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玄楼奥龍 Genrō Ōryū (1720–1813)
Portrait of Genrō by Fūgai (龍満寺 Ryūman-ji, Hyōgo Prefecture)
(Rōmaji:) Tetteki tōsui
(English:) The Iron Flute (“Blowing the [Solid-]Iron Flute Upside-Down”)
(Magyar:) Vasfurulya* / Visszáján-fújt vasfuvola**
*©Hetényi Ernő **©Terebess Gábor
A Vasfurulya verseiből
The Iron Flute
Tetteki tōsui 鐵笛倒吹 is found in Zoku Sōtōshū zensho 續曹洞宗全書. Edited by Zoku Sōtōshū zensho kankōkai. 10 vols. Tokyo: Sōtōshū shūmuchō, 1974–1977. [Vol.: Juko 頌古 = Verses for Ancient Koans.] The original title means “The iron flute blown upside down.”
This kōan collection had been first compiled in 1783 by Genrō Ōryū, who added his commentary to each kōan in poetry and prose. Later (1788), Genrō's chief disciple, Fūgai Honkō added his own “capping phrases” (jakugo 著語）to the text.
Fūgai's lineage: Tenkei Denson 天柱傳尊 （1648-1736) > Shōzan Monkō 象山問厚 （d. 1776) > Genrō Ōryū (玄楼奥龍 1720-1813) > Fūgai Honkō (風外本高 1779-1847).
Senzaki Nyogen (千崎如幻 1876–1958) chose this text as an introduction to Zen Buddhism for his American students, inserting explanations and removing most of the original comments by Genrō and Fūgai:
The Iron Flute : 100 Zen Kōan with commentary by Genrō, Fūgai and Nyogen. Translated and edited by Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth Strout McCandless; illustrated by Toriichi Murashima; C. E. Tuttle, Ruthland, Vt. & Tokyo, 1961, 175 pages
Genro: Die hundert Zen-Koans der Eisernen Flöte. Hrsg von Nyogen Senzaki und Ruth Strout McCandless; Kommentar von den Zen-Meistern Genro, Fugai und Nyogen Senzaki; [Ubertr. von Ella Erhard]. Origo Verlag, Zürich, 1964, 1973. 174 S.
「鐵笛倒吹講話」 上・下 1920-1921 （東川寺蔵書）
by the 66th abbot of Eihei-ji: 日置黙仙 Hioki Mokusen (1847-1920)
The Iron Flute
Translated by Nyogen Senzaki and Ruth Strout McCandless
THE TRANSLASTION of Tetteki Tōsui, or The Iron Flute, was begun
in June 1939 by Nyogen Senzaki, who used the stories with their
commentaries as lectures for his own students. He preferred to
dictate the story and commentary to a student, who would then
loan the manuscript to other students to copy for their own use.
When I met Mr. Senzaki, I began to collect and compile the
scattered manuscripts, and soon after was at work with him on new
Nyogen Senzaki left California in 1942, but continued to send
me translations and comments to “ polish.” On his return in 1945,
his students gathered around him, and he read his lectures. Toward
the end of this series, he considered his students well acquainted
with Zen ways, and altered the style of his translations. He now
supplied very little comment of his own, but used Genrō’s and
Fūgai’s more freely. An occasional comment by one of Nyogen’s
own group also appears in the later kōan.
Zen is a path of discipline and development unique in religion
or philosophy. A person unfamiliar with its tenets may find the
dialogues recorded here obscure, if not downright confusing. It may
even seem that every step of the way is deliberately blocked by the
teacher in an effort to conceal rather than reveal the teachings—often
even at the cost of physical pain on the part of the disciple. Since it
is impossible here to go into the history of Zen, or to clarify its
aims or methods, a bibliography has been added for the interested
reader who wishes more background.
Except for the more commonly known Japanese names of
Buddhist sects, Chinese and Japanese proper names, respectively,
have been given in their original readings. Since, however, a
number of Zen works in English have used Japanese readings for
Chinese names, an appendix has been added for the convenience of
the interested reader giving both the Japanese and Chinese names
with the original characters. Japanese names are rendered Western
style, surname last.
RUTH STROUT MCCANDLESS
THE ORIGINAL of the present work was written and published in
1783 by Genrō, a Zen master of the Sōtō school in Japan. Each
story is a kōan on which the author makes his comment and writes
a poem. Fūgai, Genrō’s successor, added his remarks, sentence by
sentence, to his teacher’s book. I will translate the stories or main
subjects, including in most cases Genrō’s comments and Fūgai’s
remarks as reference. Occasionally a poem will be translated to
encourage study. Since many of Genrō’s and Fūgai’s comments
refer to old stories and customs unknown in the Occident, I shall
explain them in my commentary.
With the exception of a few stories from India, the background
is China during the T‘ang (a.d. 620–906) and Sung (930–1278)
dynasties, the Golden Age of Zen.
Tetteki Tōsui is the name of the original text. Tetteki means
“iron flute.” Usually a flute is made of bamboo with a mouthpiece
and several sideholes for the fingers, but this flute is a solid iron
rod with neither mouthpiece nor finger holes. Tōsui means “ to
blow it upside down.” The ordinary musician who wanders among
the lines of the grand staff will never be able to handle this Zen
instrument, but one who plays the stringless harp can also play
this flute with no mouthpiece.
The moon floats above the pines,
And the night veranda is cold
As the ancient, clear sound comes from your finger tips.
The old melody usually makes the listeners weep,
But Zen music is beyond sentiment.
Do not play again unless the Great Sound of Lao-tsu accompanies you.
Chinese Zen Master
Lao-tsu said, “ Great utensils take a long time to make. Great
characters never were built in a few years. Great sound is the sound
which transcends ordinary sound.”
Now you know why the book was named Tetteki Tōsui, or
“Blowing Upside Down the Solid Iron Flute.” It is a book of the
“sound of one hand.” It is the daily life of Zen.
The Iron Flute
selected commentary added by Genrō Ōryū, and Fūgai Honkō (Senzaki Nyogen's comments have been omitted)
1. Manjushri Enters the Gate
One day Manjushri stood outside the gate when Buddha called to him. “Manjushri, Manjushri, why do you not enter?”
“I do not see a thing outside the gate. Why should I enter?” Manjushri answered.
2. Opening Speech of Lo-shan
Lord Min-wang built a monastery for Lo-shan and asked him to make the first speech in the lecture hall. As master of the institution, Lo-shan sat on a chair, but spoke no word except, “Farewell,” before returning to his own room. Lord Min-wang approached him saying, “Even Buddha’s teaching at Gradharkuta Mountain must have been the same as yours of today.” Lo-shan answered, “I thought you were a stranger to the teaching, but now I discover you know something of Zen.”
3. Nan-ch‘üan’s Stone Buddha
Upasaka Liu-kêng said to Nan-ch‘üan, “In my house there is a stone which sits up or lies down. I intend to carve it as a Buddha. Can I do it?” Nan-ch‘üan answered, “Yes, you can.” Upasaka Liu-kêng asked again, “Can I not do it?” Nan-ch‘üan answered, “No, you cannot do it.”
GENRŌ: I see one stone which the layman carried to the monastery.
I also see another stone which Nan-ch‘üan kept in his
meditation hall. All the hammers in China cannot crush
these two stones.
4. Pai-ling’s Attainment
Pai-ling and Upasaka P‘ang-yün were studying under Ma-tsu, the successor of Nan-yüeh. One day as they met on the road, Pai-ling remarked, “Our grandfather of Zen said, ‘If one asserts that it is something, one misses it altogether.’ I wonder if he ever showed it to anyone.” Upasaka P‘ang-yün answered, “Yes, he did.” “To whom?” asked the monk. The layman then pointed his finger to himself and said, “To this fellow.”
“Your attainment,” said Pai-ling, “is so beautiful and so profound even Manjushri and Subhuti cannot praise you adequately.”
Then the layman said to the monk, “I wonder if there is anyone who knows what our grandfather in Zen meant.” The monk did not reply, but put on his straw hat and walked away. “Watch your step,” Upasaka P‘ang-yün called to him, but Pai-ling walked on without turning his head.
A cloud rests at the mouth of the cave
Doing nothing all day.
The moonlight penetrates the waves throughout the night,
But leaves no trace in the water.
5. Shao-shan’s Phrase
A monk once asked Shao-shan, “Is there any phrase which is neither right nor wrong?” Shao-shan answered, “A piece of white cloud does not show any ugliness.”
Not right, not wrong.
I gave you a phrase;
Keep it for thirty years,
But show it to no one.
6. T‘ou-tzu’s Dinner
A certain Buddhist family in the capital invited T‘ou-tzu to dinner. The head of the family set a tray full of grass in front of the monk. T‘ou-tzu put his fists on his forehead and raised his thumbs like horns. He was then brought the regular dinner. Later a monk asked T‘ou-tzu to explain the reason of his strange action. “Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva,” answered T‘ou-tzu.
7. Yün-mên’s Feast in the Joss House
One day as Yün-mên gave a lecture to his monks, he asked them, “Do you want to be acquainted with the old patriarchs?” Before anyone could answer, he pointed his cane above the monks, saying, “The old patriarchs are jumping on your heads.” Then he asked, “Do you wish to see the eyes of the old patriarchs?” He pointed to the ground beneath the monks’ feet and answered himself, “They are all under your feet.” After a moment’s pause he spoke as though to himself, “I made a feast in the joss house, but the hungry gods are never satisfied.”
GENRŌ: We have only the blue sky above our heads. Where are the
old patriarchs? We have only the good earth beneath our feet.
Where are the eyes of the old patriarchs? Yün-mên’s feast
was a mere shadow, no wonder the gods could not appease
their hunger. Do you want to know how I make a feast in the
joss house? I shut the door and lie down on the floor, stretch
my arms and legs and take a nap. Why? Because there is a
saying, “A cup brim-full cannot hold any more tea. The
good earth never produced a hungry man.”
8. Yün-chü’s Instruction
Yün-chü, a Sōtō master of Chinese Zen, had many disciples. One monk, who came from Korea, said to him, “I have realized something within me which I cannot describe at all.” “Why is that so?” asked Yün-chü, “it cannot be difficult.” “Then you must do it for me,” the monk replied. Yün-chü said, “Korea! Korea!” and closed the dialogue. Later a teacher of the ōryū school of Zen criticized the incident, “Yün-chü could not understand the monk at all. There was a great sea between them, even though they lived in the same monastery.”
GENRŌ: The Ōryū monk could not understand Yün-chü. There was
a great mountain between them even though they were
It is not difficult to open the mouth;
It is not difficult to describe the thing.
The monk from Korea was a wandering mendicant,
Who had not returned home as yet.
9. Tz‘u-ming’s Summary
Ts‘ui-yen, thinking he had attained something of Zen, left T‘zuming’s monastery when he was still a young monk to travel all over China. Years later, when he returned to visit the monastery, his old teacher asked, “Tell me the summary of Buddhism.” Ts‘ui-yen answered, “If a cloud does not hang over the mountain, the moonlight will penetrate the waves of the lake.” T‘zu-ming looked at his former pupil in anger, “You are getting old. Your hair has turned white, and your teeth are sparse, yet you still have such an idea of Zen. How can you escape birth and death?” Tears washed Ts‘ui-yen’s face as he bent his head. After a few minutes he asked, “Please tell me the summary of Buddhism.” “If a cloud does not hang over the mountain,” the teacher replied, “the moonlight will penetrate the waves of the lake.” Before the teacher had finished speaking, Ts‘ui-yen was enlightened.
GENRŌ: Ts‘ui-yen knew how to steer his boat with the current, but
he never dreamed of the stormy course requiring him to go
against the stream.
The bellows blew high the flaming forge;
The sword was hammered on the anvil.
It was the same steel as in the beginning,
But how different was its edge!
10. Yüeh-shan Holds It
The governor of a state asked Yüeh-shan, “I understand that all Buddhists must possess Shila (precepts), Dhyana (meditation) and Prajna (wisdom). Do you keep the precepts? Do you practice meditation? Have you attained wisdom?” “This poor monk has no such junk around here,” Yüeh-shan replied. “You must have a profound teaching,” the governor said, “but I do not understand it.” “If you want to hold it,” Yüeh-shan continued, “you must climb the highest mountain and sit on the summit or dive into the deepest sea and walk on the bottom. Since you cannot enter even your own bed without a burden on your mind, how can you grasp and hold my Zen?”
