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芙蓉道楷 Furong Daokai (1043-1118)

(Rōmaji:) Fuyō Dōkai

 

Furong Daokai
by Andy Ferguson
In: Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom Publications, 2011, pp. 415-419.

FURONG DAOKAI (1043–1118) was a disciple of Touzi Yiqing. Furong came from ancient Yizhou (now the city of Linyi in southern Shandong Province). As a young man he practiced certain Taoist arts, including fasting, with the aim of gaining immortality. He later abandoned such practices and studied with a Zen teacher at Shutai Temple, located near the old capital city of Changan. There he passed the scriptural examination to enter the clergy. He subsequently studied with Touzi, becoming his Dharma heir and a link in the historical chain of the Caodong lineage.

 

Furong asked Touzi, “The words of the buddhas and ancestors were about everyday things such as drinking tea or eating rice. Besides this, does the teaching have anything special for people or not?”

Touzi said, “You speak the Cosmic Emperor’s edict. Are you pretending to be Yao, Shun, Yu, and Tang or not?”193

Furong wanted to continue speaking but Touzi raised his whisk and placed it over Furong’s mouth, saying, “If you have some intention, then you already deserve thirty hits with the stick!”

Furong then experienced enlightenment. He bowed and turned to leave.

Touzi said, “Come back! Your Reverence!”

Furong ignored him.

Touzi said, “Have you come to the place of no doubt?”

Furong then covered his ears with his hands.

 

Another recorded dialogue between Furong and his teacher also shows Touzi’s deep concern about the succession question.

 

One day Touzi and Furong were walking in the vegetable patch. Touzi came up to Furong and handed him his staff. Furong took it, then walked behind Touzi.

Touzi said, “Is this in accordance with principle?”

Furong said, “Carrying the master’s shoes or staff for him, it can’t be otherwise.”

Touzi said, “There’s one walking with me.”

Furong said, “Who’s not learning from you?”

Touzi went back.

When evening came, he said to Furong, “The matter we spoke of earlier isn’t finished.”

Furong said, “Master, please speak your mind.”

Touzi said, “The morning gives birth to the sun. The evening gives birth to the moon.”

Furong then lit the lamp.

Touzi said, “Your comings and goings, none of it is like that of a disciple.”

Furong said, “Taking care of the master’s affairs, this is in accordance with principle.”

Touzi said, “Servants and slaves, what household doesn’t have them?”

Furong said, “The master is advanced in years. Neglecting him is unacceptable.”

Touzi said, “So this is how you apply your diligence!”

Furong said, “One should repay kindness.”

 

After Furong became abbot, a monk asked him, “The song of the foreigner does not have the five tones [of the musical scale]. Its melody goes beyond the heavens. I ask the master to sing it!”

Furong said, “The wooden cock crows in the night. The iron phoenix sings clearly through the heavens.”

The monk said, “In that case, a single phrase of this song includes a thousand old melodies. The itinerant monks that know this tune fill the hall!”

Furong said, “A tongueless child can carry the tune.”

The monk said, “You are a great teacher, possessing the celestial eye of humanity.”

Furong said, “Quit flapping your lips.”

 

In the year 1080 Furong became the abbot of the Zhaoti Temple and Chongning Baoshou Zen Monastery on Mt. Dayang. There he “propagated the way of the Caodong school, with disciples as numerous as clouds.”

 

One day Furong entered the hall and said, “By day, entering Jetavanavihara Park,194 a lustrous moon is in the sky. By night, ascending Vulture Peak, the sun fills the eyes. Crows swarming like the snow; a solitary goose becomes a flock; an iron dog barks and rises to the clouds; a water buffalo struggles and enters the sea. Just when it’s like this, the ten directions converge, and then what separates self and other? In this place of ancient buddhas, beneath the gate of the ancestors, all of you extend a hand and receive the worthies that have arrived. All of you, can you speak about what you’ve attained?”

After a long pause Furong said, “Plant an abundance of formless trees for those who come later to see.”

 

Zen master Furong Daokai addressed the monks, saying, “I don’t ask about the last thirty days of the twelfth month. I just want to know about the great matter of the twelfth month. Everyone! At that moment, Buddha can’t help you, Dharma can’t help you, the ancestors can’t help you, all the teachers on earth can’t help you, I can’t help you, and the King of Death can’t help you. You must settle this matter now! If you settle it now, the Buddha can’t take it from you, the Dharma can’t take it from you, the ancestors can’t take it from you, all the teachers in the world, and the King of Death can’t take it from you.

“Speak out! What is the lesson of this very moment? Do you understand? Next year there’ll be a new shoot growing. The annoying spring wind never ceases.”

 

A monk asked, “What is Tao?”

Furong said, “When night comes, a hornless ox rushes into its pen.”

 

Furong said, “When the karmic sounds of bells and drums are not heard, a single sound awakens the one in the dream. Perfect eternal stillness has no extra affairs. Who says Kwan Yin offers some other gate?”

After a long pause, Furong said, “Do you understand? Don’t ask the guest on Putuo Mountain.195 When the eagle cries, the clouds around the island peaks are dispersed!”

 

Furong entered the hall to address the monks. He held up his staff and said, “Here you see it, the affair of all the buddhas. Even if you can freely ‘rise in the east and sink in the west,’ ‘gather it in and roll it out,’ you still don’t fundamentally comprehend the affair that predates the seven buddhas.196 You must realize that there is a person who is not realized through others, who does not receive teachings from others, and who does not fall into stages. If you see this person, the Zen practice of an entire lifetime is concluded.”

Furong then suddenly yelled at the monks, “If you have any more doubts, you don’t need to see me about them!”

 

Furong entered the hall and said, “The green mountains are always walking. The stone woman gives birth to a son at night.”

 

A monk asked, “What is the style of the master’s house?”

Furong said, “Everyone can see it.”

 

In the year 1104 the emperor Hui Zong heard of Furong’s reputation and presented him with the honored purple robe and the title “Zen Master Samadhi Illumination.” Furong refused the robe as being inappropriate and incurred the emperor’s wrath. The emperor demanded that Furong take up residence in Zizhou [a place in modern Shandong Province]. Furong refused to submit to this as well. Eventually the emperor had a change of heart and honored Furong, building a temple for him at Furong. Furong moved to that location, assumed its mountain name, and remained there, teaching a great number of students, for the rest of his life.

 

On the fourteenth day of the eighth lunar month in [the year 1118], Furong asked for a brush and paper. He then wrote this verse:

I’m seventy-six years old,
My causational existence is now completed.
In life I did not favor heaven,
In death I don’t fear hell.
Hands and body extend beyond the three realms.
What stops me from roaming as I please?

 

Soon after writing this verse the master passed away.