ZEN IRODALOM ZEN LITERATURE
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江西道一 Jiangxi Daoyi (709-788)
江西馬祖道一禪師語錄 Jiangxi Mazu Daoyi chanshi yulu; 馬祖語錄 Mazu yulu
(Rōmaji:) Kōsei Baso Dōitsu zenji goroku
(English:) Record of the Sayings of Chan Master Mazu Daoyi of Jiangsi
(Magyar:) Csiang-hszi Tao-ji: Feljegyzések Ma-curól
四家語錄 Sijia yulu (Records of Sayings of the Four Masters)
The Sijia yulu, attributed to Huanglong Huinan 黃龍慧南 (1002-1069), compiled in 1085, basically excerpts from the Guangdeng lu, its sections on the “four masters,” Mazu, Baizhang, Huangbo, and Linji.
Ma-cu Tao-ji összegyűjtött mondásaiból
Macu Taoji zen tanításai
PDF: Ordinary Mind as the Way
PDF: The Records of Mazu and the Making of Classical Chan Literature
PDF: Mazu yulu and the Creation of the Chan Records of Sayings
Poceski, Mario. “Mazu Daoyi.” Brill's Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Vol. 2, “Lives”). Leiden: Brill, 2019: 722–26.
PDF: Ma-tsu Tao-i and the unfolding of southern Zen
The “Lost” Fragments of Mazu Daoyi in the Zongjing lu
The Mind Is the Buddha
Encounter Dialogues and Discourses of Mazu Daoyi
The Zen Teachings of Mazu
Mondo by Baso (Ma-tsu)
Master Ma's ordinary mind: the sayings of Zen Master Mazu Daoyi / by Fumio Yamada;
Ma-cu Tao-ji összegyűjtött mondásaiból
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
A Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Intézet Közleményei, 1976. 1-2. szám, 79-83. oldal
Vö.: Folyik a híd, Officina Nova, Budapest, 1990, 18-23. oldal
A legenda szerint Pradzsnyátára, a 27. indiai pátriárka azt jövendölte, hogy Huaj-zsang mester lába alól egy csikó vágtat elő, és letiporja az egész világot. A jóslatot Huaj-zsang (677-744) egyetlen dharma-utódára, a Csianghszi tartományban tanító Tao-ji csan mesterre vonatkoztatták, mert eredeti családneve Ma volt. „Ma-cu" annyit jelent: „Ló pátriárka". Nemigen van rá példa, hogy egy buddhista szerzetes megtartsa a családnevét, még kevésbé, hogy a Huj-nenggel (638-713) megszűnt pátriárka rendszer óta egy mestert pátriárkaként tiszteljenek. De Ma-cu – minden idők egyik legnagyobb csan mestere – kivételes egyéniség volt. Kortársai már megjelenését is lenyűgőzőnek találták: „járása, mint a marháé, pillantása, mint tigrisé" – jegyezték fel róla. Tanítási módszereiben a botütés, rúgás, orrcsavarás, ordítás váltakozott a szelíd megjegyzésekkel, képtelen kijelentésekkel és talányos gesztusokkal.
Életéről keveset tudunk. Nancsouban született. Húszéves korában már szerzetes. A Heng-hegyen remetéskedett, amikor Huaj-zsang csan mester rátalált; tíz éven át oktatta, végül egyetlen dharma-örökösének ismerte el. Ma-cu ezután vándorútra indult, főleg Csianghszi tartományba és környékére. A Ta-li időszakban (766-779) telepedett le a Kaj-jüan templomban, Hungcsouban. Híre rohamosan nőtt, özönlöttek hozzá a tanítványok; csak dharma-utódainak száma is 139-re rúg, többre, mint bármelyik mesternek a csan történetében. Tőle és korának másik nagy mesterétől, Si-toutól (700-790) származtatja magát valamennyi későbbi csan és zen mester. „Csianghszi tartományban Ta-csi (=Ma-cu) volt a mester, Hunan tartományban Si-tou. Jöttek-mentek az emberek egyiktől a másikig minden időben, s aki soha nem találkozott ezzel a két nagy mesterrel, teljesen műveletlennek számított" – írta egy korabeli krónikás.
Hírneve tetőpontján Ma-cu hazalátogatott szülőfalujába. A földijei melegen ünnepelték, csak néhai szomszédja, egy öregasszony zsörtölődött: „Azt hittem, valami kivételes személyiség miatt van ilyen felfordulás, de ez csak a Ma szemetesék kölyke."
Posztumusz címét – Ta-csi (=Nagy Csend) csan mester – Hszien-cung császár adományozta 813-ban.
Ma-cu remetekunyhójában élt a Heng-hegyen, és éjt-nap belemerült az elmélkedésbe. Fel se nézett, amikor Huaj-zsang [Nan-jüe Huaj-zsang, 677-744] mester meglátogatta.
– Miért elmélkedsz? – kérdezte a mester.
– Hogy Buddha legyek – felelte Ma-cu.
Huaj-zsang felvett egy téglát, s az ajtó előtt csiszolni kezdte egy kövön.
– Mit csinálsz?
– Tükröt csiszolok.
– Hiába csiszolod, attól nem lesz tükör a tégla!
– Hiába elmélkedsz, attól nem leszel Buddha! – vágott vissza Huaj-zsang.
– Akkor mit tegyek?
– Ha nem indul el az ökrös szekér, az ökörre kell suhintani vagy a szekérre?
„Nagy Szilva") fölkereste egy nap Ma-cut és megkérdezte tőle, mi a Buddha.
– Az értelem, az a Buddha – felelte Macu. Ta-mej megvilágosult és útra kelt, hogy egy lakható hegységet keressen magának. Mihelyt Ma-cu értesült a hollétéről, utánaküldött egy szerzetest, hogy próbára tegye.
– Mit tanultál a nagy Ma mestertől? – kérdezte a küldönc.
– A mester azt mondta nekem: „Az értelem, az a Buddha."
– Újabban a nagy mester változtatott a tanításán.
– Most azt mondja: „Az értelem, ami a Buddha, nem is értelem, nem is Buddha!"
– Meddig viszi még tévútra az embereket az a vén szemfényvesztő? – hördült fel Ta Mej. – Csak hadd fújja a „nem is értelem, nem is Buddhá"-t, én maradok „az értelem, az a Buddhá"-nál.
A szerzetes beszámolt Ma-cunak Ta-mej konokságáról.
– Érett a szilva! – ismerte el a mester.
– Miért állítod te azt – kérdezte egy szerzetes Ma-cutól –, hogy az értelem az a Buddha?
– Hogy a porontyok abbahagyják a sírást.
– És ha abbahagyták?
– Akkor azt mondom, hogy az értelem tulajdonképp nem is értelem, nem is Buddha.
– És mit mondasz annak, aki nem sorolható se ide, se oda?
– Hogy egyéb sem!
– És ha netán olyan emberre bukkansz, aki nem kötődik az egyébhez sem?
– Csak annyit mondok neki, igazodjon a Nagy Úthoz.
– Hogy igazodjunk az Úthoz? – kérdezte egy másik szerzetes.
– Én nem igazodom – jelentette ki Ma-cu.
– Honnan jöttél? – kérdezett egy szerzetest Ma-cu.
– Hunan tartományból.
– Tele van vízzel a Keleti-tó?
– Még nincs.
– Pedig milyen régóta esik – tűnődött Ma-cu. – Igazán megtelhetne már.
Egyszer egy szerzetes egy hosszú és három rövid vonalat húzott Ma-cu lába elé:
– A négy vonal közül az egyik hosszú, a másik három rövid – közölte a szerzetes –, mit tudsz még hozzátenni?
Ma-cu is húzott egy vonalat a földre:
– Ezt mondhatod hosszúnak is, mondhatod rövidnek is – mutatott rá. – Ez a válaszom.
Lacza Márta illusztrációja
A mester az út szélén üldögélt és a lábát nyújtóztatta. Tanítványa, Jin-feng arra tolt egy kordét, és kérte szépen, hogy húzza be a lábát.
– Amit egyszer kinyújtok, azt vissza nem húzom! – makacsolta meg magát Ma-cu.
– Ha én egyszer nekiindultam, vissza nem fordulok! – viszonozta Jin-feng, és kordéstul átgázolt a mester lábán.
Kisvártatva Ma-cu bárddal viharzott be a csarnokkapun:
– Jöjjön elő, aki megsebezte a lábam! – zengett a hangja.
Jin-feng előlépett, lehajtotta a fejét, a mester pedig letette a bárdot.
– Mit szólsz a vízhez – kérdezte Pang Jün [740-808] –, nincs se izma, se csontja, mégis elbír tízezer tonnás hajókat.
– Itt nincs se víz, se hajó – figyelmeztette Ma-cu. – Miféle izomról és csontról locsogsz?
– Miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
– Miért épp most? – érdeklődött Ma-cu.
– Miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
Ma-cu rásújtott a botjával:
– Ha nem ütnélek – mentegetőzött, mindenki kiröhögne.
Suj-liao is megkérdezte Ma-cutól, miért jött ide nyugatról Bódhidharma.
Ma-cu egy hatalmas rúgással a földre terítette, és csodák csodája, Suj-liao előtt hirtelen megvilágosodott minden. Feltápászkodott, összecsapta a tenyerét és kitört belőle a nevetés:
– Csodálatos! – örvendezett. – Csodálatos! A számos elmélyülés és a számtalan felismerés egy hajszálon múlik.
Még évek múltán is mondogatta tanítványainak:
– Ma-cu förúgott egyszer és azóta egyfolytában kacagok.
– Honnan jöttél? – kérdezte Si-tou [Si-tou Hszi-csien, 700-790] egy most érkezett szerzetestől.
– Láttad a nagy Ma-cu mestert?
Si-tou egy farönkre mutatott:
– Milyen Ma-cu ehhez képest?
A szerzetes nem felelt. Visszatért Ma-cu mesterhez és elmesélte neki, mi történt.
– Láttad, mekkora rönk volt? – kérdezte a mester.
– Hatalmas – mondta a szerzetes.
– Nahát, ilyen bivalyerős vagy?
– Nem kis dolog Nanjüeből idáig cipelni egy akkora rönköt.
Tomita Keisen 富田渓仙 (1879-1936) és 仙厓義梵 Sengai Gibon (1750-1837) illusztrációja
Tarnóczy Zoltán illusztrációja
Pierre Székely Péter: Marhabőr faliszőnyege
Alighogy sétára indultak, mester és tanítványa, vadludak szálltak el a fejük felett.
– Mik ezek? – kérdezte Ma-cu.
– Vadlibák – nézett föl Paj-csang.
– Merre szállnak?
– Már elhúztak!
Ma-cu megragadta és úgy megcsavarta Paj-csang orrát, hogy tanítványa felüvöltött kínjában.
– Hogy húztak volna el?! – harsogott Ma-cu.
Sengai Gibon (1750-1837) tusfestménye
Ahogy Paj-csang feltűnt, Ma-cu vette a szék sarkából a légycsapóját és föltartotta.
– Ne hagyatkozz rá, ha használod! – mondta Paj-csang.
Ma-cu visszatette a légycsapót, de mielőtt Paj-csang újra szóhoz jutott volna, rákiáltott:
– Nyisd ki a szád! Beszélj csak! Majd épp attól világosulsz meg!
Paj-csang fogta a légycsapót és föltartotta.
– Ne hagyatkozz rá, ha használod! – mondta Ma-cu.
Paj-csang visszaakasztotta a légycsapót.
- KHAAAAT! – bőgte el magát Ma-cu úgy, hogy tanítványa három napra belesüketült.
– Milyen eszmékre tanítod majd az embereket? – kérdezte Ma-cu Paj-csangtól.
Paj-csang szó nélkül föltartotta a légycsapóját.
– Ez minden?
Paj-csang földhöz vágta a légycsapót.
Tarnóczy Zoltán illusztrációja
Zensho W. Kopp illusztrációja
Egyszer a három tanítvány, Nan-csüan, Hszi-tang és Paj-csang elkísérte Ma-cu mestert egy holdfényes sétára.
– Mit gondoltok – kérdezte Ma-cu –, mire lehetne legjobban kihasználni ezt az időt?
– A szövegek tanulmányozására – szólalt meg elsőnek Hszi-tang.
– Kiváló alkalom az elmélkedésre – javasolta Paj-csang.
Ilyen válaszok hallatán Nan-csüan megfordult, és faképnél hagyta őket.
– A szövegeket meghagyom Hszi-tangnak – mondotta a mester –, Paj-csang pedig valóban tehetséges elmélkedő. De Nan-csüan lépett túl a hívságokon.
Ma-cu megbetegedett egyszer és a szerzetesfelügyelő a hogyléte felől érdeklődött.
– Naparcú Buddha, holdarcú Buddha - válaszolt Ma-cu.
Macu Taoji zen tanításai
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt
Forrás: The Zen Teachings of Mazu. Translated by Thomas Cleary
A hétköznapi tudat
Az Út nem igényel gyakorlást, csak ne szennyezd be. Mi a szenny? Míg ingadozó tudatod van, ami kitalációkat és agyalásokat hoz létre, az mind szenny. Ha az Utat közvetlenül akarod megérteni, a hétköznapi tudat az Út. A hétköznapi tudat alatt azt a tudatot értem, amiben nincs kitaláció, nincs személyes ítélet, nincs megragadás, vagy elutasítás.
A zen alapítói azt mondták, hogy az ember lényege önmagában teljes. Csak ne időzz jó, vagy rossz dolgok felett – ezt nevezik az Út gyakorlásának. Megragadni a jót és elutasítani a rosszat, az ürességet szemlélni és belépni az összeszedettségbe, ez mind a kitalációk tartománya – és ha külsőségek után kutatsz, egyre messzebb és messzebb távolodsz el. Csak hagyd abba a világ gondolati tárgyiasítását. A kalandozó tudat egyetlen gondolata a gyökere a születésnek és halálnak ebben a világban. Csak ne legyen semmilyen gondolatod és megszabadulsz a születés és halál gyökerétől.
A tengeri elmélkedés
Időtlen idők óta az emberi káprázatok, a megtévesztés, a büszkeség, a fondorlatosság és az önhittség egyetlen egy testben gyűltek össze. Ezért mondja az írás, hogy ez a test csak elemekből áll és a megjelenése és eltűnése csak az elemeké, miknek nincs személyiségük. Mikor az egymást követő gondolatok nem várják be a másikat, s mindegyik gondolat békésen elhal, ezt hívják a tengeri elmélkedésben való elmélyülésnek.
Megtévesztés és megvilágosodás
A megtévesztés azt jelenti, hogy nem vagy tudatában saját eredendő tudatodnak; a megvilágosodás azt jelenti, hogy felismered saját eredendő lényegedet. Egyszer megvilágosodsz, s onnantól soha többé nem leszel megtévesztve. Ha megérted a tudatot és a tárgyakat, akkor nem jelennek meg hamis felfogások; mikor nem jelennek meg hamis felfogások, ez az elfogadása a dolgok kezdetnélküliségének. Mindig is megvolt neked, s most is megvan – nincs szükség az Út gyakorlására és meditációban ülésre.
Ez a pillanat, ahogy sétálsz, állsz, ülsz és fekszel, válaszolsz minden helyzetre és viselkedsz az emberekkel – ez mind a Tao. A Tao a valóság birodalma. Nem számít mennyiek a megszámlálhatatlan és felfoghatatlan működések, nincsenek túl ezen a birodalmon. Ha túl lennének, hogyan beszélhetnénk a Tudat-földről, s hogyan szólhatnánk a kifogyhatatlan lámpásról?
Minden jelenség tudati; minden megnevezést a tudat nevez meg. Minden jelenség a tudatból jelenik meg; a tudat a gyökere minden jelenségnek. Egy szútra azt mondja: „Mikor ismered a tudatot és megérkezel a gyökérforrásához, abban az értelemben vallásosnak lehet téged nevezni.”
A dharmakája végtelen; nem növekszik és nem csökken. Hatalmas lehet, vagy picurka; durva, vagy sima; képeket jelenít meg a dolgokkal és a lényekkel összhangban, miként a hold tükröződik egy tócsában. Működése kiárad, mégsem ver gyökeret; sosem meríti ki a szándékos tetteket, de nem is időzik tétlenségben. A szándékos tett a hitelesség működése; a hitelesség a szándékos tett alapja. Ha már valaki nincs többé rögződve ehhez az alaphoz, arról, az üres térhez hasonlóan, önállóként beszélnek.