GENRŌ: Yüeh-shan uses the mountain and the sea as an
illustration. If you cling to summit or bottom, you will
create delusion. How can he hold “it” on the summit or the
bottom? The highest summit must not have a top to sit on,
and the greatest depth no place to set foot. Even this
statement is not expressing the truth. What do you do then?
(He turns to the monks.) Go out and work in the garden or
FŪGAI: Stop! Stop! Don’t try to pull an unwilling cat over the
carpet. She will scratch and make the matter worse.
11. Chao-chou Covers His Head
A monk entered Chao-chou’s room to do sanzen, and found him sitting with his head covered by his robe. The monk retreated. “Brother,” said Chao-chou, “do not say I did not receive your sanzen.”
A white cloud hangs over the summit
Of a green mountain beyond the lake.
Whoever looks and admires the scene,
Need not waste a word.
12. San-shêng Meets a Student
One day, while talking with his monks, San-shêng said, “When a student comes, I go out to meet him with no purpose of helping him.” His brother monk, Hsing-hua, heard of the remark and said, “When a student comes, I do not often go out to meet him, but if I do, I will surely help him.”
GENRŌ: One brother says, “No,” the other says, “Yes.” Thus,
they carry the business their father left them, improving it
and making it prosper.
The Yellow River runs one thousand miles to the north,
Then turns to the east and flows ceaselessly.
No matter how it bends and turns,
Its water comes from the source in Kun-lun Mountain.
13. Ch‘ien-yüan’s Paper Screen
Ch‘ien-yüan, a master, sat behind a paper screen. A monk came for sanzen, lifted the screen, and greeted the teacher, “It is strange.” The teacher gazed at the monk then said, “Do you understand?” “No, I do not understand,” the monk replied. “Before the seven Buddhas appeared in the world,” said the teacher, “it was the same as the present moment. Why do you not understand?” Later the monk mentioned the incident to Shih-shuang, a Zen teacher of the Dharma family, who praised Ch‘ien-yüan, saying, “Brother Ch‘ien-yüan is like a master archer. He never shot an arrow without hitting the mark.”
GENRŌ: Ch‘ien-yüan said enough when he gazed at the monk in
silence. Shih-shuang should have obliterated the words
spoken by Ch‘ien-yüan if he considered the good name of his
Beneath the window midnight rain patters on banana leaves,
On the bank of the river late spring breezes play with the weeping willow.
The message of eternity comes here and there, nothing more, nothing less.
Speaking of seven Buddhas is preparing a rope after the burglar has run away!
14. Pai-yün’s Black and White
Pai-yün, a Zen master of the Sung dynasty, wrote a poem:
Where others dwell,
I do not dwell.
Where others go,
I do not go.
This does not mean to refuse
Association with others;
I only want to make
Black and white distinct.
15. Ta-t‘zu’s Inner Culture
Ta-t‘zu said to his monks, “Brothers, it is better to dig inwardly one foot than to spread Dharma outwardly ten feet. Your inner culture of one inch is better than your preaching of ten inches.” In order to balance and clarify this statement, Tung-shan said, “I preach what I cannot meditate, and I meditate what I cannot preach.”
16. Kuei-shan’s Time
Kuei-shan said to his monks, “Winter repeats its cold days every year. Last year was as cold as this year, and next year we will have the same cold weather. Tell me, monks, what the days of the year are repeating.” Yang-shan, the senior disciple, walked to the teacher and stood with his right hand covering the fist of his left on his breast. “I knew you could not answer my question,” Kuei-shan commented, then turned to his junior disciple, Hsiang-yen, “What do you say?” “I am sure I can answer your question,” Hsiang-yen replied. He walked to his teacher and stood with his right hand covering his left fist placed against his breast as the senior monk had done, but Kuei-shan ignored him. “I am glad the senior could not answer me,” was the teacher’s remark.
17. Ta-sui’s Turtle
A monk saw a turtle walking in the garden of Ta-sui’s monastery and asked the teacher, “All beings cover their bones with flesh and skin. Why does this being cover its flesh and skin with bones?” Ta-sui, the master, took off one of his sandals and covered the turtle with it.
Friends of my childhood
Are all well known now.
They discuss philosophy;
They write essays and criticisms.
I am getting old;
I am good for nothing.
This evening the rain is my only companion.
I burn incense and lay myself in its fragrance;
I hear the wind passing the bamboo screen at my window.
18. Lin-chi Plants a Pine Tree
One day as Lin-chi was planting a pine tree in the monastery garden, his master, Huang-po, happened along. “We have good shrubbery around the monastery, why do you add this tree?” he asked. “There are two reasons,” Lin-chi answered, “first, to beautify the monastery with this evergreen and, second, to make a shelter for monks of the next generation.” Lin-chi then tamped the ground three times with his hoe to make the tree more secure. “Your self-assertion does not agree with me,” said Huang-po. Lin-chi ignored his teacher, murmuring, “All done,” and tamped the ground three times as before. “You will cause my teaching to remain in the world,” Huang-po said.
19. Chao-chou Plans a Visit
Chao-chou was planning to visit a mountain temple, when an elder monk wrote a poem and gave it to him.
Which blue mountain is not a holy place?
Why take cane and visit Ts‘ing-liang?
If the golden lion appears in the clouds,
It is not a happy omen at all.
After reading the poem, Chao-chou asked, “What is the true eye?” The monk made no answer.
20. Tê-shan Speaks of Preceding Teachers
K‘uo was attending his master, Tê-shan, one day when he said, “Old masters and sages, I suppose, have gone somewhere. Will you tell me what became of them?” “I do not know where they are,” came the reply. K‘uo was disappointed, “I was expecting an answer like a running horse, but I got one like a crawling turtle.” Tê-shan remained silent, as one defeated in an argument. The next day Tê-shan took a bath and came to the sitting room, where K‘uo served him tea. He patted the monk on the back and asked, “How is the kōan you spoke of yesterday?” “Your Zen is better today,” answered the monk. But Tê-shan said nothing, as a man defeated in an argument.
The preceding masters have hearts cold and hard as iron;
No human sentiments can judge them.
They go back and forth like a flash,
Move inwardly and outwardly like magic.
The criticisms of mankind cannot affect them.
One may climb the top of the mountain,
But he cannot search the bottom of the ocean.
Even under a true teacher one must strive hard.
Tê-shan and the monk could not dine at the same table.
21. Fên-yang’s Walking Stick
Fên-yang brought forth his walking stick and said to his monks, “Whoever understands this walking stick thoroughly can end his traveling for Zen.”
GENRŌ: All Buddhas in the past, present, and future enter
Buddhahood when they understand this walking stick. All
genealogical patriarchs reach their attainment through this
walking stick. Fên-yang’s words are correct; no one can deny
them. I must say, however, that anyone who understands the
walking stick should begin his traveling instead of ending
A walking stick seven feet high!
Whoever understands it can swallow the universe.
One goes southward and the other eastward;
Both are within my gate.
Before they leave this gate,
They should end their journey.
Kao-t‘ing paid homage to Tê-shan across the river,
Tê-shan answered, waving his fan:
Kao-t‘ing was enlightened at that moment.
Hsüan-sha tried to climb the mountain to see his teacher,
But fell down and injured his foot;
At that moment he attained his realization,
And said “Bodhidharma did not come to China,
And his successor never went to India.”
22. Pa-ling’s Secret Transmission
A monk asked Pa-ling, “What do the words ‘secret transmission in the east and in the west’ mean?” “Are you quoting those words from the poem of the third patriarch?” Pa-ling inquired. “No,” answered the monk, “those are the words of the master Shih-t‘ou.” “It is my mistake,” Pa-ling apologized. “I am such a dotard.”
23. Hsüeh-fêng Cuts Trees
Hsüeh-fêng went to the forest to cut trees with his disciple, Chang-shêng. “Do not stop until your ax cuts the very center of the tree,” warned the teacher. “I have cut it,” the disciple replied. “The old masters transmitted the teaching to their disciples from heart to heart,” Hsüeh-fêng continued, “how about your own case?” Chang-shêng threw his ax to the ground, saying, “Transmitted.” The teacher took up his walking stick and struck his beloved disciple.
Chang-shêng had a good ax
Sharp enough to split
The trunk in two
With a single stroke.
Hsüeh-fêng used his walking stick
To sharpen the edge.
24. Nan-ch‘üan’s Buddhistic Age
Nan-ch‘üan once delayed taking his seat in the dining room. Huang-po, his disciple and chief monk, took the master’s seat instead of his own. Nan-ch‘üan came in and said, “That seat belongs to the oldest monk in this monastery. How old are you in the Buddhistic way?” “My age goes back to the time of the prehistoric Buddha,” responded Huang-po. “Then,” said Nan-ch‘üan, “you are my grandson. Move down.” Huang-po gave the seat to the master, but took the place next to it for his own.
25. Yen-t‘ou’s Water Pail
Three monks, Hsüeh-fêng, Ch‘in-shan, and Yen-t‘ou, met in the temple garden. Hsüeh-fêng saw a water pail and pointed to it. Ch‘in-shan said, “The water is clear, and the moon reflects its image.” “No, no,” said Hsüeh-fêng, “it is not water, it is not moon.” Yen-t‘ou turned over the pail.
In the garden of willows and flowers
By the tower of beautiful music
Two guests are enjoying wine,
Holding their golden cups
Under the pale light of the moon.
A nightingale starts suddenly
From the branch of a tree,
Shaking dew from the leaves.
FŪGAI: Nightingale? No! It is a phoenix!
26. Hsüeh-fêng’s Punctuality
Hsüeh-fêng, the cook monk in Tung-shan’s monastery, was always punctual in serving the morning meal. One day Tung-shan asked, “What makes you keep the time so accurately?” “I watch the stars and the moon,” Hsüeh-fêng answered. “What if it rains, or is foggy, what do you then?” Tung-shan persisted, but Hsüeh-fêng remained silent.
GENRŌ: If Tung-shan asked me what I would do if it rained or
there was fog, I would answer that I watched the rain and
enjoyed the fog.
FŪGAI: I beg your pardon, but I feel like cutting off your tongue
with a pair of scissors. Hsüeh-fêng has already answered.
27. Yang-shan’s Million Objects
Yang-shan asked Kuei-shan, “If a million objects come to you, what do you do?” Kuei-shan answered, “A green article is not yellow. A long thing is not short. Each object manages its own fate. Why should I interfere with them?” Yang-shan paid homage with a bow.
28. Lung-ya’s Ultimate Stage
A monk asked Lung-ya, “What did old masters attain when they entered the ultimate stage?” “They were like burglars sneaking into a vacant house,” came the reply.
He walked the blade of a sword;
He stepped on the ice of a frozen river;
He entered the vacant house;
His desire to steal ceased forever.
He returned to his own home,
Saw the beautiful rays of the morning sun,
And watched the moon and stars intimately.
He walked the streets with ease,
Enjoying the gentle breeze.
At last he opened his treasure house.
Until that moment he never dreamed
He had owned those treasures from the very beginning.
29. Yang-shan’s Greeting
At the end of a seclusion of one hundred days, Yang-shan greeted his teacher, Kuei-shan. “I did not see you around here all summer,” said Kuei-shan, “What were you doing?” “I have been cultivating a piece of land,” replied Yang-shan, “and produced a basketful of millet.” “You did not pass this summer in vain,” Kuei-shan commented. “What were you doing this summer?” inquired Yang-shan. The old monk answered, “I ate once a day at noon and slept a few hours after midnight.” “Then you did not pass this summer in vain,” Yang-shan responded and with these words stuck out his tongue. “You should have some self-respect,” Kuei-shan observed.
None of the monks wasted precious time
In the old monastery of Kuei-shan.
Each monk glorified Buddha-Dharma
Working in silence, ignoring loss and gain.
Pet birds have red strings on their legs;
They are still strings, no matter how attractive.
Monks must not be attached to their freedom.
One sticks out his tongue to escape a blow—
Given with loving-kindness—
To sever all strings of mind and body.
30. T‘ai-tsung’s Dream
Emperor T‘ai-tsung of the Sung dynasty one night dreamed of a god who appeared and advised him to arouse his yearning for supreme enlightenment. In the morning His Majesty asked the official priest, “How can I arouse yearning for supreme enlightenment?” The priest said no word.
FŪGAI: His Majesty was still dreaming when he questioned the
official priest. The servants should prepare a basin of blue
jade, a snow-white cloth, and some icy water to wash his
face. The official priest should be dismissed from his post
because he failed to assist the emperor to stay awake all the
time. When he was asked a question, he said no word,
neglected his duty, and was good for nothing.
