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宏智正覺 Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) & 萬松行秀 Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246)
從容録 Congrong lu

Wanshi Shōgaku & Banshō Gyōshū: Shōyō-roku
Book of Serenity / The Book of Equanimity / The Book of Composure / Encouragement (Hermitage) Record
Hung-cse Cseng-csüe & Van-szung Hszing-hsziu: Cung-zsung lu / A nyugalom könyve* / Higgatag feljegyzések (Az egyensúly könyve)**

*©Hadházi Zsolt **©Terebess Gábor

Compiled in 1223. Full title is 萬松老人評唱天童覺和 尙頌古從容庵錄 Wansong laoren pingchang Tiantong Jue heshang songgu Congrong an lu (Old Man Wansong's Evaluations of Tiantong Jue's Versed Comments on Old Cases).


宏智正覺 Hongzhi Zhengjue (1091–1157) & 萬松行秀 Wansong Xingxiu (1166-1246)
請益錄 Qingyi lu
(Rōmaji:) Wanshi Shōgaku & Banshō Gyōshū: Shin'eki-roku
(English:) Record of Seeking Additional Instruction
(Magyar:) Hung-cse Cseng-csüe & Van-szung Hszing-hsziu: Csing-ji lu / Kitartó keresések*

*©Terebess Gábor

Full title is 萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚拈古請益錄 Wansong laoren pingchang Tiantong Jue heshang niangu Qingyi lu (Old Man Wansong's Singing Appraisal of Monk Tiantong Jue's Bringing Up the Old Record of Further Inquiries).
In Chinese: X1307



Higgatag feljegyzések
Fordította: Terebess Gábor

A nyugalom könyve
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt

Hongzhi válogatás
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt

A Buddha lényegi működése
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt (2006)

A zazen tűje
Fordította: Hadházi Zsolt (2008)

A csendes megvilágosodás éneke

A Csendes Megvilágító
Fordította: Komár Lajos

Zeisler István: A csendes felébredés zenje
Fordította: Király Attila

從容録 Congrong lu [Shōyō-roku]

DOC: The Book of Serenity
Translated by Thomas Cleary

DOC: The Record of the Temple of Equanimity
Translated by Gregory Wonderwheel

DOC: Shōyō-roku (Book of Equanimity)
[Cases only]
Translated by the Sanbô Kyôdan Society

PDF: Shôyôroku (Book of Equanimity)
[Introductions, Cases, Verses]
Translated by the Sanbô Kyôdan Society

The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans
Translated by Gerry Shishin Wick,
Wisdom Publications, 2005, 320 pages
Versions of the koans based on Maezumi Taizan's translations, with commentaries by Gerry Shishin Wick

PDF: Book of Serenity. Verses from Various Students of Reb Tenshin Anderson, Koan Class Tribute. (2005)

PDF: Book of Serenity — Register of Persons

坐禪箴 Zuochan zhen [Zazenshin]

A Needle for Zazen

The Buddha's Essential Functioning
Translated by Taizan Maezumi & Neal Donner

Lancet of Seated Meditation
Translated by Carl Bielefeldt

Zazenshin by Hongzhi Zhengjue
Translated by Hakuun Barnhard

My Friendly Advice for Seated Meditation
Translated by Hubert Nearman

Admonition on Chan Practice
Translated by Guogu (Dr Jimmy Yu)

The Acupuncture Needle of Zazen
Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton

Translated by Hoyu ISHIDA (Ishida Hōyū 石田 法雄)

默照銘 Mozhao ming [Mokushōmei; Mokushōka]

Mozhao ming / Silent Illumination
Translated by Hakuun Barnhard

Guidepost of Silent Illumination
Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton with Yi Wu

Inscription on Silent Illumination
Translation by Guogu Zhengxue

Silent Illumination
by Sheng Yen (Shengyan)

宏智禪師廣錄 Hongzhi chanshi guanglu [Wanshi zenji kōroku]

Translated by Thomas Cleary

Hongzhi Zhengjue, “Tiantong”
by Andy Ferguson

Dhyana Master Hong Zhi of Tiantong
by Hsuan Hua

Silent Illumination Chan by Hongzhi Zhengjue
Excerpts from The Extensive Records of Chan Master Hongzhi)

PDF: Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi
Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton with Yi Wu
Edited with Introduction by Taigen Dan Leighton
Revised Expanded Edition, Tuttle Publishing, 2000.

