ZEN IRODALOM ZEN LITERATURE
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溈山靈祐 Guishan Lingyou (771-853)
aka 大潙靈祐 Dawei Lingyou; 潙山靈祐 Weishan Lingyou
溈山靈祐禪師語錄 Guishan Lingyou chanshi yulu
*who, with his disciple 仰山慧寂 Yang-shan Hui-chi (Japanese, Kyozan Ejaku) (814-890), founded the 溈仰宗 Kuei-yang Tsung (Japanese, Igyo-shu), a school soon absorbed into the Lin-chi Tsung (Japanese, Rinzai-shu).
(Rōmaji:) Isan Reiyū zenji goroku
(English:) The recorded conversations of Zen master Lingyou of Guishan
(Magyar:) Kuj-san Ling-ju zen mester összegyűjtött mondásai
Taisho No. 1989 (Vol. XLVII, pp. 577a-582a.6)
溈山警策 Guishan jingce
(Rōmaji:) Isan kyōsaku
(English:) Guishan's admonitions
Kuj-san Ling-ju mondásaiból
Guishan Lingyou (771-853)
Les entretiens du Maître Ling-yeou du Kouei-chan
PDF: The Kuei Yang Sect:
Great Action and Great Potentiality
Encounter Dialogues of Guishan Lingyou
Dhyana Master Wei-shan Ling-yu by
Kuei-shan Ling-yu: The Founder of the Kuei-yang House
PDF: Guishan jingce (Guishan's Admonitions) and the Ethical Foundations of Chan Practice
Les entretiens du Maître Ling-yeou du Kouei-chan (771-853)
Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient, XLV (1951), No. 1, 65-70.
The translation of eight episodes chosen from here and there in the text and comprising about one-sixth of the original Chinese, with notes and explanatory remarks in Gernet's scholarly style.
Les procédés de discussion dans la secte bouddhiste du dhyāna sont étranges. Mais ce n'est pas sans raison. Ils visent à donner une révélation brusque et inattendue de la nature propre. A ce titre, ils nous éclairent sur les moyens (upāya) employés; les actes, même les plus profanes et les plus ordinaires, sont la matière même de la méditation, car tout ramène chez le vrai Saint à l'absolu. Mais ils montrent encore, et peut-être avec plus d'évidence que la poésie, que les modes d'expression en Chine sont radicalement différents des nôtres.
Nous avons traduit ci-dessous quelques kong-ngan , sujets de méditation pour ceux qui cherchent le Chemin, en essayant, peut-être à tort, de les interpréter, car la vérité ultime est inexprimable. « Efforcez-vous !», disent les maîtres de dhyāna à leurs disciples sans leur ménager les peines de l'esprit ou du corps. Les coups de bâton et les réflexions ardues mènent également à l'illumination. L'obscurité est finalement source de lumière.
On nous excusera de ne pas avoir tout traduit de ces entretiens du maître Ling-yeou  : seuls les initiés sont autorisés à pénétrer les mystères. Mais les courts passages que nous avons cru élucider nous ont paru assez caractéristiques pour mériter une traduction.
 Certains kong-ngan se retrouvent plusieurs fois dans des versions assez différentes pour le fonds et pour la forme selon les textes. Une étude de ces thèmes de méditation montrerait peut- être comment le dhyàna en Chine a tendu, au cours de son évolution, à devenir un exercice artificiel où la subtilité des allusions a fini par supplanter la mystique et l'enthousiasme des premiers temps.
 Taishô issaikyô, n° 1989. Une biographie du maître de dhyāna Ling-yeou se trouve au Song kао seng tchouan, T. 2061, xi, 777 b-c 11. Ling-yeou était d'une famille de Tch'ang-k'i, ville au sud de l'actuel Hia-p'ou-hien au Fou-kien. Entré en religion à 14 ans, il eut pour maître un nommé Fa-tch'ang. Il étudia le Petit et le Grand Véhicule au Long-hing-sseu de Hang-tcheou (actuel Hang-hien au Tchô-kiang). A 22 ans, il vient se joindre aux disciples du maître Houai-hai de la montagne Po-tchang, à Siu-wou dans le Kiang-si. Un nommé Sseu-ma, venu du Hou-nan, révèle au maître du Po-tchang l'existence du mont Kouei, «lieu convenable à un grand Saint» (Le mont Kouei n'est pas mentionné dans le Tchong kouo ti ming ta ts'eu tien, mais doit vraisemblablement son nom à la rivière Kouei qui a sa source près de Yi-yang-hien au Hou-nan). Houai-hai décide que Ling-yeou s'y établira (il semble que les maîtres de dhyāna aient eu l'habitude de fixer à leurs successeurs le lieu de leur résidence). Peu à peu, ce désert habité seulement par de troupes de singes, se peuple de disciples attirés par l'enseignement de Ling-yeou. Le maître y demeure jusqu'à sa mort, le 20 février 853, à l'âge de 82 ans.
Yun-yen  étant venu au Kouei-chan, le maître lui dit : «J'ai appris que le Vénérable Yun-yen jouait avec un lion au Yo-chan . Est-ce vrai? — Oui, dit Yun- yen. — Jouiez-vous constamment avec lui ou y avait-il des moments où vous le laissiez tranquille? — Selon mon désir, je jouais avec lui ou le laissais tranquille. — Lorsque vous le laissiez tranquille, où était-il? — Je le laissais, je le laissais, et voilà tout ! »
* * *
Le supplément de l'édition de Kyoto du Tripitaka contient une série de poèmes intitulés Che nieou ťou song . Chacun d'eux est une suite de quatrains en vers de sept mots qui représentent le dressage d'un bœuf par un pâtre. Hou Wen-houan des Ming nous dit (p. 461a chang) que le pâtre, c'est l'homme et le bœuf, c'est l'esprit: «les dix tableaux sur le bœuf sont une des comparaisons utilisées par la secte du dhyâna pour exercer les esprits et les faire parvenir au Chemin ». Le bœuf est d'abord dompté avec peine, mais il s'accoutume peu à peu à son maître et bientôt n'a plus besoin de laisse ni de fouet. Enfin, le pâtre et la bête s'oublient mutuellement : « Le bœuf blanc reste toujours au milieu des nuages blancs. L'homme lui-même est sans esprit (wou sin), le bœuf aussi. La lune traverse les nuages blancs et l'ombre des nuages est blanche. Nuages blancs, lune brillante sans effort vont de l'est à l'ouest». Le bœuf disparaît ensuite. C'est le rayonnement solitaire (tou tchao) : «Le bœuf n'est plus en aucun lieu. Le pâtre est tranquille. Un nuage solitaire flotte entre les cimes vertes. » Le lion de Yun-yen ressemble fort au bœuf que représente la série des Che nieou t'ou song. On peut remarquer d'autre part que le thème du Vénérable apprivoisant les bêtes féroces par la puissance de sa sainteté est très fréquent dans les biographies de moines bouddhistes.
* * *
A la cueillette du thé, le maître dit à Yang-chan  : «Tout le jour à cueillir le thé, je n'entends que votre voix, je ne vois pas votre corps.» Yang-chan secoua l'arbre. «Vous n'avez, reprit le maître, que l'activité, vous n'avez pas la substance.
 Cf. T. 2061, xi, 775 b 8-14. Le maître T'an-cheng du monastère Yun-yen était originaire de Kien-tch'ang (dans la préfecture de Tchong-ling dont le siège se trouvait à 60 li au nord-est de Tsin-hien-hien au Kiang-si). Il fut pendant dix-neuf ans au service du maître Houai-hai du Po-tchang et mourut en 829.
 La montagne Yo se trouvait dans la préfecture de Li (actuel Li-hien, au Hou-nan).
 T. 1989, p. 577 c 19-22.
 Suppl. de Kyoto, Bi, xviii, 5, p. 459-470. Ces poèmes ont été recueillis les uns par Che-yuan des Song, les autres par Hou Wen-houan, d'autres enfin par un auteur inconnu. Cf. Inventaire du Fonds chinois de la Bibliothèque de l'EFE0, n° 1063-5. Dans ses Notes sinologiques (BEFEO, 1904, p. 75), E. Chavannes mentionne un Nieou-sin-sseu , au nord du Ngo-mei-chan au Sseu-tch'ouan et traduit «Temple du Cœur de bœuf». (Cf. k. I du Wou tch'ouan-lou) Il est probable que l'expression nieou sin est une allusion à la représentation de l'esprit sous la forme d'un bœuf telle qu'on la trouve dans les Che nieou ťou song et qu'il faut comprendre «temple de l'esprit conçu sous la forme d'un bœuf». La question se pose de savoir à quand remonte cette figuration et d'où elle vient. Il est vrai qu'il existe un Fang nieou king, traduit par Kumârajïva, où l'on trouve une comparaison entre la conduite d'un pâtre et celle du bhiksu (T. 123 ou Edition de Tôkyô, xii, 4. Versions parallèles dans l'Ekottarāgama et dans le Samyuktāgama), mais il se pourrait bien que ce thème de l'apprivoisement d'une bête sauvage fût d'origine taoïste et non pas bouddhique.
 Cf. T. 2061, xii, 783 a, 27-b, 16. Le maître de dhyâna Houei-tsi, connu aussi sous le nom de Yang-chan, était originaire de Tchen-tch'ang (actuel Nan-hiong-hien au Kouang-tong). Ses parents hésitant à le laisser entrer en religion, il se coupa l'annulaire et l'auriculaire de la main gauche. «Puissé-je, dit-il, répondre ainsi à la peine que vous vous êtes donnée pour moi.»
— Je ne sais, dit Yang-chan, ce qu'il en est pour vous, Maître.» Le maître resta un long moment sans répondre. «Vous n'avez, dit alors Yang-chan, que la substance, vous n'avez pas l'activité. — Je vous donnerai, dit Ling-yeou, trente coups de bâton .»
Le corps de Yang-chan symbolise ici la substance de l'absolu (tathatā), sa voix l'activité (prayojana) de l'absolu en tant que prédication. Le vrai Saint possède l'une et l'autre. Penché sur son arbre, le maître demande au disciple ce qu'il entend par activité, mais lorsque Yang-chan secoue l'arbre pour toute réponse, ce n'est encore là qu'une manifestation d'activité. Cette réponse ne convient pas. Au contraire, le silence de Ling-yeou fait dire au disciple que son maître ne possède que la substance de l'absolu.
* * *
Ling-yeou dormait et Yang-chan vint pour le saluer. Le maître se tourna alors vers le mur. «Pourquoi faites-vous cela?» demanda Yang-chan. Le maître se leva et dit : «Je viens de faire un rêve. Voyez un peu pour moi ce qu'il en est.» Yang-chan prit alors un baquet d'eau et le donna au maître pour qu'il se lavât le visage. Peu de temps après, Hiang-yen  vint aussi saluer le maître, «Je viens de faire un rêve, dit Ling-yeou. Expliquez-moi ce qu'il en est.» Alors Hiang-yen fît chauffer une tasse de thé  et l'apporta, «Ces deux disciples, dit le Maître, ont une vue qui dépasse celle de Çāriputra !»
Tous les phénomènes, tous les dharma conditionnés (samskrta) ne sont que des apparitions de rêve. C'est au moment où l'on a rejeté tout le causal et toute notion que l'on voit sa nature propre. Le baquet d'eau et la tasse de thé sont ici les symboles ďune purification intérieure et extérieure.
* * *
Che-chouang  vint au Kouei-chan pour être intendant du riz (mi-t'eou). Un jour qu'il passait des grains au crible, le maître lui dit : «Il ne faut pas disperser les dons des maîtres d'aumône (dānapati). — Je ne les disperse pas, répondit Che-chouang. Le maître ramassa à terre un grain : «Tu dis que tu ne les disperses pas, mais qu'est ceci?» Che-chouang n'eut rien à répondre. «Ne fais pas fi de ce grain, reprit le maître, car des centaines de milliers de grains peuvent naître de ce grain unique. — Oui, dit Che-chouang, des centaines de milliers de grains peuvent en naître,
A 16 ans, il fut disciple du maître de dhyâna T'ong, au Nan-houa-sseu et, à 18 ans, celui de Tan-yuan. Par la suite, il demeura, pendant treize ou quatorze ans, auprès de Ling-yeou, au Kouei-chan.
 Taishô, n° 1989, p. 678 b, 8-12.
 Cf. Taishô, n° 2061, XIII, 785 a, 26 b, 5. Hiang-yen, autre nom Tche-hien, était de Ts'ing-tcheou (à 60 li de Nan-p'ing-hien au Fou-kien). Le Song kao seng tchouan ne fait que reproduire en les abrégeant les données du n° 1989 du Taishô.
 façon de préparer le thé à l'époque des T'ang et des Song (Ts'eu-hai).
 Taishô, n° 1989, p. 579 b, 29-c 5.