GENRŌ: Were I the priest, I would have said, “ Your Majesty, you
should have asked that question of the god in your dream.”
FŪGAI: I wonder if my teacher was ever acquainted with the god of
whom the emperor spoke. Even if he were, his advice was
31. Kuei-shan Summons Two Official Monks
Master Kuei-shan sent for the treasurer, but when the treasurer monk appeared, Kuei-shan said, “I called the treasurer, not you.” The treasurer could not say a word. The master next sent for the chief monk, but when he arrived, Kuei-shan said, “I sent for the chief monk, not you.” The chief monk could not say a word.
32. Fên-yang Punishes the Sky
A monk asked Fên-yang, “If there is no bit of cloud in the sky for ten thousand miles, what do you say about it?” “I would punish the sky with my stick,” Fên-yang replied. “Why do you blame the sky?” the monk persisted. “Because,” answered Fên-yang, “there is no rain when we should have it and there is no fair weather when we should have it.”
33. Yüeh-shan Solves a Monk’s Problem
After a lecture to the monks one morning, Yüeh-shan was approached by a monk, who said, “I have a problem. Will you solve it for me?” “I will solve it at the next lecture,” Yüeh-shan answered. That evening, when all the monks had gathered in the hall, Yüeh-shan called out loudly, “The monk who told me this morning he had a problem, come up here immediately.” As soon as the monk stepped forward to stand in front of the audience, the master left his seat and took hold of the monk roughly. “Look here, monks,” he said, “this fellow has a problem.” He then pushed the monk aside and returned to his room without giving his evening lecture.
FŪGAI: Why, my dear brother, you have such a treasure for
meditation. Without a problem, how can one meditate
intensely? Do not ask the help of a master or anyone. The
master solved your problem this morning, but you did not
realize it. This evening he gives a dramatic lecture, pouring
out all he has in his heart.
34. Hsüeh-fêng Sees His Buddha-nature
A monk said to Hsüeh-fêng, “I understand that a person in the stage of Shravaka sees his Buddha-nature as he sees the moon at night, and a person in the stage of Bodhisattva sees his Buddha-nature as he sees the sun at day. Tell me how you see your own Buddha-nature.” For answer Hsüeh-fêng gave the monk three blows with his stick. The monk went to another teacher, Yen-t‘ou, and asked the same thing. Yen-t‘ou slapped the monk three times.
35. Li-hsi’s Poem
Li-hsi,* who lived thirty years on Tzu-hu Mountain, wrote a poem:
For thirty years I have lived on Tzu-hu Mountain.
I have taken simple meals twice a day to feed my body;
I have climbed the hills and returned to my hut to exercise my body.
None of my contemporaries would recognize me.
*子湖利蹤 Zihu Lizong [Tzu-hu Li-tsung] (800-880), Shiko Rishō
When inclined, he climbs the mountain;
In his leisure, white clouds are his companions;
In quietude, he has everlasting gladness.
None but Zen students can partake of such pleasure.
36. Where to Meet After Death
Tao-wu paid a visit to his sick brother monk, Yün-yen. “Where can I see you again, if you die and leave only your corpse here?” asked the visitor. “I will meet you in the place where nothing is born and nothing dies,” answered the sick monk. Tao-wu was not satisfied with the answer and said, “What you should say is that there is no place in which nothing is born and nothing dies, and that we need not see each other at all.”
GENRŌ: Tao-wu loses everything and Yün-yen gains all. The latter
said, “I will meet you,” and the former said, “We need not
see each other at all.” They need not see each other, therefore,
they meet. They meet each other because there is no need to
see each other.
True friendship transcends intimacy or alienation:
Between meeting and not meeting, there is no difference.
On the old plum tree, fully blossomed,
The southern branch owns the whole spring,
As also does the northern branch.
37. Hsüeh-fêng’s Sanctity
A monk asked Hsüeh-fêng, “How can one touch sanctity?” Hsüeh-fêng answered, “A mere innocent cannot do it.” “If he forgets himself,” the monk asked again, “can he touch sanctity?” “He may do so in so far as he is concerned,” Hsüeh-fêng replied. “Then,” continued the monk, “what happens to him?” “A bee never returns to his abandoned hive,” came the answer.
38. Going and Returning
A monk asked his master, “What do you think of a monk who goes from the monastery and never returns?” The teacher said, “He is an ungrateful ass.” The student asked again, “What do you think of a monk who goes out of the monastery, but comes back again?” The teacher said, “He remembers the benefits.”
GENRŌ: If I were asked, “What do you think of a monk who goes
from the monastery and never returns?” I would say, “He is
a fool!” And on the question, “What do you think of a monk
who goes out of the monastery only to return?” I would
answer, “He is an escaping fox.”
39. Three Calls
Chung-kuo-shih, teacher of the emperor, called to his attendant, “Ying-chên.” Ying-chên answered, “Yes.” Chung-kuo-shih, to test his pupil, repeated, “Ying-chên.” Ying-chên answered, “Yes.” Then Chung-kuo-shih called, “Ying-chên,” for the third time. Ying-chên answered, “Yes.” “I ought to apologize to you for all this calling,” said Chung-kuo-shih, “but really you should apologize to me.”
GENRŌ: The old master was kindhearted enough, and the young
pupil served him selflessly. Why the apologies? Because
human affairs are very uncertain. One should not set himself
in any mold of life if he wishes to live freely.
40. The Dry Creek
A monk asked Hsüeh-fêng, “When the old creek of Zen dries out and there is not a drop of water left, what can I see there?” Hsüeh-fêng answered, “There is the bottomless water, which you cannot see.” The monk asked again, “How can one drink that water?” Hsüeh-fêng replied, “He should not use his mouth to do it.”
This monk later went to Chao-chou and related the dialogue. Chao-chou said, “If one cannot drink the water with his mouth, he also cannot take it through his nostrils.” The monk then repeated the first question, “When the old creek of Zen dries out and there is not a drop of water, what can I see there?” Chao-chou answered, “The water will taste as bitter as quinine.” “What happens to one who drinks that water?” asked the monk. “He will lose his life,” came the reply.
When Hsüeh-fêng heard of the dialogue, he paid homage to Chao-chou saying, “Chao-chou is a living Buddha. I should not answer any questions hereafter.” From that time on he sent all newcomers to Chao-chou.
41. Tung-shan’s Tripitaka
Tung-shan, a Zen master, said, “The Tripitaka, the whole collection of Buddhist scriptures, can be expressed with this one letter.” Pai-yün, another master, illustrated the words of Tung-shan with a poem:
Each stroke of this letter is clear, but no reason accompanies it.
Buddha tried to write it, failing many a time.
Why not give the job to Mr. Wang, master of calligraphy?
His skillful hand may accomplish the requirement beautifully.
42. The Southern Mountain
Shih-shuang lived on the Southern Mountain and Kuan-ch‘i lived on the Northern Mountain. One day a monk came from the Northern Monastery to the Southern Monastery, and Shih-shuang said to him, “My Southern Monastery is not superior to the monastery in the north.” The monk did not know what to say, so kept silent. When the monk returned to Kuan-ch‘i and told him what Shih-shuang had said, Kuan-ch‘i remarked, “You should tell him I am ready to enter Nirvana most any day.”
43. The Ultimate Truth of Zen
A monk asked Hsüan-sha, “When the old masters preached Dharma wordlessly with a gavel or mosquito brush, were they expressing the ultimate truth of Zen?” Hsüan-sha answered, “No.” “Then,” continued the monk, “what were they showing?” Hsüan-sha raised his mosquito brush. The monk asked, “What is the ultimate truth of Zen?” “Wait until you attain realization,” Hsüan-sha replied.
GENRŌ: If I were Hsüan-sha, I would throw down the brush instead
of making such a lukewarm speech.
FŪGAI: My teacher’s words may be good to help Hsüan-sha, but it
is a pity he had to use a butcher’s knife to carve a chicken.
44. Nan-ch‘üan Rejects Both Monk and Layman
A monk came to Nan-ch‘üan, stood in front of him, and put both hands to his breast. Nan-ch‘üan said, “You are too much of a layman.” The monk then placed his hands palm to palm. “You are too much of a monk,” said Nan-ch‘üan. The monk could not say word. When another teacher heard of this, he said to his monks, “If I were the monk, I would free my hands and walk away backward.”
GENRŌ: If I were Nan-ch‘üan, I would say to the monk, “You are
too much of a dumb-bell,” and to the master, who said he
should free his hands and walk backward, “You are too
much of a crazy man.” True emancipation has nothing to
hold to, no color to be seen, no sounds to be heard.
A free man has nothing in his hands.
He never plans anything, but reacts according to others’ actions.
Nan-ch‘üan was a skillful teacher
He loosed the noose of the monk’s own rope.
45. Yü-ti Asks Buddha
Yü-ti, the Premier, asked Master Tao-t‘ung, “What is Buddha?” The master called abruptly, “Your Excellency!” “Yes,” answered the Premier innocently. Then the master said, “What else do you search for?”
GENRŌ: His Excellency certainly bumped his head on something,
but I am not sure whether it was a real Buddha or not.
Do not search for fish in the tree top;
Do not boil bamboo when you return home.
Buddha, Buddha, and Buddha. . . .
A fool holds but a string for coins.
46. The Ideograph for Mind
An old monk wrote the Chinese ideograph for “mind” on the gate, window, and wall of his little house. Fa-yen thought it wrong and corrected it, saying, “The gate must have the letter for ‘gate’, and the window and wall each its own letter.” Hsüan-chüeh said, “The gate shows itself without a letter, so the window and wall need no sign at all.”
GENRŌ: I will write the letter “window” on the gate, the letter
“wall” on the window, and the letter “gate” on the wall.
47. Chao-chou Measures the Water
One day Chao-chou visited his brother monk’s lecture hall. He stepped up to the platform, still carrying his walking stick, and looked from east to west and from west to east. “What are you doing there?” asked the brother monk. “I am measuring the water,” answered Chao-chou. “There is no water. Not even a drop of it. How can you measure it?” questioned the monk. Chao-chou leaned his stick against the wall and went away.
48. Ti-ts‘ang’s Buddhism
One day Ti-ts‘ang received one of Pao-fu’s disciples as a guest and asked him, “How does your teacher instruct you in Buddhism?” “Our teacher,” replied the monk, “tells us to shut our eyes and see no evil thing; to cover our ears and hear no evil sound; to stop the activities of our minds and form no wrong idea.” “I do not ask you to cover your eyes,” Ti-ts‘ang said, “but you do not see a thing. I do not ask you to cover your ears, but you do not hear a sound. I do not ask you to stop your activities of mind, but you do not form any idea at all.”
GENRŌ: I do not ask you to shut your eyes. I do not ask you not to
shut your eyes. Just tell me what your eyes are. I do not ask
you to cover your ears. I do not ask you not to cover your
ears. Just tell me what your ears are. I do not ask you to stop
your activities of mind. I do not ask you not to stop your
activities of mind. Just tell me what the mind is.
49. Hsüan-sha’s Blank Paper
Hsüan-sha sent a monk to his old teacher, Hsüeh-fêng, with a letter of greeting. Hsüeh-fêng gathered his monks and opened the letter in their presence. The envelope contained nothing but three sheets of blank paper. Hsüeh-fêng showed the paper to the monks, saying, “Do you understand?” There was no answer, and Hsüeh-fêng coninued, “My prodigal son writes just what I think.” When the messenger monk returned to Hsüan-sha, he told him what had happened at Hsüeh-fêng’s monastery. “My old man is in his dotage,” said Hsüan-sha.
50. I-chung Preaches Dharma
When master I-chung had taken his seat to preach Dharma, a layman stepped from the audience and walked from east to west in front of the rostrum. A monk then demonstrated his Zen by walking from west to east. “The layman understands Zen,” said I-chung, “but the monk does not.” The layman approached I-chung saying, “I thank you for your approval,” but before the words were ended, he was struck with the master’s stick. The monk approached and said, “I implore your instruction,” and was also struck with the stick. I-chung then said, “Who is going to conclude this kōan?” No one answered. The question was repeated twice, but there was still no answer from the audience. “Then,” said the master, “I will conclude it.” He threw his stick to the floor and returned to his room.
51. Pao-fu’s Temple
One day Pao-fu said to his monks, “When one passes behind the temple, he meets Chang and Li, but he does not see anyone in front of it. Why is this? Which of the two roads is profitable to him?” A monk answered, “Something must be wrong with the sight. There is no profit without seeing.” The master scolded the monk, saying, “You stupid, the temple is always like this.” The monk said, “If it was not the temple, one should see something.” The master said, “I am talking about the temple, and nothing else.”