A tudat valódi olyansága hasonló a tükörhöz, ami tükrözi az alakokat: a tudat olyan, mint a tükör, és a jelenségek olyanok, mint a (tükrözött) alakok. Ha a tudat megragadja a jelenségeket, akkor belevonja magát a külső feltételekbe és okokba; ezt jelenti a „tudat születése és halála”. Ha nem ragad meg ilyen jelenségeken, ez az, amit a „tudat valódi olyansága” jelent.
Az összes dharma a buddhista tanítások; az összes dharma a megszabadulás. A megszabadulás a valódi olyanság, és semmi sem különálló ettől a valódi olyanságtól. Sétálás, állás, ülés és fekvés mind felfoghatatlan cselekedetek.
[Astus = Hadházi Zsolt]
Nem mindegy, hogy milyen egy fordítás. A legtöbb esetben nem az szokott a gond lenni, hogy a fordító nem ismeri a nyelvet eléggé (bár ilyen is megtörténik), hanem az, hogy az adott témakörben mennyire jártas, illetve ő maga milyen értelmezést részesít előnyben. Egy szövegnek többféle fordítása is lehet nyelvileg helyes, miközben a végeredmények különböző szemléleteket tükrözhetnek. Az ember könnyen megfeledkezhet arról, hogy amit olvas, az egy fordítás, így a szöveg alaposabb értelmezéséhez szükség van a forrás ismeretére is. Másrészt, amennyiben valaki jártas az adott témakörben, könnyebben visszafejti, hogy egy-egy kifejezés pontosan mire utal.
A következőkben mutatok egy példát, hogy a következő történetet ki és hogyan fordította. Itt az elején a saját fordításom szerepel, amit az első kínai szövegből (YL) készítettem, a többi forrását a végén adom meg. A történetet magát négy különböző kínai forrásból adom meg, hogy látható legyen, mit jelen az "eredeti" változat.
- Tisztelendő, miért mondja, hogy ez a tudat a buddha? - kérdezte egy szerzetes.
- Hogy a gyerek abbahagyja a sírást. - mondta Mazu.
- És amikor abbahagyta a sírást?
- Sem tudat, sem buddha. - mondta Mazu.
- És ha egy olyan emberrel találkozik, aki mindkettőt elhagyta, akkor mit tanít?
- Megmondom neki, hogy az nem egy dolog. - mondta Mazu.
- És mi van akkor, ha hirtelen valaki olyannal találkozik, aki már ott van?
- Akkor azt tanítom neki, hogy tapasztalja meg a Nagy Utat. - mondta Mazu.
TG: Miért állítod te azt – kérdezte egy szerzetes Ma-cutól –, hogy az értelem az a Buddha?
TC: A monk asked: "Why do you teach that Mind is no other than Buddha?"
CCB: A monk asked, "Why does the Venerable say that mind is Buddha?"
MP: A monk asked, “Why does the Reverend say that mind is Buddha?”
PH: A monk once asked him why he taught "presend mind is Buddha."
AF: A monk asked, "Master, why do you say that mind is Buddha?"
TG: Hogy a porontyok abbahagyják a sírást.
TC: "In order to make a child stop its crying."
CCB: The Patriarch said, "To stop small children's crying."
MP: Mazu said, “To stop small children's crying.”
PH: Mazu said, "To stop the crying of small children."
AF: Mazu said, "To stop babies from crying."
TG: És ha abbahagyták?
TC: "When the crying is stopped, what would you say?"
CCB: The monk asked, "What do you say when they have stopped crying?"
MP: The monk asked, “What do you say when they have stopped crying?”
PH: The monk wanted to know, "When the crying stops, what then?"
AF: The monk said, "What do you say when they stop crying?"
TG: Akkor azt mondom, hogy az értelem tulajdonképp nem is értelem, nem is Buddha.
TC: "Neither Mind nor Buddha."
CCB: The Patriarch said, "It is neither mind nor Buddha."
MP: Mazu said, “[I say that] it is neither mind nor Buddha (feixin feifo).”
PH: Mazu replied, "Not mind, not Buddha."
AF: Mazu said, "No mind, no Buddha."
TG: És mit mondasz annak, aki nem sorolható se ide, se oda?
TC: "What teaching would you give to him who is not in these two groups?"
CCB: The monk asked, "And when you have someone who does not belong to either of these two, how do you instruct him?"
MP: The monk asked, “And when you have someone who does not belong to either of these two categories, how do you instruct him?”
PH: "So if someone comes along who has gone beyond these two kinds of expedients, what will you point to as the ancestral doctrine then?"
AF: The monk asked, "Without using either of these teachings, how would you instruct someone?"
TG: Hogy egyéb sem!
TC: "I will say, 'It is not a something.'
CCB: The Patriarch said, "I tell him that it is not a thing."
MP: Mazu said, “I tell him that it is not a thing (bushi wu).”
PH: "Then I'd tell him, 'Not being anything.'"
AF: Mazu said, "I would say to him that it's not a thing."
TG: És ha netán olyan emberre bukkansz, aki nem kötődik az egyébhez sem?
TC: "If you unexpectedly interview a person who is in it what would you do?" finally, asked the monk.
CCB: The monk asked, "And how about when you suddenly meet someone who is there?"
MP: The monk asked, “And how about when you suddenly meet someone who is there?”
PH: Still the monk persisted. "What if you meet someone who comes from the Middle Path?"
AF: The monk asked, "If suddenly someone who was in the midst of it came to you, then what would you do?"
TG: Csak annyit mondok neki, igazodjon a Nagy Úthoz.
TC: "I will let him realize the great Tao."
CCB: The Patriarch said, "I teach him to directly realize the Great Way."
MP: Mazu said, “I teach him to intuitively realize the great Way.”
PH: Mazu said, "Then I would teach him to join bodily and communicate the great Dao."
AF: Mazu said, "I would teach him to experience the great way."
YL: Jiangxi mazu daoyi chanshi yulu (江西馬祖道一禪師語錄, X69n1321_p0004c19-22)
TJ: Chanzong songgu lianzhu tongji (禪宗頌古聯珠通集, X65n1295_p0524b05-09)
CDL: Jingde chuandeng lu (景德傳燈錄, T51n2076_p0246a21-25)
ZT: Lengyanjing zongtong (楞嚴經宗通, X16n0318_p0814a04-08)
TG: Terebess Gábor (https://terebess.hu/keletkultinfo/folyik.html)
TC: Thomas Cleary (http://www.abuddhistlibrary.com/Buddhism/C%20-%20Zen/Ancestors/The%20Zen%20Teachings%20of%20Mazu/The%20Zen%20Teachings%20of%20Mazu.htm)
CCB: Cheng Chien Bhikshu (Cheng Chien Bhikshu [Mario Poceski]: Sun-Face Buddha, p. 78)
MP: Mario Poceski (Mario Poceski: Ordinary Mind as the Way, p. 177)
PH: Peter Hershock (Peter D. Hershock: Chan Buddhism, p. 117-118)
AF: Andrew Ferguson (Andrew E. Ferguson: Zen's Chinese Heritage, p. 68)
A pátriárka így szólt a gyülekezethez:
- Higgyétek el, hogy tudatotok a Buddha, hogy ez a tudat azonos a Buddhával. Bódhidharma
nagymester Indiából Kínába jött és átadta a mahájána Egy Tudat tanítását, hogy az elvezessen
benneteket a felébredéshez. Attól tartván, hogy túl zavarodottak lesztek és nem fogtok hinni benne,
hogy ez az Egy Tudat eredendıen bennetek van a Lankávatára szútrát használta, hogy lepecsételje
az érzı lények tudat-talaját. Ezért a Lankávatára szútrában a tudat az összes buddha tanításának, és
a nincs kapu a Dharma-kapu.
Akik a Dharmát keresik ne keressenek semmit se.2 A tudaton kívül nincs másik Buddha, a Buddhán
kívül nincs másik tudat. Nem ragaszkodva a jóhoz és nem elutasítva a gonoszat, tisztaságra vagy
szennyezettségre támaszkodás nélkül az ember megérti, hogy a vétek természete üres, nem található
egyetlen gondolatban sem, mert öntermészet nélküli. Ezért a három birodalom csupán tudat és
minden jelenséget a világegyetemben egyetlen Dharma jellemez.3 Bármikor is látunk formát, az a
tudat látása. A tudat nem létezik önmagában, létezése a forma miatt van. Bármit is mondasz, az
csupán egy jelenség mely azonos az alapelvvel. Mind akadály nélküliek és a bódhihoz vezetı út
gyümölcse is épp ilyen. Bármi jelenjék is meg a tudatban azt formának nevezik, mikor valaki tudja,
hogy minden forma üres, akkor a születés azonos a nincs-születéssel. Ha valaki felismeri ezt a
tudatot, akkor mindig viselheti ruháját és eheti ételét. Táplálva a bölcsesség méhét az ember
természetesen tölti idejét, mi más van mit csinálni? Megkapva tanításomat figyeljetek versemre:
Mindig beszélnek a tudat-talajról,
A bódhi szintúgy csak béke.
Mikor jelenség és alapelv akadálytalan,
E születés azonos a nincs-születéssel.
Egy szerezetes kérdezte:
- Mi az Út gyakorlása?
A pátriárka válaszolt:
- Az Út nem tartozik a gyakorláshoz. Ha valaki gyakorláson keresztüli megvalósításról beszél,
bármit is ért el olyanmód, még mindig visszaesésnek alávetett. Az ugyanolyan, mint a srávakák. Ha
valaki azt mondja, hogy nincs szükség gyakorlásra, az ugyanolyan, mint a hétköznapi emberek.
A szereztes ezt is kérdezte:
- Miféle megértéssel rendelkezzen valaki, hogy felfogja az Utat?
A pátriárka válaszolt:
- Az öntermészet eredendıen teljes. Ha valakit nem akadályoznak meg se jó, se rossz dolgok, akkor
az az Utat gyakorolja. Megragadni a jót és elutasítani a rosszat, a súnjatán szemlélıdni és
szamádhiba lépni; ezek mind a cselekvéshez tartoznak. Ha valaki kívül keres, eltávolodik tıle. Csak
vess véget minden tudati fogalomnak a három világban.Ha nincs egyetlen gondolat sem, akkor az
ember megsemmisítette a születés és halál gyökerét és megszerzi a Dharma király felülmúlhatatlan
Határtalan kalpák óta formálja meg az ember testét a megannyi világi hamis gondolkodás, [mint a]
becsvágy, ıszintétlenség, büszkeség, és az önteltség. Ezért mondja a szútra: „Csupán a megannyi
dharmák csoportosulása következtében formálódik meg a test. Mikor megjelenik, csupán dharmák
jelennek meg; mikor megszőnik, csupán dharmák szőnnek meg. Mikor a dharmák megjelennek,
1 Sun Face Buddha, trans. by Cheng Chien Bhikshu, Asian Humanities Press, 1992. pp. 62-68.
2 Vimalakírti szútra, „Mandzsúsri a betegségrıl kérdez” fejezet
3 Fajujing T85n2901_p1435a23
nem mondják, hogy én jelenek meg; mikor megszőnnek, nem mondják, hogy én szőnök meg.”4
Az elızı gondolat, a következı gondolat, és a jelen gondolat, egyik gondolat sem vár a másikra,
minden egyes gondolat nyugodt és kialudt.5 Ezt nevezik az Óceán Pecsét Szamádhinak. Minden
dharmát magában foglal. Miképpen különbözı folyamok százai és ezrei, mikor visszatérnek a nagy
óceánba, mindet az óceán vizének nevezik. [Az óceán vize] egy íző, mely minden ízt tartalmaz.6 A
nagy óceánban minden folyam összekeveredik, s mikor valaki az óceánban fürdik az összes vizet
A srávakák felébredettek, mégis tudatlanok; a hétköznapi emberek tudatlanok a felébredésrıl. A
srávakák nem tudják, hogy a Szent Tudat eredendıen mentes minden pozíciótól, októl és okozattól,
fokozatoktól, tudati fogalmaktól és hamis gondolatoktól. Okok gyakorlásával elérik a gyümölcsöt
és az üresség szamádhijában tartózkodnak húsztól nyolcvanezer kalpáig. Bár már felébredtek,
felébredésük ugyanolyan, mint a tudatlanság. Minden bódhiszattva úgy tekint erre mint a pokol
szenvedéseire, vagyis az ürességbe zuhanásra, a kialvásban tartózkodásra, hogy nem látható a
Egy kiváló képességő ember találkozhat egy erényes baráttal és útmutatásokat kaphat tıle. Ha
meghallván a szavakat megértésre jut, akkor anélkül, hogy lépéseken menne keresztül, hirtelen
felébred az eredendı természetre. Ezért mondja a szútra: „A hétköznapi emberek változhatnak, de
nem a srávakák.”7
A tudatlansággal szemben beszél valaki a felébredésrıl. Mivel eredendıen nincs tudatlanság, a
felébredést sem kell megalapozni. Minden élılény határtalan kalpák óta a Dharma-természet
szamádhijában tartózkodik. Miközben a Dharma-természet szamádhijában vannak, ruhát viselnek,
ételt esznek, beszélnek és válaszolnak a dolgokra. A hat érzékszerv használata, minden cselekvés a
Dharma-természet. Mert nem tudják, hogyan térjenek vissza a forráshoz, ezért neveket követnek és
formákat keresnek, melyekbıl zavaró érzelmek és hamisságok keletkeznek, így jönnek létre a
karma különféle változatai. Mikor az ember egyetlen gondolatban visszatekint és belülre világít,
akkor minden a Szent Tudat.
Mindannyian lássátok át saját tudatotokat, ne jegyezzétek fel szavaim. Még ha annyi alapelvrıl is
van szó, mint a Gangesz homokszemei, a tudat nem növekszik. És ha semmit sem mondanak, a
tudat nem csökken. Mikor van beszéd, az csak a saját tudatod. Mikor csend van, az még mindig a
saját tudatod. Még ha valaki különféle átalakulás testeket is lenne képes létrehozni, fénysugarakat
bocsátana ki és megjelenítené a tizennyolcféle átalakulást, az még mindig nem olyan, mint halott
hamuhoz hasonlóvá válni.
A nedves hamu erıtlen, a srávakákhoz hasonlatos, akik hamisan gyakorolják az okokat hogy elérjék
a gyümölcsöket. A száraz hami erıvel bír és a bódhiszattvákhoz hasonlatos, kiknek karmája érett és
akiket nem szennyez semmilyen gonosz. Ha valaki a Tripitaka összes ügyes eszközérıl beszélne,
melyeket a Tathágata kifejtett, még megszámlálhatatlan kalpák utány sem tudná befejezni az
egészet. Olyan mint egy végtelen lánc. De ha valaki képes felébredni a Szent Tudatra, akkor nincs
semmi más teendı. Elég sokáig álltatok. Vigyázzatok magatokra!
A pátriárka így szólt a gyülekezethez:
- Az Útnak nincs szüksége gyakorlásra, csak ne szennyezzétek be. Mi a szenny? Mikor a születés és
halál tudatával valaki kigondoltan cselekszik, akkor minden szenny. Ha valaki közvetlenül akarja
ismerni az Utat, a Hétköznapi Tudat az Út. Mit jelent a Hétköznapi Tudat? Nincs cselekvés, nincs
helyes vagy rossz, nincs megragadás vagy elutasítás, sem mulandó sem állandó, világi és szent
nélküli. A szútra mondja: „Sem a hétköznapi emberek gyakorlata, sem a bölcsek gyakorlata, ez a
4 Vimalakírti szútra, „Mandzsúsri a betegségrıl kérdez” fejezet
5 Vimalakírti szútra, „Tanítványok” fejezet
6 utalás az Avatamszaka szútra „Tíz fokozat” fejezetére
7 Vimalakírti szútra, „Buddha útrja” fejezet
bódhiszattvák gyakorlata.”8 Épp mint most, akár sétálás, állás, ülés, vagy fekvés, válaszolás a
helyzetekre és foglalkozás az emberekkel ahogy jönnek: minden az Út. Az Út azonos a
dharmadhátuval. Az összes mélységes mőködés közt, mely számos mint a Gangesz homokszemei,
egy sincs a dharmadhátun kívül. Ha ez nem így volna, hogyan lehetett volna azt mondani, hogy a
tudat-talaj a Dharma-kapu, hogy az egy kimeríthetetlen lámpás?