(5) Cf. Taishô, n° 2061, xii, 780 a, 14. K'ing-tchou, maître de la montagne Che-chouang, dans la commanderie de Tch'ang-cha (moitié est du Hou-nan), fut à 12 ans disciple de Chao-louan, à 22 ans il reçut l'ordination au pic de Song (Ho-nan) et, après avoir étudié le vinaya à Lo-yang, il alla au pic du Sud (Heng-chan au Hou-nan) et pénétra au mont Kouei (résidence de Ling-yeou). Il se fixa par la suite au mont Che-chouang où il mourut en 888 à l'âge de 81 ans.
mais je ne sais pas d'où naît ce grain.» Le maître retourna à sa cellule en riant très fort .
La substance des choses est insaisissable (anupalabhya) et non née (anutpanna).
* * *
Un moine demanda : «Qu'est-ce que le Chemin? — C'est l'absence d'esprit (wou-sin), dit le maître. — Je ne comprends pas. — Pour comprendre, le mieux, c'est de saisir l'incompréhensible. — Qu'est-ce que l'incompréhensible? — Ce n'est que vous-même et non les autres.» Le maître reprit : «Gens de maintenant, saisissez et incorporez-vous tout de suite l'incompréhensible. C'est cela justement qu'est votre propre esprit, c'est cela justement qu'est le Buddha qui est en vous. Si vous acquérez de l'extérieur une connaissance ou une vue et que vous en fassiez le Chemin de dhyāna, cela n'aura aucun rapport [avec la vérité innée en vous]. Cela s'appelle amener les immondices au-dedans et non pas les chasser au dehors. C'est salir le champ de votre esprit . C'est pourquoi je dis que ce n'est pas là le Chemin .»
* * *
Un moine avait demandé à Ling-yeou quelle était l'intention du patriarche Bodhidharma en venant en Orient. Le maître leva verticalement son plumeau. Par la suite, ce moine rencontra le tch'ang-che  Wang qui lui demanda quels avaient été les propos du [maître du] Kouei-chan les jours derniers. Le moine lui rapporta l'entretien précédent, «Quelle est, demanda Wang, votre façon de discuter à vous, frères de là-bas? — On a recours au sensible pour faire voir l'esprit foncier. On s'attache aux choses concrètes pour mettre en lumière le principe absolu. — Ce n'est pas cette méthode [qui convient], dit le tch'ang-che. Retournez vite, supérieur. C'est le mieux. Je me permets d'envoyer une lettre à votre maître.» Le moine prit la lettre et s'en retourna la présenter à Ling-yeou. Le maître l'ouvrit et vit le dessin d'un cercle où était inscrit le caractère du soleil. «Qui sait, dit-il, s'il n'y a pas, à plus de mille li d'ici, un homme qui connaisse mes pensées les plus profondes ?» Yang-chan, qui se tenait à ses côtés, dit alors : «Quand cela serait, cet homme n'est tout de même qu'un profane. — Qu'avez-vous encore [à dire]? dit Ling-yeou». Yang-chan dessina alors un cercle, y inscrivit le caractère «soleil» et effaça le tout avec son pied. Le maître se mit à rire violemment .
Le cercle dessiné représente la vacuité et la quiétude parfaites de l'esprit. Le soleil est l'image de la sapience (prajnā) qui illumine tous les mondes de ses rayons. En effaçant le dessin qu'il a reproduit, Yang-chan nie que dans l'absolu il y ait place même pour une représentation aussi simple.
 Taishô, n° 1989, p. 678 a, 20-25.
 On trouve plus fréquemment l'expression, terre de l'esprit. Cf. le T'an king [Taishô, n° 2007 et 2008), ouvrage du VIII. siècle qui relate des prédications du maître Houei-neng, sixième patriarche de l'école du dhyâna.
 Taishô, n° 1989, p. 581 b, 21-26.
 Fonctionnaire constamment à la disposition d'un prince. Cf. R. des Rotours, Traité des fonctionnaires et de l'armée, Leiden, 1947.
 allusion à un passage du chapitre v du Lie-tseu : «Quand Po-ya touchait son luth et qu'il fixait sa pensée sur de hautes montagnes, Tchong Tseu-k'i disait : «Quelles altitudes majestueuses ! C'est le T'ai-chan !» S'il fixait sa pensée sur le courant d'un fleuve, son ami disait : «Quels «flots abondants ! C'est le Kiang ou le Ho !» Quand Tchong Tseu-k'i mourut, Po-ya brisa les cordes de son luth parce que personne ne pouvait désormais comprendre le sens de sa musique.»
 Taishô n° 1989, p. 579 c, 9-18.
* * *
Un jour, Ling-yeou était debout auprès de son maître. «Qui est-ce ? demanda Po-tchang . — C'est moi. — Cherche dans le fourneau s'il y a des braises», dit le maître. Ling-yeou chercha et répondit qu'il n'y en avait pas. Po-tchang se leva lui-même et en cherchant au fond il en trouva un peu. «Tu dis qu'il n'y a pas de braises, dit-il en montrant celles qu'il avait trouvées à Ling-yeou, mais qu'est ceci?» Ling-yeou eut alors une illumination et salua en s'excusant.
Les cendres qui recouvrent le feu sont comme les passions (kleça) qui nous empêchent de voir notre nature foncière.
Ling-yeou exposa ce qu'il avait compris. «Cette compréhension, dit Po-tchang, n'est qu'à l'image d'une route qui bifurque pour peu de temps, «Qui veut connaître, dit le sûtra, le sens de la nature de Buddha doit considérer les circonstances et les conditions». Lorsque les circonstances arrivent, on est alors comme un égaré qui soudain comprend, comme un oublieux qui soudain se souvient. Il faut discerner en soi ce qui est propre à soi-même et non chercher à l'obtenir des autres. Aussi, le patriarche disait-il : «Avoir été illuminé, c'est comme ne pas l'avoir été.»
[Dans l'absolu] il n'y a ni esprit ni dharma. Il n'y a qu'absence d'erreur. Profanes et Saints ont un même esprit. L'esprit foncier est de lui-même présent et parfait en nous dès l'origine. Puisque tu as ainsi été illuminé, garde-toi avec soin.»
L'illumination est d'un caractère temporaire, fragile et inconsistant. Il faut donc rester sans cesse sur ses gardes et se tenir aux brefs éclairs d'intelligence que l'on a.
* * *
«J'ai entendu dire, dit le maître à Hiang-yen, que du temps où vous étiez chez l'ancien maître du Po-tchang, à une question vous donniez dix réponses, à dix questions cent réponses. Telles sont votre intelligence et votre pénétration! Mais votre opinion et vos pensées sur la racine des renaissances et des morts et sur ce qu'il y a avant même la conception, quelles sont-elles? Dites-nous donc un mot à ce sujet». A cette question, Hiang-yen fut aussitôt troublé et retourna à sa cellule pour y prendre les écrits qu'il lisait ordinairement. Il chercha depuis le début une phrase qu'il pût répondre, mais en vain. «Faire le dessin d'une galette, dit-il en soupirant, cela ne peut satisfaire la faim!» et il pria le maître à plusieurs reprises de lui dire le mot qui trancherait [cette énigme]. «Si je vous le dis, répondit le maître, vous m'insulterez ensuite. Ce que je vous dirais me serait particulier et de toute façon inadéquat à votre propre cas». Hiang-yen prit alors les écrits qu'il avait autrefois l'habitude de lire et les brûla en disant : «De toute cette vie, en vérité je n'ai pas étudié la loi bouddhique. Faisons-nous pour longtemps moine de soupe et de riz (c'est-à-dire menons une vie de moine inutile et stupide) pour éviter d'asservir notre esprit ». Il prit congé du maître et se rendit tout droit à Nan-yang ,
 Cf. Taishô, n° 2061, x, 770 c, 14-771 a, 6. Houai-hai, plus connu sous le nom de maître du Po-tchang, était originaire du Fou-kien. Il fut élève de Ta-tsi à Nan-k'ang (au sud-ouest de Kan-hien au Kiang-si). Il résida ensuite au mont Po-tchang dans la sous- préfecture de Sin-wou (actuel Fong-sin-hien, Kiang-si). Houai-hai est le fondateur d'une discipline spéciale au dhyāna : «C'est à partir de Houai-hai que l'école du dhyāna eut des règles de discipline indépendantes» (p. 771 a, 3-4). Houai-hai mourut le 10 février 814, à l'âge de 94 ans. En 821, Mou-tsong lui octroya le nom posthume de maître de dhyāna Ta-tche.
 Cette поtiоп est taoïste.
 Dans le sud du Ho-nan.
où il vit les souvenirs qu'y avait laissés le maître de royaume Tchong  et il se fixa à cet endroit. Un jour qu'il sarclait les mauvaises herbes et les arbustes, il jeta par hasard une brique. Sous le choc, un bambou résonna et soudain Hiang-yen fut illuminé.
Voilà un bel exemple du processus de l'illumination. La question du maître détermine un changement total dans le genre de vie de Hiang-yen. La réponse ne peut être obtenue par un raisonnement logique : il faut cultiver son inconscient. L'illumination est subite, totale, imprévisible : un mot, un cri ou un simple bruit suffisent à la provoquer.
Il revint alors au Kouei-chan. Après s'être lavé et avoir brûlé de l'encens, il salua de loin le maître : «Votre bonté, dit-il, dépasse celle d'un père et d'une mère. Si, sur le moment, vous aviez tranché pour moi cette énigme, comment l'événement présent se serait-il produit?» Il eut alors cette stance :
«Un heurt et j'oubliais mon savoir, dès lors, je n'eus plus besoin des pratiques.
Dans mes démarches, je glorifiai la voie ancienne [des Buddha]. Je ne tomberai plus dans des pièges qui me laisseront muet 
En nul lieu je ne laisserai de traces . Hors du son et du sensible, (je me tiendrai) dans les quatre attitudes. 
Tous ceux qui, partout, ont pénétré le Chemin, diront que je suis un homme supérieur.»
Ayant entendu ces mots, le maître dit à Yang-chan : «Ce disciple a vraiment pénétré le Chemin! — Ces vers, répondit Yang-chan, sont [peut-être] la création artificielle d'une pensée réfléchie. Attendez que j'aie vu moi-même ce qu'il en est.» Yang-chan rencontra par la suite Hiang-yen et lui dit : «Notre maître a fait votre éloge parce que vous avez eu l'illumination, cette affaire de tant d'importance. Expliquez-moi un peu cela pour voir.» Hiang-yen récita de nouveau sa stance, «Ces vers, dit Yang-chan, sont l'effet d'une pensée attachée encore aux anciennes imprégnations (vasanâ). Si vous avez eu l'illumination correcte, dites encore quelques mots pour voir.» Hiang-yen composa alors cette nouvelle stance :
«L'aппéе passée, ma pauvreté n'était pas encore véritable, c'est seulement de cette année qu'elle est pauvreté.
L'année passée, dans ma pauvreté, j'avais encore l'espace de la pointe d'une alêne, cette année, dans ma pauvreté, je n'ai même plus cet espace.»
«Voilà, dit Yang-chan, le dhyāna du Tathāgata  !» 
 On ne sait pas qui est ce maître de royaume Tchong.
 C'est-à-dire je m'ébattrai dans ce monde librement.
 Cf. Vimalakïrti, Taishô, n° 475, k. chang, 5З9 c, 21 : «C'est le fait de manifester des actes profanes sans quitter la loi qui est accroupissement dans le calme . . . Accéder au nirvana sans trancher les passions, voilà qui est accroupissement dans le calme.»
 Cf. Chen-houei ho-chang yi-tsi, éd. Hou Che, Chang-hai, 19З0, p. 145 : «Cette phrase : «Lorsque l'être et le non-être sont expulsés l'un et l'autre, le Chemin du milieu disparaît également» s'applique à l'absence de pensée. L'absence de pensée, c'est la pensée instantanée (atemporelle), la pensée instantanée, c'est l'omniscience, c'est la très profonde prajnâpâramitâ et la très profonde prajnâpâramitâ, c'est le dhyâna du Tathâgata.»
 Taishô, n° 1989, p. 580 b, 8-29.
KUEI-SHAN LING-YU (771-853)
Great Action and Great Potentiality
(From The Transmission of the Lamp, Chüan 9)
Original Teachings of Ch'an Buddhism. Translated by Chang Chung-yuan. New York: Random House, 1969. pp. 200-208.
CH'AN Master Kuei-5shan Ling-yu of T'an-chou6 was a native
of Chang-ch'i in Fu-chou.7 His original surname was Chao.
When he was fifteen he left his parents and became a monk.
In the Chien-shan Monastery in his native town, he studied under
the Vinaya master Fa-ch'ang and had his head shaved. Later he
was ordained at the Lung-hsing Monastery in Hang-chou,8 where
he devoted himself to the study of the sutras and vinayas of both
the Mahayana and the Hinayana. At the age of twenty-three he
traveled to Kiangsi, where he visited Master Po-chang Huai-hai. As
soon as the master saw his visitor he gave him permission to study
in the temple, and thereafter Kuei-shan became Po-chang's leading
One day Kuei-shan was attending Master Po-chang, who asked
"Who are you?"
"I am Ling-yu."
"Will you poke the fire pot and find out whether there is some
burning charcoal in it?" said Po-chang.