52. Hua-yen Return to the World of Delusion
A monk asked Hua-yen, “How does an enlightened person return to the world of delusion?” The master replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again, and the fallen flowers never go back to the old branches.”
GENRŌ: To illustrate this story, I shall quote an old Chinese
Look! The evening glow brings up
The stone wall on the lake.
A curling cloud returns to the woods
And swallows the whole village.
53. Hui-chung Expels His Disciple
Tan-hsia paid a visit to Hui-chung, who was taking a nap at the time. “Is your teacher in?” asked Tan-hsia of an attending disciple. “Yes, he is, but he does not want to see anyone,” said the monk. “You are expressing the situation profoundly,” Tan-hsia said. “Don’t mention it. Even if Buddha comes, my teacher does not want to see him.” “You are certainly a good disciple. Your teacher ought to be proud of you,” and with these words of praise, Tan-hsia left the temple. When Hui-chung awoke, Tan-yüan, the attending monk, repeated the dialogue. The teacher beat the monk with a stick and drove him from the temple.
54. Yen-t‘ou’s Two Meals
When Ch‘in-shan paid a visit to Yen-t‘ou, who was living in quiet seclusion, he asked, “Brother, are you getting two meals reguarly?” “The fourth son of the Chang family supports me, and I am very much obliged to him,” said Yen-t‘ou. “If you do not do your part well, you will be born as an ox in the next life and will have to repay him what you owed him in this life,” Ch‘in-shan cautioned. Yen-t‘ou put his two fists on his forehead, but said nothing. “If you mean horns,” said Ch‘in-shan, “you must stick out your fingers and put them on top of your head.” Before Ch‘in-shan finished speaking, Yen-t‘ou shouted, “Hey!” Ch‘in-shan did not understand what this meant. “If you know something deeper, who don’t you explain it to me?” he asked. Yen-t‘ou hissed, then said, “You have been studying Buddhism thirty years as I have and you are still wandering around. I have nothing to do with you. Just get out,” and with these words he shut the door in Ch‘in-shan's face. The fourth son of the Chang family happened to be passing and, out of pity, took Ch‘in-shan to his home nearby. “Thirty years ago we were close friends,” Ch‘in-shan remarked sorrowfully, “but now he has attained something higher than I have, he will not impart it to me.” That night Ch‘in-shan was unable to sleep and at last got up and went to Yen-t‘ou's house. “Brother, please be kind and preach the Dharma for me.” Yen-t‘ou opened the door and disclosed the teaching. The next morning the visitor returned to his home with happy attainment.
55. Mu-chou's Blockhead
When Mu-chou and a strange monk passed each other on the road, Mu-chou called, “Venerable Sir!” The monk turned. “A blockhead,” Mu-chou remarked, then each walked on again.
This anecdote was recorded by some monks, and years later Hsüeh-tou criticized it, saying, “The foolish Mu-chou was wrong. Didn’t the monk turn? Why should he have been called a blockhead?”
Later Hui-t‘ang commented on this criticism, “The foolish Hsüeh-tou was wrong. Didn’t the monk turn? Why shouldn’t he be called a blockhead?”
56. Lu-tsu Faces the Wall
When monks came for instruction in Zen or laymen came with questions, Lu-tsu would turn his back and face the wall. Nan-ch‘üan, his brother monk, criticized this method, “I tell monks to put themselves into the time before Buddha was born in the world, but few of them truly realize my Zen. Merely sitting against the wall like Brother Lu-tsu would never do the monks any good.”
GENRŌ: Do you want to meet Lu-tsu? Climb the highest mountain
to the point no human being can reach. Do you want to meet
Nan-ch‘üan? Watch a fallen leaf. Feel the approach of
The sacred place is not remote;
No special road leads to it.
If one proceeds where a guide has pointed,
He will find only a slippery, moss-covered bridge.
57. Lin-chi's Titleless Man
Lin-chi once said to his monks, “A titleless man lives upon flesh and blood, going out or coming in through the gateways of your face. Those who have not witnessed this fact, discover it this minute!” A monk stood up and asked. “Who is a titleless man?” Lin-chi suddenly came down from his chair, seized the monk by the collar of his robe, and exclaimed, “Speak! Speak!” The monk was dumbfounded for a moment, so Lin-chi slapped him. “This titleless man is good for nothing.”
58. The Statue of Avalokiteshvara
The people of Korea once commissioned an artist in Cheh-kiang, China, to carve a life-sized wooden statue of Avalokiteshvara. The work was completed, the statue carried to Tsien-t‘ang harbor for shipment, when suddenly it seemed to be stuck fast to the beach, and no human power could move it. After negotiations between the Chinese and Koreans, it was decided to keep the statue in China. The statue then returned to its normal weight and was later enshrined at a temple in Ming-chou. A person paid homage to the statue and said, “In the sutra we read that Avalokiteshvara is the possessor of miraculous powers, and in all the lands of the ten quarters there is not a place where he does not manifest himself. Then why is it this holy statue refused to go to Korea?”
GENRŌ: Every place is the land of his manifestation, then why
should he go particularly to Korea?
One who covers his own eyes
Never sees Avalokiteshvara.
Why does he ask a foreigner
To carve a wooden statue?
The immovable statue on the beach
Is not the true Avalokiteshvara;
The enshrined statue in the temple
Is not the true Avalokiteshvara;
The empty ship returns to Korea,
But the man who opens his eyes . . .
Is he not a true Avalokiteshvara?
59. Wu-yeh's Fancies
Wu-yeh, a national teacher, said, “If one has fancies about sages or mediocrities, even though these fancies are as fine as delicate threads, they are strong enough to pull him down into the animal kingdom.”
FŪGAI: Why do you refuse the idea of sages and mediocrities?
Why are you afraid of being pulled down to lower stages? A
good actor never chooses between the roles. The poor one
always complains of his part.
GENRŌ: If you want to clear both ideas of sages and mediocrities,
you must make yourselves donkeys and horses. Do not hate
enemies if you want to conquer them.
Sages and mediocrities . . .
Donkeys and horses . . .
All of them pull you down
When you hold
Even to the shadow of a single hair.
Be good, monks,
Live one life at a time
Without dualistic inertia.
Old masters know your sickness
And shed tears for you.
60. The Wooden Pillow
In Nan-ch‘üan’s monastery the cook monk was entertaining the gardener monk one day. While they were eating, they heard a bird sing. The gardener monk tapped his wooden armrest with his finger, then the bird sang again. The gardener monk repeated this action, but the bird sang no more. “Do you understand?” asked the gardener monk. “No,” answered the cook monk, “I do not understand.” The other monk struck the pillow for the third time.
GENRŌ: Birds sing naturally; the gardener monk taps the pillow
innocently. That is all. Why doesn’t the cook monk
understand? Because he has something in his mind.
61. Yün-mên's Holy Fruits
Yün-mên once lived in a temple called the “Chapel of Holy Trees.” One morning a government official called on him and asked, “Are your holy fruits well ripened now?” “None of them was ever called green by anyone,” answered Yün-mên.
GENRŌ: His Zen is not ripened. His words are lukewarm.
FŪGAI: I love that green fruit.
The rootless holy tree
Bears holy fruit.
How many are there?
One, two, three . . .
They are not red;
They are not green.
They are hard as iron balls.
When the Chinese officer tried to bite
Yün-mên’s fruit of the Holy Chapel,
He lost his teeth in them.
He did not know the size was great enough
To cover heaven and earth,
And contain all sentient beings.
62. Nan-ch‘üan's Little Hut
One day, while Nan-ch‘üan was living in a little hut in the mountains, a strange monk visited him just as he was preparing to go to his work in the fields. Nan-ch‘üan welcomed him, saying, “Please make yourself at home. Cook anything you like for your lunch, then bring some of the left-over food to me along the road leading nowhere but to my work place.” Nan-ch‘üan worked hard until evening and came home very hungry. The stranger had cooked and enjoyed a good meal by himself, then thrown away all provisions and broken all utensils. Nan-ch‘üan found the monk sleeping peacefully in the empty hut, but when he stretched his own tired body beside the stranger’s, the latter got up and went away. Years later, Nan-ch‘üan told the anecdote to his disciples with the comment, “He was such a good monk, I miss him even now.”
63. Yüeh-shan's Lecture
Yüeh-shan had not delivered a lecture to his monks for some time, and at last the chief monk came to him and said, “The monks miss your lecture.” “Then ring the calling-bell,” said Yüeh-shan. When all the monks were gathered in the lecture hall, Yüeh-shan returned to his room without a word. The chief monk followed him, “You said you would give a lecture. Why don’t you do it?” “Lectures on sutras should be given by scholars of the sutras, and those on shastras by students of the shastras. Why do you bother this old monk?”
Is like a full moon,
Whose pale light penetrates
Thousands of miles.
Foolish ones cover their eyes
Overlooking the truth of Zen.
A bell call the monks;
The old teacher retires to his room.
What a beautiful picture of Zen!
What a profound lecture on Zen!
64. Ching-ch‘ing's Big Stick
Ching-ch‘ing asked a new monk whence he had come. The monk replied, “From Three Mountains.” Ching-ch‘ing then asked, “Where did you spend your last seclusion?” “At Five Mountains,” answered the monk. “I will give you thirty blows with the big stick,” said Ching-ch‘ing. “Why have I deserved them?” questioned the monk. “Because you left one monastery and went to another.”
65. The Most Wonderful Thing
A monk came to Pai-chang and asked, “What is the most wonderful thing in the world?” “I sit on top of this mountain,” answered Pai-chang. The monk paid homage to the teacher folding his hands palm to palm. At that moment Pai-chang hit the monk with his stick.
66. Tao-wu's Greatest Depth
Tao-wu was sitting on the high seat of meditation when a monk came and asked, “What is the greatest depth of the teaching?” Tao-wu came down from the seat to kneel on the floor saying, “You are here after traveling from afar, but I am sorry to have nothing to answer you.”
FŪGAI: Look out, brother! You are endangering yourself in the deep
GENRŌ: I should say that Tao-wu certainly had the greatest depth
of his Zen.
FŪGAI: I should say that my teacher knows the depth of Tao-wu’s
The great and deep sea!
No boundry in four directions!
When Tao-wu comes down
From his high seat,
There is no depth . . .
There is no water.
It is beyond great and small;
It is above shallow and deep.
I fear my beloved teacher
Is in danger of drowning
Because he has a big heart
And loves all sentient beings.
67. Ch‘ien-fêng's Transmigration
Ch‘ien-fêng asked, “What kind of eyes do they have who have transmigrated in the five worlds?”
FŪGAI: What kind of eyes do those have who do not transmigrate?
The whole world is my garden.
Birds sing my song;
Winds blow as my breath;
The dancing of the monkey is mine;
The swimming fish expresses my freedom;
The evening moon is reflected
In one thousand lakes,
Yet when the mountain hides the moon,
All images will be gone
With no shadow remaining on the water.
I love each flower representing spring
And each colorful leaf of autumn.
Welcome the happy transmigration!
68. Yün-mên's Three Days
Yün-mên said to his monks one day, “There is a saying, ‘Three days can make a different person.’ What about you?” Before anyone could answer, he said quietly, “One thousand.”
FŪGAI: If I were there, I would slap Yün-mên’s cheek. Not three
days; every inhalation and exhalation may change a person.
(Then, after Yün-mên’s “One thousand.”) Yün-mên has the
same old face.
GENRŌ: Yün-mên opened a bargain sale and bought himself, so
there is no loss and no gain. No one can price his “One
thousand.” I would rather say, “It is all right for his time,
but it is not all right today.” Can you not see that three days
alter a person?
69. The Government Official
Chên-ts‘ao, a government official, went upstairs with some of the members of his staff. On seeing a group of monks passing below in the road, one of the men said, “Are they traveling monks?” Chên- ts‘ao answered, “No.” “How do you know they are not traveling monks?” the staff member asked. “Let us examine them,” Chên-ts‘ao replied, then shouted. “Hey! monks!” At the sound of his voice they all looked up at the window. “There!” said Chên-ts‘ao, “didn’t I tell you so?”
GENRŌ: Chên-ts‘ao was looking southeast while his mind was
70. Chao-chou's Dwelling Place
One day Chao-chou visited Yün-chü, who said, “Why do you not settle down in your old age?” “Where is the place for me?” asked Chao-chou. “The ruins of an old temple are here on the mountain,” Yün-chü suggested. “Then why don’t you live there?” Chao-chou asked. Yün-chü did not answer. Later Chao-chou visited Chu-yü, who asked, “Why do you not settle down in your old age?” “Where is the place for me?” questioned Chao-chou as before. “Don’t you know your own place for your old age?” Chuyü countered. Chao-chou then said, “I have practiced horseback riding for thirty years, but today I fell from a donkey.”