Practice Instructions
Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton with Yi Wu

Guidepost for the Hall of Pure Bliss
Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton with Yi Wu


Congrong Hermitage Record (Shōyōroku 從容録)

A koan collection, at the core of which are one hundred "verse comments on old cases" (juko 頌古) composed by Wanshi Shōkaku (C. Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺, 1091–1157), an eminent monk in the Soto 曹洞 lineage who was also known as Reverend Kaku of Tendō (Tendō Kaku Oshō, C. Tiantong Jue Heshang 天童覺和尚). The full title of the text is Congrong Hermitage Record : Old Man Banshō's Evaluations of Tendō Kaku's Verse Comments on Old Cases (Banshō rōjin hyōshō tendō kaku juko shōyōroku 萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚頌古從容録). The Congrong Hermitage Record as we have it today took shape in 1223 at the hand of Zen master Banshō Gyōshū (C. Wansong Xingxiu 萬松行秀, 1166–1246), who was living in the Congrong Hermitage (Shōyō an , C. Congrong an 從容菴) at the Blessings Repaying Monastery (Hōonji 報恩寺) in Yanjing. To each root case (honsoku 本則) and attached verse comment (song 頌) found in the core text by Tendō Kaku, Banshō added (1) a prose "instruction to the assembly" (shishu 示衆) which precedes the citation of the case and serves as a sort of introductory remark; (2) a prose commentary on the case; and (3) a prose commentary on the verse. Moreover, Banshō added interlinear capping phrases to each case and verse.

The Ts'ung-jung Record, we see that it is similar in arrangement
to the Blue Cliff Collection, and that the koans it contains have basically
the same internal structure. At the core of the text is a collection of verses on
old cases (sung-ku), one hundred in all, attributed to T'ien-t'ung Chüeh, a
prominent abbot of the T'ien-t'ung Monastery whose full name was Hung-chih
Cheng-chüeh (1091-1157). That core collection, which may have circulated
independently from Hung-chih's discourse record, is called Hung-chih's
Verses on Old Cases (Hung-chih sung-ku). The Ts'ung-jung Record as we know
it today took shape in 1223 under the hand of Ch'an master Wan-sung Hsinghsiu
(1166-1246), who was living in the Ts'ung-jung Hermitage (Ts'ung-jungan)
at the Pao-en Monastery in Yen-ching. To each old case and attached
verse found in the core text, Wan-sung added: (i) a prose "instruction to the
assembly" (shih-chung) which precedes the citation of the case and serves as a
sort of introductory remark; (2) a prose commentary on the case, introduced
by the words "the teacher said" (shih ytin); and (3) a prose commentary on
the verse, also introduced by "the teacher said." Moreover, Wan-sung added
interlinear capping phrases to each case and verse.
The headings "instruction to assembly" and "the teacher said" give the
impression that Wan-sung's introductory remarks and prose commentaries on
each case were delivered orally in a public forum and recorded by his disciples.
It is not impossible that Wan-sung actually gave a series of lectures on Hung32
chih's Verses on Old Cases which, when recorded and compiled by his disciples,
resulted in the Ts'ung-jung Record. Such lectures would have been extremely
difficult to follow, however, unless the members of the audience had the text
of Hung-chih's Verses on Old Cases in hand to consult as the master spoke.
Perhaps that was the case, but the complex structure of the Ts'ung-jung Record
is such that I am inclined to view it as a purely literary production, albeit one
that employs headings normally found in ostensibly verbatim records of oral

從容錄 Congrong lu
6 fasc.; T 2004; full title is Congrong Hermitage Record: Old Man Wansong's Evaluations of Tiantong Xue's Versed Comments on Old Cases 萬松老人評唱天童覺和 尙 頌古從容庵錄 [Wansong Laoren pingchang Tiantongjue Heshang songgu Congrong an lu / Manshō Rōnin Hyōshō Tendōkaku Washō juko Shōyō an roku] . A basic text of the Caodong school 曹洞宗 of Chan, which consists of one hundred versified kōan dialogs compiled by Hongzhi Zhengjue 宏智正覺 (1091–1157) (the Hongzhi Songgu 宏智頌古 ), an eminent monk in the Caodong 曹洞 lineage who was also known as Reverend Jue of Tiantong 天童覺和 尙 . It includes the commentary of Wansong Xingxiu 萬松行秀 (1166–1246), published in 1224, with the present version based on a republication done in 1607. To each root case 本則 and attached verse comment 頌 found in the core text by Tiantong Jue, Wansong added (1) a prose "instruction to the assembly" 示衆 which precedes the citation of the case and serves as a sort of introductory remark; (2) a prose commentary on the case; and (3) a prose commentary on the verse. Moreover, Wansong added interlinear capping phrases to each case and verse.