Kuei-shan did so, and then said, "There is no burning charcoal."
Master Po-chang rose from his seat. Poking deep into the fire pot,
he extracted a small glowing piece of charcoal which he showed to
Kuei-shan, saying, "Is this not a burning piece?"
At this, Kuei-shan was awakened. Thereupon he made a profound
bow and told Po-chang what had happened. However, Pochang
"The method that I used just now was only for this occasion. It
is not the usual approach. The Sutra says, 'To behold the Buddha-nature
one must wait for the right moment and the right conditions.
When the time comes, one is awakened as from a dream. It is as if
one's memory recalls something long forgotten. One realizes that
what is obtained is one's own and not from outside one's self.' Thus
an ancient patriarch said, 'After enlightenment one is still the same
as one was before. There is no mind and there is no Dharma.'9 One
is simply free from unreality and delusion. The mind of the ordinary
man is the same as that of the sage because the Original Mind is
perfect and complete in itself. When you have attained this recognition,
hold on to what you have achieved."
During this period, Dhuta10 Ssu-ma came from Hunan to see
Master Po-chang. The Master asked whether it was possible for him
to go to Mount Kuei. The Dhuta answered that Mount Kuei was
extremely steep, but that despite this one thousand five hundred
devotees could gather there. However, the Dhuta said that it would
not be a good preaching place for Master Po-chang. The Master
asked why he said that. The Dhuta pointed out that Master Po-chang
was a gaunt man of ascetic habits, while Kuei was a mountain
of flesh, warm and sensuous, and that if he should go there, he could
expect fewer than a thousand disciples. Po-chang asked him
whether he thought that among his students there might be one
suitable to act as abbot on the mountain. Dhuta Ssu-ma told him he
would like to see all his disciples one by one. Po-chang thereupon
sent for the head monk. The Dhuta ordered him to cough deeply
once and pace several steps, and afterward announced that this
monk was not qualified for the post. Po-chang sent for Ling-yu,
who was the business supervisor of the temple. As soon as he saw
him the Dhuta announced, "Here we have the right man to be the
Master of Mount Kuei!''
The same night Po-chang called Ling-yu to his chamber and
told him, "Mount Kuei will be a splendid place to carry forth the
teaching of our school and to extend enlightenment to the generation
When the head monk, Hua-lin, heard of this decision he complained
to Po-chang, pointing out that he was the head monk and
deserved the appointment. How could Ling-yu rightfully be appointed
abbot of Mount Kuei? Po-chang said to him:
"If you can make an outstanding response in front of the assembly,
you shall receive the appointment." Po-chang then pointed
to a pitcher and said to him, "Do not call this a pitcher. What, instead,
should you call it?" Hua-lin answered, "It cannot be called
a wooden wedge." Master Po-chang did not accept this, and turned
to Ling-yu, demanding his answer. Ling-yu kicked the pitcher and
knocked it over. Master Po-chang laughed and said, "Our head
monk has lost his bid for Mount Kuei." Ling-yu subsequently was
sent to be abbot of Mount Kuei.
Painting by 狩野元信 Kanō Motonobu (1476–1559)
Mount Kuei had formerly been an inaccessible region. The
rocks were steep and high, and no one lived there. Only monkeys
could be found for companions and only chestnuts were available
as food. When people at the foot of the mountain heard that Master
Ling-yu was living there they assembled to build a monastery for
him. Through General Li Ching-jang's recommendation the Royal
Court granted the title Tung-ching to the monastery. Often the
Prime Minister, Pei Hsiu, came to the Master to ask questions
about the meaning of Ch'an, and from this period onward devotees
from all over the country journeyed to Mount Kuei.
One day Master Kuei-shan Ling-yu came into the assembly
"The mind of one who understands Ch'an is plain and straightforward
without pretense. It has neither front nor back and is without
deceit or delusion. Every hour of the day, what one hears and
sees are ordinary things and ordinary actions. Nothing is distorted.
One does not need to shut one's eyes and ears to be non-attached to
things. In the early days many sages stressed the follies and dangers
of impurity. When delusion, perverted views, and bad thinking
habits are eliminated, the mind is as clear and tranquil as the
autumn stream. It is pure and quiescent, placid and free from
attachment. Therefore he who is like this is called a Ch'annist, a
man of non-attachment to things."
During an assembly period a monk asked whether the man who
has achieved sudden enlightenment still requires self-cultivation.
The Master answered, "If he should be truly enlightened, achieving
his original nature and realizing himself, then the question of self-cultivation
or non-cultivation is beside the point. Through concentration11
a devotee may gain thoughtless thought. Thereby he is
suddenly enlightened and realizes his original nature. However,
there is still a basic delusion12 without beginning and without end,
which cannot be entirely eliminated. Therefore the elimination of
the manifestation of karma, which causes the remaining delusion to
come to the surface, should be taught. This is cultivation. There is
no other way of cultivation. When one hears the Truth one penetrates
immediately to the Ultimate Reality, the realization of which
is profound and wondrous. The mind is illuminated naturally and
perfectly, free from confusion. On the other hand, in the present-
day world there are numerous theories being expounded about
Buddhism. These theories are advocated by those who wish to earn
a seat in the temple and wear an abbot's robe to justify their work.
But reality itself cannot be stained by even a speck of dust, and no
action can distort the truth. When the approach to enlightenment
is like the swift thrust of a sword to the center of things, then both
worldliness and holiness are completely eliminated and Absolute
Reality is revealed. Thus the One and the Many are identified.
This is the Suchness of Buddha."
Yang-shan asked, "What was the meaning of Bodhidharma
coming from the West?"
The Master answered, "A fine large lantern."
"Is it not 'this'? "
"What is 'this'? "
"A fine large lantern," Yang-shan said.
"You do not really know."
One day the Master said to the assembly, "There are many
people who experience the great moment, but few who can perform
the great function." Yang-shan went with this statement to the
abbot of the temple at the foot of the mountain and asked him its
meaning. The abbot said, "Try to repeat your question to me." As
Yang-shan began to do so, the abbot kicked him and knocked him
down. When Yang-shan returned and repeated this to the Master,
Kuei-shan laughed heartily.
The Master was sitting in the Dharma Hall when the treasurer
monk of the temple beat upon the "wooden fish,"13 and the assistant
cook threw away the fire tongs, clapped, and laughed loudly.
The Master said, "In our temple, too, we have people like this. Call
them here so that I can ask them what they are doing." The assistant
cook explained, "I did not eat gruel and I was hungry. So I am
very happy." The Master nodded his head.
Once when all the monks were out picking tea leaves the Master
said to Yang-shan, "All day as we were picking tea leaves I have
heard your voice, but I have not seen you yourself. Show me your
original self." Yang-shan thereupon shook the tea tree.
The Master said, "You have attained only the function, not
the substance." Yang-shan remarked, "I do not know how you
yourself would answer the question." The Master was silent for a
time. Yang-shan commented, "You, Master, have attained only the
substance, not the function." Master Kuei-shan responded, "I
absolve you from twenty blows!"
When the Master came to the assembly, a monk stepped forward
and said to him, "Please, Master, give us the Dharma." "Have
I not taught you thoroughly already?" asked the Master, and the
The Master told Yang-shan, "You should speak immediately.
Do not enter the realm of illusion."
Yang-shan replied, "My faith in reality is not even established."
The Master said, "Have you had faith and been unable to establish
it, or is it because you never had faith that you could not
Yang-shan said, "What I believe in is Hui-chi. Why should I
have faith in anyone else?"
The Master replied, "If this is the case, you have attained
Yang-shan answered, "I have not even seen the Buddha."
The Master asked Yang-shan, "In the forty volumes of the
Nirvana Sutra, how many words were spoken by Buddha and how
many by devils?"
Yang-shan answered, "They are all devils' words."
Master Kuei-shan said, "From now on, no one can do anything
Yang-shan said, "I, Hui-chi, have simply seen the truth in this
one instant. How should I apply it to my daily conduct?" The
Master replied, "It is important that you see things correctly. I do
not talk about your daily conduct."
Once when Yang-shan was washing his clothes, he lifted them
up and asked the Master, "At this very moment, what are you
doing?" The Master answered, "At this moment I am doing
nothing." Yang-shan said, "Master! You have substance, but no
function." The Master was silent for a while, then picked up the
clothes and asked Yang-shan, "At this very moment, what are you
doing?" Yang-shan replied, "At this moment, Master, do you still
see 'this'?" The Master said, "You have function, but no substance."
One day the Master suddenly spoke to Yang-shan, "Last spring
you made an incomplete statement. Can you complete it now?"
Yang-shan answered, "At this very moment? One should not make
a clay image in a moment." The Master said, "A retained prisoner
improves in judgment."
One day the Master called "for the manager of the temple, who
came. The Master said, "I called for the manager of the temple.
Why should you come here?" The manager made no answer.
Thereupon the Master sent an attendant to summon the head
monk. When the head monk appeared the Master said, " I called
for the head monk. Why should you come here?'' The head monk,
too, made no answer.
The Master asked a newly arrived monk what his name was.
The monk said, "Yüeh-lun [Full Moon]." The Master then drew a
circle in the air with his hand. "How do you compare with this?" he
asked. The monk replied, "Master, if you ask me in such a way, a
great many people will not agree with you." Then the Master said,
"As for me, this is my way. What is yours?" The monk said, "Do
you still see Yüeh-lun?" The Master answered, "You can say it
your way, but there are a great many people here who do not agree
The Master asked Yün-yen, "I have heard that you were with
Master Yüeh-shan for a long time. Am I correct?" Yün-yen said he
was right, and the Master continued, "What is the most distinctive
aspect of Yüeh-shan's character?" Yün-yen answered, "Nirvana
comes later." The Master pressed, "What do you mean, nirvana
comes later?" Yün-yen replied, "Sprinkled water drops cannot reach
it." In turn Yün-yen asked the Master, "What is the most distinctive
feature of Po-chang's character?" The Master answered, "He
is majestic and dignified, radiant and luminous. His is the soundlessness
before sound and the colorlessness after the pigment has faded
away. He is like an iron bull. When a mosquito lands upon him it
can find no place to sting."
The Master was about to pass a pitcher to Yang-shan, who had
put out his hands to receive it. But he suddenly withdrew the
pitcher, saying, "What is this pitcher?" Yang-shan replied, "What
have you discovered from it, Master?" The Master said, "If you
challenge me in this way, why do you study with me?" Yang-shan
explained, "Even though I challenge, it is still my duty to carry
water for you in the pitcher." The Master then passed the pitcher
During a stroll with Yang-shan, the Master pointed to a cypress
tree and asked, "What is this in front of you?" Yang-shan answered,
"As for this, it is just a cypress tree." The Master then pointed back
to an old farmer and said, "This old man will one day have five
The Master said to Yang-shan, "Where have you been?" Yangshan
answered, "At the farm." The Master said, "Are the rice
plants ready for the harvest?" Yang-shan replied, "They are ready."
The Master asked, "Do they appear to you to be green, or yellow, or
neither green nor yellow?" Yang-shan answered, "Master, what is
behind you?" The Master said, "Do you see it?" Then Yang-shan
picked up an ear of grain and said, "Are you not asking about this?"
The Master replied, "This way follows the Goose-King in choosing
One winter the Master asked Yang-shan whether it was the
weather that was cold or whether it was man who felt cold. Yangshan
replied, "We are all here!" "Why don't you answer directly?"
asked the Master. Then Yang-shan said, "My answer just now cannot
be considered indirect. How about you?" The Master said, "If
it is direct, it flows with the current."
A monk came to bow in front of the Master, who made a gesture
of getting up. The monk said, "Please, Master, do not get up!" The
Master said, "I have not yet sat down." "I have not yet bowed,"
retorted the monk. The Master replied, "Why should you be ill-mannered?"
The monk made no answer.
Two Ch'an followers came from the assembly of Master Shih-shuang
to the monastery of Master Kuei-shan, where they complained
that no one there understood Ch'an. Later on everyone in
the temple was ordered to bring firewood. Yang-shan encountered
the two visitors as they were resting. He picked up a piece of firewood
and asked, "Can you make a correct statement about this?"
Neither made an answer. Yang-shan said, "Then you had better not
say that no one here understands Ch'an." After going back inside
the monastery, Yang-shan reported to Master Kuei-shan, "I observed
the two Ch'an followers here from Shih-shuang." The Master
asked, "Where did you come upon them?" Yang-shan reported
the encounter, and thereupon the Master said, "Hui-chi is now being
observed by me."
When the Master was in bed Yang-shan came to speak to him,
but the Master turned his face to the wall. Yang-shan said, "How
can you do this?" The Master rose and said, "A moment ago I had
a dream. Won't you try to interpret it for me?" Thereupon Yang-shan
brought in a basin of water for the Master to wash his face. A
little later Hsiang-yen also appeared to speak to the Master. The
Master repeated, "I just had a dream. Yang-shan interpreted it.