Minden dharma tudati dharma, minden név tudati név. A tízezer dharma minde a tudatból született,
a tudat a tízezer dharma gyökere. A szútra mondja: „A tudat ismerete és az eredeti forrás átlátása
miatt hívnak valakit sramanának.” A nevek egyenlıek, a jelentések egyenlıek: minden dharma
egyenlı. Mind tiszták keveredés nélkül. Ha valaki eléri ezt a tanítást, akkor mindig szabad. Ha a
dharmadhátu megalapozódott, akkor minden a dharmadhátu. Ha az olyanság megalapozódott, akkor
minden az olyanság. Ha az alapelv megalapozódott, akkor minden dharma az alapelv. Ha a
jelenségek megalapozódottak, akkor minden dharma a jelenségek. Mikor egyet felemelnek, ezrek
követik. Az alapelv és a jelenségek nem különbözıek, minden csodálatos mőködés, és nincs másik
alapelv. Mind a tudatból jön.
Például bár a hold tükrözıdései számtalanok, az valódi hold csupán egy. Bár sok forrása van a
víznek, a víznek csupán egyetlen természete van. Tízezer jelenség van a világegyetemben, de az
üres tér csak egy. Sok alapelvrıl beszélnek, de az akadálytalan bölcsesség csak egy.9 Bármit is
alapoznak meg, mind az Egy Tudatból jön. Akár felépítés, akár elsöprés, mind a mélységes
mőködés, mind önmaga. Nem lehet olyan helyre állni, ahol az ember elhagyná az Igazságot.
Pontosan az a hely ahol áll az Igazság; az egész önmaga létezése. Ha ez nem így volna, akkor ki
volna az? Minden dharma a Buddhadharma és minden dharma a megszabadulás. A megszabadulás
aznos az olyansággal, egyetlen dharma sem hagyja el soha az olyanságot. Akár sétálás, állás, ülés,
vagy fekvés, minden mindig a felfoghatatlan mőködés. A szútrák mondják, hogy a Buddha
mindenütt ott van.
A Buddha könyörületes és bölcs. Ismerve jól minden lény természetét és jellemét, képes áttırni a
lények kételyeinek hálóját. Elhagyta a lét és semmi kötelékeit; mivel minden világi és szent érzés
kialudt, [látja, hogy] az én és a dharmák üresek. Megforgatja az összehasonlíthatatlan [Dharma]
kereket. Túlmenve számokon és mértékeken, cselekvése akadálytalan és átlátja mind az alapelveet
és a jelenségeket.
Mint egy felhı az égen mely hirtelen megjelenik és aztán eltőnik minden nyom nélkül, és mint a
vízen írás, nem született és nem megsemmisült: ez a Nagy Nirvána.
Megkötözötten tathágatagarbhának nevezik, mikor megszabadul, úgy hívják tiszta dharmakája. A
dharmakája határtalan, lényege nem növekszik vagy csökken. Hogy a lényeknek válaszoljon,
megjelenhet nagyként és kicsiként, szögletesként vagy kerekként. Olyan, mint a hold tükrözıdése a
vizen. Finoman mőködik, anélkül, hogy gyökereket alapozna meg.
Nem elpusztítva a feltételeset, nem lakozva a feltétel nélküliben.10 A feltételes a feltétlen mőködése;
a feltétlen az alapelve a feltételesnek. Mert nem lakozik támasztékon, így mondják: „mint a tér mi
semmin sem nyugszik.”11
A tudatról [két módon] lehet beszélni: születés és halál, és olyanság.12 A tudat mint olyanság olyan,
mint a tiszta tükör mely képeket tud visszatükrözni. A tükör jelképezi a tudatot; a képek jelképezik
a dharmákat. Ha a tudat megragadja a dharmákat, akkor külsıdleges okok és feltételek közé kerül,
mely a születés és halál jelentése. Ha a tudat nem ragadja meg a dharmákat, ez az olyanság.
A srávakák hallanak a buddha-természetrıl, míg a bódhiszattva szeme látja a buddha-természetet. A
nem-kettısség megértését hívják egyenl természetnek. Bár a természet mentes a
megkülönböztetéstıl, mőködése nem ugyanolyan: mikor tudatlan akkor tudatnak nevezik, mikor
felébredett akkor bölcsességnek. Az alapelv követése a felébredés, és a jelenségek követése a
tudatlanság. A tudatlanság annyi, mint nem tudni az eredendı tudatról. Felébredni annyi, mint
8 Vimalakírti szútra
9 Vimalakírti szútra: „az akadálytalan bölcsesség csak egy”
10 Vimalakírti szútra, „Bódhiszattvák gyakorlata” fejezet
11 Avatamszaka szútra, „Tathágata megjelenése” fejezet
12 utalás a Hit felébresztése c. értekezésre
felébredni az eredendő természetre. Ha egyszer felébredt, mindig felébredt marad, nincs többé
tudatlanság. Mint mikor a nap jön, minden sötétség eltőnik. Mikor a pradnyá napja felkel, nem
létezik együtt a szennyek szötétségével. Ha valaki felfogja a tudatot és a tárgyakat, akkor a hamis
gondolkodást nem hozza létre újból. Mikor nincs többé hamis gondolkodás, ez az elfogadása a
dharmák nem-keletkezésének. Eredendıen létezik és jelen van most, függetlenül az Út
gyakorlásától és a meditációban üléstıl. Nem gyakorlás és nem ülés a Tathágata tiszta meditációja.
Ha most igazán megérted a valódi jelentését ennek, akkor ne hozz létre semmilyen karmát.
Elégedetten birtokoddal, töltsd el életedet. Egy tál, egy ruha, akár ülés vagy állás, mindig veled van.
Betartva a sílát tiszta karmát halmozol. Ha ilyen tudsz lenni, hogy lehet bármi aggodalom afelıl,
hogy nem érted meg? Sokáig álltatok. Vigyázzatok magatokra
From Sun-Face Buddha: The Teachings of Ma-Tsu and the Hung-chou School of Ch'an
Asian Humanities Press, 1992.
Translated by Cheng Chien Bhikshu (aka Mario Poceski)
PDF: Sun-Face Buddha
The Patriarch said to the assembly, “All of you should believe that your mind is Buddha, that this mind is identical with Buddha. The great master Bodhidharma came from India to China, and transmitted the One Mind teaching of Mahayana so that it can lead you all to awakening. Fearing that you will be too confused and will not believe that this One Mind is inherent in all of you, he used the Lankavatara Sutra to seal the sentient beings’ mind-ground. Therefore, in the Lankavatara Sutra, mind is the essence of all the Buddha’s teachings, no gate is the Dharma-gate.
“Those who seek the Dharma should not seek for anything. Outside of mind there is no other Buddha, outside of Buddha there is no other mind. Not attaching to good and not rejecting evil without reliance on either purity or defilement, one realizes that the nature of offence is empty: it cannot be found in each thought because it is without self-nature. Therefore, the three realms are mind-only and ‘all phenomena in the universe are marked by a single Dharma.’ Whenever we see form, it is just seeing the mind. The mind does not exist by itself; its existence is due to form. "Whatever you are saying, it is just a phenomenon which is identical with the principle. They are all without obstruction and the fruit of the way to ‘bodhi’ is also like that. Whatever arises in the mind is called form; when one knows all forms to be empty, then birth is identical with no-birth. If one realizes this mind, then one can always wear one’s robes and eat one’s food. Nourishing the womb of sagehood, one spontaneously passes one’s times: what else is there to do? Having received my teaching, listen to my verse:
The mind-ground is always spoken of,
Bodhi is also just peace.
When phenonoma and the principle
Are all without obstruction,
The very birth is identical with no birth.
A monk asked, “What is the cultivation of the Way?”The Patriarch replied, “The Way does not belong to cultivation. If one speaks of any attainment through cultivation, whatever is accomplished in that way is still subject to regress.”The monk also asked, “What kind of understanding should one have in order to comprehend the Way?”The Patriarch replied, “The self-nature is originally complete. If one only does not get hindered by either good or evil things, then that is a person who cultivates the Way. Grasping good and rejecting evil, contemplating sunyata and entering Samadhi-all of these belong to activity. If one seeks outside, one goes away from it. Just put an end to all mental conceptions in the three realms. If there is not a single thought, then one eliminates the root of birth and death and obtains the unexcelled treasury of the Dharma king.“Since limitless kalpas, all worldly false thinking, such as flattery, dishonesty, self-esteem, and arrogance have formed one body. That is why the sutra says, ‘It is only through the grouping of many dharmas that this body is formed. When it arises, it is only dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is only dharmas ceasing. When the dharmas arise, they do not say I arise; when they cease, they do not say, I cease.’“The previous thought, the following thought, and the present thought, each thought does not wait for the others; each thought is calm and extinct. This is called Ocean Seal Samadhi. It contains all dharmas. Like hundreds and thousands of different streams-when they return to the great ocean, they are all called water of the ocean. The water of the ocean has one taste which contains all tastes. In the great ocean all streams are mixed together; when one bathes in the ocean, he uses all waters.“Some are awakened, and yet still ignorant; the ordinary people are ignorant about awakening. Many do not know that originally the Holy Mind is without any position, without cause and effect, without stages, mental conceptions, and false thought. By cultivating causes they attain the fruits and dwell in the Samadhi of emptiness from twenty to eighty thousand kalpas. Though already awakened, their awakening is the same as ignorance. All Bodhisattvas view this as suffering of the hells: falling into emptiness, abiding in extinction, unable to see the Buddha-nature.“There might be someone of superior capacity who meets a virtuous friend and receives instructions from him. If upon hearing the words he gains understanding, then without passing through the stages, suddenly he is awakened to the original nature. “It is in contrast to ignorance that one speaks of awakening. Since originally there is no ignorance, awakening also need not be established. All living beings have since limitless kalpas ago been abiding in the Samadhi of the Dharma-nature. While in the Samadhi of the Dharma-nature, they wear their clothes, eat their food, talk and respond to things. Making use of the six senses, all activity is the Dharma-nature. It is because of not knowing how to return to the source, that they follow names and seek forms, from which confusing emotions and falsehood arise, thereby creating various kinds of karma. When within a single thought one reflects and illuminates within, then everything is the Holy Mind.“All of you should penetrate your own minds; do not record my words. Even if principles as numerous as the sands of the Ganges are spoken of, the mind does not increase. And if nothing is said, the mind does not decrease. When there is speech, it is just your own mind. Even if one could produce various transformation bodies, emit rays of light and manifest the eighteen transmutations, that is still not like becoming like dead ashes.“If one is to speak about all expedient teachings of the tripitaka that the Tathagata has expounded, even after innumerable kalpas one still will not be able to finish them all. It is like an endless chain. But if one can awaken to the Holy Mind, then there is nothing else to do. You have been standing long enough. Take care!”The Patriarch said to the assembly, “The Way needs no cultivation, just do not defile. What is defilement? When with a mind of birth and death one acts in a contrived way, then everything is defilement. If one want to know the Way directly: Ordinary Mind is the Way! What is meant by Ordinary Mind? No activity, no right or wrong, no grasping or rejecting, neither terminable nor permanent, without worldly or holy. The sutra says, ‘Neither the practice of ordinary people, nor the practice of sages, that is the Bodhisattva’s practice.’“Just like now, whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, responding to situations and dealing with people as they come: everything is the Way. “All dharmas are mind dharmas; all names are mind names. The myriad dharmas are all born from the mind; the mind is the root of the myriad dharmas. The sutra says, ‘It is because of knowing the mind and penetrating the original source that one is called a sramana. The names are equal, the meanings are equal: all dharmas are equal. They are all pure without mixing. If one attains to this teaching, then one is always free. If suchness is established, then everything is suchness. If the principle is established, then all dharmas are principle. If phenomena are established, then all dharmas are phenomena. When one is raised, thousands follow. The principle and phenomena are not different; everything is wonderful function, and there is no other principle. They all come from the mind.
“For instance, though the reflections of the moon are many, the real moon is only one. Though there are many springs of water, water has only one nature. There are myriad phenomena in the universe, but empty space is only one. There are many principles that are spoken of, but ‘unobstructed wisdom is only one.’ Whatever is established, it all comes from One Mind. Whether constructing or sweeping away, all is sublime function; all is oneself. There is no place to stand where ones leaves the Truth. The very place one stands on is the Truth; it is all one’s being. “All dharmas are Buddhadharmas, and all dharmas are liberation. Liberation is identical with suchness; all dharmas never leave suchness. Whether walking, standing, sitting, or reclining, everything is always inconceivable function. The sutras say that the Buddha is everywhere.“The Buddha is merciful and has wisdom. Knowing well the nature and character of all beings, he is able to break through the net of beings’ doubts. He has left the bondage of existence and nothingness; with all feelings of worldliness and holiness extinguished, he perceives that both self and dharmas are empty. He turns the incomparable Dharma wheel. Going beyond numbers and measures, his activity is unobstructed and he penetrates both principle and phenomena.“Like a cloud in the sky that suddenly appears and then is gone without leaving any traces; also like writing on water, neither born nor perishable: this is the Great Nirvana. In bondage it is called tathagatagarbha; when liberated it is called the pure dharmakaya. Dharmakaya is boundless, its essence neither increasing or decreasing. In order to respond to beings, it can manifest as big or small, square or round. It is like a reflection of the moon in water. It functions smoothly without establishing roots.“Not obliterating the conditioned; not dwelling in the unconditioned. The conditioned is the function of the unconditioned.; the unconditioned is the essence of the conditioned. Because of not dwelling on support, it has been said, ‘Like space which rest on nothing.’“The mind can be spoken of in terms of its two aspects: birth and death, and suchness. The mind as suchness is like a clear mirror which can reflect images. The mirror symbolizes the mind; the images symbolize the dharmas. If the mind grasps at dharmas, then it gets involved in external causes and conditions, which is the meaning of birth and death. If the mind does not grasp at dharmas, that is suchness.“The Sravakas hear about the Buddha-nature, while the Bodhisattva’s eye perceives the Buddha-nature. The realization of non-duality is called equal nature. Although the nature is free from differentiation, its function is not the same: when ignorant it is called consciousness; when awakened it is called wisdom. Following the principle is awakening, and following phenomena is ignorance. Ignorance is to be ignorant of one’s original mind. Awakening is to awake to one’s original nature. “Once awakened, one is awakened forever, there being no more ignorance. Like, when the sun comes, then all darkness disappears. When the sun of prajna emerges, it does not coexist with the darkness of defilements. If one comprehends the mind and the objects, then false thinking is not created again. When there is no more false thinking, that is acceptance of the non-arising of all dharmas. Originally it exists and it is present now, irrespective of cultivation of the Way and sitting in meditation.“Not cultivating and not sitting is the Tathagata’s pure meditation. If you now truly understand the real meaning of this, then do not create any karma. Content with your lot, pass your life. One bowl, one robe; whether sitting or standing, it is always with you. Keeping sila, you accumulate pure karma. If you can be like this, how can there be any worry that you will not realize? You have been standing long enough. Take care!”
Contested Identities in Chan/Zen Buddhism:
The “Lost” Fragments of Mazu Daoyi in the Zongjing lu
by Albert Welter
In: Buddhism Without Borders
Proceedings of the International Conference on Globalized Buddhism
Bumthang, Bhutan, May 21-23, 2012
http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/savifadok/2759/1/BuddhismConference1.pdf pp. 268-283.
Introduction: Mazu Daoyi and the Hongzhou Faction
Mazu Daoyi 馬祖道一, the founder of the Hongzhou faction is a major figure in
the Chinese Chan, Korean Seon and Japanese Zen traditions.i He is especially
credited with the unique Chan innovation known as “encounter dialogue.”
