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Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin
Wild Ivy A Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin
Hakuin Ekaku. (白隱慧鶴) (1685–1768). Japanese ZEN master renowned for revitalizing the RINZAISHŪ. Hakuin was a native of Hara in Shizuoka Prefecture. In 1699, Hakuin was ordained and received the name Ekaku (Wise Crane) from the monk Tanrei Soden (d. 1701) at the nearby temple of Shōinji. Shortly thereafter, Hakuin was sent by Tanrei to the temple of Daishōji in Numazu to serve the abbot Sokudō Fueki (d. 1712). Hakuin is then said to have lost faith in his Buddhist training and devoted much of his time instead to art. In 1704, Hakuin visited the monk Baō Sōchiku (1629–1711) at the temple Zuiunji in Mino province. While studying under Baō, Hakuin is said to have read the CHANGUAN CEJIN by YUNQI ZHUHONG, which inspired him to further meditative training. In 1708, Hakuin is said to have had his first awakening experience upon hearing the ringing of a distant bell. That same year, Hakuin met Dōju Sōkaku (1679–1730), who urged him to visit the Zen master Dōkyō Etan (1642–1721), or Shōju Rōnin, at the hermitage of Shōjuan in Iiyama. During one of his begging rounds, Hakuin is said to have had another important awakening after an old woman struck him with a broom. Shortly after his departure from Shōjuan, Hakuin suffered from an illness, which he cured with the help of a legendary hermit named Hakuyū. Hakuin’s famous story of his encounter with Hakuyū was recounted in his YASENKANNA, Orategama, and Itsumadegusa. In 1716, Hakuin returned to Shōinji and devoted much of his time to restoring the monastery, teaching students, and lecturing. Hakuin delivered famous lectures on such texts as the VIMALAKĪRTINIRDEŚA, SADDHARMAPUṆḌARĪKASŪTRA, VAJRACCHEDIKĀPRAJÑĀPĀRAMITĀSŪTRA, BIYAN LU, BAOJING SANMEI, DAHUI PUJUE CHANSHI SHU, and YUANREN LUN, and the recorded sayings (YULU) of LINJI YIXUAN, WUZU FAYAN, and XUTANG ZHIYU. He also composed a number of important texts during this period, such as the Kanzan shi sendai kimon, Kaian kokugo, and SOKKŌROKU KAIEN FUSETSU. Prior to his death, Hakuin established the monastery of Ryūtakuji in Mishima (present-day Shizuoka prefecture). Hakuin was a strong advocate of “questioning meditation” (J. kanna Zen; C. KANHUA CHAN), which focused on the role of doubt in contemplating the kōan (GONG’AN). Hakuin proposed that the sense of doubt was the catalyst for an initial SATORI (awakening; C. WU), which had then to be enhanced through further kōan study in order to mature the experience. The contemporary Rinzai training system involving systematic study of many different kōans is attributed to Hakuin, as is the famous kōan, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” (see SEKISHU KŌAN). Hakuin was a prolific writer who left many other works as well, including the Dokugo shingyō, Oniazami, Yabukōji, Hebiichigo, Keisō dokuzui, Yaemugura, and Zazen wasan. Hakuin also produced many prominent disciples, including TŌREI ENJI, Suiō Genro (1716–1789), and GASAN JITŌ. The contemporary Japanese Rinzai school of Zen traces its lineage and teachings back to Hakuin and his disciples.
