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耽源應眞 Danyuan Yingzhen (8–9th c.)

(Rōmaji:) Tangen Ōshin
(Magyar átírás:) Tan-jüan Jing-csen


Visszáján-fújt vasfuvola
Fordította: Terebess Gábor

Danyuan Yingzhen
by Andy Ferguson

Case 65: 千尺井中 A Man in a Thousand-Foot Well
In: Entangling Vines
: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans
by Thomas Yuho Kirchner

Case 238: 圓相因起 The Origin of the Circle-Figures
In: Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans
by Thomas Yuho Kirchner

53. Hui-chung Expels His Disciple
In: The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Kōan
Translated by Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth Strout McCandless

152. The National Teacher's Stone Lion
In: The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Three Hundred Koans
translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori
with commentary and verse by John Daido Loori


Danyuan Yingzhen
IN: Zen's Chinese heritage: the masters and their teachings
by Andy Ferguson
Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2000. pp.

DANYUAN YINGZHEN (n.d.) was an attendant and disciple of National Teacher Nanyang Huizhong. Yingzhen taught at Danyuan Mountain in Qizhou. He is remembered primarily for his role in stories about his famous teacher.

When Zen master Yingzhen of Danyuan Mountain in Qizhou served as attendant for National Teacher Huizhong, one day the National Teacher sat on the meditation platform in the Dharma hall. When Danyuan came in, the National Teacher put down one foot. When Danyuan saw this he immediately went out again. After a while he came back into the hall.

The National Teacher said, “What was that about when you came in a while ago?”

Danyuan said, “To whom do you speak of it?”

The National Teacher said, “I am asking you.”

Danyuan said, “Where did you see me?”

On another day Danyuan carried a bamboo basket into the abbot’s room.

The National Teacher asked, “What are you carrying in the basket?”

Danyuan said, “Green plums.”

The National Teacher said, “Why did you bring them?”

Danyuan said, “To provide you support.”

The National Teacher said, “What good are they if they’re green?”

Danyuan said, “I just give them as an offering.”

The National Teacher said, “Buddha doesn’t accept support.”

Danyuan said, “When I do something like this, why do you act in this manner?”

The National Teacher said, “I don’t give support.”

Danyuan said, “Why not?”

The National Teacher said, “I don’t have any fruit.”


Mayu asked Danyuan, “Is the twelve-faced Kwan Yin holy or not?”

Danyuan said, “Yes.”

Mayu then slapped Danyuan’s ears.

Danyuan said, “I didn’t imagine that you’d reached this state.”


On the anniversary of the death of the National Teacher, Danyuan held a memorial banquet.

A monk asked, “Is the National Teacher coming?”

Danyuan said, “We won’t have his mind.”

The monk asked, “Then why give this banquet?”

Danyuan said, “To not stop the truth of the world.”



Case 65: 千尺井中 A Man in a Thousand-Foot Well 1
In: 宗門葛藤集 Shūmon kattōshū / Entangling Vines: A Classic Collection of Zen Koans
by Thomas Yuho Kirchner. Foreword by Nelson Foster, Wisdom Publications, 2013.

A monk asked Shishuang Xingkong, “What is the meaning of the Patriarch coming from the West?”

The master answered, “Let’s say there’s a man in a thousand-foot well. Get him out without using any rope, and I’ll answer you about the meaning of the Patriarch’s coming from the West.”

The monk said, “But in Hunan now there’s a priest named Chang who freely explains all sorts of things to people.” 2

Thereupon Xingkong summoned the novice Jizi [Yangshan Huiji]3 and said, “Get this corpse out of here.”

Later Huiji asked Danyuan Yingzhen, “How would one get the man out of the well?”

Danyuan retorted, “Dolt! Blockhead! Who’s in a well!?”

Huiji didn’t understand, and later put the same question to Guishan Lingyou. Guishan called out, “Huiji!”

“Yes,” Huiji answered.

“There, he’s out of the well!” said Guishan.

Later, when Huiji lived on Mount Yang, he would always tell this story to the assembly, saying, “I grasped what it is at Danyuan’s place, I grasped how it works at Guishan’s.”