Encounter dialogues (jiyuan wenda 機緣問答) constitute one of the unique
features of Chan yulu 語緣, and served as a defining feature of the Chan
movement.ii Until recently, it was commonly assumed that yulu and encounter
dialogue were the products of a unique Tang Chan culture, initiated by masters
hailing form Chan’s so-called golden age.iii Recent work on the Linji lu 臨濟緣
exposed how dialogue records attributed to Linji were shaped over time into
typical encounter dialogue events that did not reach mature form until the early
Song.iv Regarding Mazu, Mario Poceski has shown how his reputation as an
i Many of the prevailing assumptions regarding Mazu and the Hongzhou school have been
challenged by the work of Mario Poceski, Everyday Mind as the Way: The Hongzhou School and the
Growth of Chan Buddhism (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), and Jia Jinhua. The
Hongzhou School of Chan Buddhism in Eighth- through Tenth-Century China (Albany, New York: State
University of New York Press, 2006).
ii It is important to note that the term jiyuan wenda to describe the phenomena known in English as
“encounter dialogue” is a modern expedient devised by Yanagida Seizan 柳田聖山, without
precedent in original Chan sources. The significance of Hongzhou and Linji faction Chan to the
development of yulu and encounter dialogue is one of the presuppositions animating Yanagida
Seizan’s work on the development of Chan yulu, “Goroku no rekishi––zenbunken no seiritsu shiteki
kenkyû” 語録の歴史: 禅文献の成立史的研究 (Tōhō gakuhō 東方学報 57 [1985: 211-663]).
iii Works discussing the development of yulu that challenges this view include Jinhua Jia, The
Hongzhou School of Buddhism; my own work, The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy (New York
and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008); Urs App, “The Making of a Chan Record: Reflections on
the History of the Records of Yunmen” (Zen bunka kenkyūjo kiyō 禅文化研究所紀要 17 [1991: 1-90].); and
Mario Poceski, “Mazu yulu and the Creation of the Chan Records of Sayings,” in The Zen Canon. Ed.
Steven Heine and Dale Wright, pp. 53-81 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).
iv The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy, especially pp. 81-108.
iconoclast derives from later sources.1 Morten Schlutter points out that in earlier
sources, Mazu “appears as a rather sedate and deliberate champion of the
doctrine of innate Buddha-nature,” and his record in the Zutang ji 祖堂集 gives a
decidedly less iconoclastic picture than in later sources.2 The view of Mazu as a
conventional sermonizer is borne out in the depiction of him in the Zongjing lu
宗鏡緣, in fragments that have been virtually ignored, especially in terms of their
significance, where Mazu appears as a scripture friendly exegete, citing canonical
at every turn and spinning at times elaborate commentaries around them. In the
current paper, I examine these “lost” (i.e., ignored) fragments in the Zongjing lu
that shed light on Mazu’s contested identity as a scriptural exegete.3
The Classic Image of Mazu and the Hongzhou Faction: Encounter Dialogue in
the Jingde Chuandeng lu
The classic image of Chan is determined by what may be referred to as the
“Mazu (and Hongzhou faction) perspective,” which I have described elsewhere
as follows:By the “Mazu perspective,” I am referring to a style and
interpretation of Chan attributed to the Mazu lineage, including
1 Poceski, “Mazu yulu and the Creation of the Chan Records of Sayings,” and Ordinary Mind as the
Way. Recently, Poceski has outlined a similar process in the case of records of Baizhang Huaihai’s
teachings, “Monastic Innovator, Iconoclast, and Teacher of Doctrine: The Varied Images of Chan
Master Baizhang,” Steven Heine and Dale Wright, eds. Zen Masters (New York and Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2012).
2 Schlütter, How Zen Became Zen (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2008), p. 16. Schlütter also
notes how this process also related to the development of the Platform sūtra, the early eighth century
version of which contains no encounter dialogues or antinomian behavior. On this, see Schlütter, “A
Study in the Genealogy of the Platform Sūtra,” Studies in Central and East Asian Religions 2. (1989: 53-
114). Schlütter credits David Chappell (p. 186, n. 19) as the first to note the discrepancy between the
earlier and later depictions of Mazu.
3 The Zongjing lu is a work by the scholastic Chan master Yongming Yanshou who has been
uniformly marginalized in modern Chan and Zen interpretation as a “syncretist,” who represents a
decline in the fortunes of “pure” Zen. With the undermining of the supposition that Chan
transmission records (denglu or tôroku 燈錄) preserve faithful renderings of Tang Chan teachings, it is
no longer tenable to treat Yanshou’s record as anachronistic nostalgia for a bygone age, but to restore
his place as a participant in an ongoing debate about the nature of Chan that was a germane issue of
his age. The Chan fragments found in his works, virtually ignored for many years, also need to be
considered as viable alternatives to the way Chan masters are depicted in transmission records. For a
full treatment, see Welter, Scholastic as Chan Master: Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the
Zongjing lu (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Much of the discussion that follows is taken
from my work there.
Mazu and his more immediate descendants. More than any
other Chan group, this contingent of masters is regarded in Chan
lore as the instigators of the “classic” Chan style and perspective,
memorialized in terms of a reputed Chan “golden age.” It is this
style and perspective that became the common property of Chan
masters in denglu texts, beginning with the Zutang ji and
Chuandeng lu. This common style and perspective represents the
standardization of Chan as a uniform tradition dedicated to
common goals and principles. While factional differences may
still have the potential to erupt into controversy, the
standardization of the Chan message and persona tended to
mask ideological disagreements. The standardization of Chan
also provided the pretext for a Chan orthodoxy that was no
longer the sole property of a distinct lineage.4
The “Mazu perspective” is typified by the development of encounter dialogues,
the witty, often physical and iconoclastic repartee between Chan protagonists
that characterizes their enlightened behaviour. While the encounter dialogue
genre became fully developed among Mazu’s descendents, it is also, by necessity,
projected on to the behaviour of Mazu himself as founder and hypothetical
progenitor of the style that his faction came to typify. Two examples from Mazu’s
record in the Jingde Chuandeng lu bear this out.
In the first example, an unidentified monk famed for his lectures on Buddhism
visits Mazu and asks him, “What is the teaching advocated by Chan masters?”, to
which Mazu posed a question in return: “What teaching do you uphold?” When
the learned monk replied that he had lectured on more that twenty scriptures
and treatises, Mazu exclaimed: “Are you not a lion (i.e., a Buddha)?” When the
monk declined the suggestion, Mazu huffed twice, prompting the monk to
comment: “This is the way to teach Chan.” When Mazu asked what he meant,
the monk replied: “It is the way the lion leaves the den.” When Mazu remained
silent, the monk interpreted it also as the way to teach Chan, commenting: “The
lion remains in the den.” When Mazu asked: “When there is neither leaving nor
remaining, what way would you say this was?”, the monk had no reply but bid
Mazu farewell. When the monk reached the door, Mazu called to him and he
4 Monks, Rulers, and Literati: the Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism (New York: Oxford Univeristy
Press, [2006: 69]).
immediately turned toward Mazu. Mazu again pressed him for a response, but
the monk still made no reply. Mazu yelled out: “What a stupid teacher!”5
The encounter dialogue here draws on a common trope of the Mazu faction
perspective, contrasting the Buddhist understanding of the learned exegete
against the penetrating insight of the Chan master. The example draws attention
to the typical way in which the Buddhist understanding of allegedly renowned
Buddhist exegetes is undermined, and revealed to be lacking the penetrating
insight of true awakening that Chan engenders. In a manner not uncommon in
encounter dialogues, the episode ends with the Chan master (Mazu) yelling out
his denunciation, “What a stupid teacher!” (which may be more colloquially
rendered: “You’re an idiot!”). Yelling and shouting in Chan––expressions of
spontaneous enlightened insight––displace the reasoned disputations of
exegetical discourse. Recourse to the trope of the renunciation of the learned
Buddhist exegete in Mazu’s discourses proves ironic in light of Yanshou’s
suggestion, considered in detail below, that Mazu himself epitomized in his
sermons the learned Buddhist exegesis that he is here criticizing.
A second example demonstrates that Mazu not only participated in shouting and
belittling techniques, but also fostered the physical denunciation practices that
Chan is renowned for. When a monk asked Mazu the common question intended
to test one’s Chan mettle: “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma coming from
the West?”, Mazu struck him, explaining, “If I do not strike you, people
throughout the country will laugh at me.”6
The above examples typify the way in which Mazu’s image as an iconoclast has
been received in the Chan and Zen traditions. This image is ubiquitous to the
point of being unchallengeable. It solidifies Mazu’s image as the progenitor of a
movement that came to represent an orthodox interpretation of Chan and Zen
enshrined in classic sources like the Jingde Chuandeng lu.
The “Lost” Fragments: Mazu as Sermonizing Exegete in the Zongjing lu
In spite of the rather tame, prosaic character of the teachings attributed to
Hongzhou 洪州 masters like Mazu in early sources, his reputation in the Chan
5 CDL 6 (T 51.246b). Following Chang Chung-yuan, trans. Original Teachings of Ch’an Buddhism (New
York: Vintage Books, [1971: 151-152]).
6 CDL 6 (T 51.246b). Following Chang Chung-yuan, trans. Original Teachings of Ch’an Buddhism, p. 150.
and Zen traditions affirms his central role as the progenitor of the iconoclastic
movement Chan and Zen are most noted for. Yongming Yanshou 永明延壽,
compiler of the Zongjing lu, acknowledged what must have been a growing trend
to interpret Mazu as an iconoclast, a trend that was already evident in the late
Tang critiques by the scholastic Chan protagonist, Zongmi 宗密.7 Yanshou
inherited Zongmi’s concerns, and the Zongjing lu was written, in part, to counter
this trend by proposing that Mazu’s teaching was not iconoclastic, but fully
compatible with doctrinal teachings.
This line of argument represents a significant change in our understanding of
Yanshou and his position in the development of Chan. Previously, when Mazu
was assumed to be the champion of radical, iconoclastic Chan, characterized by
an aggressive antinomian posturing, Yanshou’s characterization of Mazu was
deemed an anachronistic fancy, a wishful fantasy of who Yanshu would like
Mazu to be, but a far cry from who Mazu actually was. The discovery of the
Zutang ji in the twentieth century, coupled with a more nuanced text-critical
approach to the sources of Mazu’s teachings, have reshaped our understanding
of Mazu along the lines described above, and made us more aware of the forces
in the later Chan tradition that animated Mazu as champion of Chan iconoclasm.
This makes a reevaluation of Yanshou’s characterization of Mazu both timely
and significant. This is not to suggest that Yanshou’s depiction of Mazu is
unbiased, or lacking in motivations close to Yanshou’s own heart. It does suggest
that Yanshou’s characterization not be casually discarded as irrelevant, but be
entertained as a further piece in our understanding of Mazu and the pressures
influencing how he came to interpreted within the Chan community.
In the eyes of Yanshou, Mazu Daoyi and other Hongzhou faction masters were
like any other Chan master worthy of the name, relying on scripturally based
doctrinal teachings to promote Chan principles. On the basis of this, the
suggestion that the Mazu inspired Hongzhou faction stood for an interpretation
of Chan independent of the scriptures and doctrinally based Buddhist practices
was untenable. In order to demonstrate the effect of Yanshou’s portrayal, I
contrast fragments of Mazu’s teaching in the Zongjing lu against those recorded
in Chan transmission records that came to inform his image as an iconoclast.
7 See Jeffrey Broughton, Zongmi on Chan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009); Peter N.
Gregory, Tsung-mi and the Sinification of Buddhism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991); and
Jan Yün-hua 冉雲華. “Tsung-mi, His Analysis of Chan Buddhism,” T’oung Pao 58 (1972: 1-54).
Perhaps the most telling fragment is the fragment of Mazu’s teaching in the
Zongjing lu that contains a commentary on the meaning of the key Lankavatāra
sūtra passage: “Buddha taught that mind is the implicit truth (zong), and
‘gatelessness’ (wumen) is the dharma-gate.” Because of its length and for the sake
of comparison with other sources, I have broken the commentary into four
sections. The first three sections have no counterpart in either the Zutang ji or
Chuandeng lu 傳燈緣; they appear solely in the Zongjing lu.8
Why does [the Lankavatāra sūtra say] “Buddha taught that mind
is the implicit truth?” As for “Buddha taught that mind is the
implicit truth,” mind is Buddha. Because the words currently
[attributed to the Buddha] are mind-words (i.e., designations for
mind; xinyu), when it says, “Buddha taught that mind is the
implicit truth, and ‘gatelessness’ is the dharma-gate,” [it means
that] they understood the emptiness of the inherent nature [of
things] (benxing), on top of which there is not a single dharma.
Nature itself is the gateway. But because nature has no form and
also lacks a gateway to access it, [the sūtra] says “‘gatelessness’ is
the dharma-gate.” Why is it also known as the “gate of
emptiness (kongmen),” and as the “gate of physical forms”
(semen)? Emptiness refers to the emptiness of the dharma-nature;
physical forms refer to the physical forms of the dharma-nature.
Because the dharma-nature has no shape or form, it is referred to
as “empty.” Because the dharma-nature is known and seen in
everything without limit, it is referred to as “physical forms.”
8 The commentary is found in Zongjing lu 1 (T 49.418b16-c5).
Therefore, the scriptures say:9 “The physical forms of the
tathāgata are unlimited, and wisdom is also like this as well (i.e.,
unlimited).” Since the various dharmas occupy their respective
positions in accordance with the process of arising, they also
serve as inestimable gateways to samādhi. Distancing oneself far
from emotional attachments to what is known internally and
seen externally is referred to as the gateway to esoteric
techniques, on the one hand, and as the gateway to practices that
bestow blessings, on the other.10 It means that when one does not
think of the various dharmas as subjective or objective, as good
or evil, the various dharmas all become gateways to the
pāramitās. The Buddha comprised of a physical body (sesheng fo)
9 This line appears in both a gatha in the Da baoji jing 大寶積經 (Scriptures of the Great Treasure
Storehouse; T 11-310.673a7), and in Fazang’s 法藏 commentary to the Awakening of Faith, the Dacheng
qixinlun lunyi ji 大乘起信論義記 (T 44-1846.247a27-28), where it is attributed to the Shengman jing
10 The reference to “the gateway to esoteric techniques” (zongchi men 總持門) corresponds to “what is
known internally.” “Practices which bestow blessings” (shimen 施門) refer especially to the practice of
almsgiving, corresponding here to “what is seen externally.”
is the true form [of the Buddha] (shixiang) used by members of
the Buddhist faith.11The scriptures say:12
“The thirty-two distinctive marks and the
eighty distinctive bodily characteristics [of a Buddha] are all
products of imagination.”13
They (i.e., the scriptures) also refer to it (i.e., the Buddha’s
physical body) as the blazing house of the dharma-nature, or as
the meritorious deeds of the dharma-nature.14 When
bodhisattvas practice prajñā, the fire [of wisdom] incinerates
everything in the three realms [of desire, form and formlessness],
whether subjective or objective, but does not harm a single blade
of grass or leaf in the process. The reason is that the various
dharmas are forms existing in the state of suchness (ruxiang).15
That is why a scripture [Vimālakīrti sūtra] says: 16 “Do no harm to
11 Pan Guiming, the translator of selected sections of the Zongjing lu into modern Chinese (Zongjing lu,
Foguangshan, [1996: 36 & 39]), punctuates the text so as to make the last two characters of this
sentence, jiayong (literally, “house use,” or “used ‘in-house’”) the title of the scripture that follows, the
Jiayong jing 家用經. As there is no scripture bearing such a title, I have refrained from following this
suggestion, and have taken the cited scripture as an abbreviated reference to the Guan wuliangshou
jing 觀無量壽經 (see below).
12 An abbreviated citation from the Guan wuliangshou jing 觀無量壽經 (T 12.343a21-22).
13 The thirty-two distinctive marks and eighty distinctive bodily traits are auspicious signs
accompanying the physical attributes of a Buddha, distinguishing him from ordinary human beings.
A common list of the thirty-two distinctive marks are: flat soles; dharma-wheel insignia on the soles
of the feet; slender fingers; tender limbs; webbed fingers and toes; round heels; long legs; slender legs
like those of a deer; arms extending past the knees; a concealed penis; arm-span equal to the height of
the body; light radiating from the pores; curly body hair; golden body; light radiating from the body
ten feet in each direction; tender shins; legs; palms; shoulders; and neck of the same proportion;
swollen armpits; a dignified body like a lion; an erect body; full shoulders; forty teeth; firm, white
teeth; four white canine teeth; full cheeks like those of a lion; flavoured saliva; a long, slender tongue;
a beautiful voice; blue eyes; eyes resembling those of a bull; a bump between the eyes; and a bump on
top of the head. These are listed in Guan wuliangshou jing (T 12.343a); the list here is drawn from
Japanese-English Buddhist Dictionary: 255a (see also Nakamura: 472d-473d).
The eighty distinctive bodily traits represent similarly construed, finer details of a Buddha’s physical
appearance. They are discussed in fascicle 2 of the Dîrghâgama sûtra (Pali: Dîgha nikâya; C. Zhang ahan
jing 長阿含經 [T1.12b]; see Nakamura: 1103c-d, Japanese-English Buddhist Dictionary: 95b-96a).