A whole independent genre of Chan literature evolved out of the practice of commenting on the gongan stories of past masters. Many Song Chan masters (or their students) compiled collections of old gongan cases, attaching the master's own brief comments to each. These collections were called niangu (picking up the old [cases or masters]) when a prose commentary was attached and songgu (eulogizing the old [cases or masters]) when the commentary was in poetic form. Such collections were themselves sometimes further subject to another master's commentaries, resulting in rather complex and somewhat confusing pieces of literature. Hongzhi's verses on one hundred gongan cases (a songgu commentary), for example, were further commented on by Wansong Xingxiu (1166–1246) and published as the Congrong lu (Record of equanimity). The treatment of each case in this work begins with an introduction by Wansong followed by the gongan case in question, with brief and often cryptic interlinear commentary by Wansong. Then comes a longer prose commentary on the case by Wansong, followed by Hongzhi's verse on the case, again with brief interlinear commentary by Wansong. Finally comes a prose commentary by Wansong on Hongzhi's verse and on the case in general.
(Morten Schlütter)


In Chinese:
萬松老人評唱天童覺和尚頌古從容庵錄 Wansong laoren pingzhang Tiantong Jue heshang songgu Congrongan lu
Congrong Hermitage Record of the Commentaries by Old Wansong on the Case and Verse [Collection] by Reverend Jue of Tiantong [Mountain]
T 2004.48.262a20–c5


DOC: The Book of Serenity
Translated by Thomas Cleary (Chinese-English bilingual edition)

DOC: The Record of the Temple of Equanimity
Translated by Gregory Wonderwheel

DOC: Shōyō-roku (Book of Equanimity)
[only main cases; names in Romaji]
Translated by the Sanbô Kyôdan Society

PDF: Shôyôroku (Book of Equanimity)
[Introductions, Cases, Verses]
Translated by the Sanbô Kyôdan Society


PDF: Shôyôroku (Book of Equanimity) Case 1 to Case 100
Teisho by Yamada Kôun (1907-1989)

Translation of Yamada Koun Roshi's Teisho
on the Shoyoroku (Book of Equanimity)

Foreword of the Editor to the Homepage Edition of the Shôyôroku-Teisho

The Shôyôroku, translated as "Book of Equanimity" or so metimes as "Book of Serenity", is a famous koan collection in the Soto line. Originally Master WANSHI Shôgaku (1091-1157) collected 100 koans and made a verse to each one of them sometime in the middle of 12 th century; then Master BANSHÔ Gyôshû (1166-1246) supplied the collection with Instructions, Commentaries etc. in 1223/24. In the following teisho, only the "Instruction", "Case" and "Verse" are dealt with according to the traditional manner.

YAMADA Kôun Roshi delivered his teisho on Case 1 of the Shôyôroku on 24 April 1978; his teisho on Case 100 was given on 23 May 1985. All teisho on the Shôyôroku in those five years were recorded into tapes, and they ar e now being transcribed into a written form.

The project of the English translation of Yama da Kôun Roshi's Teisho of the Shôyôroku (Book of Equanimity) was launched in late 2002, and now at last we are ready to start mounting the work successively on our homepa ge. Our first presentation is rather incomplete, but we ask for your tolerance and understanding for the time being.

The excellent translation is the work of Paul SHEPHERD; the manuscript was proof-read and edited by SATO Migaku with the Japanese original at hand. A big number of people assisted financially for the project, and their names are listed separately with deep appreciation.

SATO Migaku
February 2005

Shoyoroku 01 Shoyoroku 02 Shoyoroku 03 Shoyoroku 04 Shoyoroku 05
Shoyoroku 06 Shoyoroku 07 Shoyoroku 08 Shoyoroku 09 Shoyoroku 10
Shoyoroku 11 Shoyoroku 12 Shoyoroku 13 Shoyoroku 14 Shoyoroku 15
Shoyoroku 16 Shoyoroku 17 Shoyoroku 18 Shoyoroku 19 Shoyoroku 20
Shoyoroku 21 Shoyoroku 22 Shoyoroku 23 Shoyoroku 24 Shoyoroku 25
Shoyoroku 26 Shoyoroku 27 Shoyoroku 28 Shoyoroku 29 Shoyoroku 30
Shoyoroku 31 Shoyoroku 32 Shoyoroku 33 Shoyoroku 34 Shoyoroku 35
Shoyoroku 36 Shoyoroku 37 Shoyoroku 38 Shoyoroku 39 Shoyoroku 40
Shoyoroku 41 Shoyoroku 42 Shoyoroku 43 Shoyoroku 44 Shoyoroku 45
Shoyoroku 46 Shoyoroku 47 Shoyoroku 48 Shoyoroku 49 Shoyoroku 50
Shoyoroku 51 Shoyoroku 52 Shoyoroku 53 Shoyoroku 54 Shoyoroku 55
Shoyoroku 56 Shoyoroku 57 Shoyoroku 58 Shoyoroku 59 Shoyoroku 60
Shoyoroku 61 Shoyoroku 62 Shoyoroku 63 Shoyoroku 64 Shoyoroku 65
Shoyoroku 66 Shoyoroku 67 Shoyoroku 68 Shoyoroku 69 Shoyoroku 70
Shoyoroku 71 Shoyoroku 72 Shoyoroku 73 Shoyoroku 74 Shoyoroku 75
Shoyoroku 76 Shoyoroku 77 Shoyoroku 78 Shoyoroku 79 Shoyoroku 80
Shoyoroku 81 Shoyoroku 82 Shoyoroku 83 Shoyoroku 84 Shoyoroku 85
Shoyoroku 86 Shoyoroku 87 Shoyoroku 88 Shoyoroku 89 Shoyoroku 90
Shoyoroku 91 Shoyoroku 92 Shoyoroku 93 Shoyoroku 94 Shoyoroku 95
Shoyoroku 96 Shoyoroku 97 Shoyoroku 98 Shoyoroku 99 Shoyoroku 100