71. Yün-mên's Family Tradition
A monk asked Yün-mên, “What is your family tradition?” Yünmên answered, “Can you not hear the students coming to this house to learn reading and writing?”
GENRŌ: Yün-mên would not get many students in this way as
most of them came to gather attractive family traditions.
FŪGAI: Probably Yün-mên has nothing to do but take the place of a
72. Pao-shou Turns His Back
Chao-chou visited Pao-shou, who happened to see him coming and turned his back. Chao-chou spread the mat he carried to make a bow to Pao-shou, but Pao-shou immediately stood up and returned to his room. Chao-chou picked up his mat and left.
73. Hsüeh-fêng Rejects a Monk
A monk came to Hsüeh-fêng and made a formal bow.
FŪGAI: He is using the first lesson for children.
Hsüeh-fêng hit the monk five blows with the stick.
FŪGAI: Here the kōan flares up.
At this the monk asked, “Where is my fault?”
FŪGAI: You do not know your own benefactor.
With another five blows the master shouted at the monk to get out.
FŪGAI: Too much kindness spoils a child.
GENRŌ: Hsüeh-fêng’s last shout had no value at all.
FŪGAI: Hsüeh-fêng tried to fit a square stick to a round hole.
Hsüeh-fêng’s Zen was like a grandmother’s kindness.
He marked the ship’s side for a lost sword.
It is like the old story of Lin-chi,
Who poked Ta-yü’s ribs three times.
74. The Founder of a Monastery is Selected
While Kuei-shan was studying Zen under Pai-chang, he worked as a cook for the monastery.
FŪGAI: A peaceful Zen family!
Ssu-ma T‘ou-t‘o came to the monastery to tell Pai-chang he had found a good site for a monastery on the mountain of Ta-kueishan, and wished to select a new master before the monastery was established.
FŪGAI: Who could not be the dweller?
Pai-chang asked, “How about me?”
FŪGAI: Do not joke!
Ssu-ma T‘ou-t‘o replied, “That mountain is destined to have a prosperous monastery. You are born to poverty, so, if you live there, you may have only five hundred monks.”
FŪGAI: How do you know?
“That monastery is going to have more than one thousand monks.”
FŪGAI: Is that all?
“Can you not find someone suitable among my monks?”
FŪGAI: Where is your eye to select a monk?
Ssu-ma T‘ou-t‘o continued, “I think Kuei-shan, the cook monk, will be the man.”
Pai-chang then called Kuei-shan to tell him he must go to establish the new monastery.
FŪGAI: Better go easy!
The chief monk happened to hear the conversation and dashed to his teacher saying, “No one can say the cook monk is better than the chief monk.”
FŪGAI: You do not know yourself.
Pai-chang then called the monks together, told them the situation, and said that anyone who gave a correct answer to his question would be a candidate.
FŪGAI: Upright judge!
Pai-chang then pointed to a water pitcher standing on the floor and asked, “Without using its name, tell me what it is.”
FŪGAI: I can see the teacher’s glaring eyes.
The chief monk said, “You cannot call it a wooden shoe.”
FŪGAI: Some chief monk!
When no one else answered, Pai-chang turned to Kuei-shan. Kuei-shan stepped forward, tipped over the pitcher with his foot, then left the room.
FŪGAI: Nothing new.
Pai-chang smiled, “The chief monk lost.”
FŪGAI: Upright judge!
Kuei-shan was made head of the new monastery, where he lived many years teaching more than one thousand monks in Zen.
FŪGAI: Not only one thousand monks, but all the Buddhas, past,
present, and future, and all the Bodhisattvas from the ten
GENRŌ: Fortunately, Pai-chang put up a pitcher as a stake so the
monk could tip it over. Suppose I point to the Southern
Mountain and say, “Do not call it the Southern Mountain,
then what do you call it?” If you say you cannot call it a
wooden shoe, you are no better than the chief monk. You
cannot tip it over as Kuei-shan did. Now, what do you do?
Anyone among you who has real Zen transcending these
opinions, answer me.
FŪGAI: I will kick the teacher.
Just pick up the pitcher and measure short or long,
[FŪGAI: What are you going to do with it? It has no
measure; how can you name it short or long?]
Thus, transcending measurement, expose the entire contents.
[That’s what I say!]
See what one foot can do!
[Precious, incomparable foot!]
One kick and the monastery is established on Kuei-shan.
[That foot should grind emptiness to dust.]
75. A Monk in Meditation
The librarian saw a monk sitting in meditation in his library a long time.
FŪGAI: Is he not a monk?
The librarian asked, “Why do you not read the sutras?”
FŪGAI: I would like to say to the monk, “Are you not sitting in
the wrong place?” Also I would like to ask the librarian what
kind of sutra he means.
The monk answered, “I do not know how to read.”
FŪGAI: A lovable illiterate!
“Why do you not ask someone who knows?” suggested the librarian.
FŪGAI: Here you have slipped.
The monk stood up, asking politely, “What is this?”
FŪGAI: Poison oak!
The librarian remained silent.
FŪGAI: Good imitation.
GENRŌ: The monk stood and the librarian remained silent.Are not
these well-written sutras?
No special light is needed to read this sutra.
[FŪGAI: Fortunately, there is enough light to illumine
Each character is clearly illumined.
[It cannot be translated.]
Standing without touching a book,
[Why hold what you already have?]
Five thousand sutras are read in a flash.
[What of the sutra no one can read? My teacher was
tardy with this comment.]
76. Ti-ts‘ang's Peony
Ti-ts‘ang took a trip with his two elder monks, Chang-ch‘ing and Pao-fu, to see the famous painting of a peony on a screen.
FŪGAI: Monks, you should wipe the film from your eyes.
Pao-fu said, “Beautiful peony!”
FŪGAI: Do not allow your eyes to cheat you.
Chang-ch‘ing said, “Do not trust your visual organs too much.”
FŪGAI: I say, “Do not trust your auditory organs.”
Ti-ts‘ang said, “It is too bad. The picture is already spoiled.”
FŪGAI: The mouth is the cause of all trouble.
GENRŌ: Pao-fu enjoyed seeing the beautiful picture. Chang-ch‘ing
lost the opportunity of enjoying it himself because he was
minding another’s business. When Ti-ts‘ang said, “It is too
bad, the picture is already spoiled,” is he joining Pao-fu or
Chao-ch‘ang skillfully painted the king of flowers.
[FŪGAI: The picture needs polishing.]
Colorful brocade opens to reveal perfume within.
[A pungent fragrance is unpleasant.]
Bees and butterflies encircle the bloom with pleasure.
[Mankind also has insects attracted by flowers.]
Do the three monks discuss the real or the painted flower?
[See the sign, DO NOT TOUCH !]
77. Tung-shan's Advice
Tung-shan said to his monks, “You monks should know there is an even higher knowledge in Buddhism.”
FŪGAI: When one tries to know the higher, he falls lower.
A monk stepped forward and asked, “What is the higher Buddhism?”
FŪGAI: That monk was cheated by Buddha and the patriarchs.
Tung-shan answered, “It is not Buddha.”
FŪGAI: Selling horsemeat labeled prime beef!
GENRŌ: Tung-shan is so kind. He is like a fond grandparent who
forgets his dignity to play with the children and is heedless
of the ridicule of spectators. Followers of his teaching must
remember this and repay his kindness with gratitude.
FŪGAI: When one tries to repay, he himself makes heavy debts.
Tung-shan’s Zen is decorated with virtue and meditation,
[FŪGAI: It is worthless.]
Aimlessly misleading people.
[He is getting too old.]
The shadow of the bow in the glass,
[Lucky to know it is a shadow.]
Poisons the one who drinks the wine.
[One should be ashamed of himself.]
78. Yün-chü Sends Underclothing
Yün-chü, the master of a big monastery, sent underclothing to a monk living alone in a hut near the temple. He had heard that this monk sat long hours in meditation with no covering for his legs.
FŪGAI: A benefit for a skinny person. That underclothing must
have been inherited from Bodhidharma.
The monk refused the gift, saying, “I was born with my own under-clothing.”
FŪGAI: Good Monk! If you have it, I will give it to you. If you do
not have it, I will take it away from you.
Yün-chü sent a message asking, “What did you wear before you were born?”
FŪGAI: Yün-chü is sending new clothes.
The monk could not answer.
FŪGAI: Where are your two legs?
Later the monk died. At cremation sarira were found in the ashes and were brought to Yün-chü, who said, “Even had he left eighty-four bushels of sarira, they would not be worth the answer he failed to give me.”
FŪGAI: Government orders have no sentiment. No one can cheat a
GENRŌ: I will answer Yün-chü for the monk, “ I could show you
that, but it is so large you probably have no place to put it.”
FŪGAI: Good words, but not likely to be the monk’s idea.
Eighty-four bushels of sarira
[FŪGAI: Bad odor!]
Cannot surpass one word that covers the universe.
[The western family sends condolences to the eastern house.]
The mother’s clothing—what a pity!
[You are ungrateful to your mother.]
It cannot cover the present unsightliness.
[Son of a millionaire stark naked.]
79. Tê-shan's Ultimate Teaching
Hsüeh-fêng asked Tê-shan, “Can I also share the ultimate teaching the old patriarchs attained?”
FŪGAI: He still has a tendency of kleptomania.
Tê-shan hit him with a stick, saying, “What are you talking about?”
FŪGAI: He is a kind old grandmother!
Hsüeh-fêng did not realize Tê-shan’s meaning, so the next day he repeated his question.
FŪGAI: Is not one head enough?
Tê-shan answered, “Zen has no words, neither does it have anything to give.”
FŪGAI: Poor statement.
Yen-t‘ou heard about the dialogue and said, “Tê-shan has an iron back-bone, but he spoils Zen with his soft words.”
FŪGAI: One plays the flute and the other dances.
GENRŌ: Tê-shan stole the sheep and Yen-t‘ou proved it. Such a
father! Such a son! A good combination.
Dragon head and snake tail!
[FŪGAI: What a monster!]
A toy stops a child’s crying.
Yen-t‘ou spoke as a bystander,
[A bystander can see.]
All for the allegiance to Dharma.
[Only a tithe was paid.]
80. Pa-chiao Does Not Teach
A monk asked Pa-chiao, “If there is a person who does not avoid birth and death and does not realize Nirvana, do you teach such a person?”
FŪGAI: What are you talking about?
Pa-chiao answered, “I do not teach him.”
FŪGAI: A good teacher does not waste words.
The monk said, “Why do you not teach him?”
FŪGAI: What are you talking about?
“This old monk knows good and bad,” Pa-chiao replied.
FŪGAI: The old fellow lost his tongue.
This dialogue between Pa-chiao and the monk was reported in other monasteries, and one day T‘ien-t‘ung said, “Pa-chiao may know good and bad, but he cannot take away a farmer’s ox or a hungry man’s food. If that monk asked me such a question, before he finished his sentence, I would hit him. Why? Because from the beginning I do not care about good and bad.”
FŪGAI: The pot calls the kettle black.
GENRŌ: Pa-chiao still uses the gradual method, whereas T‘ien-t‘ung employs the lightning flash. T‘ien-t‘ung’s method can be easily understood, but few will see Pa-chiao’s work clearly.
FŪGAI: What shall I say about your work?
There are many different drugs to cure an illness.
[FŪGAI: Thieves in peace time!]
Arrest a person without using handcuffs.
[A hero in war time!]
Warcraft and medicine must be studied thoroughly.
[Paradise does not need such art.]
Orchid in spring, chrysanthemum in autumn.
[Excessively beautiful flowers cause congestion in the park.]
81. Kao-t‘ing Strikes a Monk
A monk came from Chia-shan and bowed to Kao-t‘ing.
FŪGAI: What are you doing!
Kao-t‘ing immediately struck the monk.
FŪGAI: The kōan is vivid here.
The monk said, “I came especially to you and paid homage with a bow. Why do you strike me?”
FŪGAI: What are you saying? Why do you not bow again?
Kao-t‘ing struck the monk again and drove him from the monastery.
FŪGAI: Pure gold has a golden sheen.
The monk returned to Chia-shan, his teacher, and related the incident.
FŪGAI: It is a good thing you have someone to talk with.
“Do you understand or not?” asked Chia-shan.