Now it is your turn." Hsiang-yen then brought in a cup of tea. The
Master said, "The insight of both of you excels that of Sariputra."16
Once a monk said, "If one cannot be the straw hat on top of
Mount Kuei, how can one reach the village that is free from forced
labor? What is this straw hat of Mount Kuei?" The Master thereupon
stamped his foot.
The Master came to the assembly and said, "After I have passed
away I shall become a water buffalo at the foot of the mountain.
On the left side of the buffalo's chest five characters, Kuei-shan-Monk-
Ling-yu, will be inscribed. At that time you may call me the
monk of Kuei-shan, but at the same time I shall also be the water
buffalo. When you call me water buffalo, I am also the monk of
Kuei-shan. What is my correct name?"
The Master propagated the teachings of Ch'an for more than
forty years. Numerous followers achieved self-realization, and forty-one
disciples penetrated to the final profundity of his teaching. On
the ninth day of the first month of the seventh year  of Tachung
of the T'ang Dynasty, the Master washed his face and rinsed
his mouth and then seated himself and, smiling, passed away. This
was sixty-four years after he was ordained. He was eighty-three years
old. He was buried on Mount Kuei where he had taught. His posthumous
name, received from the Royal Court, was Great Perfection,
and his pagoda was called Purity and Quiescence.
5. The Chinese character Kuei is a phonetic contraction of ku and wei,
according to the most recent and best edited dictionary of Chinese, published
by the Chung-hua Book Company in Shanghai in 1947. Kuei is
indicated as a similar contraction of the original Chinese words by R. H.
Mathews in his well-known Chinese-English Dictionary. However, in both
the K'ang-hsi Dictionary and the Chung-hua Dictionary, which are very
commonly used by the Chinese people in the present day, the pronunciation
is given as chui, which suggests a phonetic contraction of chü and wei.
Ancient dictionaries, such as Kuang-yün by Lu Fa-yen (completed in 601)
and Chi-yün by Tin Tu (completed 1039), record the pronunciation as
chui, which was certainly the common pronunciation before the Sung
6. Now Changsha, capital of Hunan Province.
7· Foochow, now the capital of Fukien Province.
8. Hangchow, now the capital of Chekiang Province, on the Western
Lake and near the Chien-fang River.
9· In the available Ch'an literature we find these lines as part of a
gatha by the Fifth Patriarch in India. See The Lamp, Chiian 1.
10. A dhuta was a Buddhist monk who traveled, begging his meals, as
part of the purification from material desires.
11. In Ta-chih-tu Lun we read: "The beginner concentrates on yuan
chung (centers of concentration), such as the space between the eyebrows,
the middle of the forehead, or the tip of the nose." The word yuan here
means concentration. In common usage it carries the meaning of causation.
Ta-chih-tu Lun (Mahaprajnaparamitopadesa) is a one-hundred-fascicle
commentary on the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra, attributed to Nagarjuna,
and translated by Kumarajiva.
12. Vasana, or force of habit, in the Alayavijnana doctrine. In
Mahayana Buddhism, delusion is threefold: (1) active at present, (2)
innate, (3) through force of habit. One may eliminate the first and second,
but the third delusion tends to remain. Those who achieve only Sravakas -
- being merely hearers - cannot rid themselves of it. Those who achieve
Pratyaksa-Buddha, or the middle conveyance, may in part rid themselves
of it. But only Buddha can eliminate all of it.
13. A block of wood with the inside hollowed out. It is beaten with a
stick to announce meals or to accompany the chanting of the sutras, and
is said to keep the monks' minds awake as a fish in water is always awake.
14. An arhat is an enlightened, saintly man, the highest type or saint in
Hinayana, as the Bodhisattva is in Mahayana.
15. The Goose-King symbolizes the Bodhisattva, who drinks the milk
and leaves the water contained in the same vessel. See Chinese Dictionary of
Buddhism, p. 460.
16. One of the ten finest disciples of Buddha, whose wisdom is considered
the greatest of all.
Translated by Thomas Cleary
In: The five houses of Zen, 1997
Admonitions of Kuei-shan, one of the earliest Zen writings. During the Sung dynasty (960–1278), this work was incorporated into a popular primer of Buddhism and subsequently was made the object of much study and commentary. Orally transmitted sayings of Kuei-shan and his successor Yang-shan appear in many classical anthologies of Zen works, and numerous dialogues between them are used as examples in major collections of teaching stories.
AS LONG AS YOU are subject to a life bound by force of habit, you are not free from the burden of the body. The physical being given you by your parents has come into existence through the interdependence of many conditions; while the basic elements thus sustain you, they are always at odds with one another.
Impermanence, aging, and illness do not give people a set time. One may be alive in the morning, then dead at night, changing worlds in an instant. We are like the spring frost, like the morning dew, suddenly gone. How can a tree growing on a cliff or a vine hanging into a well last forever? Time is passing every moment; how can you be complacent and waste it, seeing that the afterlife is but a breath away?
Inwardly strive to develop the capacity of mindfulness; outwardly spread the virtue of uncontentiousness. Shed the world of dust to seek emancipation.
Over the ages you have followed objects, never once turning back to look within. Time slips away; months and years are wasted.
The Buddha first defined precepts to begin to remove the veils of ignorance. With standards and refinements of conduct pure as ice and snow, the precepts rein and concentrate the minds of beginners in respect to what to stop, what to uphold, what to do, and what not to do. Their details reform every kind of crudity and decadence.
How can you understand the supreme vehicle of complete meaning without having paid heed to moral principles? Beware of spending a lifetime in vain; later regrets are useless.
If you have never taken the principles of the teachings to heart, you have no basis for awakening to the hidden path. As you advance in years and grow old, your vanity will not allow you to associate with worthy companions; you know only arrogance and complacency.
Dawdling in the human world eventually produces dullness and coarseness. Unawares, you become weak and senile; encountering events, you face a wall. When younger people ask you questions, you have nothing to say that will guide them. And even if you have something to say, it has nothing to do with the scriptures. Yet when you are treated without respect, you immediately denounce the impoliteness of the younger generation. Angry thoughts flare up, and your words afflict everyone.
One day you will lie in sickness, flat on your back with myriad pains oppressing you. Thinking and pondering from morning to night, your heart will be full of fear and dread. The road ahead is vague, boundless; you do not know where you will go.
Here you will finally know to repent of your errors, but what is the use of trying to dig a well when you’re already thirsty? You will regret not having prepared earlier, now that it is late and your faults are so many.
When it is time to go, you shake apart, terrified and trembling. The cage broken, the sparrow flies. Consciousness follows what you have done, like a man burdened with debts, dragged away first by the strongest. The threads of mind, frayed and diffused, tend to fall to whatever is most pressing.
The murderous demon of impermanence does not stop moment to moment. Life cannot be extended; time is unreliable. No one in any realm of being can escape this. Subjection to physical existence has gone on in this way for untold ages.
Our regret is that we were all born in an era of imitation. The age of saints is distant, and Buddhism is decadent. Most people are lazy.
If you pass your whole life half asleep, what can you rely on?
If you only want to sit still with folded hands and do not value even a moment of time, if you do not work diligently at your tasks, then you have no basis for accomplishment. How can you pass a whole life in vain?
When you speak, let it concern the scriptures; in discussion, follow your study of the ancients. Be upright and noble of demeanor, with a lofty and serene spirit.
On a long journey, it is essential to go with good companions; purify your eyes and ears again and again. When you stay somewhere, choose your company; listen to what you have not heard time and again. This is the basis of the saying, “It was my parents who bore me; it was my companions who raised me.”
Companionship with the good is like walking through dew and mist; although they do not drench your clothing, in time it becomes imbued with moisture. Familiarity with evil increases false knowledge and views, creating evil day and night. You experience consequences right away, and after death you sink. Once you have lost human life, you will not return ever again, even in ten thousand eons. True words may offend the ear, but do they not impress the heart? If you cleanse the mind and cultivate virtue, conceal your tracks and hide your name, preserve the fundamental and purify the spirit, then the clamor will cease.
If you want to study the Way by intensive meditation and make a sudden leap beyond expedient teachings, let your mind merge with the hidden harbor; investigate its subtleties, determine its most profound depths, and realize its true source.
When you suddenly awaken to the true basis, this is the stairway leading out of materialism. This shatters the twenty-five domains of being in the three realms of existence. Know that everything, inside and outside, is all unreal. Arising from transformations of mind, all things are merely provisional names; don’t set your mind on them. As long as feelings do not stick to things, how can things hinder people? Leaving them to the all-pervasive flow of reality, do not cut them off, yet do not continue them either. When you hear sound and see form, all is normal; whether in the relative world or in the transcendental absolute, appropriate function is not lacking.
If there are people of middling ability who are as yet unable to transcend all at once, let them concentrate upon the teaching, closely investigating the scriptures and scrupulously looking into the inner meaning.
Have you not heard it said, “The vine that clings to the pine climbs to the heights; only based on the most excellent foundation may there be widespread weal”? Carefully cultivate frugality and self-control. Do not vainly be remiss, and do not go too far. Then in all worlds and every life there will be sublime cause and effect.
Cease conceptualization; forget about objects; do not be a partner to the dusts. When the mind is empty, objects are quiescent. Assert mastery; do not follow human sentimentality. The entanglements of the results of actions are impossible to avoid. When the voice is gentle, the echo corresponds; when the figure is upright, the shadow is straight. Cause and effect are perfectly clear; have you no concern?
This illusory body,
this house of dreams:
appearances in emptiness.
There has never been a beginning;
how could an end be determined?
Appearing here, disappearing there,
rising and sinking,
worn and exhausted,
never able to escape the cycle,
when will there ever be rest?
Lusting for the world,
body-mind and the causal nexus
compound the substance of life.
From birth to old age,
nothing is gained;
subjection to delusion comes
from fundamental ignorance.
Take heed that time is passing;
we cannot count on a moment.
If you go through this life in vain,
the coming world will be obstructed.
Going from illusion to illusion
is all due to indulgent senses;
they come and go through mundane routines,
crawling through the triplex world.
Call on enlightened teachers without delay;
approach those of lofty virtue.
Analyze and understand body and mind;
clear away the brambles.
The world is inherently evanescent, empty;
how can conditions oppress you?
Plumb the essence of truth,
with enlightenment as your guide.
Let go of mind and objects both;
do not recall, or recollect.
With the senses free of care,
activity and rest are peaceful, quiet;
with the unified mind unaroused,
myriad things all rest.
KUEI-SHAN AND YANG-SHAN
Translated by Thomas Cleary
In: The five houses of Zen, 1997
Sayings and Dialogues
KUEI-SHAN SAID, “The mind of a Wayfarer is plain and direct, without artificiality. There is no rejection and no attachment, no deceptive wandering mind. At all times seeing and hearing are normal. There are no further details. One does not, furthermore, close the eyes or shut the ears; as long as feelings do not stick to things, that will do.
“Sages since time immemorial have only explained the problems of pollution. If one does not have all that false consciousness, emotional and intellectual opinionatedness, and conceptual habituation, one is clear as autumn water, pure and uncontrived, placid and uninhibited. Such people are called Wayfarers, or free people.”
Kuei-shan was asked, “Is there any further cultivation for people who have suddenly awakened?”
Kuei-shan replied, “If they awaken truly, realizing the fundamental, they know instinctively when it happens. The question of cultivation or not is two-sided. Suppose beginners have conditionally attained a moment of sudden awakening to inherent truth, but there are still longstanding habit energies that cannot as yet be cleared all at once. They must be taught to clear away streams of consciousness manifesting habitual activity. That is cultivation, but there cannot be a particular doctrine to have them practice or devote themselves to.
“Having entered into the principle through hearing, as the principle heard is profound and subtle, the mind is naturally completely clear and does not dwell in the realm of confusion. Even if there are hundreds and thousands of subtleties to criticize or commend the times, you must gain stability, gird your loins, and know how to make a living on your own before you can realize them.
“In essence, the noumenal ground of reality does not admit of a single particle, but the methodology of myriad practices does not abandon anything. If you penetrate directly, then the sense of the ordinary and the sacred disappears, concretely revealing the true constant, where principle and fact are not separate. This is the buddhahood of being-as-is.”
Kuei-shan asked Yun-yen, “What is the seat of enlightenment?”
Yun-yen said, “Freedom from artificiality.”
Yun-yen then asked Kuei-shan the same question. Kuei-shan replied, “The vanity of all things.”
Kuei-shan asked Yang-shan, “Of the forty scrolls of the Nirvana Scripture, how many are Buddha’s talk, and how many are the devil’s talk?”
Yang-shan replied, “They’re all devil talk.”
Kuei-shan said, “Hereafter no one will be able to do anything to you.”
Yang-shan asked, “As a temporary event, where do I focus my action?”
Kuei-shan said, “I just want your perception to be correct; I don’t tell you how to act.”
Kuei-shan passed a water pitcher to Yang-shan. As Yang-shan was about to take it, Kuei-shan withdrew it and said, “What is it?”
Yang-shan responded, “What do you see?”
Kuei-shan said, “If you put it that way, why then seek from me?”
Yang-shan said, “That is so, yet as a matter of humanity and righteousness, it is also my own business to pour some water for you.”