PDF: The Book of Equanimity: Illuminating Classic Zen Koans
Translated by Gerry Shishin Wick,
Wisdom Publications, 2005, 320 pages
Versions of the koans based on Maezumi Taizan's translations, with commentaries by Gerry Shishin Wick

Table of Contents
Foreword by Bernie Glassman . . . xi
Acknowledgments . . . xiii
Introduction . . . 1

Case 1: The World-Honored One Ascends the Platform . . . 11
Case 2: Bodhidharma’s Vast Emptiness . . . 13
Case 3: An Invitation for the Patriarch . . . 16
Case 4: The World-Honored One Points to the Earth . . . 18
Case 5: Seigan’s Cost of Rice . . . 20
Case 6: Baso’s White and Black . . . 22
Case 7: Yakusan Takes the High Seat . . . 25
Case 8: Hyakujo’s Fox . . .28
Case 9: Nansen Cuts a Cat . . . 31
Case 10: Joshu Sees Through the OldWoman . . . 34
Case 11: Ummon’s Two Sicknesses . . . 37
Case 12: Jizo Plants the Field . . . 40
Case 13: Rinzai’s Blind Donkey . . . 43
Case 14: Attendant Kaku Serves Tea . . . 46
Case 15: Kyozan Plants His Mattock . . . 49
Case 16: Mayoku Thumps His Staff . . . 51
Case 17: Hogen’s Hair’s-Breadth . . . 54
Case 18: Joshu’s Dog . . . 57
Case 19: Ummon’s Mount Sumeru . . . 60
Case 20: Jizo’s “Not Knowing Is the Most Intimate” . . . 63
Case 21: Ungan Sweeps the Ground . . . 66
Case 22: Ganto’s Bow and Shout . . . 69
Case 23: Roso Faces theWall . . . 72
Case 24: Seppo’s Poison Snake . . . 75
Case 25: Enkan’s Rhinoceros-Horn Fan . . . 78
Case 26: Kyozan Points to Snow . . . 81
Case 27: Hogen Points to the Blind . . . 84
Case 28: Gokoku’s Three Shames . . . 87
Case 29: Fuketsu’s Iron Ox . . . 90
Case 30: Daizui’s Kalpa Fire . . . 94
Case 31: Ummon’s Free-Standing Pillar . . . 98
Case 32: Kyozan’s State of Mind . . . 100
Case 33: Sansho’s Golden Carp . . . 103
Case 34: Fuketsu’s Speck of Dust . . . 106
Case 35: Rakuho’s Acquiescence . . . 108
Case 36: Baso’s Illness . . . 112
Case 37: Isan’s Karmic Consciousness . . . 114
Case 38: Rinzai’s True Man . . . 117
Case 39: Joshu’s Bowl-Washing . . . 120
Case 40: Ummon’s White and Black . . . 123
Case 41: Rakuho’s Last Moments . . . 126
Case 42: Nanyo’s Washbasin . . . 130
Case 43: Razan’s Arising and Vanishing . . . 132
Case 44: Koyo’s Garuda Bird . . . 134
Case 45: The Sutra of Complete Awakening . . . 138
Case 46: Tokusan’s Completion of Study . . . 141
Case 47: Joshu’s Cypress Tree . . . 144
Case 48: Vimalakirti’s Nonduality . . . 147
Case 49: Tozan Offers to the Essence . . . 150
Case 50: Seppo’s “What’s This?” . . . 154
Case 51: Hogen’s “By Boat or Land” . . . 158
Case 52: Sozan’s Dharmakaya . . . 161
Case 53: Obaku’s Dregs . . . 164
Case 54: Ungan’s Great Compassionate One . . . 168
Case 55: Seppo the Rice Cook . . . 171
Case 56: Mishi’s White Rabbit . . . 174
Case 57: Genyo’s One Thing . . . 178
Case 58: The Diamond Sutra’s Reviling . . . 181
Case 59: Seirin’s Deadly Snake . . . 184
Case 60: Ryutetsuma’s Old Cow . . . 187
Case 61: Kempo’s One Stroke . . . 190
Case 62: Beiko’s No Enlightenment . . . 193
Case 63: Joshu Asks About Death . . . 196
Case 64: Shisho’s Transmission . . . 199
Case 65: Shuzan’s New Bride . . . 203
Case 66: Kyuho’s Head and Tail . . . 206
Case 67: The Avatamsaka Sutra’sWisdom . . . 210
Case 68: Kassan’s Slashing Sword . . . 214
Case 69: Nansen’s Cats and Cows . . . 217
Case 70: Shinzan Questions the Nature of Life . . . 220
Case 71: Suigan’s Eyebrows . . . 223
Case 72: Chuyu’s Monkey . . . 226
Case 73: Sozan’s Requited Filial Piety . . . 229
Case 74: Hogen’s Substance and Name . . . 232
Case 75: Zuigan’s Permanent Principle . . . 235
Case 76: Shuzan’s Three Phrases . . . 238
Case 77: Kyozan Holds His Own . . . 241
Case 78: Ummon’s Farm Rice-Cake . . . 245
Case 79: Chosha Advances a Step . . . 248
Case 80: Ryuge Passes the Chin Rest . . . 252
Case 81: Gensha Comes to the Province . . . 256
Case 82: Ummon’s Sounds and Shapes . . . 259
Case 83: Dogo’s Nursing . . . 262
Case 84: Gutei’s One Finger . . . 265
Case 85: The National Teacher’s Seamless Tomb . . . 268
Case 86: Rinzai’s Great Enlightenment . . . 271
Case 87: Sozan’s With orWithout . . . 275
Case 88: The Shurangama’s Unseen . . . 278
Case 89: Tozan’s No Grass . . . 282
Case 90: Kyozan Respectfully Declares It . . . 286
Case 91: Nansen’s Peony . . . 289
Case 92: Ummon’s One Treasure . . . 292
Case 93: Roso’s Not Understanding . . . 295
Case 94: Tozan’s Illness . . . 299
Case 95: Rinzai’s One Stroke . . . 302
Case 96: Kyuho’s Disapproval . . . 305
Case 97: Emperor Ko’s Cap . . . 309
Case 98: Tozan’s Heed . . . 312
Case 99: Ummon’s Bowl and Pail . . . 315
Case 100: Roya’s Mountains and Rivers . . . 318