FŪGAI: What can you do with a dead snake?
“No, I do not understand it,” answered the monk.
FŪGAI: Good words, but not from you.
“Fortunately, you do not understand,” Chia-shan continued. “If you did, I would be dumbfounded.”
FŪGAI: Good contrast to Kao-t‘ing’s action.
The monk bows and Kao-t‘ing strikes;
[FŪGAI: What would you do if the monk had not
bowed and you had not struck?]
New etiquette for the monastery.
[Independent of convention.]
Not only is Chia-shan’s mouth closed,
The wheel of Dharma is smashed.
82. Yen-t‘ou's Ax
Tê-shan, Yen-t‘ou’s teacher, once told him, “I have two monks in this monastery who have been with me for many years. Go and examine them.”
FŪGAI: Why do you not go yourself?
Yen-t‘ou carried an ax to the little hut where the two monks were meditating.
FŪGAI: Have you wiped your eyes well?
Yen-t‘ou raised the ax, saying, “If you say a word of Zen, I will cut off your heads. If you do not say anything, I will also decapitate you.”
FŪGAI: Waves without wind.
The two monks continued their meditation, completely ignoring Yen-t‘ou.
FŪGAI: Stone Buddhas.
Yen-t‘ou threw down the ax, saying, “You are true Zen students.”
FŪGAI: He is buying and selling himself.
He then returned to Tê-shan and related the incident.
FŪGAI: A defeated general had better not discuss warfare.
“I see your side well,” Tê-shan agreed, “but, tell me, how is the other side?”
FŪGAI: Who are the others?
“Tung-shan may admit them,” replied Yen-t‘ou, “but they should not be admitted under Tê-shan.”
FŪGAI: Should one go to the country of mosquitoes because he dislikes the country of fleas?
GENRŌ: Why did Yen-t‘ou say the two monks should be in Tungshan’s
school but were not suitable for Tê-shan’s? Real
readers of the Tetteki Tōsui should meditate on this answer.
FŪGAI: Why did Genrō make this remark that readers should
Two iron bars barricade the entrance,
[FŪGAI: How can you open them?]
One arrow passes between them.
[That arrow is not strong enough.]
It is not necessary to discuss Tê-shan’s method;
[Very hard to glimpse it.]
After all, Tê-shan surrendered.
[Sometimes a pet dog will bite.]
83. Yang-shan Draws a Line
Kuei-shan said to his disciple, Yang-shan, “All day you and I were talking Zen . . .
FŪGAI: Both of you have tongues?
What did we accomplish after all?”
FŪGAI: Formless words.
Yang-shan drew a line in the air with his finger.
FŪGAI: Why do you take such trouble?
Kuei-shan continued, “It was a good thing you dealt with me. You might cheat anyone else.”
FŪGAI: The teacher lost the game.
GENRŌ: There are hundreds and thousands of Samadhis and
countless principles of Buddhism, but all of them are
included in Yang-shan’s line. If anyone wishes to know
something beyond those Samadhis or to sift out the best
principles, look here at what I am doing.
FŪGAI: Bad imitator!
The miracles of these two monks surpass Moggallana’s.
[FŪGAI: Both are hallucinations.]
All day long the sham battle rages.
[A battlefield on a pinpoint.]
What do they accomplish after all?
[No words, no thought.]
One finger pokes the hole in emptiness.
[Most awkward. When the clouds are gone, the sky is limitless.]
84. Ch‘ien-fêng's One Road
A monk asked Ch‘ien-fêng, “The one road of Nirvana leads into the ten quarters of Buddha-land. Where does it begin?” Ch‘ien-fêng raised his walking stick to draw a horizontal line in the air. “Here.”
FŪGAI: A white cloud obscures the road.
This monk later asked Yün-mên the same question.
FŪGAI: Are you lost again?
Yün-mên held up his fan and said, “This fan jumps up to the thirty- third heaven and hits the presiding deity on the nose, then comes down to the Eastern Sea and hits the holy carp. The carp becomes a dragon, which brings a flood of rain.”
FŪGAI: A chatterbox makes a storm in the blue sky.
GENRŌ: Ch‘ien-fêng’s answer provokes innocent people in vain;
Yün-mên rattles around like a dry pea in a box. If anyone
asked me this question, I would say, “ Can’t you see, you
FŪGAI: I would say to the monk, “ I respect you for coming such a
A hundred flowers follow the first bloom;
[FŪGAI: For whom?]
They will festoon each field and garden.
[Let’s have a picnic.]
The eastern breeze blows gently everywhere;
[Don’t forget the seasonless season.]
Each branch has the perfect color of spring.
[Beautiful picture of fairyland.]
85. Hsüan-sha's Iron Boat
When Hsüan-sha was studying Zen under Hsüeh-fêng, a brother monk named Kuang said, “If you can attain something in Zen, I will make an iron boat and sail the high seas.”
FŪGAI: A logical statement.
Many years later Hsüan-sha became a Zen master, with Kuang studying under him as an attendant monk. One day Hsüan-sha said, “Have you built your iron boat?”
FŪGAI: Are you trying to sink the boat?
Kuang remained silent.
FŪGAI: The boat floats all right.
GENRŌ: If I were Kuang, I would say, “ Have you attained your Zen?”
FŪGAI: Ha! Ha!
An iron boat froze on the sea.
[FŪGAI: I would not like to sail that boat.]
The kōan from the past is fulfilled.
[Do not mention the past; live in the present.]
Do not say Kuang kept silent;
[What can he do?]
Uncle Hsüan-sha, have you attained?
[Ta-hui said, “ After eighteen attainments, all
86. Yang-shan Sits in Meditation
When Yang-shan was sitting in meditation, a monk came quietly and stood by him.
FŪGAI: Such a trick won’t work.
Yang-shan recognized the monk, so he drew a circle in the dust with the ideograph for “water” beneath it, then looked at the monk.
FŪGAI: What kind of charm is it?
The monk could not answer.
FŪGAI: A sprinter falls down.
GENRŌ: This monk committed petty larceny and could not even
escape after his deed. Yang-shan was ready at any time to
light the candle. Alas! The opportunity is gone.
Letter “water” cannot quench thirst;
[FŪGAI: But I see the giant billows rising.]
Nor pictured rice-cakes feed hunger.
[Here is a trayful of cakes.]
Yang-shan’s action brought no merit.
[That is true Zen.]
Why does he not give the monk the big stick?
[It will be too late. The big stick is already broken.]
87. Ch‘an-yüeh Snaps His Fingers
Ch‘an-yüeh, the monk poet, wrote a poem containing the following two verses:
When Zen students meet, they may snap their fingers at each other.
FŪGAI: Do not overlook it.
But how few know what it means.
FŪGAI: Do you know, it is the sword that cuts the tongue.
Ta-sui heard of this poem and, meeting Ch‘an-yüeh, he asked, “What is the meaning?”
FŪGAI: When the rabbit appears the hawk is off after him.
Ch‘an-yüeh did not answer.
FŪGAI: Did I not say before, he does not know!
GENRŌ: If I were Ch‘an-yüeh, I would snap my fingers at Ta-sui.
FŪGAI: So far it is good, but instead, no one can understand it.
One snap of the fingers cannot be easily criticized,
[FŪGAI: Cut the finger off.]
But he must not snap them until he has passed 110 castles.
[Do you want to wait for Maitreya?]
I should ask the crippled old woman who sells sandals,
[She cannot understand the feeling of other feet.]
“Why do you not walk to the capital barefoot?”
[It is difficult to wash one’s own back.]
88. Yüeh-shan's Lake
Yüeh-shan asked a newly-arrived monk, “Where have you come from?
FŪGAI: Are you enjoying the atmosphere?
The monk answered, “From the Southern Lake.”
FŪGAI: You give a glimpse of the lake view.
“Is the lake full or not?” inquired Yüeh-shan.
FŪGAI: Are you still interested in the lake?
“Not yet,” the monk replied.
FŪGAI: He glanced at the lake.
“There has been so much rain, why isn’t the lake filled?” Yüehshan asked.
FŪGAI: Yüeh-shan invited the monk to see the lake, actually.
The monk remained silent.
FŪGAI: He must have drowned.
GENRŌ: If I were the monk, I would say to Yüeh-shan, “ I will wait
until you have repaired the bottom.”
FŪGAI: It was fortunate the monk remained silent.
The thread of Karma runs through all things;
[FŪGAI: One can pick up anything as a kōan.]
Recognition makes it a barricade.
[If you look behind there is no barricade.]
The poor monk asked about a lake,
[Go on! Jump in and swim!]
Made an imaginary road to heaven.
[Where are you standing?]
89. Hsüeh-fêng's Wooden Ball
One day Hsüeh-fêng began a lecture to the monks gathered around the little platform by rolling down a wooden ball.
FŪGAI: A curved cucumber.
Hsüan-sha went after the ball, picked it up and replaced it on the stand.
FŪGAI: A round melon.
GENRŌ: Hsüeh-fêng began but did not end; Hsüan-sha ended but
did not begin. Both are incomplete. Now, tell me, monks,
which way is better?
FŪGAI: When water runs through the bamboo forest, its color is
green. When wind blows across the flowers, each breath is
Hold it or let it go.
[FŪGAI: No more, no less.]
Teacher and disciple contradict each other.
Zen students of the world,
[A real student never studies.]
Do not make this kōan a model.
90. The Broken Tray
There was once a little hut called, Fei-t‘ien, meaning “rich field,” where a monk lived for thirty years.
FŪGAI: Maybe he did not know how to move.
He had only one tray made of clay.
FŪGAI: Expensive things are not always precious.
One day a monk, who studied under him, broke that tray accidentally.
FŪGAI: The real treasure appears from the breaking.
Each day the teacher asked the student to replace it.
FŪGAI: Why do you want another?
Each time the disciple brought a new one, the teacher threw it out saying, “This is not it. Give me back my old one.”
FŪGAI: I would open my hands and laugh.
GENRŌ: If I were the disciple, I would say, “ Wait until the sun
rises in the west.”
FŪGAI: I will search for it before I am born.
It is broken;
[FŪGAI: The whole tray remains.]
Run fast after it.
[The sword disappears in the water.]
The disciple cannot understand it.
[It has returned to him already.]
Call an iron kettle a bell.
[You can call the earth heaven . . . what’s wrong?]
91. Fa-yen's Drop of Water
A monk asked Fa-yen, “What is a drop of water from the source in the valley of the sixth patriarch?”
FŪGAI: Squirt ink from your mouth into someone’s face.
Fa-yen said, “That is a drop of water from the source in the valley of the sixth patriarch.”
FŪGAI: He uses poison as an antidote.
GENRŌ: Fa-yen never discounts from the fixed price.
FŪGAI: here is no fixed price.
This drop of water from the source;
[FŪGAI: The Yellow River is polluted at the source.]
There is no worse poison . . .
[Whoever drinks, dies!]
Do not say you know warm or cold.
[Who knows the taste?]
How many can drink it?
[I have drunk it already.]
92. Ts‘ao-shan's Four “Dont's”
Ts‘ao-shan said, “Do not follow the bird’s road of mind.”
FŪGAI: Do you prefer nomads?
“Do not clothe yourself before you are born.”
FŪGAI: Does nakedness bring happiness?
“Do not say the present minute is eternal.”
FŪGAI: Just show your face.
“Do not express yourself before birth.”
FŪGAI: Men should read without letters.
GENRŌ: According to Ts‘ao-shan’s words I will ask you monks:
[FŪGAI: Go ahead! I will answer each one.]
“First, you can go wherever you want, but what is the
[East or west?]
“Second, you can wear any wardrobe now, but what did
you wear before you were born?”
[No civilized person walks the street naked.]
“Third, say whatever you like, but what is the present?”
“Fourth, you can express what you wish, but where were
you before you were born?”
[FŪGAI: The conjuror knows the trick.]
Ts‘ao-shan’s home remedy is peppery;
[FŪGAI: It is more soothing than honey.]
The purpose is to kill the people.
[When all are killed there arises the living man.]
The three-foot sword glitters;
[Buddha and the patriarchs will be scared to death.]
Each cut makes the sword sharper.
[Do not cut yourself!]
93. Tê-shan's Lion
As Tê-shan was working in the garden one day, he saw a monk approaching up the road. Tê-shan closed the gate.
FŪGAI: Interview finished.
The monk knocked on the gate.
FŪGAI: Delayed action.
Tê-shan said, “Who is it?”
FŪGAI: A monster!
The monk answered, “A lion cub.”
FŪGAI: The lion cub enters the fox’s lair.
