Septober 2022 Sesshin, Day 6: Blue Cliff Record #53, "Hyakujo and the Wild Duck"
2:23PM Oct 12, 2022
Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede
This is day six of this Septober 2022 seven day sesshin and today we'll take a koan. This is from the Blue Cliff Record, the Hekiganroku, number 53, for the record
and it's, it's called "Hyakujo and the Wild Duck"
here's how it goes. Once when Bosco was out walking with his disciple he aka Joe. He saw a wild duck flypast so said What is it shocker Joe replied to wild duck. Paso said Where has it gone? He aka Joe said it is flown away. By so then twisted Yaker Joe's nose caca Joe cried out in pain boss was said as it indeed flown away
these are two of the most legendary of the Chinese and masters that Chan masters early ones module I always the little factoid I always remember about him is that he had 139 enlightened disciples each one became Zen master in his own right
they're both of the eighth century
there's some details about the provinces where where Mazu in his home province and others that he went to
Mizzou went to the fifth ancestor, fifth patriarch, and there he received ordination as a Buddhist mark.
Later he settled on a mountain mountain long hung and trained under a great master their Nan way. And after 10 years of training, he received Dharma transmission, and then proceeded to travel the length and breadth of China, perfecting his understanding of the Dharma and this was not by train wasn't even by horse is walking.
Eventually, he settled down and monks from every quarter came to train with him reading as usual from Zen's Chinese heritage, by Andy Ferguson.
Unlike some other Zen masters of his time, Matsu did not leave an extensive written record of his teachings. Instead, we know him largely from imaginative legends that reflect the awesome sense of presence that he conveyed.
What he wrote he wrote no books
and I guess, here this gets borders and legends. His appearance was most unusual. He strode like an ox and glared like a tiger. His extended tongue covered his nose on the soles of his feet, his veins Beans formed to circles be seen as Essos the calligraphic design, Zen signifying our true mind perfection
skipping some material here that I don't think is useful to read
the sixth ancestor way known, said hereafter from the area to which you will go, a horse will come forth and trample everyone in the world to death. And then he came to be known as that Ma means Horst, this Master Ma
and then just skips right to the teachings of this module. By the way, his Japanese name is bustle. One day Matsu addressed the congregation of monks, all of you here. Believe that your own mind is Buddha. This very mind is buddha mind. When Bodhidharma came from India to China, he transmitted the supreme vehicle teaching of the supreme vehicle teaching of one mind, allowing people like you to attain awakening. Moreover, he brought with him the text of the Lankavatara Sutra, using it as the seal of the mind ground of sentient beings. He feared that your views would be inverted, and you wouldn't believe in the teaching of this mind that each and every one of you possesses. Therefore Bodhidharma brought the Lankavatara Sutra which offers the Buddha's words that mind is the essence and that there is no gate by which to enter dharma. Mind is the essence
of course, it's not talking about what we in the West typically refer to as our mind it's centered in our head, that performs all of these discriminating functions.
You who seek Dharma should seek nothing. Apart from mine, there is no other Buddha. Apart from Buddha, there is no other mind.
Sometimes we translate Buddha's enlightenment it can be understood as awareness or enlightened awareness. Originally enlightened awareness, apart from mind there is no other originally enlightened awareness. Apart from originally enlightened awareness, there is no other mind. The words aren't two minds. There isn't really mind with a capital M in mind the small m is just mind mind
Do not grasp what is good nor reject what is bad. Don't lean toward either purity or pollution. Arrive at the empty nature of transgressions that nothing is attained through continuous thoughts and the because there is no self nature, the three worlds are only mind
The empty nature of transgressions This is what has got so many teachers and others, Zen teachers and others into trouble. Having seen the fundamental emptiness of the precepts, the emptiness of morality itself ignore that yes, form is only emptiness but emptiness is also only form
it's all too easy after even just as small awakening, one can justify ignoring the precepts. This is been a ruin of many truths they are empty their mental constructs they're different from culture to culture, the precepts ethical behavior, misconduct, but, we are in whatever culture we find ourselves they have consequences, whether we break the precepts or not.
The essential nature of a car is also empty as it is our own essential nature but if we step out in front of a car, we are injured he says nothing is attained through continuous thoughts
or master yesterday fine, it does not come from thought.
The myriad forms of the entire universe are the seal of the single Dharma whatever forms are seen are but the perception of mind. But mind is not independently existent. It is codependent with form. Here he's equating right now is equating mind with this realm of formlessness emptiness it co arises with form. You should speak appropriately about the affairs of your own life. For each matter you encounter constitutes the meaning of your existence. And your actions are without hindrance. The fruit of the bodhisattva way is just thus born of mind, taking names to be forms. Because of a knowledge of the emptiness of forms, birth is non birth
comprehending this one acts in the fashion of one's time, just wearing clothes, eating food, constantly upholding the practices of a bodhisattva and passing time according to circumstances. At phrase one acts in the fashion of one's own times where I just saying we we don't flaunt what is culturally appropriate.
Here's the beauty short. A monk asked Matsu. What is the essential meaning of Buddhism Mazu said what is the meaning of this moment?