Appendix: Masters Referenced in The Book of Equanimity
I. Ancient Chinese and Japanese Ancestors . . . 321
II. Indian Ancestors and Bodhisattvas . . . 327
III. Modern Ancestors and Teachers . . . 328
Suggested Further Reading . . . 329

Case 1
The World-Honored One Ascends the Platform

Preface to the assembly
Close the gate and snooze—that’s how to treat a superior person. Reflection,
abbreviation, and elaboration are used for middling and inferior ones.
How can you stand for someone to ascend the high seat and scowl? If anyone
around here doesn’t agree, step forward. I have no doubts about him.

Main case
Attention! One day the World-Honored One ascended the platform and
took his seat. Manjushri struck the sounding post and said: “When you realize
the Dharma-King’s Dharma, the Dharma-King’s Dharma is just as is.” At
that, the World-Honored One descended from the platform.

Appreciatory verse
Do you see the true manner of the primal stage?
Mother Nature goes on weaving warp and woof;
the woven old brocade contains the images of spring—
nothing can be done about the Spring God’s (Manjushri) outflowing.

Attention! When the Buddha, also known as theWorld-Honored One, ascends
the platform it means he’s ready to give a discourse on the Dharma. In this
koan,Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom who is renowned for cutting delusion
with Dharma words, announces the beginning of the talk with the statement:
“When you realize the Dharma-King’s Dharma, the Dharma-King’s
Dharma is just as is.” And then, the Buddha descends the platform; his discourse
is over. What more could he say? Even Manjushri’s announcement is
unnecessary. He’s saying too much; he’s “leaking” or as the verse says he is
When you truly understand the Dharma, it’s just thus, just this; it’s as is. All
kinds of words and phrases have been invented in Zen to express thusness or
“as-is”-ness, but none are needed. Don’t add anything extra. Just let everything
be as it is. That’s liberation. But letting everything be as is, is difficult
for us because we’re always trying to fiddle around with things, always adding
something, wishing something were taken away. We’re always putting
another head atop our own.
I know people who want to be a lion but feel just like a frightened kitten—
and not only that, they feel like a frightened kitten frightened about
feeling like a frightened kitten! But the Dharma-King’s Dharma is as is; if
you’re frightened, be frightened, leave it at that and don’t add anything extra.
What does it mean to let it all be and let it all go? And what about when
you can’t let it go, what then?Well, if you’re holding on, hold on. That’s liberation
too. Let the Dharma-King’s Dharma be as is.
This seems straightforward, but the subtlety comes in each moment: Each
moment, how do you practice the Dharma-King’s Dharma? And let me ask
you this: Why do you practice Zen? If you think you’re going to become
something else, you’re fooling yourself. If you think that you don’t need to
practice zazen because everything is perfect as it is, that is an erroneous view.
The first line of the verse says, “Do you see the true manner of the primal
stage?” This is inviting us to realize the truth of ultimate reality. Is that
ultimate reality theWorld-Honored One ascending the platform, or is it the
World-HonoredOne descending the platform? If you let the light of ultimate
reality blind your eye, it’s hard to see. If it does not blind your eye, then it’s
hard to let go. If you see it, don’t dwell there.
The Dharma-King’s Dharma is as is. If you continue to be frightened and to
maintain your judgments about being frightened, then you are not truly feeling
fright. You are holding on to your opinions. By accepting your experience without
judgments, you allow transformation to take place. I cannot count the times
I heardMaezumi Roshi say, “Appreciate your life.” Appreciating your lifemeans
that the Dharma-King’s Dharma is just as is. From that place you can embrace
yourself and appreciate yourself. It is not a matter of being a superior or inferior
person. It is not a matter of Manjushri’s outflowing. Just let everything be
as is and appreciate every moment of this life as the life of the Dharma-King.