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1:If you forget yourself, you become the universe. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
2:Should you desire the great tranquility prepare to sweat white beads. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
3:Contemplation within activity is a million times better than contemplation within stillness. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
4:At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
5:I encourage all you superior seekers in the secret depths to devote yourselves to penetrating and clarifying the self, as earnestly as you would put out a fire on the top of your head.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
6:It's like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won't accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. When that time comes, you could round up everyone you could find and pay them to hold the tree up, but they wouldn't be able to do it. It would still come crashing to the ground. . . . But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, Why doesn't this tree fall? And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li, Why doesn't this tree fall? he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone who is practicing the Way.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
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1:If only you could hear ~ Hakuin Ekaku
2:What is the sound of one hand? ~ Hakuin Ekaku
3:Nirvana is right here, before our eyes. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
4:From the very beginning all beings are Buddha. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
5:In singing and dancing is the voice of the Law. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
6:If you forget yourself, you become the universe. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
7:If you forget yourself, you become the universe. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
8:How bright and transparent the moonlight of wisdom. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
9:Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
10:Should you desire the great tranquility prepare to sweat white beads. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
11:Should you desire the great tranquility prepare to sweat white beads. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
12:Meditation in action is endlessly more important than meditation in stillness. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
13:From the sea of effortlessness, let your great uncaused compassion shine forth. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
14:You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand? ~ Hakuin Ekaku
15:"At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully." ~ Hakuin
16:Contemplation within activity is a million times better than contemplation within stillness. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
17:Meditation in the midst of activity is a thousand times superior to meditation in stillness. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
18:At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
19:Contemplation within activity is a million times better than contemplation within stillness. ~ Hakuin Ekaku,
20:At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
21:The spirit of meditation is the combating of self-willed thinking-it is a combat against the weight of one's feelings. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
22:All beings are by nature are Buddhas, as ice by nature is water. Apart from water there is no ice; apart from beings, no Buddhas. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
23:Underlying great doubt there is great satori, where there is thorough questioning there will be thoroughgoing experience of awakening. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
24:At this moment, is there anything lacking? Nirvana is right here now before our eyes. This place is the lotus land. This body now is the Buddha. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
25:I encourage all you superior seekers in the secret depths to devote yourselves to penetrating and clarifying the self, as earnestly as you would put out a fire on the top of your head. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
26:I encourage all you superior seekers in the secret depths to devote yourselves to penetrating and clarifying the self, as earnestly as you would put out a fire on the top of your head.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
27:Once a person is able to achieve true singlemindedness in his practice and smash apart the old nest... into which he has settled... Wisdom immediately appears... and the all-discerning Fivefold Eye opens wide. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
28:What is this true meditation? It is to make everything: coughing, swallowing, waving the arms, motion, stillness, words, action, the evil and the good, prosperity and shame, gain and loss, right and wrong, into one single koan. ~ Hakuin Ekaku
29:A bird gives a cry–the mountains quiet all the more.’ 49 (This is also perhaps the real meaning behind Hakuin Ekaku’s famous eighteenth-century-BCE koan ‘What is the Sound of the Single Hand?’: it is an invitation to attend to the silence, the emptiness. ~ Julian Baggini
30:Past, present, future: unattainable, Yet clear as the moteless sky. Late at night the stool's cold as iron, But the moonlit window smells of plum. [1506.jpg] -- from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Translated by Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto
~ Hakuin, Past, present, future- unattainable
31:The monkey is reaching For the moon in the water. Until death overtakes him He'll never give up. If he'd let go the branch and Disappear in the deep pool, The whole world would shine With dazzling pureness. [1799.jpg] -- from Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, by Norman Waddell
~ Hakuin, The monkey is reaching
32:You no sooner attain the great void Than body and mind are lost together. Heaven and Hell -- a straw. The Buddha-realm, Pandemonium -- shambles. Listen: a nightingale strains her voice, serenading the snow. Look: a tortoise wearing a sword climbs the lampstand. Should you desire the great tranquility, Prepare to sweat white beads. [1506.jpg] -- from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Translated by Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto
~ Hakuin, You no sooner attain the great void
33:Great works of art in all cultures succeed in capturing within the constraints of their form both the pathos of anguish and a vision of its resolution. Take, for example, the languorous sentences of Proust or the haiku of Basho, the late quartets and sonatas of Beethoven, the tragicomic brushwork of Sengai or the daunting canvases of Rothko, the luminous self-portraits of Rembrandt and Hakuin. Such works achieve their resolution not through consoling or romantic images whereby anguish is transcended. They accept anguish without being overwhelmed by it. They reveal anguish as that which gives beauty its dignity and depth. ~ Stephen Batchelor
34:When you understand that form is the form of the formless, Your coming-and-going takes place nowhere else but where you are. When you understand that thought is the thought of the thought-less. Your singing-and-dancing is no other than the voice of the Dharma. How boundless is the sky of Samadhi! How refreshingly bright is the moon of the Fourfold Wisdom! Being so is there anything you lack? As the Absolute presents itself before you The place where you stand is the Land of the Lotus, And your person -- the body of the Buddha. [2139.jpg] -- from Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
~ Hakuin, The Form of the Formless (from Hakuins Song of Zazen)
35:It's like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won't accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. When that time comes, you could round up everyone you could find and pay them to hold the tree up, but they wouldn't be able to do it. It would still come crashing to the ground. . . . But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, Why doesn't this tree fall? And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li, Why doesn't this tree fall? he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone who is practicing the Way.