14 The reference to the burning house is undoubtedly to the parable contained in the Lotus sūtra; given
the context, the reference to meritorious deeds is likely to the Lotus as well.
15 The term ruxiang 如相 (suchness) is common in Chinese Buddhism. It appears, for instance, in the
Weimo jing 維摩經 (Vimâlakîrti sûtra); T 14.547b22).
16 This phrase is found in Kumarajiva’s translation of the Vimâlakîrti sûtra (Weimo jing; T 14.540b24),
and appears in various Chinese Buddhist commentaries: Sengzhao’s 僧肇 Zhu Weimojie jing
注維摩詰經 (T 38.350a25); Zhiyi's 智顗 Weimo jing lueshu 維摩經略述, summarized by Zhanran 湛然 (T
38.619c17 & 668c15); Zhiyi's Jinguangming jing wenju 金光明經文句, recorded by Guanding 灌頂 (T
39.51a6); Guanding's Guanxin lun 觀心論 (T 46.588b27 & 599b18); and Jizang's Jingming xuanlun
淨名玄論 (T 38.847a22) and Weimo jing yishu 維摩經義疏 (T 38.940c1).
the physical body, and be in accord with the universal form
[underlying all phenomena] (yixiang).
”Since we now know that [our own] self-nature is Buddha, no
matter what the situation, whether walking, standing, sitting, or
lying down, there is not a single dharma that can be obtained.
And even though true suchness (zhenru) is not limited by any
name, there are no names that do not refer to it. This is why a
scripture [Lankavatāra sūtra] says: 17 “Wisdom is not obtained in
existence or non-existence.”18
Internally or externally, there is nothing to seek. Let your original
nature (benxing) reign free, but do not give reign to a “mind”
(xin) [that exists over and above] nature (xing). When a scripture
(the Lankavatāra sūtra) says: 19 “All the various deliberations give
17 A line from a verse in the Lengqie jing 楞伽經 (Lankavatāra sūtra; T 16.480a28, 480b1 & b3). What
follows in the sûtra is, in each case, the verse: “... and yet one gives rise to a mind of great
compassion.” The line also appears in Jizang’s (T 35.386b22) and Chengguan’s (eg., T 35.855a19)
commentaries on the Huayan jing 華嚴經; and Zongmi’s Da fangguang yuanjue xiuduoluo liaoyi jing
lueshu zhu 大方廣圓覺修多羅了義經略述註 (T 39.541b4).
18 The first thing to note here is that some lines from this section are also attributed to Qingyuan
Xingsi 青原行思. Zongjing lu 97: T 48.940b24-26 & 28. The teaching attributed to Qingyuan Xingsi
…is the true form [of the Buddha] (shixiang 實相) used by members of the Buddhist faith.
The scriptures say: “The thirty-two distinctive marks and the eighty distinctive bodily
characteristics [of a Buddha] are all products of imagination.” They (i.e., the scriptures) also
say (i.e., the Buddha’s physical body) is the blazing house of the dharma-nature, and also
the meritorious deeds of the dharma-nature….no matter what the situation, there is not a
single dharma that can be obtained.”
19 Lines from a verse in the Lengqie ching 楞伽經 (T 16.500b17). “Contents of the mind” (xinliang 心量)
is another name for “mind-only” (weixin 唯心) (Nakamura, Bukkyôgo daijiten 770a).
rise to [notions of] physical bodies; I say they are accumulations
of the mind (i.e., mind-only),” it refers to ‘mindless mind’ (wuxin
zhi xin, i.e., the mind of ‘no-mind’, or a mind of spontaneous
freedom) and ‘contentless contents’ (i.e., the contents of ‘nocontents’).
The ‘nameless’ is the true name.20 ‘Non-seeking’ is
The long commentary from Mazu, cited in sections 1 through 3 above, has no
counterpart in the Zutang ji or Chuandeng lu 傳燈緣. The only portion of the
commentary from the Zongjing lu recorded in the Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu is
the fragment cited below (section 4). The fragment is recorded in the Zongjing lu,
[According to Mazu Daoyi]:22
The scriptures say: “Those who seek the Dharma (fa) should not
seek anything.”23 There is no Buddha separate from mind; there
20 An allusion to passages regarding the nameless (wuming 無名) in the Daode jing
21 Zongjing lu 1; 418c5-10.
22 Although there is no attribution to Mazu by Yanshou in the Zongjing lu text, these lines clearly
correspond to the Mazu yulu 馬祖語緣 (X 69 2b22ff.; Iriya Yoshitaka 入矢義高, trans., Baso no goroku
馬祖の語録 (Kyoto: Zenbunka kenkyūjo, [1984: 19-21]), and other sources that record Mazu’s
teachings, the Jingde Chuandeng lu 景德傳燈緣 (T 51.246a9ff.), and the Tiansheng Guangdeng lu
天聖廣燈緣 (X 78.448c11ff.).
23 This is a common assertion found in Buddhist scriptures; see for example, the Weimo jing
(Vimālakīrti sūtra; T 14.546a25-26). “There is nothing to seek” is one of the four practices attributed to
Bodhidharma in the “Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practice” (Erru sixing lun 二入四行論).
In the Mazu yulu and Tiansheng Guangdeng lu this passage is not attributed to a scripture but to Mazu
himself. The Jingde Chuandeng lu concurs with the Zongjing lu in attributing the statement to a
is no mind separate from Buddha. Do not grasp good; do not
create evil.24 In both realms, the pure and the defiled, there is
nothing to depend on. Phenomena (fa) have no intrinsic nature.
The triple realm is simply [the manifestation of] mind (weixin).
The scriptures say: “Infinite existence and its myriad images bear
the seal of a single truth.”25 Whenever we see physical forms, we
are seeing mind. Mind is not mind of itself. Mind is mind
because of physical forms.26 Physical forms are not physical
forms of themselves. Physical forms are physical forms because
of mind. That is why the scriptures say: “To see physical forms is
to see mind.”27
The Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu versions are virtually identical, and read as
It [the Lankavatāra sūtra] also says: “Those who seek the Dharma
should not seek anything.”29 There is no Buddha separate from
24 The Mazu yulu and other sources have shewu 攝惡 (“reject evil”) for zuowu 作惡 (“create evil”).
25 This phrase, “Infinite existence and its myriad images bear the seal of a single truth,” is found in the
Chan apocryphal text, the Faju jing 法句經 (T 85.1435a23), cited by Chengguan 澄觀 in his
commentary on the Huayan jing (T 36.60c28-29 & 586b6-7). Elsewhere in the commentary (T
36.301b16-17), Chengguan attributes the phrase to a Prajňāparāmita source.
26 This is where the Mazu yulu and other sources end. I have attributed the following lines to Mazu,
however, as best fitting the context of the Zongjing lu.
27 The phrase is reminiscent of general Māhayāna teaching. With slight variation, it appears in the
Panro xinjing zhujie 般若心經註解 (Commentary on the Heart Sūtra) by Patriarch Dadian 大顛祖師 (X
26-573.949a1), suggesting that the phrase is an extrapolation of Heart Sūtra teaching (see T 8-
28 Save for the character xin 心 at the end of the Zutang ji passage, which the Chuandeng lu lacks, the
two versions are identical.
29 As noted above, this is a common assertion found in Buddhist scriptures; see for example, the
Weimo jing (Vimālakīrti sūtra; T 14.546a25-26). “There is nothing to seek” is one of the four practices
attributed to Bodhidharma in the “Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practice” (Erru sixing lun).
Here it appears to be attributed to the Lankavatāra sūtra.
mind; there is no mind separate from Buddha. Do not grasp
good; do not reject evil.30 In both realms, the pure and the
defiled, there is nothing to depend on. Sinfulness, by nature, is
empty; passing thoughts are incapable of [committing sins]
because they have no intrinsic nature of their own. Therefore, the
triple realm is simply [the manifestation of] mind (weixin).
Infinite existence and its myriad images bear the seal of a single
truth.31 Whenever we see physical forms, we are seeing mind.
Mind is not mind of itself; the existence of mind depends on
physical forms.32(Zutang ji 14; ZBK ed. 514.8-13 & Chuandeng lu 6; T 51.246a9-14)
The Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu, in effect, skip the long exegetical commentary
attributed to Mazu in the Zongjing lu, cited in sections 1 through 3 above, and go
directly to a second scripture quotation, which they attribute, by inference, to the
Lankavatāra sūtra. Even here, where the Zongjing lu punctuates Mazu’s comments
with citations from scriptures to verify the accuracy of his interpretation
(concurring with Yanshou’s own stipulated methodology for revealing zong, the
implicit truth), the Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu simply cite the Lankavatāra briefly
and attribute the rest of the passage to Mazu himself. This effectively makes
Mazu the authority, not the scriptures. Ishii Kôsei has suggested that the role of
the Lankavâtara sūtra in Mazu’s teachings lessens from the Zongjing lu to the
Zutang ji to the Chuandeng lu.33 The omission of the long commentary attributed
to Mazu in the Zongjing lu only reinforces this point. In the Zongjing lu, Mazu is
depicted as a traditional Buddhist master, whose intimate knowledge of the
scriptures and interpretive acumen are readily apparent. The presentation of
30 See n. 28 above.
31 As noted above, this phrase, “Infinite existence and its myriad images bear the seal of a single
truth,” is found in the Chan apocryphal text, the Faju jing (T 85.1435a23), cited by Chengguan in his
commentary on the Huayan jing (T 36.60c28-29 & 586b6-7). While Yanshou acknowledges its
scriptural origin, the Chuandeng lu and other sources portray it as Mazu’s own declaration.
32 This is where the Mazu yulu ends. I have attributed the following lines to Mazu, however, as best
fitting the context of the Zongjing lu.
33 Ishii Kôsei 石井公成, “Baso ni okeru Ranka kyō, Ninyū sigyō ron no iyō”
馬祖における『楞伽経』『二入四行論』の依用, Komazawa tanki daigaku ronshū 11 (2005: 112-114).
Mazu as a Buddhist exegete conflicted strongly with the aims of later Chan
lineage advocates. The latter shaped Mazu’s image so as to minimize Mazu’s
scripture-friendly persona and exegetical tendencies.
In addition, one other item of note is the substitution of the character she 捨 (to
reject) in the Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu in place of the character zuo 作 (to create)
in the Zongjng lu version. This changes the Zongjing lu line: “Do not grasp good;
do not create evil” (不取善不作惡) to read “Do not grasp good; do not reject evil
(不取善不捨惡)” in the Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu versions. The Zutang ji and
Chuandeng lu versions were eventually standardized in the Mazu yulu 馬祖語緣.
This small alteration effectively changes Mazu from advocating a conventional
Buddhist morality, “do not create evil” into an advocate of an antinomian Chan,
“do not reject evil,” that has transcended the limitations of a moral dualism
(good versus evil).
The Mazu yulu also incorporates the passages cited above from the Zutang ji and
Chuandeng lu. The placement of the fragments occupies a prominent place In the
Mazu yulu, the first sermon following the opening biographical section.34 The
fragments thus constitute the first teachings of Mazu that readers of the yulu are
introduced to. Not surprisingly, the long Zongjing lu commentary is omitted from
the Mazu yulu. As a result of this editing process, Yanshou’s view of Mazu as
scriptural exegete was effectively removed from historical memory.35 As
Yanshou was marginalized from the ranks of “true” Chan, his characterization of
Mazu was similarly ignored.
In other words, the Zongjing lu fragments relating to Mazu Daoyi not only
augment the source material that we have attributed to Mazu, they also
dramatically challenge the way he has normally been depicted as the instigator of
the iconoclastic, antinomian style of Chan promoted in Linji faction rhetoric.
As seen above, Yanshou’s depiction of Mazu is built around fragments of
sermons that are not recorded elsewhere, and as a result, did not make it into the
34 The Zutang ji and Chuandeng lu fragments are found at Mazu yulu, X 69-1321.2b19-c1 & GDL X 78-
1553.448c8-15; Iriya Yoshitaka, Baso goroku, pp. 17-23.
35 The Zongjing lu commentary is included among the appended supplementary materials not
contained in the original Mazu yulu, in Iriya Yoshitaka’s modern Japanese edition of the Mazu yulu,
Baso goroku, pp. 193-197.
Mazu yulu (The Dialogue Records of Mazu), the standardized record of Mazu’s
teachings. There is one other major fragment of Mazu’s teaching recorded in the
Zongjing lu that augments and challenges the conventional image of Mazu
derived from his existing yulu. It reads as follows.
來去。亦無起滅。所經行處。 及自家父母眷屬等。 今所見者。由昔時
As the great master Mazu says: “If you apply this passage from
the scriptures to your own circumstances––your own family,
land holdings, and domicile, your father and mother, older and
younger brothers, and so on––and consider how to view mind,
this mind never goes away. You cannot say mind passes away as
a result of observing [your own] objective circumstances. The
mind-nature never comes or goes, nor does it rise or perish.
When the passage from the scriptures is viewed in terms of the
current [situation] as it applies to your own family, your father
and mother, dependents, and so on, all of these are recollections
lodged in the mind, contained in the eighth alaya-consciousness,
as the result of past views. It is not that the mind [generated by]
present [circumstances] goes away. It is known both as seed
consciousness and alaya-consciousness. When the stored-up
accumulations of the past appear, the consciousness-nature
reveals an illusory existence. Thoughts [currently] manifesting
themselves are known as the consciousness derived from past
[karmic accumulations]. It is also known as the pouring out of
birth and death (i.e., samsara). Since these thoughts are naturally
separate [from the original mind-nature], there is no need to
extinguish them. When you extinguish the mind, it is known as
eliminating the seeds of Buddha-nature.36 This mind is
fundamentally the essence of true suchness, the very profound
womb of the tathagata, and yet it complements the [other] seven
consciousnesses.” (Zongjing lu 49 ; T 48.707b16-26)
This passage is not attributed to Mazu in any other source. It is obviously
intended to link Mazu to scriptural and doctrinal teachings, especially the
Lankavatāra sūtra and the Weishi/Consciousness-Only School. The preceding
passage in the Zongjing lu cites/paraphrases passages from the classic work of
the Weishi School, the Cheng weishi lun 成唯識論.37 Mazu’s remarks are intended
as a commentary on these passages. The dependence on standard doctrinal
formulations (like alaya-consciousness, which is nowhere mentioned in other
sources for Mazu’s teachings) stands in contrast to the way Mazu is depicted in
other sources. It emphasizes Yanshou’s view of Mazu as an expert in doctrine
who readily applies his expertise in scriptural exegesis.
Contested Chan Identities: A Separate Transmission Outside the Teaching vs.
Reliance on the Scriptures
The competing images of Mazu Daoyi, as prototypical Chan iconoclast and as
dedicated Buddhist exegete, are not unique but are part of a larger struggle over
Chan identity as it emerged from the Five Dynasties period and entered the new
Song milieu.38 Although the debate was not always as reducible as is often
supposed, the contest boiled down to two competing views over Chan identity:
as a “separate transmission outside the teaching (i.e., scriptures)” (jiaowai
biechuan 教外別傳) or a “special transmission within the teaching” (jiaozhong
techuan 教中特傳).39 With the predominate interpretation of Chan ceded to
36 Reading 斷佛性種 for 斷佛種性.
37 T 31-1585.
38 I have written elsewhere of these developments, in The Political Ascendancy of Chan Buddhism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006) and The Linji lu and the Creation of Chan Orthodoxy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008).