Case 2
Bodhidharma’s Vast Emptiness

Preface to the assembly
Benka’s three offerings did not prevent his being punished: If a luminous
jewel were thrown at them, few are the men who would not draw their
swords. For an impromptu guest, there is not an impromptu host; he’s provisionally
acceptable but not absolutely acceptable. If you can’t grasp rare,
valuable treasure, let’s toss in a dead cat’s head and see.

Main case
Attention! EmperorWu of Ryo asked the great master Bodhidharma, “What
is the ultimate meaning of the holy truth of Buddhism?” Bodhidharma replied,
“Vast emptiness. No holiness.” The Emperor asked, “Who stands here before
me?” Bodhidharma replied, “I don’t know.” The Emperor was baffled. Thereafter,
Bodhidharma crossed the river, arrived at Shorin and faced the wall for
nine years.

Appreciatory verse
Emptiness, no holiness—
the questioner’s far off.
Gain is to swing the axe and not harm the nose;
loss is to drop the pot and not look back.
In solitude he sits cool at Shorin;
in silence the Right Decree’s fully revealed.
The autumn’s lucid and the moon’s a turning frosty wheel;
the MilkyWay’s pale, and the Big Dipper’s handle hangs low.
In line the robe and bowl handed on to descendents
henceforth are medicine to men and devas.

Emperor Wu had heard about Bodhidharma, the Indian monk who brought
Zen to China in the sixth century, and summoned him to his court. In preparation
for meeting with this great bodhisattva, the emperor must have asked
his advisors what was the single most important question to ask a great monk.
When he meets Bodhidharma, he presents that question. Yet Bodhidharma’s
answer to him—”Vast emptiness. No holiness.”—surprises and confuses the
emperor so utterly that he wonders if the man before him is the great and
learned monk he had expected and not an imposter—hence his second question.
And Bodhidharma’s thunderous reply is, simply, “I don’t know.”
What is this vast emptiness?What is this “I don’t know”?What does empty
mean? It doesn’t mean blackness or nihilism or nothingness, and it isn’t the
emptiness we complain about when we say “I feel empty.” Everything is
impermanent; nothing is fixed. One’s own form is empty of any fixed thing.
Realizing this emptiness, experiencing it directly, is one of the most important
aspects of our practice. There is no fixed thing that is the self—nothing
to grasp onto, no firm ground upon which to stand, no right understanding
to attain. As soon as you think you’ve grabbed “it,” you have lost “it.” Realizing
“it” directly, tremendous freedom is manifest.
When self-aggrandizing thoughts arise—or even negative thoughts that
affirm the illusion of an independent self—we grab onto them instead of just
letting them go. Why do we grab onto them? If we didn’t reinforce the illusion
of a fixed self, what would we be? What would be left?
There is an old Zen expression that is appropriate here: ”Even the water
melting from the snow-capped peaks finds its way to the ocean.” It finds its
way without even knowing the direction and against all obstacles!We think
that we need to control everything. Out of ignorance we keep affirming this
false self to feel secure and to feel that we are in control of our life.
We believe that we are the content of our thoughts (and our opinions,
beliefs, feelings, and reactions). We resist seeing that we ourselves are “vast
emptiness” and thus are denying our deep unlimited nature. The Buddha realized
that there is no gap between ourselves and others.We are all one body.
And by not recognizing who we are, we’re creating a chasm between ourselves
and others that is greater than the Grand Canyon, and being unable to
cross this chasm makes us miserable. But even so, we feel secure in our own
misery because it is familiar to us, it makes us feel in control.
Commenting on this case, one ancient Zen master said, “Leaving aside
the ultimate meaning for the moment, what do you want with the holy
truth?” What are you going to do with it? Another master said, “If you just
end attachments, there’s no holy understanding.” The Third Ancestor said,
“Don’t seek after the truth, just don’t cherish your opinions.” Just let the
clouds of delusion disperse. If you don’t cherish your delusions, then wisdom
will shine through naturally. One of the scriptures says, “If you create an
understanding of holiness, you will succumb to all errors.” How many wars
have been fought in the name of an understanding of what is holy? What
kind of holiness is that? If you create an understanding of holiness, if you
know—right there, you’re stuck in the mud. As soon as you know, that knowing
becomes dualistic, and as soon as it becomes dualistic it no longer corresponds
to reality.
Yasutani Roshi said, “When you make Bodhidharma’s ‘I don’t know’ your
own, it does not break into consciousness. If you know it, at a single stroke
it’s gone.” When you make it your own, it’s a part of your flesh, bones, and
blood. But if you describe it, it becomes something else.
Relating to this case, Yasutani Roshi wrote this poem:

Holy reality, emptiness.
The man, unknowing.
Spring breeze and autumn moon speak heavenly truth.
Reverent monks building temples to no merit.
Emperor Wu, how could you know the willows’ new green?