~ Hakuin Ekaku,
36:It’s like chopping down a huge tree of immense girth. You won’t accomplish it with one swing of your axe. If you keep chopping away at it, though, and do not let up, eventually, whether it wants to or not, it will suddenly topple down. When that time comes, you could round up everyone you could find and pay them to hold the tree up, but they wouldn’t be able to do it. It would still come crashing to the ground…. But if the woodcutter stopped after one or two strokes of his axe to ask the third son of Mr. Chang, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” And after three or four more strokes stopped again to ask the fourth son of Mr. Li, “Why doesn’t this tree fall?” he would never succeed in felling the tree. It is no different for someone who is practicing the Way. —ZEN MASTER HAKUIN ~ Robert Greene
37:Zen wishes to storm this citadel of topsy-turvydom and to show that we live psychologically or biologically and not logically. ~ D.T. Suzuki, An Introduction to Zen BuddhismZen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra by Hakuin and Norman Waddell ★★★★ 1/2 "Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) was one of the most important of all Japanese Zen masters" ad amzn.to/2ZexAsyZen: Zen For Beginners a Beginners Guide to Mindfulness and Meditation by Daniel D'apollonio ★★★★ 1/2 "easy-to-follow steps guaranteed to help you bring the essence of Zen into your everyday life" ad amzn.to/2SLOQRB@Zer0Books Glad to hear it sold out. Here's to it happening again with this run. 🍻@Zer0Books Reminds me of Belters from the Expanse. They developed physical gestures in their language after being in space suits for generations. Guess we're kind of virtual space suits these days
38:All beings are primarily Buddhas. It is like water and ice: There is no ice apart from water; There are no Buddhas apart from beings. Not knowing how close the truth is to them, Beings seek for it afar -- what a pity! They are like those who, being in the midst of water, Cry out for water, feeling thirst. They are like the son of the rich man, Who, wandering away from his father, Goes astray amongst the poor. It is all due to their ignorance That beings transmigrate in the darkness Of the Six Paths of existence. When they wander from darkness to darkness, How can they ever be free from birth-and-death? As for the Dhyana practice as taught in the Mahayana, No amount of praise can exhaust its merits. The Six Paramitas--beginning with the Giving, Observing the Precepts, And other good deeds, variously enumerated, Such as Nembutsu, Repentance, Moral Training, and so on -- All are finally reducible to the practice of Dhyana. The merit of Dhyana practice, even during a single sitting, Erases the countless sins accumulated in the past. Where then are the Evil Paths to misguide us? The Pure Land cannot be far away. Those who, for once, listening to the Dharma In all humility, Praise it and faithfully follow it, Will be endowed with innumerable merits. But how much more so when you turn your eyes within yourselves And have a glimpse into your self-nature! You find that the self-nature is no-nature - The truth permitting no idle sophistry. For you, then, open the gate leading to the oneness of cause and effect; Before you, then, lies a straight road of non-duality and non-trinity. When you understand that form is the form of the formless, Your coming-and-going takes place nowhere else but where you are. When you understand that thought is the thought of the thought-less. Your singing-and-dancing is no other than the voice of the Dharma. How boundless is the sky of Samadhi! How refreshingly bright is the moon of the Fourfold Wisdom! Being so is there anything you lack? As the Absolute presents itself before you The place where you stand is the Land of the Lotus, And your person -- the body of the Buddha. [2139.jpg] -- from Essays in Zen Buddhism, First Series, by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
~ Hakuin, Hakuins Song of Zazen
4 Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin
1.01 - To Watanabe Sukefusa, #Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin, #unset, #Philosophy
This is Hakuin's earliest surviving letter, written in 1714 when he was twenty-nine years old and the only one from the years of his pilgrimage. In it, he scolds a childhood friend named Watanabe
Sukehiko, eldest son of the wealthy Watanabe family of Hara, for unspecified unfilial acts. Citing cautionary stories, Hakuin warns his friend of the dire karmic consequences lying in store if he doesn't mend his ways. The letter owes its survival to its inclusion in Hakuin's publication The Cloth
Drum Refitted, subtitled A Letter to an Unfilial Son, which first appeared in his fifties.