1. See Blue Cliff Record 18, Commentary on the Main Case.

2. The monk is asking, “Other priests are willing to explain—why aren’t you?” “Freely explains all sorts of things” translates, literally, “Talks to the east and talks to the west.”

3. Yangshan Huiji was at that time a novice studying under Xingkong, with the name Jizi.

Case 238: 圓相因起 The Origin of the Circle-Figures

This is how Yangshan Huiji’s circle-figures originated.1

The making of circle-figures originated with National Teacher Nanyang Huizhong, who transmitted their use to his attendant Danyuan Yingzhen. Danyuan, following Nanyang’s prophecy,2 passed them on to Yangshan. In due course the circle-figures came to be associated with the teaching style of the Guiyang school.3

Venerable Liang of Wufeng in Ming Province compiled a forty-case koan collection, to which Fori Qisong added a preface praising its quality; in this work Liang commented, “Altogether, circle-figures have six names: circle-figure, hidden potential, ocean of meaning, ocean of writing, ideas and words, and silent discourse.” 4

Danyuan said to Yangshan, “The circle-figures that the National Teacher received from the Sixth Patriarch numbered ninety-seven in all, which the National Teacher passed on to me. At that time he said, ‘Thirty years after my passing, a monk from the south will come and cause this teaching to flourish greatly; he will disseminate it and never let it die out.’ I therefore now hand it to you—keep it safe.” 5 He then entrusted the text to Yangshan.

Yangshan received it, looked it over, then immediately burned it.

One day Danyuan said to him, “That text I gave you earlier—you must keep it safely concealed.”

Yangshan replied, “After you gave it to me, I burned it as soon as I’d looked it over.”

Danyuan said, “That Dharma teaching of mine is not something that people usually understand. Only the ancient masters, ancestors, and great sages understood it in detail. How could you burn it?”

“I understood the meaning after reading it once,” replied Yangshan. “What matters is the ability to use it; one mustn’t cling to the text.”

“Perhaps, but though that’s fine as far as you’re concerned it may not be so for those to come,” said Danyuan.

Yangshan said, “If you wish, I can easily reproduce the text.” Thus he recompiled it and presented it to Danyuan. Nothing was omitted, so Danyuan gave his approval.

Later Danyuan took the high seat. Yangshan came forward from the assembly, made a circle in the air, pushed it forward with both hands, then stood there with his hands held, one atop the other, against his chest. Danyuan clasped his hands together and presented them in the form of a fist, upon which Yangshan walked three steps closer and bowed in the manner of a woman.6 Danyuan nodded, and Yangshan bowed.

1. The circle-figure is the circle drawn by Zen masters to represent truth, suchness, Dharma nature, etc.

2. Nanyang’s prophecy, mentioned later in this koan, was that “thirty years after my passing a monk from the south will come and cause this teaching to flourish greatly.” The monk referred to was Yangshan.

3. Yangshan Huiji and his master Guishan Lingyou were the founders of the Guiyang school.

4. The usual order and definition of the six types of circle-figures is as follows:

1) “Circle-figure” expresses the absolute Buddhadharma.

2) “Hidden potential” expresses the function that precedes the opposition of host and guest.

3) “Ocean of meaning” expresses the various types of samadhi.

4) “Ocean of writing” expresses the words that transmit the Buddhadharma (the present text of the Kattōshū has “ocean of study”, a scribal error that has been emended according to the original text as it is found in the Eye of Humans and Gods; T 48:321c).

5) “Ideas and words” expresses the very meaning of the teachings.

6) “Silent discourse” expresses the idea that the circle-figure itself is the meaning of the teachings.

5. Yangshan would fit the prophecy, as he was born in 807, thirty-two years after Nanyang’s death in 775.

6. One interpretation of “bowing in the manner of a woman” is that it resembles a Western curtsy; another is that it involves crossing the hands across the breast and bending forward slightly; a third is that it entails bringing both knees to the floor and bowing the head.


53. Hui-chung Expels His Disciple
In: The Iron Flute: 100 Zen Kōan. Translated and edited by Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth Strout McCandless; C. E. Tuttle, Ruthland, Vt. & Tokyo, 1961.

