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高階瓏仙 Takashina Rōsen (1876-1968)




大本山永平寺71世 高階瓏仙禅師 

A Tongue-tip Taste of Zen by Takashina Rosen
Translated by
Trevor Leggett

 

舌頭禪味 Zettō zenmi / A Tongue-tip Taste of Zen

Discourses by Primate Takashina Rosen
(管長 Kanchō/Primate of the Soto Sect in Japan)

Translated by Trevor Leggett
IN: A FIRST ZEN READER (PDF)
Charles E. Tuttle, Tokyo, 1960, pp. 25-64.

CHAPTER ONE

WHAT I AM going to say about Zen is not an adaptation of formal lectures, but intended as a talk to people who wish to have a correct knowledge of Zen and to understand it. The influence exerted on Japanese life by Zen doctrines and spirit is very great. The miso soup, takuan pickled radish, tofu beancurd, and other things which are the mainstay of our people's daily diet have almost all come from Zen. The rule of washing the face and rinsing the mouth every morning without fail was laid down by Zen master Dogen in the 13th century. The arts of the tea ceremony and flower arrangement have the Zen spirit at the root of their formal development. Yet if asked what Zen is, to reply is very difficult. Nevertheless it is hoped that beginners can get from this book a little understanding of it.

Zen master Dogen says in his Shobo Genzo classic that practising Zen means zazen or sitting in meditation. Originally the word Zen (meditation) was an abbreviation for zazen, the syllable za having later gradually dropped out. The same classic says: "Zazen is the front portal of Buddhism." To enter the inner halls of Buddhism it is proper to go through the front portal. It may seem easier to slip in through a back door, but only when entering by the front with the proper ceremony can we be accepted by the family and know them. Once we know the family we are free to go in by the back door or side door without formality, and it will cause no disturbance to the household.

Buddhism was introduced into Japan in the time of the Emperor Kimmei in the 6th century, but it was only some Buddha images and copies of sutras that came, and not yet the real Buddhism. In the 13th century the patriarch Dogen went to Mount Tendo in China, where he became a disciple of Zen master Nyojo. He "loosed and dropped off body and mind," and, thus released, returned home, bringing the true tradition of zazen.

The most important thing in connection with zazen-- its real meaning as taught by Dogen--is often misunderstood. Some think that zazen is practised to obtain satori (realization), and that when satori is complete, zazen is no longer needed. This is the Zen of "awaiting satori" and it has a somewhat different flavour from the Zen where zazen is itself the Buddha action. In the former, zazen is practised in the spirit of hoping for realization, and only up to that point; after satori, zazen is not regarded as important. But Zen master Dogen stresses that the true way and true tradition of the Buddhas and patriarchs is to sit in meditation for its own sake, and not merely as a means to an expected satori. It is true that when concentrating on a koan, the whole life has to be thrown into the practice with satori as the aim. But the traditional zazen of the Buddhas and patriarchs is what is called the Samadhi of the Buddha-in-his- own-glory, and not at all zazen practised as a means to satori. In the zazen posture the glory of the Buddhas and patriarchs is manifest; it is the Buddha action and the Buddha way. The great patriarch Dogen stresses this point. Zazen is the state where the Buddhas are in their own glory. The three actions of body, speech, and mind are impressed with the seal of Buddhahood and manifest the Buddhas. Soto Zen is the pure meditation in the seated posture, the zazen always practised by the Buddhas and patriarchs, and therefore it is continued even after satori. It is not that realization is unnecessary, but they are mistaken who think that Zen is just something to be practised till they scrape through to satori, and then to be dropped.

The traditional Way is eternal, and so zazen too is eternal. It is the Buddha action pervading all life and all the worlds. In the East, meditation power has flourished in the world as the basis of civilization, and it has invigorated science, art, technology, economics, and all branches of culture. And so it is said that, in our zazen, practice is not different from realization. In the actual practice, there is the satori in that time and that place, and furthermore both are eternal.

In Japan today there are generally said to be three main sects, the Obaku, the Rinzai, and the Soto. The Obaku sect has its headquarters at Uji. Perhaps because there is such a strong Chinese influence in it, this sect did not develop in Japan, and it has only a few temples. The Rinzai sect is divided into a number of subsects, with head temples at Kyoto, Kamakura, and elsewhere. It has had great influence in the development of literature and art. In its method of zazen the important thing is passing through koan, so that it is called the Zen of awaiting realization. The koan are meditated upon one after another, and stages of satori are attained, koan by koan, like mounting the rungs of a ladder. In this view, it is only after the point of realization that Buddhahood comes into existence. The Soto sect has two head temples and fifteen thousand branch temples, and the sect is not split. The Zen is called "silent illumination" as against the school of "awaiting realization"; the teaching is pure meditation, and the non- difference of practice and realization. Our zazen is sitting with the Buddha seal manifest on body, speech, and mind, and this zazen is the Buddha action. Such is the realization- practice of Zen master Dogen, the uttermost depths of wisdom.

In zazen, as it is said, there is reading the scriptures, performance of duties, taking tea, and taking rice. As against the view that Buddhahood begins only after satori, which is the Zen of realization- with- a- beginning, this is the Zen of realization- from- the- beginning. Zazen is the Buddha action of the self which is a Buddha from the very beginning, and so throughout life it never ceases. It is a zazen which manifests realization- from- the- beginning or original realization. Thus the same zazen varies among the sects, and we should be clear about it. Each view has its own advantages, and this is not a matter for carping criticism.

Of the greatness of the merit of this zazen, Dogen says: "If all the Buddhas of the ten directions, countless as the grains of sand of the holy river, were to put out all their strength, and by their Buddha wisdom seek to measure the merit of a man in meditation, never could they even approach it."

Nevertheless, it can easily happen that as meditation power increases with practice, a Zen illness of pride in zazen arises. Normally we are submerged in the thousand confusions of the world, whirled round in the innumerable shifts and changes of life. As a result it becomes very easy to be caught up in things, and then those who wish to release themselves and be free throw themselves into zazen. But as the sitting becomes a major part of their life, they now get caught in the Zen illness. When concentration becomes one-pointed, in their meditation a Buddha appears, or demons or gods; perhaps they feel encircled by a snake, or other phenomena appear. Now all these things, even if it is the Buddha himself who appears to welcome us, are only the Zen illness. They are aberrations of zazen. One thing we have to note very carefully. It is that even if a man sees the Buddha's form so clearly that he is convinced it is the Buddha, or if he is pursued by a devil-mask and so feels fear, this is all the realm of ghosts and no more.

