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同安道丕 Tongan Daopi (n.d.)

(Rōmaji:) Dōan Dōhi


by Andy Ferguson
In: Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, Wisdom Publications, pp.


TONGAN DAOPI (n.d.) was a disciple of Yunju Daoying. Little is recorded of his life. He is known to have been the abbot of the Tongan Monastery on Mt. Fengchi in Hongzhou, near modern Nanchang City. He is remembered for preserving the Caodong Zen lineage and passing the Dharma seal of Dongshan on to his student Tongan Guanzhi.


A monk asked Zen master Tongan Daopi, “What is a seamless monument?”

Tongan said, “Om! Om!”

The monk asked, “Who is the person inside the monument?”

Tongan said, “Many people are visiting here today from Jianchang.”


A monk asked, “What if one understands everything with one look and then leaves?”

Daopi said, “Fine. So why have you come back here?”


A monk asked, “What is the master’s family style?”132

Daopi said, “The golden hen gathers her chicks into the Milky Way. The pregnant jade rabbit scurries into the crape myrtle bushes.”

The monk asked, “If suddenly a guest arrives, how do you treat him?”

Daopi said, “At early dawn a monkey picked the golden fruit. At late dusk a phoenix carried away the jade flower.”


A monk asked, “Can inanimate things expound Dharma?”

Daopi said, “The jade dog roams at night, never knowing the daylight.”


A monk asked, “If on the road one meets a person of the Way, how could one respond to that person with neither words nor silence?”

Daopi said, “With kicks and punches.”


A monk asked, “‘Explaining by using scripture is a sin against the buddhas of the three realms. Deviating a single word from scripture is devils’ talk.’ What does this mean?”

Tongan recited a verse that said:

The solitary peak is high and grand,
Not a single layer of mist.
The crescent moon crosses the void,
The white clouds come forth.


A monk asked, “What is Tongan’s arrow?”

Daopi said, “Look behind you.”

The monk asked, “What’s back there?”

Daopi said, “It’s gone past already.”


A monk asked, “How can one avoid harming the imperial way?”

Daopi said, “Eat gruel. Eat rice.”

The monk said, “If one doesn’t do so, is the imperial way not harmed?”

Daopi said, “You’ve slid off to the left!”


Once, when Daopi was reading a sutra he saw a monk coming for instruction. Daopi lifted his arm and covered his head with his sleeve. The monk came up to him and affected a sympathetic demeanor.

Daopi pulled his sleeve from his head, picked up the sutra, and said, “Do you understand?”

The monk then covered his own head with his sleeve.

Daopi said, “Blue heavens! Blue heavens!”