How could you know the willows’ new green? You’re so busy trying to figure
it out, you’re missing the buds under your own nose.
So what is this not knowing? There are all kinds of “I don’t know.” In this
case, this “I don’t know” snatches everything away. We can point at it, but
how can we really express it? It is like a mute serving as a messenger to us.
But if we really open ourselves up, we can receive the message nonetheless.
But what is given? What is received? What is maintained?
When Bodhidharma left the emperor, he spent nine years facing a wall.
What was he doing for those nine years? If you understand this koan, you can
answer without hesitation.

Case 3
An Invitation for the Patriarch

Preface to the assembly
By the activity existing before even a hint of this kalpa, a blind turtle faces
the fire. By the phrase that’s transmitted outside the scriptures, a mortar’s rim
spouts a flower. Tell me: is there something to receive, maintain, read, and

Main case
Attention! The ruler of a country in Eastern India invited the Twenty-Seventh
Ancestor, Hannyatara, for a midmorning meal. The ruler asked him,
“Why don’t you read the sutras?” The Ancestor replied, “This poor follower
of the Way, when breathing in does not dwell in the realm of skandhas, and
when breathing out is not caught up in the many externals. Always do I thus
turn a hundred thousand million billion rolls of sutras.”

Appreciatory verse
Cloud rhino sports with the moon and glows embracing its beams;
wooden horse plays in the spring, unfettered and fleet.
Beneath his brows, two chill blue eyes—
what need to read sutras as though piercing oxhide!
Bright white mind transcends vast kalpas,
a hero’s strength tears through nested enclosures.
The subtle round hub-hole turns marvelous activities.
When Kanzan forgets the road whence he came,
Jittoku will lead him by hand to return.

Hannyatara, Bodhidharma’s teacher and the twenty-seventh Ancestor in our
lineage, doesn’t dwell in the realm of form, sensation, perception, conception,
and consciousness—the skandhas—and so he doesn’t get caught in a
notion of a fixed separate self. Inhaling and exhaling, there is no inside or
outside. Each breath reveals the sutra.
Sutra usually refers to the teachings of the Buddha, but a sutra could be
anything that is undeniably true.With each breath Hannyatara revolves the
sutras. Breathing in, breathing out, the fundamental holy truth of the primary
principle is revealed.
Hannyatara turns a nice phrase: “This poor follower of the Way.” To be
poor is to have nothing and to hold onto nothing. Being poor in that way
gives us the richness of not being constrained by external conditions.
This is a prescription for all of our dis-ease: Breathe in without attaching
to internals, breathe out without attaching to externals.When we do that, we
manifest clear, unclouded vision. But if we add anything to that simple practice,
it becomes something else entirely. To learn simple breathing in and
breathing out takes steady years of meditation. Breathe in and do not create
a false self; breathe out and don’t perturb the world or be perturbed by the
world—the ultimate meaning of the holy truth is revealed.
The verse says “A hero’s strength tears through nested enclosures.” Breathing
in, you’re a minister. Breathing out, you’re a general. These “nested enclosures”
are all of the cloaks that we wear. “I am a teacher.” “I am a Buddhist.” “I
am an artist.” Breathe in and you see past the teacher. Breathe out and you see
beyond the artist. The hero’s strength tears through these wrappers that we
put around ourselves. Each time we breathe it is a new sutra.
In this way whatever you’re doing, you’re revolving the sutras. Picking the
weeds, changing a diaper, and making a flower arrangement are a hundred
thousand million billion rolls of sutras. Completely become breathing in and
breathing out and that’s all there is. In that moment, where’s Hannyatara? If
you realize “this poor follower of theWay” you are free to come and go. But
if you don’t, you’re using counterfeit money to buy stock in a corrupt corporation.

Case 4
The World-Honored One Points to the Earth

Preface to the assembly
When a speck of dust is raised, the great earth is fully contained in it. It’s very
well to open new territory and extend your lands with horse and spear.Who
is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?

Main case
Attention!When theWorld-HonoredOne was walking with his disciples he
pointed to the ground and said, “It would be good to erect a temple here.”
The god Indra took a blade of grass and stuck it in the ground and said, “The
temple has been erected.” TheWorld-Honored One smiled faintly.