 

CHAPTER TWO

FOR THE serious student, posture is the first step in zazen or sitting in meditation. It is a peculiar fact that for spiritual practice, first of all the posture of the body must be made just right, whereas in physical training we always have to make sure that it is approached in the proper "sporting" spirit, getting that right first. In zazen, then, we have to see that the body is in the posture laid down as correct. Zen master Dogen, in the Fukan Zazen-gi classic on meditation, gives full details.

As to place, a thick mat is spread, the small round meditation cushion put on it, and the seat taken on that. If there is no meditation cushion, an ordinary cushion doubled over may be used. The rear half of the buttocks is placed on the cushion, and the seat made firm. There are two main postures, the fully locked and the half-locked positions. The names refer to the placing of the legs. In the first the legs are locked together by first setting the right foot on the left thigh and then bringing the left foot over onto the right thigh. The right hand, palm upward, is laid on the left foot, and the left hand, also palm upward, on the right hand. The tips of the thumbnails are to be touching. The spine is quite straight and erect, neither inclined to the left nor leaning to the right, neither bending forward nor falling back, but with ears in line with the shoulders and the nose above the navel. Such is the correct meditation posture. The tongue touches the upper jaw, the mouth is closed, and the eyes slightly opened. The breathing should be natural, but so that the breath as it passes through the nostrils is barely audible. In this way the body is settled for meditation.

The half-locked position is putting just the left foot on the right thigh (Plate 3d). However, as a change, the left foot can be taken down and the right foot put on the left thigh. The Zazen-gi only mentions the position with the left foot on the right thigh, but for students either position, namely with just one foot on the opposite thigh, can be taken as the half-locked position. The other points are the same as in the fully locked posture.

Beginners may use the half-locked position first and slowly progress to the fully locked. Those who always wear Western clothes and sit in chairs find the fully locked position difficult, and they may sit on their feet in the Japanese way, or it is also permissible to sit for meditation on a chair. People should select the position they can manage.

The ancient classification of human posture is into four: walking, standing, sitting, and lying. It may be asked why the Zen rule prescribes only sitting. On this the Patriarch Dogen says: "Of the four, why is the sitting posture alone given as appropriate for meditation and realization? Know then that from ancient times all the Buddhas have followed this practice as the path to enter satori. To the request for a reason, let it merely be known that the reason is that this is the way of the Buddhas, and one should not ask further. The patriarchs praise it as the gateway to peace and bliss. This is not the way of practice of only one Buddha or two Buddhas, but the path of all the Buddhas and all the patriarchs."

For one who has realized and is in the Samadhi of Buddha-in-his-own-glory, there is no necessity to stick to going or standing or sitting or lying exclusively, but in general the correct sitting posture, the fully locked position, is the right way--so we are told by generations of patriarchs and teachers of the past who followed the example of Shakyamuni Buddha and have left a record of their own experience.

 

CHAPTER THREE

WHAT WAS it that Buddha wished to teach? Was it sagacity? Was it brilliant academic understanding? Was his aim to encourage the reading of the sutras, or asceticism or austerities? In reality it was none of these. He simply wished to show all living beings how to set in right order the body and mind. The method of doing this is given in the classic on meditation called Zazen-gi: "Think the unthinkable. How to think the unthinkable? Be without thoughts--this is the secret of meditation." Being without thoughts is the object of Zen meditation; the control of body and mind is only a method of reaching it. When body and mind are controlled, from the ensuing absence of thoughts are born spontaneously brilliant understanding, perfect Buddha- wisdom, reading of the sutras and devotion, asceticism, and austerities. There are some who have too hastily assumed that holy reading, devotion, or austerities have a value in themselves, but this is not the traditional Zen as handed down through the great master Dogen.

What is meant by absence of thoughts? The living Samadhi of all the Buddhas is no other than that state of absence of thoughts. Taking the words literally, one might think it meant to be like a tree or a stone, but it is not that at all. It cannot be understood by our ordinary consciousness, but neither shall we get it by unconsciousness. We can only grasp it by experiencing it in ourselves.

Beginners, when they first hear that the secret of Zen is to be without thoughts but that it is not attained by consciousness or by unconsciousness, cannot understand at all what it can be, and are bewildered. Now instead of wondering how to get it, or trying to understand it or to analyze it, the essential thing is to take a resolute plunge into death, to give up one's body and life itself. It means to cut off all our discriminating fancies at the root and source. If we go on cutting them off at the root, then of itself the freedom from thought will come, which means that our original realization appears, and this is called satori. An ancient says: "In Zen the important thing is to stop the course of the mind." It means to stop the workings of our empirical consciousness, the mass of thoughts, ideas, and perceptions. Great Dogen says: "Cut off thought by the power of meditation. By this alone nearly everyone can attain the Way." Attaining the Way is realizing the Buddha heart which is our own true nature. The radiance of the Buddha heart breaks forth from ourselves; the compassion of the Buddha flows out of the Buddha heart within us. We come to know that the majesty of Buddha is the majesty of our self also.

The doctrine of karma is one aspect of Buddhism. In this doctrine, the whole phenomenal universe as perceived by us is understood to be an effect, corresponding to the previous thoughts, speech, and actions of the individual and of all living beings, which are the cause. In fact the whole phenomenal universe is experienced according to our karma. The three forms of karma, namely action of body, speech, and thought, can all be embraced under the heading of actions of the mind or heart. Whether this heart is the Buddha heart or not is the cause which determines good or evil for us. And if we only stress our ego and do not cut off the thoughts, the Buddha heart does not manifest.

The real difficulty of Zen meditation is how to stop the course of the mind, how to cut off thought. Some twenty- five hundred years ago at Kushinara in India, the World- honoured One, Shakyamuni Buddha, was about to die. In the final teachings to his disciples, the last phrase of the instructions about mind and senses is: "You must subjugate the mind." This does not mean the Buddha mind or Buddha heart, but it means the egoistic heart of the ordinary man who employs his mind actively all the time. Was there ever any chameleon comparable to the human heart? Just now it was happy and laughing, but now all at once it is sad, then in a rage about something or other; or it wants to eat, or to sleep, to praise or to slander. In so-called women's gossip the confusions of the mind become noisily apparent as speech. And so far it may not be so bad, but then there also spring up terrible things: robbery and murder--all transformations of the egoistic heart. This is why in the Vijnanavada (Consciousness Only) school of Buddhism all changes are called transformations of consciousness.