Kuei-shan then handed Yang-shan the pitcher.
Kuei-shan asked Yang-shan, “How do you understand origin, abiding, change, and extinction?”
Yang-shan said, “At the time of the arising of a thought, I do not see that there is origin, abiding, change, or extinction.”
Kuei-shan retorted, “How can you dismiss phenomena?”
Yang-shan rejoined, “What did you just ask about?”
Kuei-shan said, “Origin, abiding, change, and extinction.”
Yang-shan concluded, “Then what do you call dismissing phenomena?”
Kuei-shan asked Yang-shan, “How do you understand the immaculate mind?”
Yang-shan replied, “Mountains, rivers, and plains; sun, moon, and stars.”
Kuei-shan said, “You only get the phenomena.”
Yang-shan rejoined, “What did you just ask about?”
Kuei-shan said, “The immaculate mind.”
Yang-shan asked, “Is it appropriate to call it phenomena?”
Kuei-shan said, “You’re right.”
Yang-shan asked Kuei-shan, “When hundreds and thousands of objects come upon us all at once, then what?”
Kuei-shan replied, “Green is not yellow, long is not short. Everything is in its place. It’s none of my business.”
A seeker asked Kuei-shan, “What is the Way?”
Kuei-shan replied, “No mind is the Way.”
The seeker complained, “I don’t understand.”
Kuei-shan said, “You should get an understanding of what doesn’t understand.”
The seeker asked, “What is that which does not understand?”
Kuei-shan said, “It’s just you, no one else!” Then he went on to say, “Let people of the present time just realize directly that which does not understand. This is your mind; this is your Buddha. If you gain some external knowledge or understanding and consider it the Way of Zen, you are out of touch for the time being. This is called hauling waste in, not hauling waste out; it pollutes your mental field. That is why I say it is not the Way.” Yang-shan asked Kuei-shan, “What is the abode of the real Buddha?”
Kuei-shan said, “Using the subtlety of thinking without thought, think back to the infinity of the flames of awareness. When thinking comes to an end, return to the source, where essence and form are eternal and phenomenon and noumenon are nondual. The real Buddha is being-as-is.”
Yang-shan said in a lecture, “You should each look into yourself rather than memorize what I say. For beginningless eons you have been turning away from light and plunging into darkness, so illusions are deeply rooted and can hardly be extirpated all at once. That is why we use temporarily set-up, expedient techniques to remove your coarse consciousness. This is like using yellow leaves to stop a child’s crying by pretending they are gold; it is not actually true, is it?”
Yang-shan said in a lecture, “If there is a call for it, there is a transaction; no call, no transaction. If I spoke of the source of Zen, I wouldn’t find a single associate, let alone a group of five hundred to seven hundred followers. If I talk of one thing and another, then they struggle forward to take it in. It is like fooling children with an empty fist; there’s nothing really there.
“I am now talking to you clearly about matters pertaining to sagehood, but do not focus your minds on them. Just turn to the ocean of your own essence and work in accord with reality. You do not need spiritual powers, because these are ramifications of sagehood, and for now you need to know your mind and arrive at its source.
“Just get the root, don’t worry about the branches—they’ll naturally be there someday. If you haven’t gotten the root, you cannot acquire the branches even if you study, using your intellect and emotions. Have you not seen how Master Kuei-shan said, ‘When the mentalities of the ordinary mortal and the saint have ended, being reveals true normalcy, where fact and principle are not separate; this is the buddhahood of being-as-is’?”
Encounter Dialogues of Guishan Lingyu
compiled by Satyavayu of Touching Earth Sangha
DOC: Treasury of the Forest of Ancestors
Master Guishan Lingyu came from Fuzhou, in modern Fujian Province on the eastern seaboard of China. At the age of fifteen he left home to become a novice at a nearby temple. In his later teens he traveled to Hangzhou to receive full ordination at Dragon Rising Monastery, and there he stayed on to study scriptures and discipline for a few years. At the age of twenty-two, having become interested in finding a Zen teacher, Lingyu set out for the Hongzhou area in Jiangxi where the famous Master Ma had taught.
When Lingyu visited the Writing Pool Monastery on Stone Gate Mountain, where Master Ma had been buried six years before, he met the master Huaihai (who was the current teacher there) and became one of his first disciples. When Huaihai moved to Baizhang Mountain, Lingyu moved with him, and continued his studies with the master for more than ten years. For much of this time Lingyu served as head of the monastic kitchen.
Once Master Baizhang Huaihai asked Lingyu to see if there were any burning coals left in the fireplace. Lingyu, without checking it, said that the fire was completely out. The master then picked up the tongs, and, searching through the ashes, pulled out a glowing ember and showed it to his disciple, saying, “What's this?” Lingyu then experienced a deep realization of the meaning of practice, and bowed to the master.
The next day, Lingyu accompanied Master Baizhang to do work on the mountain. The master asked, “Did you bring fire?”
Lingyu said, “I brought it.”
The master asked, “Where is it?”
Lingyu then picked up a stick, blew on it twice, and handed it to Baizhang.
The master approved.
After many years with Master Baizhang, Lingyu eventually left for solitary travel, heading west into Hunan. He settled in the Tanzhou region on Gui (or Dagui) Mountain, a sparsely inhabited area described as having steep cliffs, and where there were only monkeys for companions and wild chestnuts for food. Lingyu lived in a hermitage on the mountain for several years before his reputation slowly spread to the nearby villages, and from there to the regional government. Eventually a monastery was built for him called Harmonious Celebration (Tongqing), and he began his formal teaching.
One day Master Guishan Lingyu entered the hall and sat on the teaching seat. A monk came forward and said, “Master, please expound the teaching for the community.”
Guishan said, “ I have already expounded it exhaustively for you.”
The monk bowed.
Once a monk asked Master Guishan, “What is the way?”
Guishan said, “No-mind is the way.”
The monk said, “I don't understand.”
Guishan said, “It's good to understand not-understanding.”
The monk asked, “What is not-understanding?”
Guishan said, “It's just that you are not anyone else.”
One day Master Guishan called for the monastery director. When the director came, Guishan said, “I called the director. What are you doing here?
The director said nothing.
Guishan then asked his attendant to get the head monk. When the head monk came, Guishan said, “I called for the head monk. What are you doing here?
The head monk said nothing.
Once the monk Huiji asked Master Guishan, “When the hundreds and thousands of objects arrive all together, how is it?”
Guisahn siad, “Blue is not yellow; long is not short. All phenomena abide in their own positions, and don't cause me any concern.”
One day Master Guishan addressed the community saying, “There are many who have great capacity, but few who manifest great function.”
Huiji went to visit a hermit who lived near the monastery and told him the master's words. Then he asked, “How do you understand the meaning?”
The hermit said, “Say it again and we'll see.”
When Huiji began to speak, the hermit gave him a kick and knocked him over.
Later Huiji returned to the monastery and told Guishan what happened. The master laughed.
Once when the community was out on the hillside picking tea leaves, the master said to Huiji, “All day today I've heard your voice, but I've not seen you yourself. Show me yourself.”
Huiji shook a tea bush.
The master said, “You attained it's function, but you haven't realized it's essence.”
Huiji asked, “What would the master say?”
Guishan was silent.
Huiji said, “You, master, have attained it's essence, but haven't realized it's function.”
The master said, “I spare you thirty blows of my staff.”
One day Guishan said to Huiji, “I have a lay student who gave me three rolls of silk to buy a temple bell in order to spread happiness to all people.”
Huiji asked, “What did you give him in return?”
Guishan hit the sitting platform three times and said, “This was my offering.”
Huiji asked “How will that benefit him?”
Guishan again hit the platform three times and said, “Why don't you like this?”
Huiji said, “It's not that I dislike it, it's just that that gift belong to everyone.”
Guishan said, “Since you know it belongs to everyone, why did you want me to repay him?”
Huiji said, “I just wondered how you understand that even as it belongs to everyone, you could still make it a gift.
Guishan said, “Don't you see? The great master Bodhidharma, coming from India, also brought a gift. We are always receiving gifts from others.”
Once after sitting Guishan pointed at their straw sandals and said to Huiji, “All hours of the day we receive people's support. Don't betray them.”
Huiji said, “Long ago in Sudatta's garden, the Buddha taught just this.”
Guishan said, “That's not enough, say more.”
Huiji said, “When it's cold, to wear socks for others is not prohibited.”
During the Huichang persecution of Buddhism (841-846) Master Guishan was forced into hiding as a layman and his monastery was partially destroyed. When a more favorable regime returned to power, the influential minister Pei Xiu, recently having become a student of Guishan's spiritual brother Huangpo Xiyun, became a supporter of Master Guishan as well, and helped rebuild his temple. Around this time, Master Guishan wrote an essay about practice and discipline that has come to be known as “Guishan's Admonitions” (Guishan Jingce) and is among the most reliable surviving sources of the teaching of the Tang Dynasty Zen masters (see Part Two – Discourses). Master Guishan's reputation continued to grow, and he attracted numerous officials, as well as monks and nuns, to his monastery seeking advice and teaching.
The government official Commander Lu once came to visit the monastery at Guishan. On a tour of the monk's hall, he asked the master, “Among these monks, who are the meal servers and who are the meditators?”
The master said, “There are no meal servers and no meditators.”
Lu asked, “Then what are they doing here/'
The master said, “Officer, you will have to find that out for yourself.”
One day a twelve year old young woman, the thirteenth daughter of the Zheng family, came to study with Master Guishan, together with an older nun. When they entered the master's room, the elder nun made a full bow and stood up. The master asked, “Where do you live?”
The nun said, “Near the Nantai River.”
The master shouted, then told her to leave. Turning to Zheng, the master asked, “Where does that woman behind you live?”
Zheng relaxed her posture, walked close to the master, and stood there with her hands joined.
The master repeated the question.
Zheng said, “Master, I have already told you.”
The master told her to leave as well.
One day Huiji went to see Master Guishan while the master was lying in bed. When Huiji came in the master sat up and said, “I just had a dream. Will you try to interpret it for me?”
Huiji got up, fetched a basin and a towel, filled the basin with water, and brought it to the master. Guishan washed his face, and arranged himself for sitting.
Just then the monk Zhixian came to see the master. Guishan said, “Huiji has just been demonstrating spiritual power by interpreting my dream. Now you give it a try.”
Zhixian immediately went out, made a cup of tea, and brought it back in to the master.
Guishan said, “The spiritual power and wisdom of you two surpass even Sariputra and Maudgalyayana.”
Once Master Guishan addressed the community saying, “After I have passed away I will become a water buffalo at the foot of this mountain. On the left side of the buffalo will be written the characters 'Gui-mountain-monk-Ling-Yu.' You might say it's the monk of Guishan, but it will still be a water buffalo. You might say it's a water buffalo, but it will also be this monk of Guishan. What will you call me?”
Huiji came forward, made a deep bow, and walked away.
Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive...
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones...
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving...
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so that I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.
- Thich Nhat Hahn
If you want to practice Zen and study the Way, then you should immediately go beyond the expedient teachings. You should harmonize your mind with the path (before you), explore the sublime wonders (around you), make a final resolution (to enter) the ultimate understanding, and awaken to the source of truth. (To accomplish this) you should extensively ask for instruction from those who have insight, and should stay close to virtuous friends. The sublime wonder of this teaching is difficult to discover - one must pay very careful attention. If you suddenly awaken to the clear origin then defilements are left behind. The various realms and forms of existence; past, present, and future, are all shattered. You then know that no phenomena, internal or external, are real. Arising from mind’s transmutations, they are all provisional designations. There is no need to anchor the mind anywhere. When feelings simply do not attach to objects, then how can anything become a hindrance? Let the nature of phenomena flow freely without trying to destroy or maintain anything. The sounds you hear and the forms you see all remain ordinary. Wherever you are, you freely respond to circumstances without any mistake.
The mind of a person of the Way is plain and straightforward without pretense. There is no front or back; there is no deceit or delusion. Every hour of the day, you remain aware of ordinary things and ordinary actions. Nothing is distorted. You do not need to shut your eyes or ears to remain unattached to things. The sages of the past warned of the dangers of polluting conceptions - when delusion, biased views, and unwholesome thinking habits are abandoned, the mind is as clear and tranquil as the autumn stream...
When you hear the truth you penetrate immediately to the ultimate reality, the realization of which is profound and wondrous. Mind is illuminated naturally and perfectly, free from confusion. On the other hand, there are innumerable theories about spirituality advocated by those seeking reputation and praise. But reality itself cannot be stained by even a speck of dust; no action can distort the truth. When your approach to awakening is like the swift thrust of a sword to the center, then both worldliness and sacredness are completely cut off, and absolute reality is uncovered. Thus the one and the many are revealed as identical. This is the “suchness” of awakening.
A monk asked master Guishan - Does a person who has experienced sudden awakening still need to cultivate (a practice)?
The master said - When you truly awaken, entering into the fundamental and realizing the nature of self and other, then cultivation and non-cultivation are just dualistic opposing ideas.
