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灌溪志閑 Guanxi Zhixian (?-895)

(Rōmaji:) Kankei Shikan
(Magyar átírás:) Kuan-hszi Cse-hszien

Painting by 梁楷 Liang Kai (c. 1140 - c. 1210)
图六《灌溪索饮 · 童子方汲》   绢本设色   尺寸: 26.6 × 61.9 cm
6th of the Eight Eminent Monks
高清大图【梁楷-八高僧图卷详解】上海博物馆藏--南宋 Bagaoseng gushi tu
The Shanghai Museum of Art


Guanxi Zhixian 灌溪志閑 (d. 895) was a disciple of Linji during the master's later years.


Chan Master E Zhou Guanxi Zhixian
景德傳燈錄 Jingde chuandeng lu (CDL)
鄂州灌谿志閑禪師 T.51, no.2076, 294b13 759 617 237
Daoyuan. Records of the Transmission of the Lamp: Volume 2 (Books 4-9), The Early Masters, 2015, Book 12.269
Translated by Randolph S. Whitfield

Chan master Guanxi Zhixian (?-895) was a native of Guantao in Weifu (Hebei, Beijing) whose family name was Shi. He had his head shaved when young by Chan Master Boyan203 and received the full precepts in his twentieth year. Later he went to see the Venerable Linji, who just grabbed hold of him and only after some time released him.

‘Understood!’ said the master.

Later the master would tell his assembly, ‘I went to see Linji but did not utter a word. Truly from that day to this there has been enough food to eat without ever going hungry.’

A monk said, ‘May the master not borrow [from another]?’204

‘My full mouth talks without borrowing,’ replied the master, and added, ‘Atop the Dayu Mountain peak, Buddha is not understood; on the road to Huangmei Mountain, there are no living beings.’205


The master once sent a monk to visit Shishuang.206 Shishuang asked him, ‘Where have you come from?’

‘From Guanxi,’ replied the monk.

‘I live on the north mountain, it is not the same as him living on the south mountain,’ said Shishuang.

The monk had no reply.

Later the master [Guanxi] answered for the monk, saying, ‘It was just a matter of saying that you have already been shaped into a Nirvāa Hall.’


A monk said, ‘I have admired Guanxi207 for a long time, but on coming here see only a pond for soaking flax.’

‘You see only a pond for soaking flax and don’t see Guanxi,’ replied the master.208

‘What is Guanxi like?’ asked the monk.

‘Swift as a searing arrow,’ replied the master.

(Textual comment: Later people brought this up with Xuansha, who said, ‘Even if he studied for another thirty years, he still wouldn’t understand Chan.’)


Question: ‘What were the bones of the men of old like?’

‘They couldn’t find a proper place for them,’ replied the master.

‘Why couldn’t they find a proper place for them?’ asked the monk.

‘How is it possible to have the Golden Crow come down from the azure heavens?’ replied the master.209

Question: ‘After the golden chain is severed, then what?’

‘You are just this Dharma,’ replied the master.


Question: ‘What is miniscule?’

‘Swop it or not swop it?’ asked the master.

‘What is the final business?’ asked the monk.

‘To shun the living voice of Buddha,’ replied the master.

‘What is the unique form?’

‘Do not follow,’ said the master.

After the unique form, then what?’ asked the monk.

‘Is there a monk to undertake the responsibility or is there not?’ asked the master.

‘In these days of all being equal, who can resist the enemy?’ asked the monk.

‘It is not up to the worldly or the holy,’ replied the master.

‘What is it in one phrase?’

‘Not to fall into the predicament of the thousand sages,’ replied the master.

‘What is water in a grotto like?’

‘It does not clean men,’ replied the master.


On the 29th day of the 5th month the 2nd year of the reign period Qianning of the Tang dynasty, corresponding to the 52nd year of the sexagenarian cycle (895 CE), the master asked the attendant, ‘Who is the one sitting, about to die?’

‘Seng Qie,’ replied the monk.

‘Who is the one standing, about to die?’ asked the master.

‘Seng Hui,’ answered the monk.210


Thereupon the master took five or six steps, his hands went limp and he passed away.

203 A disciple of Mazu, see 7.111.

204 Shades of Linji’s ‘a man of the Way who relies on nothing’.

205 Dayu Mountain, one of the five sacred Buddhist peaks in Guangdong, was climbed in Han times by the Emperor Wu. More relevant here, it is the peak where the Sixth Chinese Patriarch, Huineng, (5.71) first taught the Dharma by laying down robe and bowl in front of head monk Daoming (4.60). Huangmei Mountain is the East Mountain of the Fifth Patriarch Hongren’s (3.42) monastery, where both Huineng and Daoming trained. Surface meaning, the new dispensation is the House of Linji.

206 For Chan Master Tanzhou Shishuang Shan Qingzhu see Book 15.367.

207 Guanxi means ‘pouring mountain stream’.

208 A similar story appears in the Records from the Emerald Cliff (Biyan Lu), case 52, Zhaozhou’s (10.194) stone bridge and again in book 21, from Great Master Zhiyue Liaozong of Fuzhou (yellow dragon – red striped snake).

209 The Golden Crow is a name for the sun.

210 Seng Qie was a Tang dynasty monk from the Western Regions who performed many miraculous deeds and was said to be an incarnation of Avalokitesvara, famous for his dignified death whilst sitting. Seng Hui was another Tang monk of uncertain origins claiming to be a reincarnation of a monk called Seng Hui of the Nanbei Zhao period (420-581 CE). Driven away and whilst striding forth, he died standing. When moved he didn’t fall over and later, in Song dynasty times, was conferred by imperial decree with the title of ‘Great Master of Extraordinary Transformation’.



Kuan-hszi Cse-hszien és Lin-csi Ji-hszüan
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
Vö.: Folyik a híd, Officina Nova, Budapest, 1990, 71. oldal

Kuan-hszi egy nap Lin-csi mester elé járult. Lin-csi leszállt a szalmaszékéből, szó nélkül megragadta, mire Kuan-hszi felkiáltott:
– Tudom! Már tudom!

One day Kuan-ch'i [sic!] saw Lin-chi. The latter came down from his straw chair, and without saying a word seized the monk, whereupon Kuan-ch'i said, 'I know, I know.'
Translated by D. T. Suzuki
In: Essays in Zen Buddhsim, Second Series, p. 29.