As to whether the heart in itself is good or bad, some say good and some say bad, and there was also a view among the ancients that it is neither. However it may be, what is clear is that our minds from morning to evening in their ceaseless activity undergo thousands and millions of changes and transformations, good and bad. Reason and morality tell us to take every possible care that we do not slip into a wrong path, but instead strive to keep the carriage of our life on the right road. An old poet sings: "When you feel it pulling, do not loose the reins of the colt of the heart, which would enter the evil paths," and again: "In the cooking-pot of the world, cook well and not badly; the human heart is the free-moving ladle." According to how the free ladle is lifted and lowered, the things are cooked well or badly. The human heart is likewise fundamentally free. They say that it is important all the time to give attention to the right path, but Zen does not speak of morality in quite this way. It is just a question of the Buddha heart, which prompts us to take a step beyond, to end the coursing of the mind, to cut off the thought. Once and for all, we have to cut off the working of the mind, which is the inner ego from which the evil emerges.

Buddhism teaches that the human heart has two aspects: the pure heart and the impure heart. But the heart in itself is not two; it is only classified in these two ways according to its workings. The pure heart is the pure heart of our own nature, our natural heart which is not a whit different from the Buddha heart. Opposed to this is the impure heart which gives us no peace from morning till night, the egoistic heart of illusions, the passion- ridden heart. Because the selfish, passionate heart is not natural, we are always afflicted with sufferings; endlessly this heart, absolutely reckless, leads men astray.

Fundamentally our true heart, our true nature, is pure and infinite, like the moon clear in the blue sky. At some distant time past our knowing, it was tainted by passion and became the impure heart, something not our real self but which came afterwards. This which came afterwards becomes predominant and sets at naught the true heart, just as the concubine sets at naught the real wife. How often one has read in the papers that the steward of some large estate, or the manager of a great firm perhaps, has set at naught his masters and, using the money for himself, has brought ruin all around. Just in this way we entrust ourselves to the operations of the deluded and passion- ridden heart, so that the real master, the Buddha heart, cannot even show its face. The thoughts of the impure heart are topsyturvy, for it sees reality as upside down. The villains who act as chief contributors to the delusion are what the Buddha called "the brigands of the five senses." These five-- eye, ear, nose, tongue, and body-- take in all the tempting objects and convey them to the impure heart in order to satisfy it. For this reason they are technically called roots, because just in this way the roots of a tree convey the sap to the branches and leaves to satisfy them. Of course the mischievous operation of the senses is not natural; their true working is not wrong. But the impure heart misuses them and only lets them work in wrong directions. As it is said in the Buddha's last teachings, "these five take the heart as their master." So the wicked nature of the impure heart is compared to a venomous serpent or a wild beast. It bears off the life which should develop into the Buddha who is our true nature. In our breast is coiled the poisonous serpent which is always breathing out the fire of the three poisons, bringing on us agonies and sufferings.

To drive out the devilish impure heart and enable the pure radiance to shine from the pure heart within us, the five senses have to be cut off. And hence it is said that we should cut off thought. How are we to do it? There are several methods, but the Zen method is to sit in the meditation posture and swell with our breath and vitality what is called "the field of the elixir" (the abdomen below the navel). In this way the whole frame is invigorated. Then we meditate, discarding body and mind. Now the delusions which are the impure heart come up without ceasing. We should make these fancies, coming one after another, the koan (theme) of our meditation. What, after all, is this thought? Where did it come from? We penetrate with the spear-point of our meditation to the source of the successive fancies.

When we practise sitting in this way regularly and make progress in meditation, then of itself the meditation becomes deeper and fuller until there is no room for the fancies to show their heads. The practice is quite unrestricted, and the entry into the experience of truth is also unrestricted; in the end appears the glory of the true self, where the practice is the realization. This is called seeing one's true face, and it is said that nine out of ten people can achieve it (in this very life). The practice as described has nothing artificial about it, but its easiness is deceptive, and the old masters all had a hard time with it. There are many sayings about this, such as, "After winning a hundred battles, now I grow old in the great peace," or "How many times for your sake do I enter the green dragon's cave where the jewel is hidden!"

There is another method. First in the same way filling the whole body with vigour, we wrestle with a koan which the teacher gives us. The "not" of Master Joshu, the "tree in the fore-court," the "true face," the "sound of one hand"--any of them will do. It is a question of using the koan to practise meditation with all the force of our will, one-pointedly and without distraction. If there is the least little bit of discriminating in this meditation, it will fail completely. Suppose, for instance, we are meditating on the sound of one hand. Though we try to understand it with the discriminating intellect, it will never be understood. We may think that we have understood, but this is no more than an understanding with the discriminating impure mind, which thinks "I" and "my" and "I do it." Zen meditation means to cut off at the root the mind which thinks "I understand it," and to enter the state where there is no impure discrimination; and one who rests satisfied at the stage of intellectual understanding is far from the goal of Zen. We are told to hear the sound of one hand, which alone cannot make a sound, and discrimination or analysis obviously cannot understand it. The essential thing is that the whole body and mind should be absorbed in the koan and no other thought should be able to arise, so that not only at the time of meditation but also in standing and walking and sitting and lying the meditation continues without a break. Then all unknown the power of the meditation matures. Abbot Reiun, seeing the peach flowers, became enlightened, and Zen master Kyogen at hearing the crack of a bamboo. In the way our karma may direct, heaven and earth are split open in an instant; as if a sluice had been opened, suddenly we attain bliss and life infinite.

Such was the realization of the old masters, and of this the Zazen-gi classic says: "Loosing and dropping off body and mind, your original face is clear before you." But there must not be any relaxation of attention; if there is even a slight wavering, the karma does not ripen into the psychological moment, any more than in the case of a dead man.

It is sufficient to penetrate completely into one koan. The great Realization is once for all; if there had to be a repetition, it would not have been complete satori. Of course there is nothing against a man examining all the seventeen hundred koan which exist, in order to try the power of his vision of the true self, but it does not mean that he has to solve more than one in order to be enlightened. If in the way described one presses on with burning faith, throwing one's whole power into the meditation, then it is absolutely certain that the time will come when he enters the living Samadhi of all the Buddhas. To adopt the method of koan is called the Zen of "awaiting satori." But in Soto Zen, the practice is just realizing; we meditate earnestly as the Buddha himself did, and it is not a question of wrestling with the koan and waiting for satori. We should understand the value of this practice of earnest sitting in meditation, which is the most important thing in the mental training leading to our real good, namely bringing out the Buddha light from our humanity. If it is done, then naturally through the Buddha heart our human nature is elevated. There is no distinction here of sharp or dull or clever or stupid. It is a fact that anyone, if he devotes himself wholeheartedly to spiritual meditation without wavering, reaches the supreme state.

 

CHAPTER FOUR

WHAT IS the aim of religion, and what is its raison d'être? People with a modern education clearly seem to be in doubt as to the answers. The trend of religion most obvious in society (particularly that of the so-called Revivalist sects) is chiefly towards healing, fortune-telling, and rituals. These are made out to be the very essence of religion. Such things are, it is true, phenomena associated with religion, but they are not its essence. Mere alleviation of sickness and misfortune, absurd dreams of wealth and success--if to realize these is true religion, then it is indeed opium.