Is word Buddhism was concocted by a Western, maybe I think he was a missionary who went to went to Asia and saw these Buddha figures and saw that there was some kind of religion going on there and so he not knowing what how to refer to it he referred to it as Buddha is I say the Dharma the truth, the way the moment this
here's one involving the layman pawn in Zen history is considered one of the three great greatest enlightened of the non monks the laypeople. layman pa Pang asked Matsu with a master please give your esteemed view of the clear eyed ancestors not to look down. Maman Pang said other teachers can't play the lute. Only the Master does it so sublimely. I assume he's speaking in metaphor here. Matsu then looked up. Lehmann Pang bowed. Matsu then returned to the Abbott's room. Lehmann Pang followed him saying, just now something skillful turned awkward. Lehmann Pang also asked, although water has no muscle or bone, it supports 10,000 pound chips. What is the principle this displays? Maslow said here there is neither water nor boat. How can you speak of muscle and bone?
I think of this analogy, I haven't read it exactly in these terms. But I think of it in session as we see the tide rise as the days go on. And it's this power of mind to bear anything. It's this this inexorable force of a rising tide that can lift even an aircraft carrier to put it in modern terms.
When evening mod Zeus three principal disciples were out with him viewing the moon and Matsu asked them at just this moment. What is it
the first one she done said perfect support. The second one by John. That's Jaco Joe and our koan today by John said perfect practice. And then the third one non Schwann just shook his sleeves and walked away. Mazu said a sutra enters the Buddhist canon. Zen returns to the sea only non swan has gone beyond things certainly went beyond words.
By Jiang asks, what is the essential import of the school That is Zen. Matsu said it's just the place where you let go of your body and life
or life of thoughts that sustains this illusion of a self
sustains the illusion of separateness.
The time Mazu asked by John damage to the say these are the two guys in today's koan, Matsu asked by John what teaching Do you offer people by John the disciple held his whisk up straight they had a fly whisk that they use the masters of old used in their teachings by John held his whisk up straight Mazu said just this I think more by John threw down the whisk.
monk asked how can one gain accordance with the way? Matsu said I've never gained accordance with it. Emphasis on the word gain. The monk asked what is the essential meaning of Zen Matsu struck him and said if I didn't hit you, I'd be laughed at from every direction
wish so much I could be there for these. This is such such minimal information we're getting with just these words of text is lines of text. I have sometimes thought if I could find a time machine. Think this is where I'd want to go back to the Tang Dynasty.
And now a certain government official magistrate Leon asked Matsu, should one drink wine and eat meat or not. He would have known that this is this is a basic Buddhist precept not to drink alcohol or eat meat. And the mastermind said if you consume wine and meat, it is your privilege. If you don't consume wine and meat, it is your bliss. In the first month of the year 788 Probably would be the old Chinese calendar be February of 788. The master climbed CheMin mountain in John Chang. There as he was walking in the woods he saw a flat spot in a cave and said to his attendant this ruined old body of mine will return to the ground next month. These words came to pass. He subsequently became ill. The temple director asked him how has the Masters honored condition bend lately? To which Matsu said Sun face Buddha, moon face Buddha at a koan itself, sit in the same collection, the Blue Cliff Record and he died sitting in a cross legged position they say
That phrase, this ruined old body of mind resonates in a way it. It didn't when I was here in sesshin working on Mu
and now, the second great Mumonkan Master in this koan by Jiang Hi Jaco Joe. All right. I'm going to try to remember to substitute the Chinese in these in this koan. So the master is Matsu, and the disciple is by John rather than kaka Joe
by John took his vows as a monk under in the vinyasa school under a veneer master that's school that is not Zen school, that the work to master the precepts master purity of conduct. He was brilliant and learned as a young man and that and then he went on to study under to train under Matsu. He was by John was one of the three most illustrious disciples of my matzah.
by John Reed here from Zen is Chinese heritage really brought chon is Zen to Earth. He writes here the author writes here that the physical body he taught that over emphasis on mind as kind of this and the emptiness side of things, while degrading the role of body leads to unethical behavior and nihilism. Here, Buddhism, Buddhism's emphasis on the middle way takes complete form in a tradition to susceptible previously to philosophical idealism and metaphysics. Yeah, the Chinese really brought it to ground and that is, you see, too and how by Jiang became famous for having come up with the monastic rules and regulations.
He established the so called Pure rules for Zen monasteries, and brought Zen's unruly iconoclasm under greater control. These rules also reinforced the independence of Zen as a religious movement and forestall the traditions absorption into China's Imperial religious establishment. The pure rules were part of the process of redefining Buddhist s ethics, so that the religion could survive independently in China. knew the rules also provide evidence, evidence of the substantial changes that China needed to make to the tradition that is to make it their own make it a Chinese tradition. Pull it free of Indian culture. Now monks who left the world could survive through their own labor, and not just through contributions from the lay community
This is a sounds quite similar to what we read but not quite so I read it on one occasion by John was in attendance to Matsu I saw the Abbott's whisk sitting on its stand and said if someone uses this can they also not use it? As I said in the future if you travel to some other place how will you help people and their buy junk pick up the whisk held its upright by as I said, if you use it this way, what other way can it be used? By Jiang? Place the whisk back on its stand at which Matsu suddenly led out an earth shaking shout so loud that Bhaijaan was Deaf for three days.