39 Unlike jiaowai biechuan, jiaozhong techuan is not a phrase used in the tradition itself, but is a phrase I
have coined to represent the contrasting view. For a fuller exposition see Welter, Scholastic as Chan
Master: Yongming Yanshou’s Conception of Chan in the Zongjing lu, A Special Transmission within the
Linji/Rinzai orthodoxy, Yanshou’s position has never really been given the
consideration it is due. The position embedded in the Chan fragments in the
Zongjing lu have remained “lost” in the fog of orthodoxy and not examined in
light of a viable alternative on the nature of Chan identity in the early Song. The
restored Zongjing lu fragments tell a different story of the Chan tradition, where
the teachings of legitimate masters concur with the messages conveyed in
scriptural teachings. In this interpretation, Mazu Daoyi is no longer the iconoclast
depicted in encounter dialogues, but a sermonizing exegete who expounds Chan
teachings through commentaries on well known scriptural passages in a highly
In conclusion, this study of the “lost” fragments of Mazu Daoyi in the Zongjing lu
has two aspects or dimensions. On the one hand, Yanshou’s interpretation of
Mazu in the zongjing lu has implications for our understanding of the Chan
tradition. By imagining Mazu as a prosaic sermonizer and exegete, the Zongjing
lu challenges the received interpretation of Mazu in “encounter dialogues” and
his place as a progenitor of the interpretation of Chan as a “separate
transmission.” In short, it challenges the image of “true” Chan promoted in
orthodox sources. Secondly, the study points to the importance of the Zongjing lu
for study of Chan. The Chan fragments in the Zongjing lu challenge the orthodox
interpretation of the Linji/Rinzai School, replacing the interpretation of Chan as
“a separate transmission outside the scriptures” with a different message of a
scripture reliant Chan as a “special transmission within the scriptures”
"The Mind Is the Buddha"
(From The Transmission of the Lamp, Chüan 6)
Original Teachings of Ch'an Buddhism. Translated by Chang Chung-yuan. New York: Random House, 1969. pp. 148-152.
CH' AN Master Tao-i * of Kiangsi was a native of Shih-fang in
the district of Han-chou.3 His original surname was Ma. In
appearance and bearing he was most striking. He glared as
a tiger does and ambled like a cow. He could touch his nose with his
tongue, and on the soles of his feet were wheel-shaped marks.4 As
a child he went to Tzu-chou and had his head shaved by Master
Tang. Subsequently he was ordained by the Vinaya master Yüan
* Popularly known in both Eastern and Western literature as Ma-tsu,
which means Patriarch Ma.
During the period of K'ai-yüan [713-741] he studied the dhyana
in the Monastery of Ch'uan-fa on Heng Mountain.6 It was there
that he studied under Master Huai-jang, who then had nine disciples.
Of these only Tao-i received the sacred mind-seal.7
Later he moved from Fu-chi-ling of Chien-yang8 to Lin-ch'uan,9
and then to the Kung-kung Mountain in Nan-k'ang.10 In the middle
of the Ta-li period [766-779], while he was in the Monastery of
K'ai-yüan, the Governor of Lu Szu-kung heard of him and admired
his spirit and teachings so deeply that he came to receive the
Dharma personally from him. From that time on disciples traveled
from all parts of the country to study under the Master.
One day the Master spoke to his assembly as follows: "All of you
should realize that your own mind is Buddha, that is, this mind is
Buddha's Mind. The great master Bodhidharma came from India
to China to transmit the Mahayana Buddhist doctrine of the One
Mind in order to enlighten us all. He used the texts of the Lankavatara
Sutra to prove the presence of the Mind in all beings. He
thought that people might become confused and cease believing
that within each of them this mind is innate. Therefore he quoted
the Lankavatara: 'Buddha teaches that the Mind is the source of all
existence, and that the method of Dharma is no-method.'"
The Master continued: "Those who seek for the Truth should
realize that there is nothing to seek. There is no Buddha but Mind;
there is no Mind but Buddha. Do not choose what is good, nor
reject what is evil, but rather be free from purity and defilement.
Then you will realize the emptiness of sin. Thoughts perpetually
change and cannot be grasped because they possess no self-nature.
The Triple World is nothing more than one's mind. The multitudinous
universe is nothing but the testimony of one Dharma.
What are seen as forms are the reflections of the mind. The mind
does not exist by itself; its existence is manifested through forms.
Whenever you speak about Mind you must realize that appearance
and reality are perfectly interfused without impediment. This is
what the achievement of bodhi is. That which is produced by Mind
is called form. When you understand that forms are non-existent,
then that which is birth is also no-birth. If you are aware of this
mind, you will dress, eat, and act spontaneously in life as it transpires,
and thereby cultivate your spiritual nature. There is nothing
more that I can teach you. Please listen to my gatha:
Anytime you wish to speak about Mind, speak!
In this way, bodhi is tranquil.
When appearance and reality are perfectly interfused without impediment,
Birth is simultaneously no-birth.
A monk asked why the Master maintained, "The Mind is the
Buddha." The Master answered, "Because I want to stop the crying
of a baby." The monk persisted, "When the crying has stopped,
what is it then?" "Not Mind, not Buddha," was the answer. "How
do you teach a man who does not uphold either of these?" The
Master said, "I would tell him, 'Not things.'" The monk again
questioned, "If you met a man free from attachment to all things,
what would you tell him?" The Master replied, "I would let him
experience the Great Tao."
Another time a monk asked, "What was the meaning of Bodhidharma
coming from the West?" "What is the meaning [of your
asking] at this moment?" replied the Master.
A lay disciple, P'ang Yün, asked, "How is it possible that water
without muscle or bones supports a vessel of ten thousand tons?"
The Master replied, "There is neither water nor a vessel. Why are
you talking about muscle and bone?"
One day the Master came to the assembly and kept silent for
quite a while.11 Po-chang rolled up the mat in front of his seat.
Thereupon the Master left the assembly hall.
Po-chang once asked, "What is the meaning of Buddha's teaching?"
The Master replied, "It is that upon which your life depends."
When Po-chang was asked by the Master how he would
teach Ch'an, he held up the fu-tzu. The Master further asked, "Is
that all? Anything further?" Thereupon Po-chang put down the
On another occasion a monk asked, "What can I do to be in
accord with Tao?" The Master answered, "I have not been in accord
A monk asked, "What is the meaning of Bodhidharma coming
from the West?" The Master struck him, saying, "If I do not strike
you, people all over the country will laugh at me."
After traveling far on foot a disciple returned to the Master and
drew a circle on the ground in front of him. Then he stepped into
the circle, made a bow, and stood quite still. The Master asked him,
"Do you intend to be a Buddha?" "I do not know how to press my
eyes."12 The Master answered, "I am not as good as you are." The
disciple made no further remark.
Têng Yin-fêng, another disciple, came to bid the Master goodbye.
The Master asked him where he was going. He said that he was
going to see Shih-t'ou [Master Hsi-ch'ien; shih-t'ou means "stone"].
Ma-tsu said, "Shih-t'ou is slippery." Têng Yin-fêng answered, "I am
fully equipped with juggling instruments13 which I can play with at
any time." When he arrived at his destination he walked around
the seat of Master Shih-t'ou once, shook his stick, and demanded,
"What does this mean?'' Shih-t'ou exclaimed, "Good heavens!
Good heavens!" Têng Yin-fêng said nothing more, but returned
home and reported this to Master Ma-tsu. The Master told him
that he should go back to see Shih-t'ou and, if he should say "Good
Heavens!" again, then Têng Yin-fêng should puff and whisper
twice. Têng Yin-fêng returned to Shih-t'ou. He repeated what he
had done before and asked again, "What does this mean?'' Whereupon
Shih-t' ou puffed and whispered twice. Têng Yin-fêng again
took his departure without further words. He reported the incident
to Ma-tsu, who said he had already warned him that Shih-t'ou was
A monk once drew four lines in front of Ma-tsu. The top line
was long and the remaining three were short. He then demanded of
the Master, "Besides saying that one line is long and the other
three are short, what else could you say?" Ma-tsu thereupon drew
one line on the ground and said, "This could be called either long
or short. That is my answer."
A monk who lectured on Buddhism14 came to the Master and
asked, "What is the teaching advocated by the Ch'an masters?"
Ma-tsu posed a counterquestion: "What teachings do you maintain?''
The monk replied that he had lectured on more than twenty
sutras and sastras. The Master exclaimed, "Are you not a lion?"16
The monk said, "I do not venture to say that." The Master puffed
twice and the monk commented, "This is the way to teach Ch'an."
Ma-tsu retorted, "What way do you mean?'' and the monk said,
"The way the lion leaves the den." The Master became silent. Immediately
the monk remarked, "This is also the way of Ch'an teaching."
At this the Master again asked, "What way do you mean?''
"The lion remains in his den." "When there is neither going out
nor remaining in, what way would you say this was?" The monk
made no answer but bid the Master good-bye. When he reached
the door the Master called to him and he immediately turned his
head. The Master said to him, "Then what is it?" The monk again
made no answer. "What a stupid teacher this is!" the Master cried
The Governor of Hung-chou asked, "Master, should I eat meat
and drink wine or should I not?" The Master replied, "To eat and
drink is your blessing. Not to do it is also a blessing."
There were one hundred and thirty-nine disciples who received
the Dharma from the Master and every one of them became a
Ch'an leader in the district where he taught. Their teachings were
transmitted from generation to generation. In the middle of the
first month of the fourth year of the period of Chên-yüan  the
Master climbed the Stone Gate Mountain in Chien-ch'ang, and as
he was passing through the forest, he saw some level ground in the
valley. He told his followers that his body would be buried in that
ground in the following month. On the fourth day of the following
month, he fell ill. Thereupon he bathed, and sitting cross-legged in
silence, he died. In the middle of the Yüan-ho period [806-820] the
posthumous title Ch'an Master of the Great Silence was bestowed
upon him. His pagoda is called the Pagoda of Splendid Reverence.
3· Now Kung-han, northwest of Ch'eng-tu in Szechwan Province.
4· The long tongue and the wheel-shaped marks are among the thirty two
characteristics ascribed to a Buddha.
5· Now the town of Pahsien, in Szechwan.
6. One of the famous five sacred Buddhist mountains of China, located
north of Hengyang, Hunan Province.
7· The truth of Buddha, transmitted from master to enlightened disciple,
is spoken of among Ch'annists, symbolically, as the mind-seal.
8. Northwest of Ch'ien-ou (Kienow) in Fukien Province.
9· Southwest of Nan-ch'ang in Kiangsi Province.
10. Southwest of Kanchow in Kiangsi Province.
11. Liang chiu commonly means "for a good while," but in the monastic
tradition it means keeping silence for quite some time.
12. "To press the eyes" means to create illusion.
13. The original meaning of kan-mu is bamboo poles and wooden sticks.
In this context it means the instruments used by jugglers.
14. Abbot Liang from Szechwan, who had received his enlightenment
under Ma-tsu. When he left he said: "All that I have learned previously has
just melted away." He stayed thereafter in the Western Mountain of Hungchou
and never lectured again.
15. The lion, as king of the beasts and free from all fear, is often a
symbol of Buddha.
Encounter Dialogues and Discourses of Mazu Daoyi
compiled by Satyavayu of Touching Earth Sangha
DOC: Treasury of the Forest of Ancestors
Great Master Mazu Daoyi came from Hanzhou, near Chengdu city, in the far western province of Sichuan. He entered monastic life in his teens and studied first with Master Chuji, a prominent teacher of Zen in Sichuan. Chuji was a disciple of Master Zishen, who had studied with Master Hongren of the East Mountain School at Huangmei. The young Daoyi most likely also studied with, or at least knew, the prominent Sichuan Zen teacher Wuxiang (originally from Korea), who was an older disciple of Chuji.
Daoyi received full ordination at age twenty in his home province, and not long after he traveled to the east to meet other teachers. He first stayed at Bright Moon Mountain in Jingzhou (in present Hubei province) where he focused on meditation. Continuing his pilgrimage, he traveled south to the Heng Mountain region in Hunan and settled on South Peak. There he met Master Nanyue Huairang and became his disciple.
After several years practicing with Master Nanyue, and likely meeting Master Shitou, Daoyi left South Peak and headed east. He first settled at Buddha Footprint Grotto in Jianyang (Fujian province) and began to teach. As his family name was “Ma,” he was soon known as Master Ma, and later as Mazu (Ancestor Ma).
A monk asked, “What is the essential meaning of the Buddhadharma?”
Master Ma said, “What is the meaning of this moment?”
Master Nanyue, upon hearing that his student Daoyi had begun to teach, sent a monk to the young Master Ma's place, instructing him to wait for the master to give a talk in the Teaching Hall, and then to simply ask him, “How is it?” and bring back the response.
The monk did as he was asked, and after returning reported, “Master Ma said, 'Since leaving confusion behind many years ago, there has never been a lack of salt and soy sauce.'”
Master Nanyue approved.
The monk Huihai was among the earliest of Mazu's students who would later come to prominence as a teacher. When he first came to see Master Ma, the master asked him, “Where are you coming from?”
Huihai said, “From Great Cloud Monastery in Yuezhou.”
The master asked, “What is you intention in coming here?”
Huihai said, “I have come here to seek the teaching of Awakening.”
The master said, “Without looking at your own treasure, for what purpose are you leaving your home and wandering around? Here I do not have a single thing. What teaching are you looking for?”
Huihai bowed and asked, “What is my own treasure?”
The master said, “That which is asking me right now is your own treasure – perfectly complete, it lacks nothing. You are free to use it, why are you seeking outside?”
Upon hearing this, Huihai realized the original mind without relying on knowledge and understanding. He stayed with the master as his disciple for six years.
Later he returned to Yuezhou to care for his original teacher who was aging. When Master Ma saw his writings he said to the community, “In Yuezhou there is a great pearl; its brilliance shines freely without obstruction.” Thereafter Huihai was known as “Dazhu” (Great Pearl).
After some time Master Ma left Fujian and moved west into Jiangxi, first teaching at Xili Mountain in Linchuan (Riverview). There he met his future disciple Huizang:
One day a hunter, who disliked monks, passed by Master Ma's hermitage as he was chasing a herd of deer. The master greeted him. The hunter asked, “Has the Venerable seen a herd of deer passing by?
The master asked, “Who are you?”
“I'm a hunter.”
“Do you know how to shoot?”
“Yes, I know.”
“How many deer can you shoot with a single arrow?”
“With a single arrow I can shoot only one.”
“You don't know how to shoot.”
“Does the Venerable know how to shoot?”
“Yes, I know.”
“How many can the Venerable shoot with a single arrow?”
“With a single arrow I can shoot the whole herd.”
The hunter paused and then said, “They all possess life; why shoot the whole herd?”
The master said, “If you know that, then why don't you shoot yourself?”
After another pause the hunter replied, “You ask me to shoot myself...I can't do that.”
The master said, “Ah, this person. All his ignorance and defilements accumulated over vast ages have today suddenly come to an end.” At that point the hunter set down his bow and arrows and cut off his hair with a knife. He was ordained as the monk Huizang with Master Ma, and went to work in the monastery kitchen. Eventually he became a teacher at Mt. Shigong.
After teaching at Linchuan for several years, Mazu moved south and headed a monastery on Gonggong Mountain in Qianzhou. There his reputation began to spread and he attracted many students including the future masters Baizhang Huaihai, Yanguan Qi'an, and Xitang Zhizang as well as the local official Pei Xu who became an important supporter and patron.
Finally Master Ma, leaving the center at Gonggong Mountain in the hands of his disciple Zhizang, moved north to Hongzhou City (present day Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi) with the rest of his senior students, when he was appointed abbot of a prominent monastery there. This monastery had recently been renamed Open Source (Kaiyuan) by Emperor Xuanzong, and was included as part of a network of state sponsored monasteries of the same name. (Today it's known as Youmin Monastery). Here in Hongzhou Master Ma spent the last twenty years of his life teaching a large number of students. The new disciples joining him here included the future masters Nanquan Puyuan, Fenzhou Wuye, and Guizong Zhichang. Master Ma became the most famous Zen Master of his era, and the network of his students, known as the “Hongzhou School”, emerged as the most prominent force in the Tang dynasty Zen movement.
The monk Wuye came to visit Master Ma and said, “I have studied the Three Vehicles and have been able to roughly understand their meaning. But when I've heard about the teaching of the Zen school that 'mind is Buddha' – this is something that I have not yet been able to understand.”
Master Ma said, “This very mind that does not understand is it. There is no other thing.”
Wuye asked further, “What is the mind-seal that Bodhidharma has secretly transmitted from India?”
Master Ma said, “The venerable sounds rather disturbed right now. Go and come back another time.”
As Wuye was just about to step out, the master called him, “Venerable!” Wuye turned his head and the master asked, “What is it?” On hearing this Wuye experienced an awakening. He bowed to the master, who said, “This stupid fellow! What is this bowing all about?”
One day Master Ma sent out a messenger with a letter to Master Jingshan Daoqin (of the Oxhead School) in Hangzhou. In the letter was a single circle. Daoqin made one horizontal stroke within the circle, sealed the envelope again and sent it back. When Master Nanyang heard about this he said, “Teacher Daoqin is still misled by Master Ma.”
The monk Huaihai once asked the master, “What is the essential import of this school?”