The real religious quest is never on the plane of fulfilling such empirical desires. It is to penetrate deeply into daily life, into the world before us, and to seek practical experience of the life of Reality. This we call the heart of religion. When we think over everyday life, we see that it is founded on a great contradiction, and that our self-existence does not rest on any sure and firm foundation. As we realize the vanity of the world and understand the deep sinfulness of our ordinary conduct, for the first time arises the desire for the world of truth, of liberation, of unsullied purity. This is the manifesting of the religious spirit, and now the world of religion opens to us. But even when we do see the impermanence in our daily life, and the uncertainty of our self-existence, are we really awake to the contradiction in it? Of course intellectually we may be aware of it, but not deeply. We may feel the contradiction in a way, but there is after all quite a bit of self-deception in the ordinary man's life. (Which is why from the religious standpoint the world and the life of the world are called "lies.")

He who truly wakes to the impermanence and contradiction of the world is for the first time really awake. But the one who cannot in daily life see the self which is his true nature, whose interests are vulgar crazes and the things of the world, whose thought never leaves the circle of gossip and public opinion, whose desires are just for empirical happiness, material things, fame and gain--where is his true nature? In the viciousness called the world he has buried it; he has entombed the self.

Not understanding that everything is passing, thinking that old age, sickness, and death, which are the lot of all, are things that happen to other people, and deluding himself that somehow he will live for ever, passing his time in pursuit of name and profit and forgetting the real spirit of man, he has no serenity or philosophy. In this world governed by delusion and passion, religion does not exist, and in such a daily life the soul is broken. But from that very breaking, for the first time spiritual thoughts arise. He begins to reflect truly, and to seek a world where his self can live. About this, Zen master Dogen says: "What is called learning the way is learning the self," and again: "What is called learning the self is forgetting the self." Self-forgetfulness means to liberate the true self from the imprisoning ego. The word gedatsu (liberation) is composed of two Chinese characters, to be loosed" and "to escape," and so it means literally to come out of bondage and to have freedom. The bondage may be either physical or spiritual. There are people who are in bondage to duties or to their feelings; there are those who weep under the burden of things which do not matter at all, those who, binding the mind by the mind, cannot rise from the depths. Everyone has heard about neurosis and hysteria and so on. Modern medicine tells us that in a great percentage of the cases the cause of illness is psychological, the binding of the self by the self. The point is that to be caught, whether by facts, fancies, dreams, or illusions, is equally imprisonment. The bondage appears in innumerable forms, but the chief of them, the bond which is their source, is the problem of life and death. The other minor problems just appear in the interval between birth and death. To this great fundamental problem the teaching of the Buddha offers a solution, ensuring us supreme peace. That state of great peace is called Nirvana, and it is a state in which there is identification with the Reality which is neither life nor death. Then is realized the world of divine compassion and peace. That Nirvana transcending life and death is universal Life, and the Life of our own immortality. In that Life appears and vanishes the bondage of birth-and-death, our individual life ofless than a hundred years, all taken up with trivial worries. For the average man it is pain and sorrow. Who then is the villain of the piece? Who brings upon us the agony of imprisonment by the things of life and death? It is egoity; it is selfishness. Egoity always finds the excuses for us, never looks beyond external actions, always tries to fulfil the desire for the welfare of this little body alone. The body, which from the universal point of view exists for but an instant, wants against all reason to cling to life for ever. The universal Life pervades time and space without limit, but egoity sticks only to the life of one single body, and sets itself up against the great Life which is infinite.

Suppose, as an illustration, that a shade is put over the great lamp in the main hall of the temple. Now the range of its beams is restricted to a narrow area. This is like our human life--a tiny thing when compared with the great Life. But since it is fundamentally just a manifestation of that Life, by nature it seeks ultimately to become one with the great Life of Nirvana. If that Life is restricted by the shade of egoity, it becomes quite a small thing, and is bound, dissatisfied, tormented, and in agony. It is imprisoned in all kinds of limitations. The imprisonment is felt as if imposed from outside, but the truth is that there are no chains, and it is imposed by the self; the self suffers, imprisoned by itself. And as when the shade is removed, the rays of light suddenly illumine the whole hall, so the self of this present little life becomes, without changing, one with the great Life of Nirvana, and is able to experience the eternal reality. This is called the life of non-egoity (muga), or the life of Buddha. Zazen has the power to bring us directly into the eternal life of non-egoity. When that power is matured, the distinctions between object and subject are transcended. That and i, I and that, become the Absolute, and now the hidden springs of action are released. The truth beyond everyday experience, purity beyond all passion, is revealed. This is the world of truth; it is reality beyond all the distinctions created by human individuality. Here the opposition of right and wrong, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, pleasant and hateful, enemy and friend, is annihilated, and there is a state of perfect Absoluteness. Thence is born the power to create a perfect and refined culture; in learning, art, economics, and everything else there will be developments embodying truth and reality. It will bring real prosperity to men. It is the religious glory of Buddhism and the essence of Zen, which is the core of Buddhism, to discover that power.

 

CHAPTER FIVE

IN WESTERN philosophy and theology there are various theories about the existence of God, and attempts are made to prove His existence. Leaving aside the rightness or wrongness of the arguments and the whole question of whether there is a God-in-heaven, what is certain is that He has not been seen with any physical eyes. In Buddhism, when the eye of the heart is opened and the universe viewed, the Buddha is everywhere. To Shakyamuni at the moment of enlightenment, things animate and inanimate, all together became the Truth: grass, trees, and earth--all, all, became Buddhas. In all the phenomena of the world the Buddha spirit is active. The courses of the sun, the moon, and the other heavenly bodies, the cycle of the seasons, in the spring the willows and flowers and in the autumn the red maple leaves and the clear moon--every year it is so and will doubtless go on for ten million years unchanged. In that regularity there is no disorder, and we cannot suppose that a universe which displays such regularity can be just in movement to no purpose. We can observe a purpose to which the spiritual activity is moving. There is a progress, there is a development, and it is the process by which all become Buddhas. This supreme goal the philosophers call truth, call the Absolute, call reality. Because its being is a mystery it is also called God, but different from the God- in-heaven worshipped by Christians and others. We can indicate it as the spiritual essence of the universe, the great Life of all. This is what Buddhism means by Buddha. It is not the manifest physical body which came to birth in India and passed away at the age of eighty, but the Buddha of the truth-body, truth without form, the Absolute, the spirit that pervades the whole universe. The Kegon Sutra says:

The Buddha pure and like space,
Without shape or form pervades all.