Tê-shan opened the gate.
FŪGAI: He puts his head in the lion’s mouth.
The monk made a bow to the teacher.
FŪGAI: His fur does not look like a lion’s.
Tê-shan jumped on his back as he would on a small lion, held him down, and said, “You devil! Where have you been?”
FŪGAI: That is the way to raise a cub.
GENRŌ: At first I thought he was a real cub, but now I see his
strength is less than a fox. He should have jumped Tê-shan
the moment the gate was opened, holding him helpless.
FŪGAI: You devil.
He calls himself a lion, and visits a lion tamer.
[FŪGAI: Roaring like a lion.]
That voice shatters the monastery.
[The echo returns from mountain and valley.]
The lion became a donkey,
[He should learn tumbling.]
Defeated before he could kick.
[No rain after thunder.]
94. Living Alone
A monk came to Yün-chü and asked, “How can I live alone at the top of the mountain?”
FŪGAI: You are lost in a cloud.
Yün-chü answered, “Why do you give up your Zen-dō in the valley and climb the mountain?”
FŪGAI: This is not the way to handle ghosts.
GENRŌ: If I were Yün-chü, I would say to the monk, “If you do
not neglect your own Zen-dō, I will allow you to stay on the
mountain peak. But how can you stay on the mountain
without neglecting your own Zen-dō?”
FŪGAI: Destroy that Zen-dō and that mountain!
Yün-chü pushed the monk to the abyss,
[FŪGAI: There is no higher or wider place.]
And threw him into it,
[Gave him eternal life.]
Where he will remain for all eternity.
[No entrance, no exit.]
His method is superior to other teachers’.
[One should have gratitude.]
95. Lin-chi's Real Eye
Ma-ku asked Lin-chi, “Avalokiteshvara has one thousand hands and each hand has an eye, which is the real eye?”
FŪGAI: Which is not the real eye?
Lin-chi answered, “Avalokiteshvara has one thousand hands and each hand has an eye, which is the real eye? Now tell me! Quick!”
FŪGAI: The enemy is defeated with its own weapons.
Ma-ku pulled Lin-chi from his seat then sat in his place.
FŪGAI: A comet comes close to another constellation.
Lin-chi stood up and asked, “Why?”
FŪGAI: The whole army retreats by command.
KANGETSU: Ma-ku did not keep his aim steady.
Lin-chi shouted, “Katsu!” and pulled Ma-ku from his seat in turn.
FŪGAI: Sleeping dragon.
Ma-ku left the room quietly
FŪGAI: Two generals understand each other.
GENRŌ: Lin-chi’s question, “Why?” would make anyone hesitate.
If one of you monks can answer him correctly, you can walk
with your arms swinging freely at your side. This is the
secret of Lin-chi’s teaching.
FŪGAI: Don’t shout it from the housetops!
I thought T‘ien-tan was a good fighter.
[FŪGAI: A good commander is seldom found.]
His changeable strategy scared even demons.
[One thousand sages cannot follow the highest road.]
When he used the fire-carrying bulls to fight,
[One hundred battles, one hundred victories.]
He regained seventy castles at a time.
[From the beginning he did not lose.]
96. Yen-tou's Three Worlds
A monk asked Yen-t‘ou, “When three worlds threaten me, what shall I do?”
FŪGAI: Carry them on your shoulder.
Yen-t‘ou answered, “Sit down.”
FŪGAI: You have given him another burden.
“I do not understand,” replied the monk.
FŪGAI: You do not even know you have slipped.
Yen-t‘ou said, “Pick up the other mountain and bring it to me, then I will tell you.”
FŪGAI: A man who makes himself a Buddha instantly should also
make others Buddhas!
GENRŌ: If Yen-t‘ou had not given his second answer, his Zen
would have been questioned by others.
GENRŌ: If the monk asked me what to do when the three worlds
threatened, I would answer, “ World of delusion, world of
material, and world of immaterial.” If the monk then said he
could not understand it, I would answer, “ The eastern
mountain stands on the river.”
FŪGAI: Let me carry on my kōan: If the monk questioned me, I
should say, “ A dew drop.” If he still insisted he could not
understand, I would say, “ It turns to gems on a lotus leaf.”
Three worlds piled up;
[FŪGAI: Waves break on the heavens.]
The Zen monk sits on one cushion.
[Throw that cushion out!]
Yen-t‘ou opened his mouth to say,
[The world is still in my ear.]
“Pick up that mountain and bring it to me.”
[Last night someone stole that mountain.]
97. Buddha's Body
When the Buddha was preaching the Nirvana Sutra,
FŪGAI: Incomplete. Where were you before that? Have you not always been in the same place?
He rubbed his chest with his hand, saying, “You should observe my golden body thoroughly, otherwise you will regret it later.”
FŪGAI: Shh! You fox, you have cheated many people and now you try to eliminate your mistake.
“If you say, ‘Buddha enters Parinirvana,’ you are not my disciple.”
FŪGAI: I will say loudly, “ Buddha enters Parinirvana! Buddha enters Parinirvana!”
“If you say, ‘Buddha does not enter Parinirvana,’ you are not my disciple.”
FŪGAI: I will say loudly, “ Buddha does not enter Parinirvana!
Buddha does not enter Parinirvana!”
GENRŌ: Buddha died a thousand years ago. If you say he is still
here, you are admitting he has not entered Nirvana. If you
say he is not here, you are admitting he has entered Nirvana.
If you say he has neither entered Parinirvana nor not entered
Parinirvana, then you must admit he was neither here nor not
here. Then, where is his golden body? Each of you go to
your own room and take a good rest.
FŪGAI: My teacher, you go to your room first.
Old teacher was too busy before he traveled.
[FŪGAI: Why don’t you prepare before that?]
He showed the golden light;
[Who sees it is blind.]
He sealed his disciples’ mouths.
[There has never been anything to say.]
Family scandal should be kept quiet.
[Plug your ears before you steal.]
98. Hsiu-ching Uses the Game
Hsiu-ching was the managing monk of Lê-p‘u’s monastery.
FŪGAI: A very responsible position.
One day he struck with his gavel and ordered, “Monks from the first to the middle seats, go out to work the fields. The remaining monks go to the mountain for wood.”
FŪGAI: A general orders his soldiers.
“What is Manjushri to do?” asked the chief monk.
FŪGAI: He is really the chief monk.
“My order goes only to those monks seated on cushions,” answered the manager monk, “Manjushri has nothing to do with the order.”
FŪGAI: He knows his position very well.
Later Yüan-wu commented on the dialogue, “Hsiu-ching made a wonderful performance. The chief monk’s method was excellent to thread nine spiral shells.”
FŪGAI: Nothing excellent to me.
“This is all right, but to open interlocking rings, I have a different method.”
FŪGAI: Let’s see it.
Yüan-wu continued, “If I were questioned that way by the chief monk, I would answer, ‘The path is like a mirror. It does not move itself, but reflects all that comes.’”
FŪGAI: Break the mirror.
GENRŌ: If anyone asked me—without threading nine spiral shells
or releasing interlocking rings—what Manjushri has to do, I
would hit him before he finished his question. Why?
Because those who cultivate the fields have only to do as
ordered, and those gathering wood also do as ordered.
FŪGAI: Hsiu-ching shows Dharmakaya (Body of the law), Yüanwu
speaks of Nirmanakaya (application), and Genrō depicts
Sambogakaya (results). If I were the manager monk, I would
hit the gavel and discharge the chief monk for that day.
Threading nine spirals or crushing interlocking rings,
[FŪGAI: Real wisdom works without thinking.]
The wheel of Dharma turns itself independently.
[Great wisdom is like great stupidity.]
Confucius is wise, but he cannot defeat the woman.
[Born, not made.]
The old pine tree grows on a snow-covered rock.
[It makes me shiver.]
The early plum blossom anticipates the spring and
smiles at the fence.
[I love that fragrance.]
99. Ta-tien's Age
Han-t‘ui-chih asked Ta-tien, who had a monastery in the place of exile, “How old are you?”
FŪGAI: He is a different age from you.
Ta-tien held out his rosary and said, “Do you understand?”
FŪGAI: What trinkets are you using?
Han-t‘ui-chih said, “No, I cannot understand.”
FŪGAI: Don’t you know what this rosary is?
Ta-tien replied, “In the daytime there are one hundred eight beads, and at night there are also one hundred eight.”
FŪGAI: Don’t you know a better way to handle this student?
Han-t‘ui-chih was very much displeased because he could not understand this old monk and returned home.
FŪGAI: You are trying to hammer a nail in the sky.
At home his wife asked, “What makes you so displeased?”
FŪGAI: This is not a woman’s problem.
The scholar then told his wife all that had happened.
FŪGAI: What is the good of it? Why do you argue your case as though you protested to the emperor?
“Why not go back to the monastery and ask the old monk what he meant?” his wife suggested.
FŪGAI: Fortunately, he has a better half.
Next day, early in the morning, the Confucian scholar went to the monastery, where he met the chief monk at the gate.
FŪGAI: Misfortune dogs his steps.
“Why are you here so early?” the chief monk asked.
FŪGAI: Why not?
“I wish to see your master and question him,” Han-t‘ui-chih answered.
FŪGAI: Do you know where he is?
“What is your business with him?” the chief monk asked, so the Confucian repeated his story.
FŪGAI: The master never said these words. You are slandering him.
“Why don’t you ask me?” the chief monk inquired. Han-t‘ui-chih then asked, “What does ‘One-hundred-eight beads in the daytime and one hundred eight beads at night’ mean?”
FŪGAI: Search the I-ching.
The chief monk clicked his teeth three times.
FŪGAI: You are inviting trouble.
At last Han-t‘ui-chih met Ta-tien and once more asked his question, whereupon the master clicked his teeth three times.
FŪGAI: Do not think you are seeing Zen.
“I know,” said the Confucian, “all Buddhism is alike.”
FŪGAI: The moon is only one, but it illuminates the mountain and the valley differently.
“You do not say so,” Ta-tien answered.
FŪGAI: Are you prepared to spill blood?
“Yes,” said Han-t‘ui-chih, “a few moments ago I met the chief monk at the gate and asked him the same question and he answered me in the same way.”
FŪGAI: What are you saying? This same thing never happened before.
Ta-tien called the chief monk to him and said, “I understand you showed him Buddhism a few minutes ago. Is it true?”
FŪGAI: The battle lines are moving.
“Yes,” answered the chief monk.
FŪGAI: This foolish one does not know how to turn himself out.
Ta-tien struck the chief monk and immediately expelled him from the monastery.
FŪGAI: When Wong commits murder, Wang will be hung.
GENRŌ: Why was the chief monk expelled? If it was punishment,
the master himself did the same, why not punish himself? If
he is not punished, why is he expelled? Here is the secret of
Zen teaching, which has been and will be transmitted from
generation to generation. If Ta-tien showed his Zen at that
moment, he will not only spoil others, but will kill the life
of wisdom. Do not be alarmed at the thunderstorm, monks,
you will see countless stars in the sky later.
FŪGAI: After all, Ta-tien had a friend.
Day and night, one hundred eight . . .
[FŪGAI: It ends and begins.]
What does it mean?
[It is clear seen face to face.]
Clicking the teeth brings explusion.
[There was a good opportunity.]
Northern trees bear differently in the south.
[When the soil is changed that always happens.]
The doubts of the chief librarian increase;
[Your mirror is not well polished.]
Now he knows it is not so easy to handle Buddha’s
[He thought it was imported, but it was made in
100. Kuei-shan's Ten-Foot Square
Kuei-shan had a poem on the wall of his room:
Ten square feet of Kuei-shan,
[FŪGAI: When was it built?]
Too steep to climb
[I can walk as though it were flat.]
If anyone enters,
[Watch your step.]
He will become a great general.
[Do not forget there is another great general.]
Yün-fêng said of the poem, “Kuei-shan is a born Zen master.”
A monk asked Yün-fêng, “What poem are you going to write for your room?”
FŪGAI: Good question.
Yün-fêng replied by showing his poem:
Ten square feet of Ts‘ui-yen,
Never had a door.
[FŪGAI: Difficult to enter.]
Any monk who comes in,
[He is walking the edge of a sword.]
Immediately sees Ts‘ui-yen.
[Skating on ice.]
The monk paid homage and stood up.
FŪGAI: What did he have to say?
Yün-fêng said, “Did you see Ts‘ui-yen or not?”
FŪGAI: There is barbed wire all around.
The monk hesitated.
FŪGAI: I told you he could not enter.