It is interesting to note Hakuin's deep concern with filial devotion at this early stage of his career, a theme that continues to have a significant, though subordinate, role in his mature Zen teaching. It is most conspicuous in some of the calligraphic works he distri buted, which are discussed below.
Another example of the consistency of Hakuin's views is his willingness to take up the village priest's function of moral correction, a purpose he fulfills through his attempts to resolve family discords in other letters in this volume. Also to be noted is that Hakuin does not offer Sukefusa a specific Zen solution to his problem, as he no doubt would have later on.
At some point, either when Hakuin wrote the letter itself or soon afterward, he transcribed it in manuscript form, added a short preface, and titled it The Cloth Drum: A Letter to an Unfilial Son.
Years later this brief letter became the basis for The Cloth Drum Refitted [with a New Drumhead], a series of accounts of retri bution for unfilial behavior that appeared as a single volume in 1747. It was greatly enlarged and reissued in 1753 in a five-volume edition. This edition opens with the letter to
Watanabe Sukefusa, which takes up less than a third of volume one, and is followed by twenty-two more stories of karmic cause and effect. Hakuin returned to this genre in later collections such as
Accounts of the Miraculous Effects of the Ten Phrase Kannon Sutra for Prolonging Life. Whereas
In the preface Hakuin wrote for The Cloth Drum Refitted, he alludes briefly to his friendship with
Watanabe Sukefusa, then explains the circumstances that led him to send Watanabe the remonstrance.
After stating that unfilial behavior invariably arises from an addiction to wine and women, presumably the vices his friend had succumbed to, Hakuin goes on to say:
Obsession with these seductions is a serious disease, and it is one that neither the wise nor the foolish can escape. A wise person blinded by delusion is like a tiger that falls into a well and yet has sufficient strength to claw its way out without losing its skin. When a foolish man is similarly blinded, he is like a tired, skinny old fox that falls in but perishes miserably at the bottom of the well because he lacks the strength to clamber out. Even a person who is just tolerably clever will, once he has fallen victim to these seductions and begins behaving in an unfilial manner, heed the warnings of his elders and the advice of the good and virtuous, immediately change his ways and become a kind and considerate son to his parents. Receiving heaven's favor and the gods' hidden assistance, he will be blessed with great happiness and long life. When he dies, he will leave a sterling reputation for wisdom and goodness behind him.
[As this next paragraph seems addressed to Watanabe Sukefusa, it must have been written when Hakuin composed the original letter. Did Hakuin leave it in unintentionally when he reworked the preface for inclusion in the published edition of The Cloth Drum Refitted forty years later?]
You yourself have recently fallen prey to delusions of a similar kind. Your relations look on with wrinkled brows, your friends with foreheads furrowed. You have come right up against a firmly locked barrier that you will find extremely difficult to pass through.
Perhaps they may even succeed in hearing the secret rhythms of the cloth drum. However, if any of them finds the ideas set forth here absurd or unreasonable, they should return it forthwith to me!
In the spring of 1746, shortly before writing this preface, Hakuin had acted on the advice he had given thirty-three years earlier about recycling the letter. Learning that one Murabayashi Tokusabur, the son of a friend and a student in Edo, whom the father had praised as an "extremely sincere, mildmannered, and obedient young man, loved by one and all," was in fact given to wild drinking sprees and other generally reprehensible behavior, Hakuin retrieved the letter, made some necessary revisions, and sent it to the young man (also see Letter 9). As this occurred only months before
Hakuin prepared The Cloth Drum Refitted for publication, it seems reasonable to conjecture that revamping the letter for Tokusabur stimulated Hakuin to write and publish this almost entirely new
Sharing these premises, Hakuin launched vehement attacks on what he considered the mistaken understanding purveyed by such architects of Confucian orthodoxy as Hayashi Razan (see chapter
12). Hakuin's ideas on the subject may be summed up fairly well in the calligraphic works he prepared and distri buted in large numbers to people. These works consisted of one large character, filiality or parent, followed by the inscription, "There is no more valuable act of filiality than to save one's father and mother from the sad fate of an unfortunate rebirth in the next life"-exactly the sentiments Hakuin had expressed to Sukefusa as a young monk. a It was considered extremely unfilial to injure or disfigure the body of one's (male) children. This was especially heinous in the case of an eldest son, who, according to the canons of filial piety, is venerated because of his superior birth, age, and gender. b Although not all of these references can be traced, most of them are found in Tales of the TwentyFour Paragons of Filial Virtue (Ehr-shih-ssu hsiao), a popular Confucian text of the Yuan dynasty that was reprinted and widely read in Edo Japan. c A legendary sage ruler of ancient China. According to Mencius, when ministers came to him with good advice, Yu always received it with deep gratitude.