The Buddha body eternally fills all the worlds; it is the spiritual force in all phenomena everywhere. In plants and animals and minerals the Buddha light is shining forth, from the worlds countless as the sands, from every speck of dust, from all beings and things.

The Buddhist doctrine of the Buddha body teaches that it has three aspects: the dharma body or body of truth, the body of bliss, and the manifest physical body. The body of truth, as has been said, is the formless spiritual essence of all things. It is consciousness absolute, filling the universes with beginningless, endless, and infinite life. Its wonder is called God, and the word God means that wonder.

Next the body of bliss, which has a beginning but no end. When Shakyamuni on December 8th saw the morning star, his satori began, and the life of the satori never ends. It is distinct from the life of his physical body. Shakyamuni Buddha (we leave for the moment the question of his predecessors) handed it on to Kashyapa, he to Ananda, and he to Shanavasu, and I stand as ninety-third in the line of transmission through Bodhidharma, Nyojo, and Dogen. Hereafter the succession will continue unbroken without end. The form of this Buddha body is not the physical form of Shakyamuni. It has no form but is the life of the transmission of Shakyamuni, Bodhidharma, and Rosen. What is transmitted is a current by virtue of which is handed on the living realization, the fruit of the spiritual practices of Shakyamuni, and it cannot be seen by the physical eye as it is without colour or form. In other words, receiving the spiritual practices as the spirit of Shakyamuni's satori, the patriarchs and teachers, generation after generation, live the life of Zen, practising zazen. This is the bliss-body of Shakyamuni the Enlightened One. The idea of the Western Paradise of Amitabha Buddha expresses the same truth.

The life and action in which flowed that spirit of Buddha produced Buddhist culture and passed it on. In the Japanese No drama, for instance, there was an actor called Hosho Kuro, and as is the custom, his chief pupil and successor took his name, which has been passed on for ten generations. The spirit of Hosho Kuro had a beginning but did not end with the first generation, being passed on to the second and third generations of pupils and so on, and they were each called Hosho Kuro. But the physical form of the present- day Hosho Kuro is not that of the first one.

So the life is transmitted. Now as to the manifest body of Buddha, this is a physical body, like that of Shakyamuni in India, which appears in a form appropriate to the natures of the people. In the Shushogi classic of Dogen, it is said that this was a human being in India like other human beings, whose satori was at thirty and whose passing away was at eighty.

There are, then, these three--the body of truth, the body of bliss, and the manifest physical body. In Japanese religious history the central role has been accorded to the bliss- body, which, manifesting through physical bodies all through human history, helps humanity and is revered as the living Buddha of the time. This is the beauty of the tradition as transmitted in Japan. The glory of Japanese culture has been based on the fact that it could show that Shakyamuni was not simply a man who lived and died, but that there was a handing on from one generation to the next and then to the next.

As to the supreme truth of the dharma body at the centre, it is the life essence pervading conscious and unconscious, and is instanced by Tozan's famous answer to the monk who asked him about the Buddha: "three pounds of linen." In this reply of Tozan we see how the Buddha of the Truth is ever manifest, radiating the Buddha light and in activity, whereas when the monk says "Buddha" he takes it as something glorious and set apart from ordinary living beings which are inglorious. He forgets that the self is from the beginning the Buddha of the Truth, and seeks a Buddha in another. But to forget self and seek Buddha in others is after all to attempt the impossible, as readers will already have understood. If we take the point of view of the questioner, Tozan's "three pounds of linen" is something absolutely inconceivable. Tozan points the way by thrusting his finger into the eye itself. Three pounds of linen was the same centuries ago as now. There is no difference in Buddhahood between the one who has realized it and the one who has yet to realize it. From the standpoint of the dharma body all beings are Buddhas. But Buddhas who instead of regarding themselves go round to others and ask about Buddha are no good, and Tozan's lion-roar of three pounds of linen" cuts through with one stroke.

The self is Buddha, and there is not a fraction of distinction in their nature between any of the things of the world. Day and night the ever fresh spiritual activity goes on in the world, and in the little world of the self its Buddha acts all the time without eclipse. But living beings, especially human beings, have numerous cravings which obstruct the true spiritual activity. From one point of view, then, it is true that in so far as a man in his life resists cravings, he is showing progress and development.

The Buddha nature, as the truth in all, is certainly there from the beginning, but as regards its action we must know that spiritual practice is necessary. Shakyamuni, up to the time when he declared his attainment of Buddhahood, performed the great spiritual practices, and there has never been a Buddha or patriarch who did not do them. Just as the crude ore is refined in the furnace and then alone becomes real gold, and the jewel only when polished reveals its radiance, so we have to exert ourselves every day and night in the practices, that the Buddha nature may be manifest. In the Shobo Genzo classic of Dogen it is explained: "Every man is an instrument of the Buddha law. Never once think yourself not so. By practice you will assuredly have direct experience of it." Conversion means coming to know that the self is Buddha; thereafter the path is the advancing and relapsing of such an aspirant. It is not a manifestation of some peculiar knowledge, or of a special state; it is awakening to our fundamental nature. The path must be followed faithfully. In the pilgrim and in the woodcutter, the Buddha is acting. In bed or going about, eating or washing, a Buddha is there too. To say "too" does not mean that the Buddha is separate from self, a distinct entity. The self is the Buddha. The Buddha work and Buddha action is the working of the Buddha heart. The Shobo Genzo says:

"When the Bodhisattva heart stirs, there is an impulse to practise the way of the Buddhas. When this is being done with partial devotion, it is found that in a hundred attempts there is not one success. But in the end the passions come under the sway of wisdom, or of the scriptural injunctions, and then there can be success. And that success now is the hundred failures of the past; it is the culmination of those hundred failures."

When we turn the light and shine it within, we reverse the current, and there is only the supreme Buddha heart, only the Buddha's spiritual action, and the individual self ceases to be. There are those who contemplate suicide in the bitterness of failure in life. But for a Buddhist this is pointless. When we fail, it is already progress to understand that we have failed. We train ourselves by making that failure a stepping-stone for a pace forward. The practice of Buddhism is to realize that the present success is the hundred failures of the past. When we understand that, no confusions or disturbances will arise.

In Japan in ancient times there was a man called Kisukè who looked after his aged parents with great devotion. Often loose-living acquaintances used to tempt him with invitations to parties and wineshops, but he steadfastly refused. His reason was a very remarkable one. As a child he had received his physical body from his mother, and his mind (as it was thought) from his father. He used to decline the invitations by saying that he could not take his father and mother to the drinking parties. To the way of thinking of young people nowadays this may seem comical, but if we can get a hint from the story as to how to meet temptation we shall not fall into bad ways and later have nothing but regrets. Kisukè's sincerity, which would not conceal anything from his parents, is a manifestation in conduct of the pure Buddha heart. There are "modern" people who say that loyalty and devotion to parents are old-fashioned and not in the spirit of the times, but in regard to loyalty and devotion we do not have to think of new or old. They are the fundamental basis of human conduct. What a great mistake to listen to the erroneous spiritual teachings of the new sects which have sprung up after the war, and think that loyalty and love of parents can be lightly brushed aside! The spirit of tradition and the practice of compassion are manifested in this life, in accordance with the karma of past lives, as the relationship of parent and child. As it says in the poem by Sanetomo:

Even birds and beasts which do not speak a word
Have compassion, and the parent thinks of the child.