Right now, even if the conditions for the initial inspiration arrive, even if within a single thought you awaken to your own true reality, there are still habitual tendencies that have accumulated over endless ages that cannot be dispersed in a single instant. You should certainly be taught to gradually let go of unwholesome tendencies and mental habits. That is cultivation. There is no other cultivation that needs to be taught.
Based on translations by Mario Poceski of Guishan's Admonitions (Guishan Jingce,c.850) and Ch’ang Chun-yuan and Mario Poceski of Guishan’s records in the Jingde Era Transmission of the Lamp (Jingde Chuan Deng Lu, 1004).
Dhyana Master Wei-shan Ling-yu
by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua
Translated by Heng Ch'ien
Vajra Bodhi Sea: http://www.drbachinese.org/vbs/1_100/vbs10/10_1.html
Tonight I will speak about the Thirty-seventh Patriarch, Dhyana Master Ling Yu. In the Chinese lineage he is the Tenth Patriarch, and in our own school, the Wei Yang Sect, he is the first.
His life was different from that of ordinary people. When he was a young child, he played "bowing to the Buddha". He led other small children in bowing to the Buddha, and imitated the manner of bhiksus in reciting sutras. Most people referred to him as the "little master". At that time he had not yet left home.
One day, while playing in his front yard, making temples and bowing to the Buddha, an auspicious cloud of miraculous energy manifested above his head in empty space, floating and swirling about. It did not disperse but revolved and swirled above him; from within this cloud could be heard the sound of heavenly music, music played in empty space. Moreover, an appearance like that of the true body of the Buddha could be seen within the cloud--there, and then not there. It was like Ch'en Using Kuo, in Fresno, who one day saw Kuan Yin Bodhisattva. He went to get his camera to take a picture, but when he returned, there was nothing there. He is the son of Lu My Cha; his roots are not bad.
When this auspicious cloud of miraculous energy manifested in empty space, not only did Dhyana Master Ling Yu see it, but many men, women, elders, and children also say it. It neither moved nor scattered. Just then, from one knows not where, came an elder. He looked as if he had come from the mountaintops; he also looked like a person from Yun Nan. He said, "This magical state, this auspicious cloud of miraculous energy, has been made manifest by all the Buddhas of the ten directions, and the multitude of sages. This child is a genuine son of the Buddha. In the future he will surely cause the Buddha's teachings to shine greatly." The child's parents also heard this and considered it extremely strange. After the elder finished speaking, he flicked his fingers four times at the cloud of energy and disappeared. People then thought that the "little master" would some day certainly be a great master.
Dhyana Master Ling Yu was from Fu Chien, Ch'ang Hsi, and his family name was Chiao. After the event described above, he did not involve himself in other matters, but returned to Fu Chou, his home, and there bowed to Vinaya Master Fa Heng as his Master. He began cultivating bitter practices, and was extremely vigorous every day. He was not afraid of hard work, and in fact did twice the amount of work done by the other sramanera and bhiksus. It can even be said that his work could not be done by three other people.
He cultivated bitter practices there for three or four years, after which he cut off his hair and left home. At that time he was twenty years old. When he was twenty-three he went to receive the precepts, after which he went to Hang Chou, where there was a great good knowing advisor with whom he studied the Vinaya. After studying the Vinaya he departed for Kuo Ch'ing Temple on T'ien T'ai Mountain. When he was halfway there he met Great Master Han Shan, who, in his wild way, said to him,
"A thousand mountains, ten thousand waters;
Encountering the pool, stop there.
Obtain the priceless jewel,
Bestow it on posterity."
Dhyana Master Ling Yu did not understand what this meant. As he continued walking he thought to himself, "A thousand mountains, ten thousand waters; encountering the pool, stop there. Obtain the priceless jewel, bestow it on posterity." When he became fatigued he sat in meditation and thought of these four lines: What principle is there in this a thousand mountains, ten thousand waters; encountering the pool, stop there. Obtain the priceless jewel, bestow it on posterity. He walked a while, then stopped, sat down, and reflected upon these words until he arrived at Kuo Ch'ing Temple. Upon his arrival he met another strange character, Shih Te. He told Shih Te about the person he had met, what he had been told, and that he didn't understand what it meant.
Shih Te said, "You don't understand? Gradually you will. Now you should cultivate 'do the work'." So he investigated dhyana and practiced concentration. He had special conditions with Shih Te, and they were together every day.
After a while he heard that Dhyana Master Pai Chang was at Ta Hsiung Mountain in Hung Chou, propagating the true pulse of Ts'ao Hsi (The Sixth Patriarch's Bodhimandala), and so he went to sit beneath his dharma seat. When he arrived he was treated especially well by Dhyana Master Pai Chang who ordered him to be the kitchen manager. The kitchen manager tells the cook what food should be made each day. For example, if there are twenty people, he gives the cook twenty servings of rice; if there are thirty people, he gives him thirty servings. He tells the cook whether there will be people coming or not, whether there will be many people or few. The kitchen manager watches over other jobs, the holders of which must abide by his management: the cook is called the food-head, and the tea maker is called the tea-head. There are times when the tea-head goes on strike, and the kitchen manager assumes the job of tea-head. If the food-head does not get up in the morning, the kitchen manager helps prepare the food. If the fire-head is lazy, the kitchen manager must help light the fires. In tending the fires, the fire-head lights and stirs the fires. One day, when stirring a fire, Dhyana Master Ling Yu opened enlightenment and said, "Originally it's just this way."
Dhyana Master Pai Chang knew that he had opened enlightenment, called for him, and said, "Ta Wei Mountain in Hunan is an extremely fine place. A Bodhimandala should be built there. I am unable to go because my dharma conditions are in Chiang His, so you should go there and propagate the Buddhadharma. Go to Ta Wei Mountain, build a temple, and continue to transmit the Dhyana School without allowing it to be cut off. Save those of posterity."
Master Hua Lin overheard this conversation and came to fight for the new abbot's position. He said, "I am the senior-seated master here; if there is to be a Bodhimandala opened, it should be done by me. How can a kitchen manager receive such orders? He is not the senior-seated, but only an ordinary staff member."
What could Dhyana Master Pai Chang do? He had told one person to be abbot, and another came to fight for the position. So he replied, "You want to be the new abbot? If you are able to say something special to the assembly, causing them to respect and praise you, then you can be abbot." He then pointed at a pure water bottle that was in front of the Buddha altar and said, "Without calling this a bottle, what do you call it? What is another name for it?"
Great Master Hua Lin thought it over and said, "No matter what, it can't be called wood." He thought that was an answer but didn't know if it was right or not. He knew that the bottle was not made of wood, and therefore said that it could not be called wood.
Dhyana Master Pai Chang then turned to Dhyana Master Ling Yu and asked, "What do you call it?" He kicked over the bottle and walked out. What did this mean?
Sketch by 黃澤 Huangze (1924)
Since basically there isn't anything, what can it be called? It originally doesn't have a name since there isn't anything. So when Dhyana Master Pai Chang asked, "If you don't call it a bottle, what do you call it?", Dhyana Master Ling Yu knew that it was empty, that there wasn't anything. But Master Hua Lin did not understand and answered, "I can't call it wood." Dhyana Master Ling Yu kicked it over and walked out. Dhyana Master Pai Chang laughed and said, "You've just lost the first-seat host position to the kitchen manager."
So Dhyana Master Ling Yu went to Ta Wei Mountain, built T'ung Ch'ing Temple and inaugurated the Wei Yang Sect. His epitaph says:
"Kicking over the pure bottle,
The Wei Mountain waves arise.
The Water buffalo crosswise sleeps,
The green willow shades within.
With neither quiet nor leisure,
Which one knows.
One branch puts forth
The breath of spring,
Peaches and plums."
I will now speak of his experiences at Ta Wei Mountain. Dhyana Master Pai Chang had instructed him to go to Ta Wei Mountain and be the abbot, but there wasn't even a hut there. He hadn't built a temple for him and then sent him to be the new abbot. No. He told him to go and build one himself. "If you build it well, you can be abbot. If you don't build it so well, then don't be the abbot."
Obeying the instructions of Dhyana Master Pai Chang, he first went to Hunan, Ch'ang Sha, and then on to Ta Wei Mountain. On first sight he thought, "This place isn't bad." It was, however, far from the cities, and few people ever went there. Those who did were hunters. The mountain was a home for wild animals, wolves, tigers, bears, and leopards. The most abundant species of animal were the monkeys.
Dhyana Master Ling Yu found a good place on the mountain, and sat there in meditation. Strangely enough, monkeys brought things for him to eat, making offerings to him. One would bring a peach, another a banana; they brought anything that was edible. More than ten monkeys made offerings to him, and thus he had sufficient food. It was good play, and he received more than ten monkeys as disciples. He spoke the three refuges for them, and they were most obedient, every day taking turns caring for him. They took turns making offerings to him and were extremely sincere, because there were very few people there.
After a week or so, hunters saw monkeys making offerings to the Master and they also wished to do the same. So they collected together some money and built him a small hut in which he could cultivate.
This news eventually reached an official named Li Ching Jang in Hu Pei, Hunan, who thought, "Monkeys make offerings to this old cultivator; the wild animals do not eat him, and the monkeys become his disciples; he is certainly one with the great virtue of the Way," and went to see for himself. It was just as he had been told. There were monkeys watching the door and taking care of the old cultivator. Upon seeing this, he too wished to help, and said to Dhyana Master Ling Yu, "You should build a temple. Wait and I will talk with Prime Minister P'ei who deeply believes in the Buddha. I will encourage him to come and help you build a temple."
When Prime Minister P'ei Hsiu heard of this strange matter of wild animals taking refuge, he went to see Dhyana Master Ling Yu. After seeing the small hut in which there was not even room for two to sit, he said, "I will give you 30 pounds of silver for the purpose of building a temple." He then put 30 pounds of silver in the grass outside the hut and left.
Prime Minister P'ei was quite busy, and it was not until three years later that he had time to return and see how the temple had been built. 30 pounds of silver was the equivalent of about three million dollars today, because at that time money was not so worthless. One or two ounces of silver could accomplish quite a bit. When Prime Minister P'ei returned he found that there was still just a small hut. "What has he done with the 30 pounds of silver?" he thought, "This is very strange." Then he said to Dhyana Master Ling Yu, "I gave you 30 pounds of silver and told you to build a temple. Why haven't you done so? What have you done with the 30 pounds of silver?"
Dhyana Master Ling Yu said, "Oh. You gave me 30 pounds of silver? Where did you put it?"
"I put it in the grass outside your hut."
"Then go look for it in the grass."
Minister P'ei went outside, looked, and found the 30 pounds of silver still there; nobody had moved it. He thought, "Ohhhh, this is a genuine cultivator." So, with the Emperor's permission, he voluntarily built a temple named T'ung Ch'ing Temple for Dhyana Master Ling Yu.
Prime Minister Ts'ui, who also deeply believed in and respected Dhyana Master Ling Yu, followed Prime Minister P'ei. He also helped the Master to propagate the Buddhadharma.
On the ninth day of the first month of the year Kuei Yu, in the reign period Ta Chung, the Master called all his disciples together and said, "Today I am going to leave, and I wish to say goodbye to you." After saying this he brushed his teeth, washed his face, and cleaned himself up. Then, sitting in full lotus, he closed his eyes and entered nirvana. He was 83 years old and his precept years were 59. This Dhyana Master established the Wei Yang Sect. Later an official named Lu Chien Ch'iu erected a stone tablet in commemoration of the Master. This tablet is probably still there. After his death, his disciples put his grave on the right hand side of the mountain, in the Gardenia Garden. His grave is still there in Hunan.
All of you should reflect on this. Even though 30 pounds of silver is not a great deal, in three years he did not even so much as look at it. Would you not say that concentration, greedlessness, and strength of morality power such as this is worthy of the monkey's respect? Did wild animals eat him or not? So it is said, "The lofty way subdues dragons and tigers; the multitude of virtues, ghosts and spirits respect." In cultivation it is only feared that you will not have the virtue of the Way. If you have the virtue of the Way, when dragons see you they coil up, when tigers see you they lie down, like cats who are at ease with people. If you have virtuous conduct, when ghosts and spirits see you, they are respectful and bow. Why don't ghosts bow to you? Because you don't have virtuous conduct. Why don't spirits worship you? Because you have no virtuous conduct.
People with the virtue of the Way can receive a response, like Dhyana Master Ling Yu. Monkeys took refuge with him, and wild animals made obeisance to him. If all of the details were spoken, there would be too much, so I have told it very briefly.
Chapter Nine of The Transmission of the Lamp
in which Kueishan refers to a famous eighth-century Zen
master as well as to the mountain on which he lived:
One day when Master An was instructing his disciples, he said, "For more
than thirty years I ate Kueishan rice and peed Kueishan piss, bur I didn't learn
any Kueishan Zen. All I did was watch a water buffalo. If it left the path and
wandered into the weeds, I pulled it back out. If it trampled sorneone's rice
sprouts, I gave it the switch until it learned better. At long last the poor beast
understands what I tell it. And now it's rurned into a white ox that stays in the
open. It never leaves my sight. I can't even drive it away."