Appreciatory verse
On the hundred grass-tips, boundless spring—
taking what’s at hand, use it freely.
Buddha’s sixteen foot golden body of manifold merit
spontaneously extending a hand, enters the red dust—
within the dust he can be host
coming from another world, naturally he’s a guest.
Wherever you are be content with your role—
dislike not those more adept than you.

Part of experiencing growth in our life requires developing a larger vision
unconstrained by our usual, limited mind, like Indra and Buddha. Doing so
requires great awareness.We all have blind spots, and we project our world
view from those dark places. That projection inevitably distorts our relations
with others, with the world, and with ourselves.We need to practice awareness
in order to develop clarity and to perceive the difference between reality
and distortions.We also need perseverance because without it we will not
generate the heat necessary to melt our self-grasping ignorance.
Suppose you saw a black raven flying by, and everybody in the room said,
“That’s not a black raven. That’s a white snowy egret.” You’d say, “No it’s not.
It’s a black raven!” “No, everybody here except you says it’s a snowy egret.” You
might see certain things with the clarity developed from your Zen practice,
and yet everyone is telling you something else. This often happens when you
visit close relatives. Someone might say, “This Zen stuff, sitting on the cushion
all these hours—it’s a total waste of time!” What do you say? Whenever
visitors would say something argumentative to him, Maezumi Roshi would
give them space for their opinions. He would respond, “It could be so.”
The verse says, “Taking what’s at hand, use it freely.” Just put aside all of
your ideas, standards, and judgments, then look at the world with your larger
vision and see what arises. How can you manifest the sixteen foot golden
body of the Buddha? How can you erect a temple from a blade of grass? The
Bible says that your body is your temple. A piece of grass is your temple too.
All dharmas in the ten directions are your body and your temple. But, as
Master Bansho says in commenting on this case, “Repairs won’t be easy.”
The verse also says: “Wherever you are, be contented with your role.
Don’t dislike those that are more adept than you.” No matter how good you
are there is always somebody better. No matter how bad you are there is
always somebody worse. How can we be everything that we want to be?
Everywhere life is sufficient. Just be who you are, and don’t restrict it.





從容録 Higgatag feljegyzések (Az egyensúly könyve)
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
*A higgatag a magyar nyelvújítás szóképzése, pl. Arany János használja higgadt értelemben Murány ostroma c. elbeszélő költeményében. (A fordító megj.)

第二則達磨廓然 2. Bódhidharma üressége

A Liang-dinasztia Vu-ti császára kihallgatta a nagy tanítót, Bódhidharmát:
– Mi a végső értelme a szent igazságnak? - kérdezte.
– Minden üres, nem szent – mondta Bódhidharma.
– Akkor ki áll itt előttem?
– Nem tudni.
A császár nem értette. Bódhidharma később átkelt a Jangce vizén, majd Saolinban kilenc évig ült a falnak fordulva.


第九則南泉斬猫 9. Nan-csüan macskát öl

Egyszer a Nyugati és a Keleti Csarnok szerzetesei veszekedtek egy kismacskán. Nan-csüan mester felvette a macskát és elébük tartotta:
– Szóljatok érte egy szót, vagy megölöm!
A szerzetesek zavartan hallgattak, mire Nan-csüan kettévágta a macskát.
Estefelé megérkezett Csao-csou, és Nan-csüan elmesélte neki, mi történt. Csao-csou levette a szalmabocskorát, feltette a fejére és indult kifelé.
– Ha itt lettél volna – sóhajtott Nan-csüan –, megmented azt a macskát.

Az illusztráció art deco tapéta-vágat.


第十則臺山婆子 10. A Vutaj-hegy anyója

Egy szerzetes a Vutaj-hegyre zarándokolt. Útközben megkérdezett egy öreganyót, merre tartson.
– Csak egyenesen előre.
A szerzetes úgy is ment.
– Ez is csak arra tér le – mormogta utána az öreganyó.
A szerzetes elmesélte Csao-csounak, hogy járt.
– Kipuhatolom én azt az öreganyót – mondta Csao-csou.
Másnap maga is megkérdezte tőle, merre menjen.
– Csak egyenesen előre.
A mester úgy is tett.
– Ez is csak arra tér le – mormogta utána is az öreganyó.
Amikor Csao-csou visszatért, a szerzetesek már várták.
– Rajtakaptam az öreganyót – biztosította őket Csao-csou.


第二十五則鹽官犀扇 25. Jen-kuan orrszarvúcsont legyezője

Jen-kuan szólt a segédjének, hozza oda az orrszarvúcsont legyezőjét.
– Eltört – mondta a szerzetes.
– Akkor hozd ide az orrszarvút! – mondta Jen-kuan.
A szerzetes nem válaszolt.

Az illusztráció
Albrecht Ajtósi Dürer (1471-1528) Rinocérosza felhasználásával Terebess Pál munkája