And true parents and children express loyalty and devotion to the full by their conduct, without talking about it.

At the beginning of the Tokugawa era there was a Zen priest named Suzuki Shosan, who at the end of his life came to live in the capital Edo (now Tokyo). Once several young hatamoto samurai came up and said to the old man: "The other day we were strolling and talking, and someone said that the gods and Buddhas do curse people. Some of us thought it was true, and some of us thought it was a lie. Everyone agreed we should try and see, so we turned our backs on the guardian god at the temple gate and made water there. Still nothing happened, so that the fact is the gods and Buddhas do not curse." As though he had not heard, Shosan was glaring fixedly in front of him, and then he shouted: "Brutes, brutes, brutes!" The bewildered samurai looked round stupidly, but could not see anything. Those accursed brutes who insulted the gods and Buddhas, the curse had been that they were reduced to bestial behaviour, that they became mere animals acting so. Thinking over his repeated shout of "Brutes!" we may also remember that a man who bows and prays to God or Buddha in order to get something for himself is only a vulgar beggar, and one who prays thinking himself great is a heretic. True virtue and the mind of faith are no more than the manifestation of the Buddha heart in conduct.

"This day let life be a noble life, even if it be a noble ruin. If we act in this spirit, body and mind will naturally be lovable, naturally honorable. Through our action the Buddha action becomes manifest, and we have attained the great way of the Buddhas." So the Shushogi classic explains to us on the basis of practical reality.

When we realize that our life today is the Buddha life, then we do not pass the day vainly. There will not arise the restlessness for pleasure and the constant disappointment. When a man no longer passes his days in vain, the Buddha action manifests and he can attain the Way. That day's action is the body of bliss. It is Buddha action alone and not what is called individual self. Where there is the egoity which says "I," the Buddha action does not appear. Those who perform bestial actions may be human in form but in conduct conform to animals. If we perform devilish actions, we have fallen to the state of demons. Those who follow the Buddha law and become without egoity, can perform the Buddha action. If we do the practice without relapsing, our daily life will bring the deep and direct experience of the grace of the Buddhas and patriarchs.

 

CHAPTER SIX

SINCE the war the state of the Japanese people has changed. Under the new Constitution, the attitude to the family, which before was the centre of Japanese life, has been altered, and the Emperor, previously regarded as supremely sacred, has become a symbol. It is easy to see that politically this democratization, by transferring to the people the sovereignty hitherto vested in the Emperor, has made the responsibilities of the people much greater. In brief it means that rights and duties must be properly observed, and the individual's position vis-à-vis his township or village, and also vis-à-vis the country, must be rightly understood and accepted. It is a mistake to think of democracy as a sort of present from America; it means an awakening of the people to themselves. In such an awakened community each exerts himself for the good of all. The Bodhisattva path, where the individual labours for others rather than for his own good, can be considered the basis of democratic government also. But since the war we see mainly a degeneration of morals, with people thinking that self-realization lies in satisfying their instinctive desires. The general attitude is to laugh at mention of the public good, and pursue selfish ends, indifferent to public abuses. As time passes, the wonderful human sympathy which was a part of Japan is reviving, but with things as they are now it is nonsense to speak of democracy. It is the rule of violence, the rule of barbarism. Morality arises from reflection on self. When we begin to realize that each day of life is worthy of honour, then a great and moral society can be formed. Democracy cannot develop properly among a people who simply act by instinct, unreflectingly, unashamed of unrighteousness and sin. To forget shame is to forget one's own true heart, the Buddha of truth in one's self. It comes from failing to respect one's own nature as a human being.

If there is self-awakening among individuals, morality will of itself spread to those above and those below, and democracy in the new Japan will be on a firm basis. If the people are not self-awakened, then however much the government is reformed and the Cabinet reshuffled, the state will never be right. The foundation of a really civilized state can only be developed from self-awakening of the individual through spiritual convictions.

To do everything for others and forget self is a special Buddhist doctrine. "Till all beings have been carried across to Nirvana, I will not become a Buddha. . . ." The main point of the Bodhisattva path in Mahayana is the vow that though in my whole life I do not become a Buddha, I will lift up all others to Buddhahood. Since the war, democracy has been proclaimed in Japan, but in fact this wonderful teaching has been known in Japan well over a thousand years. But when shame was forgotten, this spirit too was forgotten. It means to throw away self and work for others, and the real glory of it is when it is done without thinking consciously about it.

In the Shobo Genzo classic of Zen master Dogen it is said: "To attain the Buddha way means to attain self. To attain self means to forget self. To forget self means to realize the truth of everything. To realize that truth means to drop off body and mind from one's self and the self of others." He does not say "other people" but "the self of others." There is self in others also. It is not rejecting others and looking on their sufferings with indifference. The self forgets himself, losing himself in the self of others. Now one's self and the self of others vanish, and one attains wholly the world of truth. The trinkets of wealth or position or family disappear, but the real treasure of the Buddha heart begins to shine out. When in each that light shines out to meet the other lights, the rebuilding of Japan can take place in the light. To know of another's pain must be to take it as our own.

In the Kegon Sutra, it is related that the god Indra was on a mountain looking out. A goddess came and covered his eyes, but so strong was his power of vision that a third eye burst out between the brows. One day as he stood on the shore, he saw by the power of that third eye countless beautiful gems sparkling. In one was reflected the light of a second, and in that one again was reflected back the light of the first gem. The light of innumerable gems, reflected and again reflected back two, three, four times in each other -- their beauty illumining each other is taken as a simile of the Net of Indra. And if in our democracy the hearts of the people open to reveal the Buddha light and in the same way illumine and reflect each other, then the country where such people live will be a model to the world.

With democracy came a tidal wave of "free thinking," but freedom never means acting selfishly and wilfully. Each has his own path, but that does not mean to act only selfishly. If we take the human body as an illustration, we cannot digest with the lungs or eat through the nose, but each has its own role, and following the prescribed course within those limits constitutes its freedom. "The bird flying as a bird, the fish going as a fish." When we get on a train, its direction and departure and arrival times are determined; our freedom is in making use of it. It is the same in our whole life. We cannot disturb the order which is at the very heart of freedom.