The master said, “It's just the place where you let go of your body and life.”
One evening the monks Zhizang, Huaihai, and Puyuan were out viewing the moon with Master Ma. The master asked them, “At just this moment, what is it?”
Zhizang said, “A perfect offering.”
Huaihai said, “Perfect Practice.”
Puyuan shook his sleeves and walked away.
The master said, “The sutras enter the treasury (zang); Zen returns to the ocean (hai); only the universal vow (puyuan) goes beyond things.”
Making offerings, cultivating practice, shaking his sleeves and leaving;
these three people are just right to complete one full moon. (EK 1, 13)
Toward the end of his life Master Ma left Open Source Monastery to live at Writing Pool Temple on the quiet and secluded Stone Gate Mountain. When he became ill, the temple director came to check on him and asked, “How is the master's health today?”
The master said, “Sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha.”
* * *
You who seek understanding should not seek anything. Outside of this mind there is no other essential nature. Outside of essential nature there is no other mind. If you stop chasing what you desire and pushing away what you don't want, you can begin to see the empty nature of transgressions, you can understand that nothing is attained though laborious thinking, and you can realize that there is no separate substance of “self” – all the realms of the world are simply one mind. The myriad forms of the entire universe are the seal of the single truth. Whatever forms are seen, are just the seeing of the mind...whatever speech you make it is just phenomena which are the expression of the ultimate principle. Each matter you encounter constitutes the meaning of your existence, and all your actions manifest without hindrance, as does the fruit of the Way of Awakening...Realizing this, one acts according to circumstances – just wearing clothes, eating food, and naturally upholding the practice of a compassionate awakening being. If one practices like this, is there anything more to be done?
The Way needs no cultivation, just don't create defilement. What is defilement? When, with a mind clinging to birth and death, one acts in a contrived way, then everything becomes defilement. If you want to know the Way directly – ordinary mind is the Way! What is meant by ordinary mind? No contrived behavior, no clinging to ideas of right and wrong, no grasping or rejecting, free of “temporary” or “permanent,” free of “worldly” or “sacred.” The Vimalakirti Sutra says, “Neither the practice of ordinary people, nor the practice of sages; that is the bodhisattva's practice.” Just now, whether walking, standing, sitting, or lying down – responding to situations and dealing with people as they come – everything is the Way.
The myriad phenomena are all born from the mind; the mind is the root of the myriad phenomena...if you realize this teaching then you are always free...The original source and the myriad phenomena are not different – everything is wonderful function and there is no other principle. All comes from mind...weather constructing or sweeping away, all is sublime function; all is oneself. There is no place to stand where one leaves the truth. The very place one stands on is the truth – it is all one's own being. If that were not so, then who is this?
Walking, standing, sitting, or lying down – everything is always the inconceivable function of suchness...like a cloud in the sky that suddenly appears and then vanishes without a trace, like writing with your finger on water – not being able to establish being born or dying – that is the “great Nnrvana.”
Conditioned life is the functioning display of the unconditioned. The unconditioned is the essential nature of conditioned life...The mind can be spoken of as the realm of birth and death or as the realm of suchness. The mind as suchness is like a clear mirror that reflects various images...if the mind grasps at phenomena, at these images, then it becomes caught in causes and conditions, which is the meaning of birth-and-death. If the mind does not grasp at phenomena, then it is called “suchness.”
Although original nature is free from the limits of the particular, it manifests a function of infinite variety. When appearing as delusion, it's called usual, worldly consciousness; when appearing as awakened clarity, it's called wisdom. Realizing the essence is awakening; chasing after phenomena is delusion. Delusion is to be unaware of one's original mind; awakening is to become aware of original nature. When awakened, one is awakened beyond time, and there is no more delusion. It's like when the sun comes out, and all darkness disappears.
It is in contrast to ignorance that one speaks of awakening. Since essentially there is no ignorance, awakening doesn't need to be established either. All living beings, have, since beginningless time, been abiding in the consciousness of truth-nature. In the consciousness of truth-nature they wear their cloths, eat their food, talk, and respond to things...Because of not knowing how to return to the source, they follow names and seek after forms. This gives rise to confused emotions and delusions, creating all kinds of karma. If one is able in a single moment to illuminate the essence, then everything is revealed as the sacred heart..
Self-nature is originally complete. If you are no longer hindered by ideas of good and evil, then you are one who practices the Way. Chasing after benefits and rejecting the unattractive, philosophizing about “emptiness” and pursuing special blissful states, all of these are simply worldly, deluded activity. If you seek outside, you move away form it. Just put an end to all mental struggling and figuring...when you no longer grasp a single thought, then the root of birth-and-death is dissolved, and the unexcelled treasury (of the Dharma King) is revealed.
Based on translations by Cheng Chien Bhikshu (Mario Poceski) and Andy Ferguson of The Record of Mazu (Jiangxi Mazu Daoyi Chanshi Yulu, c.1085) which drew material from the earlier Ancestral Hall Collection (Zu Tang Ji, of 952) and the Jingde Era Transmission of the Lamp (Jingde Chuan Deng Lu, of 1004).
Chapter V. In: The Golden Age of Zen
by John C. H. Wu
Taipei : The National War College in co-operation with The Committee on the Compilation of the Chinese Library, 1967, pp. 91-108.
Ma-tsu Tao-i (709-788) was the most important figure in the history of Ch’an after the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng. The fact that he has been called since his death “Ma-tsu,” literally “Patriarch Ma,” is an eloquent testimony to the veneration that all students of Ch’an have held for him. It is well-known that the transmission of the Patriarchal Robe had ceased once for all after Hui-neng, and that there were to be no more Patriarchs in the School of Ch’an. The name “Ma-tsu” must therefore have originated by a sort of popular acclaim. But what makes the name doubly exceptional is that “Ma” was the name of his family. Ma-tsu is a rare instance where a Buddhist monk has been called by his family name.
Probably, a legend contributed in no small degree toward the retaining of the family name. It is said that after the enlightenment of Huai-jang, who was to become the master of Ma-tsu, the Sixth Patriarch had confided a secret to him: “In India, Prajnatara (the Twenty-seventh Indian Patriarch) had predicted that under your feet will come forth a spirited young horse who will trample the whole world.” As the Chinese word for “horse” is “ma,” which happened to be the family name of Ma-tsu, and since Ma-tsu was the only outstanding disciple of Huai-jang, it is only natural that later writers should have interpreted the prophecy as referring to Ma-tsu. And if we are to judge a tree by its fruits, we cannot but admit that Ma-tsu must have been a man of destiny.
A native of Hanchow in what is now Cheng-tu, Szechwan, he joined a local monastery in his childhood. Before he was twenty, he was already a professed monk. After his profession, he went to the Nan-yüeh Mountain, where he practiced by himself sitting-in-meditation. At that time Huai-jang was the Abbot of the Prajna Temple on Nan-yüeh Mountain. Seeing Ma-tsu, he recognized him by intuition as a vessel of the Dharma. So he visited him in his cell, asking, “In practicing sitting-in-meditation, what does Your Reverence aspire to attain?” “To attain Buddhahood!” was the answer. Huai-jang then took up a piece of brick and began to grind it against a rock in front of Ma-tsu’s cell. After some moments Ma-tsu became curious and asked, “What are you grinding it for?” “I want to grind it into a mirror,” Huai-jang replied. Greatly amused, Ma-tsu said, “How can you hope to grind a piece of brick into a mirror?” Huai-jang fired back, “Since a piece of brick cannot be ground into a mirror, how then can you sit yourself into a Buddha?” “What must I do then?” Matsu inquired. Huai-jang replied, “Take the case of an ox-cart. If the cart does not move, do you whip the cart, or do you whip the ox?” Ma-tsu remained silent. “In learning sitting-in-meditation,” Hui-jang resumed, “do you aspire to learn the sitting Ch’an, or do you aspire to imitate the sitting Buddha? If the former, Ch’an does not consist in sitting or in lying down. If the latter, the Buddha has no fixed postures. The Dharma goes on forever, and never abides in anything. You must not therefore be attached to nor abandon, any particular phase of it. To sit yourself into Buddha is to kill the Buddha. To be attached to the sitting posture is to fail to comprehend the essential principle.” When Matsu heard these instructions, he felt as though he were drinking the most exquisite nectar. After doing obeisance to the master according to the rites, he further asked, “How must one apply one’s mind to be attuned to the formless Samadhi?” The master said, “When you cultivate the way of interior wisdom, it is like sowing seed. When I expound to you the essentials of the Dharma, it is like the showers from Heaven. As you are happily conditioned to receive the teaching, you are destined to see the Tao.” Ma-tsu again asked, “Since the Tao is beyond color and form, how can it be seen?” The master said, “The Dharma-eye of your interior spirit is capable of perceiving the Tao. So it is with the formless Samadhi.” “Is there still making and unmaking?” Ma-tsu asked. To this the master replied, “If one sees the Tao from the standpoint of making and unmaking or gathering and scattering, one does not really see the Tao. Listen to my gatha:
The ground of the Mind contains many seeds.
Which will all sprout when heavenly showers come.
The flower of Samadhi is beyond color and form:
How can there be any more mutability?
At this point Ma-tsu was truly enlightened, his mind being transcended from the world of phenomena. He attended upon his master for full ten years. During this period, he delved deeper and deeper into the inner treasury of mystical truth. It is said that of six outstanding disciples of Huai-jang, Ma-tsu alone got the mind of the master.
After leaving his master, Ma-tsu went to Chiang-his, and became Abbot in 770s. In his sermons, he followed closely the basic insights of the Sixth Patriarch, such as that there is no Buddha outside one’s mind. According to him, “The phenomenal is identical with the transcendent, and the born is none other than the unborn. If you have a thorough realization of this idea, you can live your daily life, wear your clothes, eat your meals, rear and nourish your inner womb of holiness and pass your time as befitting your conditions and the tides of human affairs.” This passage is important for several reasons. To begin, it is to be noted that the phrase “womb of holiness” is borrowed from the current Taoist lore, although given a new connotation. In the Taoist lore, the “womb of holiness” is the germ of the Immortal Man in the physical sense. In the hand of Ma-tsu, it is transmuted into the seed of eternal life. It is the prototype of Lin-chi’s “True Man of No Title.” In the second place, the emphasis on living the ordinary life, which is in accord with the spirit of the teachings of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu, constitutes one of the recurrent themes in the sayings of later Ch’an masters. When Nan-ch’üan, Ma-tsu’s favorite disciple, said that “Tao is nothing but the ordinary mind,” he was evidently echoing the voice of his master. Likewise, the same philosophy is clearly embodied in the following gatha by Ma-tsu’s outstanding lay disciple, P’ang Yün:
In my daily life there are no other chores than
Those that happen to fall into my hands.
Nothing I choose, nothing reject.
Nowhere is there ado, nowhere a slip.
I have no other emblems of my glory than
The mountains and hills without a speck of dust.
My magical power and spiritual exercise consist in
Carrying water and gathering firewood.
Ma-tsu’s greatness lies not so much in his sermons as in his marvellous skill and resourcefulness as a teacher. Once a disciple asked him, “Why does Your Reverence say that this very mind is Buddha?” “In order to stop the crying of little children,” Ma-tsu replied. The disciple asked further, “When the crying has stopped, what then?” Ma-tsu said, “Then I would say that this very mind which is Buddha is in reality neither mind nor Buddha.” “What would you say to people outside of these two classes?” “I would tell them that it is not a thing either.” “If you unexpectedly meet someone from the inner circle, what would you say?” “I would simply tell him to embody the Great Tao.”
This dialogue reveals an important secret about Ma-tsu’s art of teaching. Sometimes he used a positive formula, sometimes he used a negative formula. On the surface, they are contradictory to each other. But when we remember that he was using them in answering persons of different grades of attainments and intelligence, the contradiction disappears at once in the light of a higher unity of purpose, which was in all cases to lead the questioner to transcend his present state. Of course, this does not apply to a person who “comes from the inner circle,” which is another way of saying that he is an enlightened one. All that Ma-tsu could say to such a one was that he should continue in his present state.
This leads us to an interesting story about one of Ma-tsu’s disciples, Ta-mei Fa-ch’ang. At his very first visit to Ma-tsu, he asked, “What is Buddha?” “This very mind itself is Buddha,” was Ma-tsu’s answer. At this word Tamei was enlightened. Later, he settled on a mountain. Matsu sent a monk to test him. The monk asked Ta-mei, “When you were with the great master Ma, what did you learn from him?” Ta-mei replied, “The great master told me that this very mind itself is Buddha.” The monk said, “The great master has lately changed his way of teaching the Buddha Dharma.” Ta-mei asked how he had changed. The monk said. “He is now saying that this very mind which is Buddha is neither mind nor Buddha.” Ta-mei said, “That old fellow, when will he cease to confuse the minds of men? Let him go on with his ‘neither mind nor Buddha.’ I will stick to ‘this very mind itself is Buddha.’ When the monk returned to report the conversation, Ma-stu remarked, “The plum is ripe!”
In saying, “The plum is ripe,” Ma-tsu was making a pun of Ta-mei’s name, “Ta-mei” in Chinese being “big plum.” Obviously, Ta-mei was an enlightened person; and in sticking to the master’s positive formula, he knew what he was doing. Perhaps, his own disciples were still little children whose crying had yet to be stopped. Moreover, Ta-mei showed his spirit of independence, which pleased the master. If he had been shaken by the new teaching and adopted it blindly simply because the master had changed his teaching, Ma-tsu would have said that the plum was far from ripe.
Ma-tsu’s way of teaching is most varied. He is said to have been instrumental to the enlightenment of one hundred thirty disciples, “each of whom became the master of a particular locality.” This does not mean that all of them were of the same stature. Even enlightenment has different grades and modes. For instance, Ma-tsu had three outstanding disciples who enjoyed a special intimacy with him. They were Nan-ch’üan P’uyüan, Hsi-t’ang Chih-ts’ang and Pai-chang Huai-hai. One evening, as the three disciples were attending on their master enjoying the moon together, he asked them what they thought would be the best way of spending such a night. Hsi-t’ang was the first to answer, “A good time to make offerings.” Pai-chang said, “A good time to cultivate one’s spiritual life.” Nan-ch’üan made no answer, but shook his sleeves and went away. Ma-tsu said, “The sutras will join the pitaka ( ts’ang); Dhyana will return to the sea ( hai); P’u-yüan alone transcends the realm of things all by himself.”
In the school of Ma-tsu, Nan-ch’üan had a special place in the master’s heart, just as Yen Hui had a special place in the heart of Confucius. Yet in the line of transmission Pai-chang became the successor of Ma-tsu, just as Tseng-shen was the successor of Confucius. Perhaps, it takes a man of tough fiber and administrative ability like Pai-chang to lay the foundations of a properly organized monastic community. Although the Holy Rule of Paichang has undergone successive revisions through the centuries, and the original text has long been lost, no one can deny the lasting contribution of Pai-chang in transmuting what used to be a floating population of monks into a real community.
Here, however, we are more interested in the training Paichang received at the hands of Ma-tsu. Once, as the master and disciple were promenading together, they saw a flock of wild geese flying over.” Ma-tsu asked, “What is it?” Pai-chang said, “Wild geese.” “Where have they gone?” “They have flown away.” At this point Ma-tsu caught hold of his disciple’s nose and twisted it with all his force. This made Pai-chang scream for pain. But Ma-tsu merely remarked, “So you thought that they had flown away, eh?” At this word, Pai-chang had a flash of apprehension. Yet when he returned to the attendants’ quarters, he began to cry most piteously. His colleagues asked him whether he was crying because he was homesick, or because somebody had scolded him. To all such questions he answered “No.” “Then why are you crying?” they pursued. Pai-chang said, “Because the great master twisted my nose so hard that I am still feeling pain.” “What was the conflict that led to this?” they asked. “Go ask the Abbot himself?” said Pai-chang. When they went to ask Ma-tsu, the latter said, “He himself understands it perfectly well. Go ask him. He has the answer.” Then they returned to Pai-chang, saying, “The Abbot says that you understand it and refers us back to you for the true answer.” Upon this Pai-chang laughed aloud. His colleagues, amused as well as amazed, queried, “A moment ago you were crying. What makes you laugh now?” Pai-chang said, “I cried then and I laugh now.” They were mystified.