1.02 - To Zen Monks Kin and Koku, #Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin, #unset, #Philosophy
This letter, in which Hakuin declines an invitation to lecture on the Vimalakirti Sutra, can be dated from internal evidence to 1729. As one of very few letters that can be dated confidently to Hakuin's forties, it gives us a rare glimpse of Shin-ji during the early years of Hakuin's residency. Neither
Kin or Koku, nor the name of the temple issuing the invitation to Hakuin, have been identified, although the temple was no doubt located close by, probably in Suruga Province.
Note that Hakuin initially refers to the Vimalakirti Sutra as the Beyond Comprehension Sutra, using one of the Vimalakirti Sutra's chapter titles.
In his autobiographies, Hakuin describes his small, impoverished temple as being in an
"indescribable state of disrepair" when he was installed as abbot in 1717. Judging from occasional references in his books and letters to the privations of life at Shin-ji, there does not seem to have
been much improvement in living conditions for some time afterward. Hakuin's primary focus in the first decade of his incumbency was his own post-satori practice, although the records mention a small number of students, mostly villagers from Hara, who were coming to him for instruction at this time.
In view of how vigorously Hakuin dedicated himself to such teaching activity during his sixties and seventies-in one two-year period, for example, he visited and taught at twenty-five different temples
-it is interesting to find him here at the age of forty-three, at the start of his teaching career, showing such reluctance to accept a teaching assignment. Evidently, Hakuin did not lecture at the request of another temple until eight years after this. His text was the Blue Cliff Record.
1.03 - To Layman Ishii, #Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin, #unset, #Philosophy
This letter, dating from Hakuin's forty-ninth year, is addressed to his friend and student Ishii Gentoku
(1671-1751), a physician who resided in Hina village, six miles west of the Hara post station.
Fifteen years Hakuin's senior, Ishii began practicing at Shin-ji in 1728, eight years after Hakuin was installed as abbot, a little over a year after Hakuin's decisive enlightenment at the age of forty-one.
The closeness of the relationship that formed between the two men is evident in Hakuin's letters to
Ishii, as well as from the fact that Hakuin at times secluded himself in Ishii's retirement retreat for periods of rest and writing (Chronological Biography, 1731). A number of miscellaneous pieces inscribed to Layman Ishii that are included in Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn confirm that he was considerably advanced in his Zen study, a point further substantiated by the difficulty of the teaching Hakuin addresses to him in this letter.
Although a handful of friends and fellow villagers had been studying at Shin-ji during the first decade of Hakuin's incumbency, Ishii was one of the earliest of the lay students from outside Hara village, another indication that the unsung young Zen teacher's reputation had spread to other parts of the province, and probably beyond as well.