Tan-hsia paid a visit to Hui-chung, who was taking a nap at the time. “Is your teacher in?” asked Tan-hsia of an attending disciple. “Yes, he is, but he does not want to see anyone,” said the monk. “You are expressing the situation profoundly,” Tan-hsia said. “Don't mention it. Even if Buddha comes, my teacher does not want to see him.” “You are certainly a good disciple. Your teacher ought to be proud of you,” and with these words of praise, Tan-hsia left the temple. When Hui-chung awoke, Tan-yüan, the attending monk, repeated the dialogue. The teacher beat the monk with a stick and drove him from the temple.



152. The National Teacher’s Stone Lion
In: The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Three Hundred Koans
with commentary and verse by John Daido Loori, translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi and John Daido Loori;
Boston: Shambhala Publications, 2005.


Nanyang arrived at the front of the palace with Emperor Suzong.1 Nanyang pointed at a figure of a stone lion2 and said to the emperor, “Your Majesty, this lion is extraordinary.3 Please say a turning word.” 4

Emperor Su said, “I cannot say anything.5 Will you please say something?” 6

Nanyang said, “It is my fault.” 7

Later Danyuan Yingzhen asked Nanyang,8 “Did the emperor understand it?” 9

Nanyang said, “Let’s put aside whether the emperor understood it.10 How do you understand it?” 11



The teacher of three emperors has an obligation to fulfill. How else will there be peace in
the land? The emperor thinks the old master is talking about an object and cannot find a
way in. The National Teacher answers for him, going in every direction at once. Do you
see it?

Range upon range of endless mountains, rocks, and bluestone cliffs—all deliver their
profound sermon. Murmuring streams and roaring rivers expound the teachings of
formless form day and night. The insentient all hear it. Can you? If you stop to think, as
the emperor did, you will surely miss it. When you have not as yet seen it, it’s all like an
impenetrable forest of brambles. When you do see it, you will discover that you are the
impenetrable forest of brambles. The time and season of great peace is simply not a
matter of this and that.

Danyuan’s later question is superficial, so the National Teacher makes it real. To make
it real for you, I ask again, how do you understand the National Teacher’s “It is my fault?”



The mountain monastic’s fault—
inexhaustible, truly inexhaustible.
I think of Annie Oakley:
two silver dollars from the hip,
with a single bullet.



1. Traveling with this old troublemaker is bound to result in complications.
2. He rattles his sword.
3. There’s only this in the whole universe. That’s how rare it is.
4. Gaaah! He squeezes the emperor’s head.
5. An honest man is hard to find these days.
6. He lets the cook taste it first.
7. The stone lion bites the royal ass. Very intimate, very intimate indeed!
8. Why is he asking? What’s unresolved?
9. That was yesterday’s breakfast. What about now?
10. Seeing the opportunity, the thief strikes again.
11. Spent arrows are not wasted by this old campaigner. Did the monastic understand? Do you?



Visszáján-fújt vasfuvola
Folyik a híd, Officina Nova, Budapest, 1990, 80. oldal
Fordította: Terebess Gábor

Huj-csung éppen aludt, amikor Tan-hszia** meglátogatta.
– Itthon van a mestered? – kérdezte Tan-hszia a segédet.
– Itthon, de senkit se fogad.
– Rögtön felismerted a helyzetet – dicsérte őt Tan-hszia.
– A mesterem még Buddhát se fogadná – tódított a szerzetes.
– Tényleg jó tanítvány vagy! Büszke lehet rád a mestered! – dicsérte még egyszer Tan-hszia, aztán útjára indult.
Amikor Huj-csung felébredt, Tan-jüan*** – így hívták a segédet – elmesélte, hogy bánt el a látogatóval.
Ám a mester elverte, és kikergette a kolostorból.

* Nanyang Huizhong 南陽慧忠 (675-755)
** Danxia Tianran 丹霞天然 (739-824)
*** Danyuan Yingzhen 耽源應眞

Tarnóczy Zoltán illusztrációja