Yün-fêng hit the monk’s mouth with a mosquito brush.
FŪGAI: There! The door is open.
GENRŌ: Kuei-shan’s room is hard to see but easy to enter. Ts‘uiyen’s
room is easy to see but hard to enter. I also have a
poem in my room:
That emptiness has neither in nor out.
If there is no in or out,
I ask you, monks,
How can you enter then?
FŪGAI: I would not enter that room.
Even a steep cliff has toe holds;
[FŪGAI: There is a flat part on the steep;]
Flat ground hides a tiger trap.
[There is a steep place on the flat.]
Each established his monastery according to home
[One has to do foolish actions to save others.]
Golden deeds gleam even now.
[Generation after generation carries troubles endlessly.
A Zen-iratok verseiből
Fehér József András fordításai
Híd, 1966/1, 17-18. oldal
Nincs távol se közel
Út oda nem vihet
Mégis amit a mester mutat
Ösvény bújik a talpad alá
Legyen üres a kéz teli a szív
Csak a halálraítélt
Tudja mit hoz a holnap
Nan-csüan a mesterünk
Régi nagy csomókat old
Elfúj a szél
Kitárt ablakom előtt
Fényes kőfal nyugszik a tó
Bárányfelhő ér a fákhoz
Elnyeli az egész falut
Ostoba és bölcs
Ló és szamár
Maga alá tipor
Te újra kívánod
Ébredj fújd el az álmot
Régi szent öregek
Sírnak fájó szívvel utánad
Ahol mások időznek
Oda én nem megyek
Ahová mások tartanak
Ott nem időzöm
Járok az úton
Fehér és fekete
Ezer évig a Sárga-folyam észak felé halad
Később keletnek fordul tovább
Akárhová folyik vize
A Kun-lun hegységből ered
Arccal a földre világít
Balgák mégis ágyban alusztok
Mesterünk mosolyára tanít
Csodálkozzatok íme a Zen
Érik a gyümölcs
Akár a vasgolyó
Egy kínai megpróbálta
Jün-men temploma szent
Udvarán fa nő
Ég és föld közé
Csöndes óceán mindent elborít
Keskeny útra lépett
Jégen át osont üres
Egyszer és többé nem rabolt
Pőre hajnal gyermeke
Néz a csillagokra fel
Körbejárja mind az utcán
Fúj a szél ő meghajolt
Felé az otthonába tért
Nem tudja már mióta
Van birtokában ennyinek
Genro zen-mester: Tetteki tōsui : "Vasfurulya" : 100 zen-koan; [németből] ford. Hetényi Ernő;
Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Buddhológiai Intézet, Budapest, Buddhista Misszió [Házi soksz.], 1982, 124 oldal
PDF 1-124. oldal
Fordította: Terebess Gábor
1. MANDZSUSRÍ A KAPU ELŐTT
Történt, hogy egy nap Mandzsusrí megállt a kapu előtt. Buddha behívta:
– Mandzsusrí, Mandzsusrí, miért nem jössz be?
– Idekint se látok semmit – felelt Mandzsusrí –, miért mennék be?
3. NAN-CSÜAN* KŐ-BUDDHÁJA
Lu-kang, Hszüancseng kormányzója** tanácsot kért Nan-csüantól:
Egy kő lakik a házamban, és mást se tesz, csak ül vagy fekszik. Lehet Buddhát faragni belőle?
– Tényleg nem lehetetlen?
– Most már az – mondta a mester. – Lehetetlen.
*Nanquan Puyuan 南泉普願 (748-835)
**Lugeng (Luxuan) daifu 陸亙(陸亘)大夫 (764-834)
5. SAO-SAN* SZÓL
Egyszer egy szerzetes Sao-sanhoz fordult:
– Lehet-e olyat mondani, ami nem is helyes, nem is helytelen?
– Egy fehér felhőn semmi se rút – válaszolt Sao-san.
*Shaoshan Huanpu 韶山寰普 (786/804-882/931)
7. JÜN-MEN* LAKOMÁT AD
Jün-men prédikációt tartott:
– Meg akarjátok ismerni az ősatyákat? – kérdezte a szerzeteseit.
Mielőtt válaszolhattak volna, fejük fölé bökött a botjával:
– Ott ugrálnak az ősatyák a fejetek tetején! És tudjátok – tette hozzá –, hol van a szemük?
Talpuk alá bökött a botjával:
– Lábbal tiporjátok!
Miután válaszra hiába várt, maga elé mormogta:
– Lakomát adtam a templomcsarnokban, de az éhszomjas szellemek telhetetlenek.
*Yunmen Wenyan 雲門文偃 (864-949)
17. TA-SZUJ TEKNŐSE
Egy teknősbéka tévedt a kolostor udvarára.
– Minden teremtés a csontját fedi bőrrel, ez miért fedi a bőrét csonttal? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
Ta-szuj levette a gyékénybocskorát, és befedte vele a teknőc páncélját.
*Dasui Fazhen 大隨法真 (878-963)
23. HSZÜE-FENG* FÁT VÁG
Hszüe-feng fát vágni indult az erdőbe tanítványával, Csang-senggel:**
– Abba ne hagyd, amíg fejszéd át nem vágja a fatörzs kellős közepét – intette tanítványát a mester.
– Keresztülvágtam! – jelentette ki a tanítvány.
– Régi mestereink szívtől szívig adták tovább a tant – folytatta Hszüe-feng –, veled hogy állunk?
Csang-seng a földre dobta fejszéjét:
– Már át lett adva!
Hszüe-feng fogta a botját és agyba-főbe verte szeretett tanítványát.
*Xuefeng Yicun 雪峰義存 (822-908)
25. JEN-TOU* VIZESVÖDRE
Három szerzetes, Hszüe-feng,** Csin-san*** és Jen-tou összefutott a kolostorkertben.
Hszüe-feng meglátott egy vizesvödröt és rámutatott.
– Tiszta a víz, tükrözi a holdat – szólalt meg Csin-san.
– Nem és nem – mondott ellent Hszüe-feng –, ez nem víz és nem hold.
Jen-tou feldöntötte a vödröt.
*Yantou Quanhuo 巖頭全豁 (828-887)
**Xuefeng Yicun 雪峰義存 (822-908)
***Qinshan Wensui 欽山文邃 (?-841?)
26. HSZÜE-FENG* ÉS A PONTOSSÁG
Hszüe-feng, mikor szakácsként szolgált Tung-san** kolostorában, mindig időben adta föl a reggelit.
– Hogy tudod ilyen pontosan betartani az időt? – faggatta őt Tung-san egy nap.
– Csak figyelem a csillagokat és a holdat – felelte Hszüe-feng.
– És mitévő vagy, ha elered az eső vagy leszáll a köd? – erősködött Tung-san.
Hszüe-feng szótlanul hallgatta.
*Xuefeng Yicun 雪峰義存 (822-908)
**Dongshan Liangjie 洞山良价 (807-869)
28. LUNG-JA* VÉGSŐ ÁLLAPOTA
Egy szerzetes azt kérdezte Lung-jától:
– Mire jutottak a régi mesterek, ha elérték a végső állapotot?
– Mint a tolvajok – felelt a mester –, akik elhagyott, üres házba surrannak be.
*Longya Judun 龍牙居遁 (835-923)
29. JANG-SAN* ÜDVÖZLÉSE
A száznapos nyári elvonulás után Jang-san tiszteletét tette Kuj-sannál.**
– Nem láttalak itt egész nyáron – mondta Kuj-san. – Mit műveltél?
– Műveltem egy darab földet, és betakarítottam egy kosár kölest.
– Akkor nem telt hiába a nyarad.
– És te, mester, mit műveltél? – kérdezte Jang-san.
– Ettem mindennap és aludtam minden éjjel.
– Akkor a te nyarad se telt hiába – válaszolt Jang-san és kiöltötte rá a nyelvét.
– Tisztelettudóbb is lehetnél – jegyezte meg Kuj-san.
*Yangshan Huiji 仰山慧寂 (807-883)
**Guishan Lingyou 溈山靈祐 (771-853)
31. KUJ-SAN* A KOLOSTOR KÉT ELÖLJÁRÓJÁT HÍVATJA
Kuj-san mester a tárnokért küldött. Mihelyt megjelent, azt mondta neki:
– A tárnokot hívattam, nem téged!
A tárnok nem tudta, mit mondjon.
Kuj-san legközelebb a felvigyázóért küldött. Mihelyt megérkezett, azt mondta neki:
– A felvigyázót kérettem, nem téged!
A felvigyázó nem tudta, mit mondjon.
*Guishan Lingyou 溈山靈祐 (771-853)
32. FEN-JANG* MEGBÜNTETI AZ EGET
– Ha ezer mérföldön belül egy fia felhő se lenne, mit tennél? – kérdezte egy szerzetes.
– Megbotoznám az eget – mondta Fen-jang.
– Miért épp az eget kárhoztatnád?
– Mert sose akkor esik az eső és sose akkor süt a nap, amikor kellene.
*Fenyang Shanzhao 汾陽善昭 (942-1024)
33. JÜE-SAN* MEGOLDJA EGY SZERZETES PROBLÉMÁJÁT
A reggeli prédikáció után egy szerzetes megkörnyékezte Jao-sant:
– Kétségeim vannak, szeretném, ha eloszlatnád.
– Várj az esti tanítóbeszédig, akkor eloszlatom.
Leszállt az este, a szerzetesek összegyűltek a csarnokban, a mester pedig felült a szószékre:
– Hol van az a szerzetes, aki a kétségeit akarta eloszlatni?
A szerzetes előlépett. Jao-san leszállt a székéből és vállon ragadta:
– Ezt nézzétek meg, itt egy szerzetes, akinek kétségei vannak!
Azzal félretaszította a szerzetest és visszavonult a szobájába anélkül, hogy megtartotta volna esti beszédét.
*Yaoshan Weiyan 藥山惟儼 (745-828)
46. A SZÍV ÍRÁSJEGYE
Egy öreg szerzetes a szív írásjegyét festette viskója ajtajára, ablakpapírjára és falára.
Fa-jen* mást javasolt:
– Az ajtóra az ajtó, az ablakra az ablak, a falra a fal írásjegyét kellett volna írnia.
Hszüan-csüe** azt mondta:
– Az ajtó, az ablak és a fal írásjegy nélkül is feleli önmagát.
*Fayan Wenyi 法眼文益 (885-958)
**Yongjia Xuanjue 永嘉真覺 (665-713)
53. HUJ-CSUNG* ELKERGETI TANÍTVÁNYÁT
Huj-csung éppen aludt, amikor Tan-hszia** meglátogatta.
– Itthon van a mestered? – kérdezte Tan-hszia a segédet.
– Itthon, de senkit se fogad.
– Rögtön felismerted a helyzetet – dicsérte őt Tan-hszia.
– A mesterem még Buddhát se fogadná – tódított a szerzetes.
– Tényleg jó tanítvány vagy! Büszke lehet rád a mestered! – dicsérte még egyszer Tan-hszia, aztán útjára indult.
Amikor Huj-csung felébredt, Tan-jüan*** – így hívták a segédet – elmesélte, hogy bánt el a látogatóval.
Ám a mester elverte, és kikergette a kolostorból.
*Nanyang Huizhong 南陽慧忠 (675-755)
**Danxia Tianran 丹霞天然 (739-824)
***Danyuan Yingzhen 耽源應眞
57. LIN-CSI* CÍM NÉLKÜLI EMBERE
– Hús-vér testetekben lakozik egy cím és rang nélküli igaz ember, és ki-be jár az érzékek nyílásain – szólt Lin-csi a csarnokba gyűlt szerzetesekhez. – Aki még nem ismerte fel, próbálja meg végre!
Egy szerzetes előrefurakodott, és azt kérdezte:
– Ki az a cím és rang nélküli igaz ember?
Lin-csi leszállt a székéből és vállon ragadta:
– Beszélj, beszélj!
A szerzetes próbált valamit mondani, de a mester ellökte magától:
– Egy rakás szar ez a cím és rang nélküli igaz ember! – mondta, és visszatért a szobájába.
*Linji Yixuan 臨濟義玄 (?-866)
83. JANG-SAN* VONALAT HÚZ A LEVEGŐBE
– Egész nap a csanról beszélgettünk – mondta Kuj-san.** – Mi jött ki belőle?
Jang-san húzott egy vonalat a levegőbe.
– Ha nem velem vagy, most becsaphatnál valakit.
*Yangshan Huiji 仰山慧寂 (807-883)
**Guishan Lingyou 溈山靈祐 (771-853)