Ishii became an important patron of the impoverished temple, and later helped fund a number of
Hakuin's building and publishing projects. Most of the half-dozen or so other letters that Hakuin wrote Ishii are expressions of gratitude for donations and gifts received, or services rendered. In one letter, Hakuin thanks Ishii for a large supply of cut tobacco that Ishii had sent to fuel Hakuin's wellknown pipe habit. A long verse Hakuin sent Ishii, one of the most remarkable pieces in the Poison
Blossoms collection, is an expression of thanks for two large boulders Ishii had donated to the Shinji gardens. The verse is filled with vivid images describing the progress of the unwieldy objects as they are rafted down from the foothills of Mount Fuji, landed on the coast near Hara village, then manhandled overl and to Shin-ji, making us feel the excitement and impatience Hakuin experienced as he awaited their arrival (a translation is found in The Religious Art of Zen Master Hakuin, 129-
Although remarks of a personal nature are scattered throughout this letter, reminding the reader that it is indeed a letter, it is for the most part a series of discourses that Hakuin apparently composed to express his gratitude to Ishii for having taken care of one of his monks, an attendant named Boku, who had fallen ill. Hakuin presents these as a word-for-word account of the instructions he gave Boku upon the attendant's return from Ishii's residence, although the message they contain seems intended
In content and style, the letter is an early example of the expositions of koan Zen-so-called
Dharma words-that Hakuin sent to individual students throughout his life, and more or less indistinguishable from the works he later wrote expressly for publication. He criticizes contemporary
Zen teachers who, by giving in to feelings of pity and offering untimely advice to struggling students, end up preventing them from carrying their practice through to completion, ruining their chance of ever reaching the release of final enlightenment. Hakuin contrasts this with the method used by himself, as well as the great Zen figures of the past, of refusing to give any such help until the critical moment is reached and the student is ready to benefit from a teacher's timely intervention. The classic image is that of a mother hen pecking an egg at the exact same time the baby chick is pecking from within the shell to make its way out. Hakuin also stresses the importance of the post-satori training that begins after the original kensh or satori is attained.
(1743). Several passages in the present letter appear almost verbatim in the printed version of the
Talks, and since the preface to that work states that Hakuin stayed at Ishii's private retreat for over a month while he was drafting the Talks, it is not difficult to imagine Ishii urging his friend to include portions of this letter in the Talks so they might be shared with others.
Attendant Boku's unspecified complaint may have been purely physical in nature, but it may also have been practice related, perhaps even a touch of the "Zen sickness" that had troubled Hakuin during his early years of training. The identity of this attendant monk is uncertain. The most logical candidate, Sui Genro (1717-89), Hakuin's successor at Shin-ji, who as a young monk used the name [E]Boku, has to be rejected, since Sui's study at Shin-ji did not begin until 1746, twelve years after this letter was written. The Hakuin specialist Rikugawa Taiun identified Boku as "a monk from western Japan who fell ill while training at Shin-ji and subsequently left the temple" (Detailed
Biography of Priest Hakuin, p. 252), but offered no details. An anonymous annotator inscribed another hypothesis in a copy of Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn: "Attendant Boku is not an actual person. The master seems to be using the name in an allegorical sense for a story on the oxherding theme" [Boku translates literally as "herder"]. Again, it would be entirely in character for
Hakuin, well-known for his yarn spinning, to create a fictitious character of this sort, but we have no way of confirming this supposition.
e [Wild] fox slobber (koen, or yako-enda) is generally poison, used by Hakuin with a positive connotation for the "turning words" used by Zen teachers. For a recipe for making it, see Hakuin's
Precious Mirror Cave (244). f Hakuin loosely paraphrases a statement in the Comprehensive Records of Yun-men (Yun-men kuang-lu). An early Chinese commentary on this apprises us of the fact that warm excrement produced during the summer months has an especially foul smell. g The Dragon Gate is a three-tiered waterfall cut through the mountains of Lung-men to open up a passage for the Yellow River. It was said that on the third day of the third month, when peach trees are in flower, carp that succeeded in scaling this waterfall turned into dragons. h Compendium of the Five Lamps, ch. 1. Also Case 41 in the Gateless Barrier. i Compendium of the Five Lamps, ch. 3. j Based on lines in a verse by Yuan-wu K'o-ch'in: "I venerate the Sixth Patriarch, an au thentic old