Again, when they speak of equal rights, it must not be an envious levelling down. The Emperor is called a citizen, but lie differs from us in that he is a symbol of the state. In that capacity he has no obligation to pay taxes, but on the other hand he is not free to marry just anyone, nor can he enter commerce. He would not be permitted to open a department store if he wanted to. Then, for instance, when we pray for the perpetuation of the Imperial line, it is clear that his position is quite distinct from that of us ordinary people.

From the Buddhist point of view, real greatness is in releasing the Buddha light. As one reaches this grand state he sees it in others also, and when others bow in worship, he himself bows to them. Harmony lies in taking a step back into humility and self-effacement. When the Buddha heart prompts this step back, the light of peace becomes manifest, and a democracy filled with love comes into being.

We should resolve to build the state rightly out of virtuous lives based on spiritual realization of the selfless Buddha heart, namely the Buddha heart of Zen, and so realize the happiness and fortune for which men long. Weapons may stave off for a time the dreaded Red ideology, but to entrust ourselves to a democracy which merely cloaks the arrogance of some political "boss" would equally be the end of all hope of peace and prosperity.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

AS ZEN has a totally unrestricted and universal outlook, among the "cases" or koan, reputedly seventeen hundred in number, there are stories about kittens and dogs, about turtles, and about water buffaloes. The fifty-sixth case of the Chinese anthology of Abbot Wanshi, the Shoyoroku, is the story called "The White Hare of Master Misshi." In such stories everything in the world--sun, moon, and stars, the voice of the valley stream and the colours of the mountain, the wind in the pines and the rain on the bamboos-- is pressed into service to teach. The great truth of Zen manifests itself, filling the earth and filling the heaven. The ancients could pick up anything at all and say: "This is It." They made their Zen koan out of anything that came to hand. The inmost spirit of Zen is that everything is treasure in our own home.

Among the Zen cases, then, is the story of the White Hare of Misshi. One day a white hare ran across in front of him, and he and his fellow master Tozan used it as the occasion for their Zen. This is the Case of the White Hare. But as in the fable of the hare and the tortoise, the real point is not contained in the literal interpretation. Still, it is important to appreciate how skilfully in the dialogue the two masters manipulate the theme of the hare. First let us look at the case as it appears in the anthology.

The case: Misshi and Tozan were walking together when they saw a white hare run across in front of them. Misshi remarked: "How quick!"

Tozan said: "How so?"

Misshi: "Like a white-robed (commoner) achieving the dignity of premier."

Tozan: "Oh venerable, oh great!" and other phrases.

Misshi: "How so yourself!"

Tozan: "The cords which have tied on the nobleman's hat for generations suddenly fall away."

The words "the case" at the beginning mean the formal presentation of a Zen koan, namely that there is now being given an incident between the ancient masters from the old records. Tozan was the founder of our Soto sect in China; Misshi, like Tozan, was a disciple of the master Ungan, so that they were fellow students under the same master.

They were once walking together along a mountain path when a white hare darted across in front of them. Misshi remarked how quickly it had gone. Tozan asked: "How so?" He puts a penetrating question, and with this thrust by Tozan the story of the white hare is no longer an ordinary incident but becomes a koan. Now in the discussion universal truth is contained in the one white hare.

Misshi at once replied: "Like a white-robed achieving the dignity of premier." In China the "white-clad" meant the common people, and there could be no quicker success in the world than for one of the commoners to become premier at one jump. He expresses the Zen principle of not dabbling in the labyrinth of logic and academic discussion, but entering at one stroke: the passions are realization, birth- and-death is Nirvana, living beings are the truth-body of the Buddha. This unwavering upward-looking consciousness is the mark of a genius who kicks down every obstacle. Misshi, looking ever upward, takes the white hare above the clouds. But against this, Tozan has the freedom to look down and shows the way to set the white hare free in the fields. He pretends to express great veneration and admiration, but that expression contains a reproof that Misshi is yet unripe. Misshi cannot understand and retorts: "How so yourself!" Tozan replies that the cords which have held the noble's hat for generations quickly fall away. His meaning is that a man, though born into a noble family which for generations has worn the ceremonial hat, can fall in one hour. He falls-- but he is a Buddha child, and so far as he is conscious of that, he may when needful take a fall without loss of poise.

From the absolute point of view, universal truth is certainly something noble, profound, and eternal. But following the law of association (karma), the moon in the sky lodges its reflection in the puddle left by the horse's tread. So the subtle body of the Truth, according to association, becomes an earthworm, becomes a frog, a badger, a hare. With the "falling away of the cords," it is not only things accounted high which are Truth. If it were only the great ones, there would be many difficulties. Tozan's view is that the hare is just right as it is, and we should not merely look at the strength of its legs for jumping but savour a taste of Zen when it appears just as it is before the eyes. The white hare which for Misshi was to be cloud- hidden, lifted above the skies, is once more released in the meadow and given its freedom.

Some one will ask: "Well, which side is the victor?" Both of them are skilled marshals of words, and each of the views, one upward- looking and the other downward, is doctrinally quite sound. Still, from the Zen standpoint, the view of Misshi, which attains the heights and remains there exclusively, flying in the heavens, must be taken as surpassed by the downward- turning view of Tozan, which gives freedom in the mountains and fields. On a high place there is generally the danger of a fall, and this means a loss of freedom; but the one who is already down has no fear of falling and moves about in freedom. And particularly in the case of a hare!

So in Zen we are always told to take one step more from the top of the hundred- foot bamboo, to leave the danger of the high places and go on the path of safety. That path means just ordinariness. It is ordinariness, but different from the former ordinariness. It is like the case of cold water. Cold water which has not been boiled must be different from cold water which has been through boiling. So with ordinariness: that before satori is very different from the ordinariness of after satori.

What is this ordinariness? It is things being what they properly are. Men being men, and women women, the business man being a business man and the scholar a scholar. As it says in the Zazen-gi: "The bird flying as a bird, the fish going as a fish." In this everyday life there is nothing strange or marvellous, and this is the basis of Zen. Official as an official, merchant as merchant, farmer as farmer, student as student, husband as husband and wife as wife-- if they act as the part implies they can have peace and be at rest. They will have no disturbing thoughts and will not be passing meaninglessly through the light and shade of time. Each day of their ordinary life will be noble.

In the true doctrine there are no miracles, but it is this sort of everyday human life. There is nothing extraordinary in it. The great master says: "Everyday mind is the way." To be able to return and settle in normality is the final stage of Zen. Put like this, it seems nothing. But this forgetting of aspirations and returning, as it were a fish or a bird, is the life of greatness, and if we look at the difficulties we see it is hard indeed. Bansho too says it is easy to mount from earth to heaven, but hard to descend from there. In Zen it is easy to trumpet the upward-looking view, but then very hard to return to the despised everyday life. They know the way out and forget the way back. But without this returning home and sitting at rest, Zen is only a ghost.

