik a híd, Officina Nova, Budapest, 1990, 113-115. oldal
Fa-jen a Panjang-tó felé vette útját néhány szerzetestársával. Vihar tört ki, és a hatalmas felhőszakadástól kiáradtak a folyók, elöntötték a környező szántóföldeket. Fa-jen a Ti-cang kolostorban keresett menedéket, és ha már ott volt, bekopogtatott Lo-han mester ajtaján.
– Hová mész innen? – kérdezte tőle Lo-han.
– Csak megyek tovább.
– Nem tudom.
– A nemtudás férkőzhet legközelebb az igazsághoz – bólintott a mester.
Fa-jen hirtelen megvilágosult.
Tarnóczy Zoltán illusztrációja
Egyik nap pirkadatkor Fa-jen a bambuszredőnyre mutatott. Mindjárt két szerzetes sietett oda, hogy felgöngyölje.
– Az egyik nyert, a másik vesztett – mondta Fa-jen.
李蕭錕 Li Xiaokun (1949-) rajza
– Azt tartja a szólás, hogy a száz éve sötét szobát egyetlen lámpás is világossá varázsolja. Milyen az a lámpás?
– Mi köze ennek a száz évhez? – kérdezte Fa-jen.
– Mi az örökkévalóság? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
– Ez a pillanat – mondta Fa-jen.
– Nem a holdra mutató ujjról kérdezlek, hanem a holdról – mondta egy szerzetes.
– Mi az a holdra mutató ujj, amiről nem kérdezel? – kérdezett vissza Fa-jen.
– Nem a holdról kérdezlek, hanem a holdra mutató ujjról – mondta egy másik szerzetes.
– A hold! – felelte Fa-jen.
– Én az ujjról kérdeztelek, miért válaszoltál a holddal?
– Mert az ujjról kérdeztél.
Fa-jen megkérdezte egy szerzetestől, honnan jött.
– A Pao-en kolostorból.
– A többi szerzetes mind jól érzi ott magát?
– Menj, rád fér egy csésze tea.
Egy szerzetes a mester elé járult, és leborult.
– Milyen jó kérdés! – dicsérte meg Fa-jen, de mielőtt a szerzetes megszólalhatott volna, hozzátette:
– Sajnos, az apát ma nem hívja egybe a gyülekezetet, így nem válaszol a kérdésekre sem.
Egy öreg szerzetes a szív írásjegyét festette viskója ajtajára, ablakpapírjára és falára.
Fa-jen mást javasolt:
– Az ajtóra az ajtó, az ablakra az ablak, a falra a fal írásjegyét kellett volna írnia.
Hszüan-csüe [Jung-csia Hszüan-csüe, 665-713] azt mondta:
– Az ajtó, az ablak és a fal írásjegy nélkül is feleli önmagát.
Fayan Wenyi (885- 958)
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt
Ideiglenesen megálltak a Dicang kolostornál, ahol köszöntötték az apátot, Guichent. Így kérdezte a tanítót:
- Hová mész?
- Csupán vándorlok. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Mi vándorlásod célja? – kérdezte Guichen.
- Nem tudom. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Nem tudni a legközvetlenebb. – mondta Guichen.
Erre a tanító hirtelen megértette.
Miután elhagyta a tanítói széket, egy szerzetes odament hozzá és meghajolt előtte, mire a tanító így szólt:
- Milyen jó kérdés.
A szerzetes épp kérdezni akart valamit, mikor a tanító ezt mondta:
- Minthogy az apát nem hív össze gyűlést, nem válaszolják meg a kérdéseket.
- Nem kérdezek semmit a rámutatásról. Mi a hold? – kérdezte egy szerzetes a tanítót.
- Ki nem kérdez a rámutatásról? – kérdezett vissza a tanító.
- Nem a holdról kérdezlek. Mi a rámutatás? – kérdezte egy másik szerzetes.
- Hold. – válaszolta a tanító.
- A rámutatásról kérdeztelek. Miért beszélsz a holdról? – folytatta a szerzetes.
- Mert a rámutatásról kérdeztél. – válaszolt a tanító.
- Ki az, aki a Buddha felé néz? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
- A Buddha csupán egy ügyes eszköz. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Ki tud átjutni hangon és látványon? - kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Tisztelendő barátok, szerintetek ez a szerzetes átjutott hangon és látványon? Ha látjátok, ahonnan megjelenik ez a kérdés, nem lesz nehéz átjutnotok hangon és látványon. – mondta a tanító a gyülekezetnek.
- Mi a legrövidebb út a Buddha bölcsességhez? – kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Nincs rövidebb út ennél a kérdésnél. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Mi az, mikor a jó szalmaszál nem hervad el? – kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Megtévesztő szavak. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Az egész gyülekezet jelen van. Kérem, vágja el azonnal a tisztelendő tanító kételyeik hálóját! – kérte a szerzetes.
- Társalgást a kunyhókban, tárgyalást a teaszobában tartanak. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Mi az, mikor a felhők eloszlanak, hogy a napot megláthassuk? – kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Igazán megtévesztő szavak. – mondta a tanító.
- Mi az ősi Buddha tudata? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
- Amiből kedvesség, együttérzés, öröm és egykedvűség árad. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Mi a lámpás, mely el tudja pusztítani száz éves sötétségét egy szobának? - kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Miért beszélsz száz évről? – válaszolt a tanító.
- Mit csináljunk a nappal és éjszaka tizenkét órájában? – kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Minden egyes lépést ezen a kérdésen kell megtenni. – mondta a tanító.
- Hogy van az, mikor az elvándorolt fiú visszatér falujába? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
- Mit fogsz neki felajánlani? – kérdezett vissza a mester.
- Semmit sem. – válaszolt a szerzetes.
- Mi van a napi szükségleteivel? – kérdezte a tanító.
- Hogyan értelmezed ezt: „Egy hajszálnyi megkülönböztetés, s ég és föld szétválik”? – kérdezte a tanító Shaoxiut.
- Egy hajszálnyi megkülönböztetés, s ég és föld szétválik. – válaszolta Shaoxiu.
- Hogy lehetne értelmezésedet jónak tartani? – kérdezte a tanító.
- Mi a tied? – kérdezte Shaoxiu.
- Egy hajszálnyi megkülönböztetés, s ég és föld szétválik. – válaszolta a tanító.
Erre Shaoxiu tiszteletét fejezte ki a tanítónak.
A tanító a sötétítőkre mutatott. Két szerzetes odament és egyszerre feltekerték a sötétítőket. Erre a tantó így szólt:
- Az egyik érti, a másik nem.
- Egy ős mondta: „Hegyek és folyók nem akadályozzák a fényt mely mindent áthat”. Mi a fény mely mindent áthat? – kérdezte a tanító az öreg Baozit.
- Harangzúgás a keleti parton. – válaszolta Baozi.
- Mi a második hold? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
- Jelenségek tízezrével. – válaszolta a tanító.
- Mi az első hold? – kérdezte a szerzetes.
- Tízezer jelenség. – válaszolta a tanító.