Buddha who manifested himself in the human world as a good teacher for eighty lifetimes in order to help others" (cited in Trei's Snake Legs for Kaien-fusetsu, 21v). k The head monk in Huang-po's assembly at this time is not identified in the standard accounts of this episode in Record of Lin-chi and Records of the Lamp. He is given as Chen Tsun-su (Mu-chou Taotsung, n.d.) in some other accounts. In none of the versions does he utter such words directly to Linchi. l A winged tiger would be even more formidable. m In the Record of Lin-chi account (also Blue Cliff Record, Case 11), the head monk in Huang-po's assembly tells Lin-chi to ask Huang-po about the essential meaning of the Buddha Dharma. He goes to
Blue Cliff Record, Case 55). q These are some of the eighteen types of questions Zen students are said to ask their teachers. This is a formulation by Fen-yang (947-1024) in The Eye of Men and Gods. r Free up the cicada's wings . Although a similar expression is used in the Book of Latter Han to describe a lord showing great partiality to a favorite, here it refers to the statement made earlier about a teacher ruining a student's chances by stepping in to help the student prematurely. s Two of eight difficult places or situations (hachinan) in which it is difficult for people to encounter a Buddha, hear him preach the Dharma, and attain liberation: Uttarakuru, the continent to the north of
Mount Sumeru, because inhabitants enjoy lives of interminable pleasure; and being enthralled in the worldly wisdom and skillful words (sechibens) of secular life. Dried buds and dead seeds (shge haishu) is a term of reproach directed at followers of the Two Vehicles, who are said to have no possibility for attaining complete enlightenment. t In the system of koan study that developed in later Hakuin Zen, hosshin or Dharmakaya koans are used in the beginning stages of practice (see Zen Dust, 46-50). The lines Hakuin quotes here are not found in the Poems of Han-shan (Han-shan shih). They are attri buted to Han-shan in Compendium of the Five Lamps (ch. 15, chapter on Tung-shan Mu-ts'ung): "The master ascended the teaching seat and said, 'Han-shan said that "Red dust dances at the bottom of the well. / White waves rise on the mountain peaks. / The stone woman gives birth to a stone child. / Fur on the tortoise grows longer by the day." If you want to know the Bodhi-mind, all you have to do is to behold these sights.'" The lines are included in a Japanese edition of the work published during Hakuin's lifetime. u The Ten Ox-herding Pictures are a series of illustrations, accompanied by verses, showing the Zen student's progress to final enlightenment. The Five Ranks, comprising five modes of the particular and universal, are a teaching device formulated by Tung-shan of the Sto tradition. v Records of the Lamp, ch. 10. w Liu Hsiu (first century) was a descendant of Western Han royalty who defeated the usurper Wang
Mang and established the Eastern Han dynasty. Emperor Su Tsung (eighth century) regained the throne that his father had occupied before being been driven from power. x Wang Mang (c. 45 BC-23 AD) , a powerful official of the Western Han dynasty, and rebellious
T'ang general An Lu-shan (c. 703-757) both attempted to usurp the throne and declare themselves emperor. y Nan-t'ang is Ta-sui Yuan-ching (1065-1135), an heir of Fa-yen Wen-i. The quotation appears in
The Eye of Men and Gods, ch. 1. Hakuin, who liked to quote it, included it in Redolence from the
Cold Forest, a selection of quotations from Zen texts he made for students that was first published in
mon) Trei explains the Zen terms "gains you half" (literally, "raises it up halfway") and "gaining it all" as follows: "'Raising it totally up' refers to grasping the treasury of the Buddha's true Dharma eye and making it one's own activity. 'Raising it partially up' refers to not having yet achieved this total attainment; to having achieved only half, or only one tenth" (hoz, 7:157-58). aa No source has been found for this quotation; it may have been written by Hakuin. bb "If you cease your mind from its constant strivings, you are no different from the Buddhas and patriarchs. You want to grasp the Buddhas and patriarchs, but you yourself, the person listening to my teaching at this moment, are the Buddha-patriarch" (see Record of Lin-chi, 23).
Sung master Ta-hui speaks of "bands of miscreant shavepates who have not yet opened their own eyes, but who nonetheless strive to lead others into a state of quietistic stagnation in the realm of the blind otters" (Ta-hui's Letters, third Letter to Cheng Shih-lang). In his work Krju, the Tokugawa scholar-priest Mujaku Dch concludes that the term does not refer to an otter (he suggests instead a red-haired, wolflike animal): "Although I have been unable to discover precisely what this creature is, it is said to 'play possum,' pretending to be dead to draw people near so it can seize and devour them."
The term appears in a number of Hakuin's own works; the following are three examples.