Kuei-shan Ling-yu: The Founder of the Kuei-yang 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. 159-170.
Kuei-shan Ling-yu (771-853), a disciple of Pai-chang, was the first to found a house of his own. His enlightenment came about in a most unexpected way. One day, as he was waiting upon Paichang, the latter asked him to poke the stove, to see whether there was any fire left in it. Kuei-shan poked but found no fire. Pai-chang rose to poke it himself, and succeeded in discovering a little spark. Showing it to his disciple, he asked. “Is this not fire?” Thereupon Kuei-shan became enlightened.
This hidden spark of fire may be regarded as the symbol of Kuei-yang Ch’an. By a queer coincidence, the enlightenment of Yang-shan, Kuei-shan’s disciple who was destined to be his cofounder of the House, occurred as a result of a dialogue in which the master mentioned the power of the divine spark. On that occasion, Yang-shan’s question was about the abiding place of the true Buddha. In reply, Kuei-shan said. “By the ineffable subtlety of thinking without thinking, turn your attention inwards to reflect on the infinite power of the divine spark. When your thinking can go no farther, it returns to its source, where nature and form eternally abide, where phenomenon and noumenon are not dual but one. It is there that abides the Suchness of the true Buddha.”
The non-duality of the phenomenal and the noumenal corresponds, it seems to me, exactly to Lao-tzu’s “mysterious Identity” of the miao and the chiao, or the outer and inner. The spiritual spark which is hidden within us corresponds to Laotzu’s “subtle light” (wei-ming) or “inner vision” (hsuan-lan).
While both Lin-chi and Kuei-shan were of Taoist affiliations, by temperament Lin-chi was akin to Chuang Tzu, but Kuei and Yang had something of the mellowness and quietness of Lao Tzu.
When a monk asked, “What is Tao?” Kuei-shan replied, “Mindlessness is Tao.” The monk said. “I do not comprehend.” “All you need is to apprehend the one who does not comprehend!” The monk again asked, “Who is the one who does not comprehend?” Kuei-shan answered, “He is none other than yourself.” He further taught, “I wish to see all men now living know how to experience directly their Selfhood. Know that the one who does not comprehend is precisely your mind, precisely your Buddha. If you gain bits of knowledge and information from the outside, mistaking them for Ch’an and Tao, you are quite off the mark. This kind of learning is like dumping dross upon your mind rather than purging it of dross. Therefore, I say it is not Tao at all.” In the light of this conversation, we can understand clearly what Lao Tzu meant when he declared that “the practice of Tao consists in daily losing.”
One of the most significant contributions of the Kuei-yang House to the understanding of Ch’an is the distinction that Yang-shan brought out between “Tathagatha Ch’an” and “Patriarch Ch’an.” Once Yang-shan visited his junior co-disciple Hsiang-yen Chih-hsien, and, wishing to test his attainment in Ch’an, asked him to state some of his recent apperceptions. Hsiang-yen composed a gatha:
Last year’s poverty was no real poverty:
This year’s poverty is poverty indeed.
Poor as I was last year,
I still possessed enough ground to stand an awl on.
This year I am so poor
That I do not even have an awl.
Yang-shan, however, remarked, “From this I can only say, dear brother, that you have attained the Tathagatha Ch’an. As to the Patriarch Ch’an, you do not seem to have dreamed of it yet.” Hsiang-yen then improvised another gatha:
I have an innate aptitude
To look at him by a twinkle.
If anyone does not understand this,
Let him not call himself a shramanera!
This time, Yang-shan was delighted, and reported to Kueishan, “I am happy to find that my younger brother Chih-hsien has already attained the Patriarch Ch’an.”
If we compare the two gathas, we should be able to see the distinction between the two orders of Ch’an. The first represents already a high degree in spiritual life, but it belongs still to the stage of faith, meditation and asceticism, in which one deliberately ponders and applies the precepts and counsels as found in the scriptures. This is called the Tathagatha Ch’an. The second gatha is a spontaneous articulation of a direct insight into the inner man who is one’s true Self. This is what Yang-shan called the “personality stage” as against the “faith stage.” It belongs to the order of infused contemplation, a pure spiritual perception without any mixture of conceptual, rational and ethical elements. The second line “To look at him by a twinkle” is the vital core of the gatha. The original Chinese for “him” here is yi, which corresponds to t’a, na-kuo or “that one,” and tz’u or “this.” All these terms are used by the Ch’an masters to point to the mysterious Self.
Although the inner Self is the pivotal point of all Houses of Ch’an, it is to the credit of Kuei-yang that it highlighted the divine spark within us by which we can “look at him in a twinkle” and identify ourselves with him. The divine spark or mystic insight is called chi, while the true Self is a subsistent being or t’i. All our actions and words after our enlightenment are the functionings or yung of the true Self. The true Self stands in the same relation to Tao as the Atman to Brahman.
Another valuable contribution of the Kuei-yang House is that on the one hand it sticks firmly to the axiom of instantaneous enlightenment, but on the other hand it insists upon the necessity of gradual cultivation. Once a monk asked Kuei-shan: “After a man has attained an instantaneous enlightenment, must he still cultivate his spiritual life?” Kuei-shan’s answer to this important question is the locus classicus of the union of instantaneous enlightenment and gradual cultivation, which has since become the prevailing doctrine among Buddhist philosophers. It is therefore worth quoting at length:
If a man is truly enlightened and has realized the fundamental, and he is aware of it himself, in such a case he is actually no longer tied to the poles of cultivation and non-cultivation. But ordinarily, even though the original mind has been awakened by an intervening cause, so that the man is instantaneously enlightened in his reason and spirit, yet there still remains the inertia of habit, formed since the beginning of time, which cannot be totally eliminated at a stroke. He must be taught to cut off completely the stream of his habitual ideas and views caused by the still operative karmas. This (process of purification) is cultivation. I don’t say that he must follow a hard-and-fast special method. He need only be taught the general direction that his cultivation must take. What you hear must first be accepted by your reason; and when your rational understanding is deepened and subtilized in an ineffable way, your mind will of its own spontaneity become comprehensive and bright, never to relapse into the state of doubt and delusion. However numerous and various the subtle teachings are, you know intuitively how to apply them—which to hold in abeyance and which to develop—in accordance with the occasion. In this way only will you be qualified to sit in the chair and wear your robe as a master of the true art of living. To sum up, it is of primary importance to know that Ultimate Reality or the Bedrock of Reason does not admit of a single speck of dust, while in innumerable doors and paths of action not a single law or thing is to be abandoned. And if you can break through with a single stroke of the sword without more ado, then all the discriminations between the worldly and the saintly are annihilated once for all, and your whole being will reveal the truly eternal, in which reigns the nonduality of universal Reason and particular things. This is indeed to be the Bhutatathata Buddha.
Kuei-shan must have been a born teacher. He was so wise, mellow and patient in guiding his disciples to attain their perfect enlightenment. One day, as Yang-shan, who was not yet completely enlightened, was picking tea leaves, Kuei-shan said to him, “We have been picking tea leaves all day, I have only heard your voice, but have not seen your form. Show your original form that I may see it.” Thereupon Yang-shan shook the tea tree. But the master said, “You have only realized the function, not yet the self-substance (being).” “How would you do it, master?” asked the disciple. The master made no answer but remained silent for a long while, till the disciple interjected, “The master has only realized the self-substance, but not the function.” The master only said, “I will release you from twenty strokes of the staff incurred by you.”
Of course, the inner Self, whether you call it the “selfNature,” as the Sixth Patriarch did, or “original face” and “selfsubstance,” is invisible and therefore cannot be shown directly. In shaking the tree, Yang-shan obviously meant to point at his inner Self by means of its functioning. But most Ch’an masters preferred to evoke it by silence or retiring quickly. Here Yangshan did not commit a serious error. But when he said that his master had only realized his inner Self without realizing its function, his error was a substantial one. As function is implicit in substance, there can really be no substance without function. This was why the master thought his disciple deserved twenty strokes of his staff, which however he was willing to remit.
This leads us to another charming characteristic of the Kueiyang Ch’an. The masters of this House, so far as the records show, seldom resorted to beating or even shouting in training their disciples. The only instance of a somewhat violent treatment happened to Yang-shan. One day, Kuei-shan said to his assembly, “Ah, so many persons have only got great potentialities, which have not flowered into great actions.” Yang-shan did not understand, and went to ask the prior of a monastery below the mountain, saying, “The Abbot taught thus and so, what could be his meaning?” The prior requested him to repeat the question. As Yang-shan was beginning to repeat it, the prior stamped upon him so that he fell on the ground. When he returned to the mountain, he reported his experience to Kueishan. This so tickled the master’s sense of humour that he broke into a loud laughter.
Anyway it is doubtful if the said prior belonged to the House of Kuei-yang. So far as Kuei-shan was concerned, he was only humorous enough to laugh over his disciple’s painful experience, but apparently not enough of an athlete to administer the kicking or beating.
Kuei-shan’s paternal mildness was, however, only a veneer for the fire-eater and iconoclast underneath. One day, as Kueishan was sitting, Yang-shan came into his room. The master said, “My son, speak something immediately; only do not enter the shadowy realms.” By this he meant that his disciple should utter an insight without however being glued to more words and concepts. Yang-shan, sensing the master’s meaning, replied, “I do not even formulate my creed.” The master asked, “Do you believe in a creed, which you refuse to formulate, or is it that you really believe in no creed and therefore you have nothing to formulate?” Yang-shan answered, “Whom else can I believe than my inner Self?” The master said, “In that case, you are a Sravaka of a set mind.” Yang-shan replied, “I see no Buddha.” Finally, Kuei-shan asked, “In the forty rolls of the Mahanirvana Sutra, how many words are the Buddha’s and how many the demon’s?” Yangshan’s answer was: “All words belong to the demon!” The master was so delighted by this answer that he said to his disciple, “Hereafter, nobody will be able to do anything to you.”
This reminds me of what Justice Holmes once said to me, “In any system of philosophy its basic ideas are comparatively simple and easy to understand, but words are the devil!” If only we do not forget that “words are the devil,” we should be able to enjoy reading without any danger of being entangled in the intricate network of words and concepts.
It seems to me that Yang-shan is even more subtle than his master. One day the two were out in the fields. Kuei-shan remarked, “Those fields are higher than these.” Yang-shan said, “No, these are higher than those.” “If you don’t believe my observation,” said Kuei-shan, “let us stand at the middle point and look at the two sides from there.” Yang-shan replied: “It is not necessary to stand at the middle any more than stick to either side.” The master then suggested, “Let us then gauge the relative heights by reference to the water level, for nothing is more even than water.” To this the disciple replied, “But water has no fixed level either. In a higher place, it forms a higher level, and in a lower place, a lower level. That’s all.” The old man let the conversation drop at that.
The style of the House of Kuei-Yang has a charm of its own. It is not as steep and sharp-edged as the Houses of Linchi and Yün-men, nor as close-knit and resourceful as the House of Ts’ao-tung, nor as speculative and broad as the House of Fa-yen. But it has a greater depth than the others. The story of the enlightenment of Hsiang-yen is quite typical. Hsiang-yen was originally a novice under Pai-chang; he was exceptionally brilliant and quick-witted, strong in analytical power and logical acumen, and versed in the scriptures. But he was not initiated into Ch’an. At the death of Pai-chang, he made himself a disciple of Pai-chang’s senior disciple Kuei-shan. Kuei-shan said to him, “I hear that when you were with our late master Pai-chang, you could give ten answers to a single question...This shows your remarkable intelligence and ingenuity, which enables you to understand ideas and unfold their consequences. Now, the question of birth and death is the most fundamental of all. Try to tell me something about your state before you were born of your parents.” This question plunged his mind into a thick fog. He did not even know what to think. Returning to his room, he made a feverish search in all the books that he had read for something appropriate to say in answer to the question; but he could not find a single sentence that could be used. So he sighed to himself, saying, “As the saying goes, a painted cake satisfies not the hunger.” After that, he pressed his master time and time again to break the secret to him by speaking explicitly. Every time, Kuei-shan said, “If I should expound it explicitly for you, in future you will reproach me for it. Anyway, whatever I speak still belongs to me, and has nothing to do with you.”
In his despair, Hsiang-yen burnt all his books, saying, “In this life I will not study the Buddha Dharma any more. Let me become a mendicant monk ever on the move from one place to another.” He took leave of his master weeping. His wandering brought him to the ruins of a temple in Nan-yang associated with the memory of the master Hui-chang. There he made his temporary abode. One day, as he was mowing and cutting the grass and trees, he tossed at random a piece of broken tile, which happened to hit a bamboo tree, causing it to emit a crisp sound. Startled by the unexpected sound, he was suddenly awakened to his true Self not born with his birth. Returning to his cell, he bathed himself and lit an incense to pay his long-distance obeisance to Kuei-shan, saying, “Oh Venerable Abbot, how great is your compassion! I am grateful to you more than to my parents. If you had broken the secret to me then, how could I have experienced the wonderful event of today?”