The next day, at a regular assembly, Ma-tsu had hardly sat down when Pai-chang came up to roll up his mat, which made the master descend from the platform. Pai-chang followed him into his room. Ma-tsu said, “Just now, before I had begun my sermon, what made you roll up my mat?” Pai-chang said “Yesterday Your Reverence twisted my nose and I felt acute pain.” “Where did you apply your mind yesterday?” asked the master. All that the disciple said was, “I feel no more pain in the nose today.” Thereupon the master commented, “You have profoundly understood yesterday’s episode.”
Frankly, I do not know what to make of this dialogue. Paichang’s “answers” sound more like a lunatic’s talking to himself than sensible replies to the questions. And what is stranger still, the master was impressed! It takes a lunatic to understand and appreciate a lunatic! But since it can be reasonably assumed that neither of them was a lunatic, there must be some meaning behind it all, although the meaning cannot be found by logical reasoning, but can only be hit upon by intuition.
I feel that the clue to the whole thing lies in Pai-chang’s cryptic remark to his colleagues: “I cried a moment ago, but I am laughing now.” Although the scenes and actions had changed, the subject remained the same. All the tactics of Ma-tsu were meant only to lead his disciple to discover the “I.” So, when Pai-chang said, “Yesterday I felt acute pain...I feel no pain today,” Ma-tsu was satisfied that his disciple had discovered his self, and this was all the more certain as his statement had no logical relevance whatever to the questions.
Self-discovery, then, is the real meaning of Ma-tsu’s teachings, as indeed it is the real meaning of all Ch’an. This will be plainly seen from what Ma-tsu said to Ta-chu Hui-hai, another outstanding disciple of his. When Ta-chu visited Ma-tsu for the first time, the master asked him where he had come from. Tachu replied that he had come from the Ta-yün Temple in Yüehchou. Then Ma-tsu asked, “What do you come here for?” “I have come to seek the Buddha Dharma,” said Ta-chu. “I have here not a thing to give you,” said Ma-tsu, “What Buddha Dharma can you expect to learn from me? Why do you ignore the treasure of your own house and wander so far away from home?” Greatly mystified, Ta-chu asked, “What is your humble servant’s treasure?” “None other than the one who is questioning me now is your treasure” replied the master, “All things are complete in it, with nothing lacking. You can use it freely and its resources are inexhaustible. What is the use of seeking in the exterior?” At these words Ta-chu had a sudden recognition of his own mind, by direct intuition and not through reasoning or the senses. This is how Ma-tsu pointed directly at the mind so as to make it perceive the self-nature.
Another disciple, Wu-yeh of Fen-chou, was enlightened in a similar way. Wu-yeh originally belonged to the Vinaya order and was versed in scriptural learning. At his first visit, Ma-tsu, impressed by his towering physical stature and sonorous voice, remarked, “What a magnificent temple of Buddha! Only there is no Buddha in it!” Wu-yeh thereupon knelt down gracefully and said, “The literature of the Three Vehicles I have roughly studied and understood. However, I have often heard about the doctrine taught by the School of Ch’an that this very mind itself is Buddha. This truly is beyond my comprehension.” Ma-tsu said, “Just this mind that does not comprehend is the very mind that is Buddha, and there is nothing else.” Still unenlightened, he proceeded to ask, “What is the mind-seal transmitted secretly by the Patriarch coming from the West?” So Ma-tsu said, “Your Reverence is still busied about nothing. Suppose you return for the moment and come back some other time.” Wu-yeh had just started to leave when the master called after him, “Your Reverence!” As Wu-yeh turned back his head, Ma-tsu asked, “What is it?” At this question, Wu-yeh was instantaneously enlightened.
Sometimes Ma-tsu resorted to rough tactics to expedite the process of self-discovery. When the monk Shui-liao called on him asking, “What was the purpose of Bodhidharma’s coming from the West?” (In the jargon of Ch’an, this question is equivalent to: What is the essential principle of Buddhism?) Instead of answering, Ma-tsu bade him to bow down in reverence. No sooner had Shui-liao bowed down than Mat-su stamped him to the ground. Curiously enough, Shui-liao, was enlightened right on the spot. Rising up, he clapped his hands and laughed aloud, saying, “How marvellous! How marvellous! Hundreds and thousands of Samadhis and innumerable spiritual insights have their root and source in the tip of a feather!” After bowing once more in reverence, he retired. When Shui-liao became an abbot, he often told his assembly, “Ever since I received Ma-tsu’s stamping, I have never ceased to laugh.”
From what we read in the records, Ma-tsu must have been of strong physical build and a man of extraordinary vigor. It is said that he walked like an ox and gazed like a tiger. His tongue was so long that it could touch the tip of his nose. Although the books do not tell us that he could roar like a lion, it is certain that he had a tremendous voice, as is clear from the story of Paichang’s final enlightenment. As Pai-chang was attending upon the master, the latter looked at the duster hanging at a corner of his couch. Pai-chang remarked, “In the very act of using it, you are detached from its use,” and then took up the duster and held it straight. Ma-tsu said, “In the very act of using it, you are detached from its use.” Pai-chang then placed the duster in the original place. Thereupon Ma-tsu uttered such a terrific shout that the disciple’s ears were deafened for three days. It was that shout that wrought a complete enlightenment in Pai-chang.
But it must not be imagined that Ma-tsu was always shouting or stamping. In most cases he was much more gentle and subtle, although the element of shock was seldom absent. For instance, when a high official asked him whether it was right to eat meat and drink wine, Ma-tsu replied, “Eating and drinking are your Excellency’s due. Refraining from eating and drinking is your Excellency’s bliss.”
How resourceful he was in the use of upaya or expedient means finds an illustration in his conversion of Shih-kung Huits’ang, who was originally a hunter loathing the very sight of Buddhist monks. On a certain day, as he was chasing after a deer, he passed by Ma-tsu’s monastery. Ma-tsu came forward to meet him. Shih-kung asked him whether he had seen the deer pass by. Matsu asked, “Who are you?” “A hunter,” he replied. “Do you know how to shoot?” “Of course, I do.” “How many, can you hit by one arrow?” “One arrow can only shoot down one deer.” “In that case, you really don’t know how to shoot.” “Does Your Reverence know how to shoot?” “Of course I do.” “How many can you kill with one arrow?” “I can kill a whole flock with a single arrow.” At this, Shih-kung spoke up, “After all, the beasts have life as you do, why should you shoot down a whole flock?” Ma-tsu said, “Since you know this so well, why don’t you shoot yourself?” Shih-kung answered, “Even if I wanted to shoot myself, I would not know how to manage it.” At this point, Matsu remarked, “This fellow has accumulated klesha from ignorance for numberless aeons. Today the whole process has come to a sudden stop.” Tossing his arrows and bows to the ground, Shih-kung became a monk and a disciple of Ma-tsu. Once as Shih-kung was working in the kitchen, Ma-tsu asked him what he was doing. “I am tending an ox,” the disciple answered, meaning that he was trying to tame himself. “How do you tend it?” asked Ma-tsu. Shih-kung replied, “As soon as it goes back to the grass, I ruthlessly pull it back by its nostrils.” This won a hearty approval from the master, who remarked, “You certainly know the true way of tending an ox!” With all their jolly actions and humorous speeches, one can hardly guess with what ruthlessness and fierce energy the holy monks have controlled and disciplined their unruly natures.
Ma-tsu lost no opportunity for encouraging in his disciple the spirit of violence and fearlessness. It happened once that his disciple Yin-feng of Wu-t’ai was pushing along a cart, while Matsu was sitting on the road with his feet stretched out. Yin-feng requested him to draw back his feet, but Ma-tsu said, “What is stretched is not to be drawn back again!” Yin-feng retorted, “Once advanced, there is no turning backward!” Disregarding the master, he kept pushing the cart until it ran over and injured his feet. Ma-tsu returned to the hall with an axe in his hand, saying, “Let the one who a few moments ago injured my feet with his cart come forward!” Yin-feng, not to be daunted, came forward stretching his neck in front of the master. The master put down his axe.
Sometimes Ma-tsu took delight in leading his novices on a wild goose chase. Once a monk asked him, “Without resorting to the ‘four affirmations and hundred negations,’ will you please point out directly the reason why Bodhidharma came from the West?” Ma-tsu said, “I am too tired today to speak with you. Go ask Chih-ts’ang about it.” The monk went to ask Chihts’ang, who said, “Why don’t you ask the Abbot about it?” “The Abbot it was who referred me to you,” the monk replied. Chihts’ang evaded the question by saying, “I have a headache today and am not in a position to speak with you. Go ask my elder brother Huai-hai about it.” So the monk went to Huai-hai with the same question. Huai-hai said, “Arrived at this point, I really do not know what to say.” The monk then went back to Ma-tsu, reporting what the two had said. Matsu remarked, “Chih-tsa’ang wears a white cap, while Huaihai wears a black cap.”
The “white cap” and the “black cap” refer to an old story of two robbers. One of the robbers wore a white cap, while the other wore a black cap. As the story goes, the black-capped one, by a clever ruse, despoiled the white-capped one of all things that he had robbed from others. That is to say, the former was more ruthless and radical than the latter. Likewise, Pai-chang Huai-hai was more ruthless and radical than Hsi-t’ang Chihts’ang. When Chih-ts’ang evaded the answer by pleading headache, he thereby implied that if he was not ill, he could still formulate the right answer. On the other hand, Huai-hai’s declination was final and honest. According to him, since the question has to do with something transcending all affirmations and negations, what words can he possibly find in answer to it? As Lao Tzu had said: “If Tao could be expressed in words, it would not be Tao as it is in itself.”
We have already mentioned P’ang Yün and quoted his gatha in the preceding pages. It would be interesting to know how his enlightenment came about. At first he visited Shih-t’ou Hsich’ien whose importance was only second to that of Ma-tsu. When he asked, “Who is the one that finds no mate in the universe of things?” Shih-t’ou immediately covered his mouth with his hand. This initiated P’ang Yün into Ch’an. Later he visited Ma-tsu and asked the same question, to which Ma-tsu replied, “I will tell you about him when you have drunk up the waters of the West River at a single quaff.” At this word P’ang Yün was thoroughly enlightened.
In reality, the two great masters were of the same mind. In covering up his own mouth with his hand, Shih-t’ou meant that it is impossible to speak about it. Similarly, what Ma-tsu meant to say was that just as it is impossible to drink up the waters of the West River, so it is impossible to speak about the Transcendent One. The fact is that both Shih-t’ou and Ma-tsu were steeped in the philosophy of Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu. And so was P’ang Yün. Although P’ang Yün is usually placed in the lineage of Matsu, he can be with equal appropriateness called a disciple of Shih-t’ou.
Although Ma-tsu and Shih-t’ou were said to “divide the world between them,” they were entirely free of any sense of rivalry. It is a delight to see how they cooperated with each other in bringing others to enlightenment. Yüeh-shan Wei-yen (751834) is a case in point. Yüeh-shan began in the school of vinaya, well versed in scriptural studies and ascetical discipline. However, he came to feel that this was not yet the ultimate goal of the life of the spirit. He aspired to attain true freedom and purity beyond the formulas of the Law. So he called on Shiht’ou, seeking for guidance. He said to the master, “I have only a rough knowledge of the Three Vehicles, and the twelve branches of the scriptural teaching. But I hear that in the South there is a teaching about ‘pointing directly at the mind of man and attaining Buddhahood through the perception of the selfnature.’ Now, this is beyond my comprehension. I humbly beseech you to graciously enlighten me on this.” Shih-t’ou replied. “It is to be found neither in affirmation nor in negation nor in affirming and negating at the same time. So what can you do?” Yüeh-shan was altogether mystified by these words. Hence, Shih-t’ou told him frankly, “The cause and occasion of your enlightenment are not present here in this place. You should rather go to visit the great master Ma-tsu.” Following the suggestion, he went to pay his respects to Ma-tsu, presenting before him the same request as he had addressed to Shih t’ou. Ma-tsu replied, “I sometimes make him raise his eyebrows and turn his eyes; at other times, I do not let him raise his eyebrows and turn his eyes. Sometimes it is really he who is raising his eyebrows and turning his eyes; at other times it is really not he who is raising his eyebrows and turning his eyes. How do you understand it?” At this Yüeh-shan saw completely eye-to-eye with Ma-tsu and was enlightened. He bowed reverently to the master who asked him, “What truth do you perceive that you should perform these ceremonies?” Yüeh-shan said, “When I was with Shiht’ou, I was like a mosquito crawling on a bronze ox.” That is to say, he found no entrance. Ma-tsu, discerning that the enlightenment was genuine, asked him to take good care of the insight. He attended upon Ma-tsu for three years. One day, Ma-tsu asked again, “What do you see recently?” Yüeh-shan replied, “The skin has entirely molted off; there remains only the one true reality.” Ma-tsu said, “What you have attained is perfectly in tune with the innermost core of your mind, and from thence it has spread into your four limbs. This being the case, it is time to gird your waist with three bamboo splints, and go forth to make your abode on any mountain you may like.” Yüeh-shan replied, “Who am I to set up any abode on any mountain?” Ma-tsu said, “Not so! One cannot always be traveling without abiding, nor always be abiding without travelling. To advance from where you can no longer advance, and to do what can no longer be done, you must make yourself into a raft or ferryboat for others. It is not for you to abide here forever.” Only then did he go back to Shih t’ou. Although Yüeh-shan is usually placed in the lineage of Shiht’ou, he is really the bridge between Shih-t’ou and Ma-tsu. When Yüeh-shan became an abbot he had Tao-wu and Yün-yen for his disciples. One day, as these two were attending on him, he pointed at two trees on the mountain, one flourishing and the other withering, and asked Tao-wu, “Which of these is: the flourishing or the withering?” Tao-wu said, “The flourishing one is.” Yüeh-shan said, “Splendid! Let all things shine with glorious light everywhere!” Then he put the same question to Yün-yen, who replied, “The withering one is.” Yüeh-shan said, “Splendid! Let all things fade away into colorless purity!” Just at that moment there arrived unexpectedly the Shramanera Kao, to whom the master put the same question. The Shramanera answered, “Let the flourishing flourish, and the withering wither!” “Then Yüeh-shan turned to Tao-wu and Yün-yen, saying, “It is not! It is not” “Is this not in the style and spirit of Ma-tsu, who had taught Yüeh-shan that one cannot always abide without traveling nor always travel without abiding?” In fact, Ma-tsu, Shiht’ou and Yüeh-shan seem to have seen eye-to-eye with Lao Tzu who had said:
For all things there is a time for going ahead,
and a time for following behind;
A time for slow-breathing and a time for fast-breathing;
A time to grow in strength and a time to decay;
A time to be up and a time to be down. (chap. 29)
Like the Sixth Patriarch, Ma-tsu was adept in the use of the polarities to lift the mind of his disciples from the physical world to the Metaphysical , from the realm of relativity to the Absolute , from the world of things to the Infinite Void . Whether he used the via positiva or the via negativa, it was in all cases according to the needs of the individual inquirer. But his sayings were never clear-cut, but always enigmatic so as to tease the mind of the listener. Even during his last illness he did not cease to utter enigmas. When someone came to ask about his health, all that he said was, “Sun-faced Buddhas, Moon-faced Buddhas.” Now, in the Buddhist lore, the Sun-faced Buddhas lived a long life on earth, while the Moon-faced Buddhas lived only a day and a night. What Ma-tsu probably meant to say was that it makes not the slightest difference whether one lives long or short, so long as one has found one’s Self.
Chuang Tzu used to say that no one was more short-lived than Peng-tsu, the Chinese counterpart of the Sun-faced Buddha. On the other hand, no one was more long-lived than the Shang-tzu, the Chinese counterpart of the Moon-faced Buddha. Perhaps, Chuang Tzu would have smiled at the words of Ma-tsu.
But I cannot dismiss Ma-tsu without introducing a touching episode, which goes to show that, with all his detachment from the world, there still remained something human deep down in him. We are told that when he returned to his native place for a temporary visit, he was warmly welcomed by his countrymen. But an old woman, who used to be his next-door neighbor, said, “I thought that all the commotion was caused by the visit of some extraordinary personage. In fact, it’s none other than the little chap of the family of Ma the garbage cleaner!” This made Ma-tsu improvise a half-humourous and half-pathetic poem:
I advise you not to return to your native place:
For no one can be a Sage in his own home.
The old woman by the side of the old brook
Still calls me the garbage man’s son!
Anyway, he came back to Chiang-his, where he spent fifty years of his life, dying at the age of eighty.