2. "Not even Buddhas and patriarchs can cure misunderstanding as gross as this. Every day these people seek out places of peace and quiet, but they're dead otters today, they'll be dead otters tomorrow, they'll be dead otters even after endless kalpas have passed. Utterly useless to themselves or to anyone else. The Buddha compared people like this to mangy foxes. Angulimala despised them as people with the intelligence of earthworms. Vimalakirti placed them among the blasted buds and rotten seeds. They are the ones Ch'ang-sha said were unable to leap from the tip of a hundred-foot pole, the ones Lin-chi said lived at the bottom of a deep black pit" (Oradegama; Zen Master Hakuin,
3. Dumb sheep Zen is said to refer to monks who are unable to tell good from bad and without sense enough to correct their mistakes. Hakuin generally applies the term to "do-nothing" Zennists, that is to say, those who do not actively seek kensh through koan study.
1.04 - To the Priest of Rytan-ji, #Beating the Cloth Drum Letters of Zen Master Hakuin, #unset, #Philosophy
This letter from Hakuin's mid-fifties shows him accepting an invitation from a temple in neighboring
Ttmi Province to lecture on a Chinese Zen text, Precious Lessons of the Zen School. He was in the middle of his second decade of teaching at Shin-ji, having two years before completed a highly successful meeting that had established his reputation as one of the foremost Zen teachers in the country, and had also attracted a large assembly of trainees to the temple. Hakuin now seems more willing to accept requests from other temples to conduct lecture meetings.
It was a convention to address letters of this type to the attendant rather than to the head priest himself. Hakuin also mentions that this is the third time he has received a letter from the attendant, alluding to a famous episode from the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history when the warlord
Liu Pei paid three visits in person to the wise scholar Chu-ko Liang to solicit his aid in establishing his reign. The "three visits" became proverbial for the sincerity one should evince when seeking someone's help.
Rytan-ji abbot at the time was Dokus Hun (n.d.), about whom little is known. Senior Monk Zents
(Zents Shuso) is probably the person later known as Kanj Ets (1699-1777), a Rytan-ji monk who had gone to Shin-ji to study with Hakuin. He later succeeded Dokus at Rytan-ji.
Ttmi Province to lecture on Precious Lessons of the Zen School."
But we learn from Trei's draft manuscript of the Chronological Biography that the meeting was actually held in autumn to commemorate the 650th anniversary of the temple's founding, and that "a hundred monks accompanied Hakuin on the journey to Ttmi to take part in the meeting." Precious
Lessons of the Zen School is a late twelfth-century work Hakuin frequently used as a text for lectures.
This letter was first published in 2009 in Hakuin's Zen Painting and Calligraphy.
1.he - Hakuins Song of Zazen, #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
object:1.he - Hakuins Song of Zazen
author class: Hakuin
1.he - The Form of the Formless (from Hakuins Song of Zazen), #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
object:1.he - The Form of the Formless (from Hakuins Song of Zazen)
author class: Hakuin
1.he - The monkey is reaching, #unset, #Sri Aurobindo, #Integral Yoga
English version by Norman Waddell Original Language Japanese The monkey is reaching For the moon in the water. Until death overtakes him He'll never give up. If he'd let go the branch and Disappear in the deep pool, The whole world would shine With dazzling pureness. [1799.jpg] -- from Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin, by Norman Waddell <
2.14 - The Unpacking of God, #Sex Ecology Spirituality, #Ken Wilber, #Philosophy
Light that never dawns nor ceases. See the worlds arise and fall, never caught in time or turmoil, transparent images shimmering in the radiant Abyss. Watch the mountain walk on water, drink the Pacific in a single gulp, blink and a billion universes rise and fall, brea the out and create a Kosmos, brea the in and watch it dissolve.
Let the ecstasy overflow and outshine the loveless self, driven mad with the torments of its self-embracing ways, hugging mightily samsara's spokes of endless agony, and sing instead triumphantly with Saint Catherine, "My being is God, not by simple participation, but by a true transformation of my Being. My me is God!" And let the joy sing with Dame Julian, "See! I am God! See! I am in all things! See! I do all things!" And let the joy shout with Hakuin, "This very body is the Body of Buddha! and this very land the Pure Land!"
And this Earth becomes a blessed being, and every I becomes a God, and every We becomes God's sincerest worship, and every It becomes God's most gracious temple.