I sometimes wonder how many promising talents have been nipped in the bud, simply because their master had overdone their explanation of a subject, whose mastery depends by its very nature upon an experiential realization. Great as Kuei-shan was in what he expressed, he was greater in what he left unsaid.
The House of Kuei-Yang lasted only for five generations. But certainly its spirit is not dead, and many of its profound insights have become property of all students of Ch’an. I myself have found great delight in the subtle humor and quiet conversations between master and disciple. For example, in a certain year, Yang-shan, after his summer retreat, came to pay a visit to his master Kuei-shan. The master asked, “My son, I have not seen you for the whole summer. What works did you accomplish down there?” Yang-shan: “Well, I have tilled a strip of land and planted a basket of seeds.” The benign master said, “Then you have not passed this summer in idleness.” Yang-shan in turn asked the master what he had been doing during the summer. Kueishan said, “Taking a meal at midday, sleeping in the night.” “So you too, master, have not passed this summer in idleness.” Having said this, it came home to him how ironic the words sounded; so he stretched out his tongue, as some people do when they have unwittingly committed a faux pas in social intercourse. Noting his disciple’s embarrassment, Kueishan said reproachfully, “My son, why should you deal such a fatal blow to your own life?” To feel embarrassed for having made a remark which is in perfect accord with the Ch’an scale of values is to show that one’s outlook is still somewhat mixed with the utilitarianism of the worldlings; it is to forget, at least momentarily, the one thing necessary, being still unconsciously nostalgic for activities which are really much ado about nothing. Certainly there was no occasion for stretching the tongue, and just as certainly there was occasion for the reproach. The words of reproach were pretty severe, but they were spoken in a mild and humorous manner. Still waters run deep.
In the later utterances of Yang-shan, after he had become Abbot, we can see how deeply imbued he was with the spirit and teachings of Kuei-shan. The following passage, taken from one of his conferences, is a veritable epitome of the style and thought of the Kuei-Yang House:
Let each and every one of you turn the light inwards upon himself, and not try to memorize my words. Since time without beginning, you have turned your back upon the light and run after darkness. The habits of erroneous thinking are so deeprooted in you that it would be extremely difficult to uproot them overnight. This is why one is compelled to resort to the use of make-believe expedients, in order to strip you of your crude way of thinking. This is on a par with what a parent sometimes would do in order to stop his little child from crying—giving him some yellow leaves, making believe that they are precious coins. It’s also like a man setting up a store stocked with all kinds of goods for daily use as well as articles of gold and jade, to accommodate customers of different abilities. As I have often said, Shih-t’ou’s is a gold shop, while mine is a general store, selling all and sundry. If someone wishes to buy rat’s excrement, I will sell him rat’s excrement; and if he wishes to buy an article of pure gold, I will sell him an article of pure gold...But business depends on the demand. If there is no demand, there is no business. If I deal only with the essence of Ch’an, I would be left all alone. Even a single companion would be hard to get, to say nothing of a community of five or seven hundred monks. If, on the other hand, I talk about things of East and West, people would come in flocks pricking up their ears to catch every bit of my tales. That would be like showing an empty fist to little children pretending that there are candies in it. This is just humbug. Now, let me tell you in all plainness: Do not divert your mind to the holy things; rather direct it to your self-nature, and cultivate yourself with your feet solidly on the ground. Do not desire the “three gifts of vision” and the “six supernatural powers.” Why? Because these are only accidentals of holiness. The one thing essential now is to recollect your mind to attain the fundamental, the very root of your being. Having arrived at the root, you need have no worry about the accidentals. In time you will find that you are self-provided with all these accidental gifts and powers. On the other hand, so long as you have not got at the root, you will not be able to acquire such gifts and powers through study and learning.
Kuj-san Ling-ju összegyűjtött mondásaiból
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
Vö.: Folyik a híd, Officina Nova, Budapest, 1990, 62-63. oldal
Egy nap Paj-csang* megkérte Kuj-sant, nézze meg a tüzet.
Kuj-san fogta a piszkavasat, beletúrt a hamuba, majd közölte, hogy a tűz kialudt.
Paj-csang erre maga ment a tűzhelyhez, és hosszas keresgélés után kipiszkált a hamu alól egy lappangó kis parazsat. – Hát ez nem tűz? – kérdezte.
* [Paj-csang Huaj-haj, 720-814]
Kuj-san kolostori szakácsként szolgált Paj-csang mester alatt, amikor az apátot keresett a Ta-kuj-hegyi kolostor élére. Összehívta a szerzeteseit, és közölte velük, hogy az lesz a főapát, aki helyesen felel a kérdésére.
Egy vízzel teli korsót állított a földre, majd megkérdezte:
- Ha ezt nem nevezhetitek vizeskorsónak, mit tudtok rá mondani?
- Hát fatuskónak mégse mondhatjuk! – próbálkozott a rangidős szerzetes-felügyelő.
Paj-csang ekkor a szakácsot szólította.
Kuj-san odament, felrúgta a korsót, majd sarkon fordult.
- Vesztettél! – nevette ki Paj-csang a felügyelőt.
Így lett Kuj-san az új kolostor főapátja.
李蕭錕 Li Xiaokun (1949-) rajza
Kuj-san már nyugovóra tért, mikor Jang-san* beszélgetni jött hozzá. Mihelyt a mester meglátta, a falnak fordult.
– Hogy tehetsz ilyet? – kérdezte Jang-san.
– Álmodtam valamit – mondta Kuj-san és felült. – Fejtsd meg!
Erre Jang-san hozott egy mosdótál vizet.
Kisvártatva Hsziang-jen** jött beszélgetni a mesterrel.
– Álmodtam valamit – mondta neki is Kuj-san. – Jang-san már megfejtette. Most te következel.
Erre Hsziang-jen hozott egy csésze teát.
* [Jang-san Huj-csi, 807-883]
** [Hsziang-jen Cse-hszien, ?-898]
李蕭錕 Li Xiaokun (1949-) rajza
A száznapos nyári elvonulás után Jang-san tiszteletét tette Kuj-sannál.
– Nem láttalak itt egész nyáron – mondta Kuj-san. – Mit műveltél?
– Műveltem egy darab földet, és betakarítottam egy kosár kölest.
– Akkor nem telt hiába a nyarad.
– És te, mester, mit műveltél? – kérdezte Jang-san.
– Ettem mindennap és aludtam minden éjjel.
– Akkor a te nyarad se telt hiába.
Kuj-san mester a tárnokért küldött. Mihelyt megjelent, azt mondta neki:
– A tárnokot hívattam, nem téged!
A tárnok nem tudta, mit mondjon.
Kuj-san legközelebb a felvigyázóért küldött. Mihelyt megérkezett, azt mondta neki:
– A felvigyázót kérettem, nem téged!
A felvigyázó nem tudta, mit mondjon.
Kuj-san elmélkedésbe merülten találta a hegyen Jang-sant. Hátba verte a botjával, de Jang-san nem fordult meg.
– Ugye, tudsz valamit mondani? – kérdezte tőle.
– Ha tudnék is, nem kölcsönöznék mástól szavakat.
– Tanultál valamit – mondta Kuj-san.
– Egész nap a csanról beszélgettünk – mondta Kuj-san. – Mi jött ki belőle?
Jang-san húzott egy vonalat a levegőbe.
– Ha nem velem vagy, most becsaphatnál valakit.
* * *
Guishan Lingyou (771-853)
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt
Annak a tudata aki rálépett az útra őszinte és hamisságtól mentes, nincs sem eleje, sem hátulja, nem megtévesztő, vagy hibás. Minden időben látása és hallása normális és mentes a torzulástól, továbbá nem csukja be a szemét, vagy a fülét. Elég az, ha nem hagyjuk az érzéseinket külső tárgyakkal foglalatoskodni. A régi bölcsek csak a szennyezettség hibáiról beszéltek, de nem említették a gonosz érzéseket, torz nézeteket, vagy a gondolati szokásokat. Tudata hasonlatos a nyugodt és átlátszó őszi tóhoz, tiszta és szennyezetlen, a nem-cselekvés állapotában van, zavartalan és akadálytalan. Nevezik az igazság keresőjének és az ügynélküli embernek.
Ekkor egy szerzetes megkérdezte Guishant:
- Aki hirtelen megvilágosodott, az folytassa a gyakorlást?
A mester válaszolt:
- Aki valóban felébredt a lényegre, az mindent tudni fog róla, gyakorlás és nem gyakorlás a kettősség két oldala. Ha valamilyen ok folyamán valaki egy gondolat során hirtelen megvilágosodott, akkor még mindig ott van az idők kezdete óta létező szokáshajlam, amit nem lehet egy csapásra eltüntetni. Ekkor meg kell tanulnia teljesen elvágni a fennmaradt karma következtében létező megkülönböztetés folyamát. Ez gyakorlást jelent, de nem olyat, mintha tényleg létezne valamilyen adott módszer, amit követni kéne. Mikor valakinek sikerül belépnie az igazságba azután, hogy hallott az igazról és annak csodálatos mélységeiről, akkor szabad lesz a káprázatoktól, s annak ellenére, hogy száz meg ezer csodálatos jelentés jelenik meg előtte egyidejűleg, ez csupán annyit tesz, hogy jogosult az ülés elfoglalására, a ruha viselésére, és saját énjének megértésére; egy életre, mely mentes a tévképzetektől. Összefoglalva, a valóság bensőségessége nem hagy helyet egyetlen porszemnek sem, de a megszabadulás összes módja nem vet el egyetlen Dharmát sem. Azonban az egyetlen csapással történő egyenes belépés esetén minden érzés a magasztos és a világi kapcsán eltöröltetik, hogy megjelenítse az igaz örökkévalóság lényegét, melyben a végső és a viszonylagos nem kettősség, és mely csupán a Bhútatathatá Buddha.
Egy nap a mester ekképp szólt a gyülekezethez:
- Oly sok ember csupán a nagy képességet valósítja meg, de képtelenek elérni a nagy működést.
(Ezt hallva) Yangshan lement a szerzeteshez, aki a hegy lábánál lakott a templomában, és miután elismételte neki amit a mester mondott, megkérdezte:
- Így mondta a mester, (te tudod, hogy) mit értett alatta?
- Ismételd el, amit a mester mondott – válaszolt a szerzetes. Yangshan épp belekezdett volna, mikor a szerzetes úgy megrúgta, hogy elesett. Miután Yangshan visszatért a kolostorba beszámolt az esetről a mesternek, aki erre hangos nevetésben tört ki.
Mikor a szerzetesek kinn voltak tealeveleket szedni, a mester így szólt Yangshanhoz:
- Egész nap tealeveleket gyűjtöttél. Csak a hangodat lehet hallani de nem látni az alakodat. Mutasd magad, hogy lássalak!
Yangshan megrázta a teanövényt és a mester így szólt:
- Csak a működését érted, de nem látod a testét.
- Nem ismerem a tisztelendő szerzetes (megvalósítását) – szólt Yangshan.
Miután a mester hosszú ideig csendben maradt, Yangshan ezt mondta:
- A tisztelendő szerzetes csupán a testet látja, de nem érti a működést.
- Húsz ütést kéne adnom neked a botommal. – mondta a mester.
(Ahogy sétált) Yangshan megrúgta ruhája szélét, majd azt feltartva megkérdezte a mestert:
- Tisztelendő, ebben a pillanatban mit tennél?
- Egy ilyen pillanatban nem tennék semmit – válaszolt a mester.
- Tisztelendő, rendelkezel a testtel, de hiányzik a működés – mondta Yanghsan. Hosszú csend után a mester megkérdezte:
- Ebben a pillanatban mit tennél?
- Tisztelendő, egyáltalán észleled ebben a pillanatban? – kérdezett vissza Yangshan.
- Rendelkezel a működéssel, de testetlen vagy – mondta a mester.
Egy nap a mester hirtelen megkérdezte Yangshant:
- Amit tavasszal mondtál nem volt tökéletes. Próbálj meg mondani valamit (most), hogy lássam (mit értettél meg).
- Ebben a pillanatban tartózkodni kell attól, hogy leképezzük (valamilyen alakba) – válaszolt Yangshan.
- Ez az örök bölcsesség bebörtönzése – mondta a mester.
Egy szerzetes jött, aki meghajolt a mester előtt, mire a mester úgy csinált, mintha felállna a székéből. A látogató így kérlelte:
- Tisztelendő, kérlek, ne állj fel!
- Ez az öreg szerzetes sosem ült le – mondta a mester.
- Én sem hajoltam meg – mondta a szerzetes.
- Miért vagy ennyire udvariatlan? – kérdezte a mester.
A látogató nem tudott válaszolni.
A csarnokban a mester így szólt a gyülekezethez:
- Halálom után vízibivaly leszek, aminek a bal oldalára öt írásjegy lesz írva: Guishan szerzetes, ez és ez. Nem lehet Guishan szerzetesnek nevezni, minthogy egy bivaly, és nem lehet bivalynak hívni, mivel egy Guishan szerzetes. Mi a megfelelő neve?