To sum up the Zen process: just as the sweating war- horses are lashed and the thousand swords mobilized only that the land may return to peace and each to his calling, so the real demonstration of Zen is to show the essential element of serenity in life. Tozan raises his banner on behalf of this return to peace. Still, it is only when that state of Misshi has been passed through that this is born, and it is by passing through both these views that one can experience the real taste of Zen. Zen master Wanshi says in one of his verses on the koan called "The Kindness of Jizo":

"Travelling till sick of travelling, now it is as it was; the veils disentangled, I have reached not-knowing. Let it be short or let it be long, have done with cutting off and tacking on. Following where it is high and following where it is low, things even out of themselves. As the circumstances are rich or straitened, act accordingly; walk supremely at leisure in the fields as your feet take you."

If we can make our gait in life supremely at leisure, then the great master Tozan will admit us unreservedly to his friendship and company.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

ONE OBJECT of Zen is of course to see one's nature and be enlightened, but that is not the final resting-place. Zen embraces Buddhism and it is the practice of the Buddha way. What is Buddhism then, and what is the Buddha way? Many people have an idea that Buddhism is just tales about heaven and hell, and how to lay out the body for a funeral, or maybe some little old man talking about resignation. So young people especially tend to turn away as from something that has not any value for them. They do not understand what real Buddhism is. It is the truth of the universe; it is grasping the absolute; it is the great enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha. That truth is universal--so fine it can be contained on the tip of a cormorant's feather, so vast that it transcends space into infinity. Truth absolute is the life of Buddhism, and the question is how to grasp it.

The Diamond Sutra teaches: "What is called Buddhism is no Buddhism." What Shakyamuni taught for forty-nine years as his doctrine was only explanation to help people come to direct knowledge. The real life of Buddhism is not there. As he said: "Know that my teachings are metaphors, as it were a raft." A raft or boat is only used until the objective, the far shore, is reached.

Where is the real Buddhism which is the objective? When it has been sought and reached, we come to rest in the everyday, in the ordinary, without anything abnormal about it. The ordinary man suffers because he cannot be at rest in ordinariness. "I went, but after all it was nothing special"--human life is full of such disappointments, things not turning out as expected. From the viewpoint of enlightenment, truth is the normal. It is not something special. The willow is green, the flower red, the fire hot, and the wind ever moving. Zen master Dogen in the Zazen-shin gives the conclusion of Zen: "The bird flying as a bird, the fish going as a fish." So it means the normal state of things. If we think of Buddhism as just a wonderful philosophy, it is because we do not see that it is normality, ordinariness, the daily life of eating and drinking. The truth is not outside daily life.

In Zen, while a man feels unable to approach the upwardlooking koan which is given him by the teacher, he fights with the tongue-sword and brandishes the spear. But when he reaches the perfectly unfettered Zen-in-action, he sees into the koan which appears of itself naturally before him, and then the real life begins.

A monk asked Joshu: "What is this Buddhism?" Immediately he replied: "The tree in the courtyard." There happened to be a tree in the court in front of the master's room, and without a hair of hesitation he made use of it. This is living Buddhism.

Again, a monk asked Abbot Seigen: "What is the great principle of Buddhism?" Having heard that this monk had just come from a place called Roryo, the abbot answered: "What is the price of rice in the Roryo market?" In his Zen-in-action the rice-market is taken to show the great principle of Buddhism.

A lay disciple who was a follower of Zen master Yakusan asked: "What is the truth?" Yakusan pointed up and down. "Have you got it?" But the disciple could not understand: "No." Then Yakusan added: "Cloud in the blue sky, water in the jar." The disciple was suddenly enlightened. The truth is just this cloud in the blue sky, water in the jar; not some abnormal phenomenon but the natural splendour of the mountains, rivers, and plains. Truly this is a level and simple Way.

There is one more of these tales from China, an interesting one about Joshu, to whom a monk came for the first time and said: "I have just entered the monastery. Please give me some instruction." In a monastery the monks take rice- gruel in the morning and evening for their meal. Joshu asked: "Have you had your rice- gruel?" He meant: have you had the morning meal? The monk answered directly: "Yes, I have had it," and Joshu said: "Then wash your bowl." All this has a meaning, and it is one of the koan. Bansho says about it: "When it is meal- time, open your mouth; when it is bed- time, shut your eyes; when you wash your face, clean the nostrils; when you put on sandals, fit them on to the feet." When washing the face, we become aware if our nose is dirty; when putting on sandals, we have to slip them properly over our toes.

The final resting- place of Zen, the life of Buddhism, is Zen- in- action, not going astray from the natural activity in ordinary everyday life. So, even unknowingly, day and night we are in the Buddha law and applying it. Then what need for enlightenment and training? "Going is Zen, sitting too is Zen." But no. Water that has been first boiled and then allowed to cool is certainly different from ordinary water, though both are equally cool. There must be a difference too between the ordinary man and the disciple who has undergone a long training. If there were not, admittedly Zen realization would be useless. They are alike as equally within the Buddha law, but the point of difference is that one follows the way with delight and the other does not. Though swimming in the same water, the man who has his clothes on is hampered because his body does not move freely through the water. Again, just as two people facing but separated by a pane of glass cannot talk to each other, so we are immersed in the holy truth but as it were cut off by glass. Somehow the glass has to be got away; somehow the swimmer has to discard the clothes-- this is the absolute necessity for seeing the nature and being enlightened. To put it more concretely: the unenlightened has not realized his self. Because he lacks self-realization, his ideas are at the mercy of every fluctuating fashion, and he is swayed by every rumour. His object in life never goes a step beyond pleasure, wealth, fame, and profit. But the disciple who earnestly seeks truth steps outside that routine and realizes the self; then the immortal truth arises in what is mortal. This is the real life, when practice and realization are one. Finally he reaches the ultimate goal of Zen, to adapt freely to the world. Now the parents are like parents, the children like children, the husband like a husband, and the wife like a wife. The willow is green and the flower red, the bird flying as a bird and the fish going as a fish.

When each is at peace in his own part, he can contribute to the real glory of the nation and then there is the power to create a lasting culture. We call it ordinary life, and it is, but this is also the Truth unchanged throughout the ages. See! When it is cold the bird perches on the tree, the duck takes to the water. Each repairs only to its own refuge. The truth is the truth in each. Neither is better--there is no better or worse because there is no inequality. Where there is no inequality, the heart is tranquil and the world radiates the light of peace. This is our Soto Zen, and it is the final resting-place of Zen.