By John said to him in the future will you carry on modules.on This is my this is one ball sorry. I'm I get asked by John. How can a person gain freedom? by John said if you attain it at this moment, then you've attained it. If you can instantly cut off the emotions of the self, the five desires and winds of attachment, the greed and covetousness the pollution and purity that is to say all delusive thoughts, then you'll be like the sun and moon hanging in space, purely shining the mind like wood and stone. Thoughts spared from worldly entrapments like a great elephant crossing a river engulfed in the rapids but taking no missteps. Heaven and hell can't pull in such a person. When that person reads a sutra, or observes a teaching, the words returned to the person. The person knows that all teachings with words are only a reflection of the immediacy of self nature, and are just meant to guide you. Such teachings don't penetrate the revolving realms of existence and non existence. Only diamond wisdom penetrates the revolving realms of existence and non existence and thus constitutes complete independent freedom are the words of teaching beyond words and concepts?
Here's an important one very momentous one. Zen master by John entered the hall to give a lecture to the monks. When the monks had assembled he suddenly leapt off of the Dharma seat and drove them from the hall with his staff. Just as they were running out of the hall, he called you them. When they turned around, he said, What is it?
And then the story about human manual labor in the everyday work of the monastery by John always was foremost among the assembly at undertaking the tasks of the day. The monks in charge of the work are concerned about the master this is when he was very, very a old they hid his tools and asked him to rest. by John said, I am unworthy. How can I allow others to work in my behalf? So they they hid his tools, and he looked everywhere for them was unable to find them. He even forgot to eat while looking for his tools and thus came the phrase a day without working is a day without eating. Very famous Zen phrase All right now finally we'll get to the koan is a short one
once when Mike zoo was out walking with his disciples by John he saw a wild duck fly past and page Mazu sees an opportunity for teaching and he turns to Beijing and says What is it test number one by John replied It is a wild duck no good conventional correct answer from that perspective so Matsu feeling indulgent thought he'd give him another shot. So he said Where has it gone? To which by John said it has flown away the key thing here is that is the it what is it what is this
module then twisted happy Joe's nose by John's nose by John cried out in pain and to which Mazu said Has it really flown away this it in the in one of these books I read that this was the first recorded instance of a Zen master using pain as a way to awaken the mind of a disciple course pain brings us back to the physical gets us out of our thoughts and concepts at its best it has that potential
chorus Matsu is asking about really the essence. And he knows the mind is the essence
he knows to as we read earlier, that whatever forms are seen duck trees, Moon sparrows are but the perception of mind
back to a name and form which we talked earlier and 16 about name and form. We have all these different shapes and forms of objects. We give them different names. And then we become convinced that they're separate. We also come to believe that space is also fragmented. And time we see this answer of by John's it's flown away. It's like saying time has passed. Well hang on. What is time anyway? How could time pass? It's just a concept. We know that well we can be reasonably sure that animals don't think of time at all much less than its past
just this now Ouch.
In affirming faith in mind we say make movement rest and not thing moves
seeing into the essential nature of things is to see that there is no this or that there's no change from that perspective is not coming or going. In fact, we we we said this in the Hacohen chant our form now being no form in coming and going we never leave home it really goes right to the heart of this koan our form now being formed seeing form as formlessness then we also realize that there isn't ultimately there is no coming or going we are always here now. The only space is this the only time is this now.
This is just Mazouz efforts at helping should try to shake by Jiang out of this, just this, this half view of things in, in Japan in Japanese Zen this and I'm just talking about a plank carrying person. The idea is that if you're carrying a plank on your shoulder, and that one shoulder, you can't see except in one direction you can only see on one side so by John starts off as a plant caring person is walking along there and he just sees what he sees is a wild duck. Okay, we got the name down a wild duck
there's more to the story. A call on just takes part of the story. And after after, Matsu twist his nose by John cries out in pain. He came to awakening. And then he went to the back to the attendance room. And by John was crying loudly. One of the other attendants it sounds like there's a whole stable of attendance of these huge monasteries. One of the other attendants asked by John are you homesick? So beautiful? You know, that would be his first question. It humanizes these monks. They got homesick. They never saw their parents. John said no. The tenant said Did someone curse at you? By John said no. The attendant said and why are you crying? by John said Mr. Maher twisted my nose so hard that the pain was unbearable. The attendant said, What did you do that offended him? If that's why he did it, because he was ended by John said, you go ask him so the attendant that other attendant went to Matsu and said what what did attendant by John do to offend you? He's in his room crying please tell me. He might have been indignant and may have been scolding him. The great teacher said he himself knows go ask him. The attendant returned to buy John's high hat and said to him, the minister says that you already know so I should come here and ask you. Which by Jiang laughed out loud. Now the attendant is completely flummoxed a moment ago you were crying. So why are you laughing now? By Jiang said my crying a moment ago is the same as my laughing now. The attendant was believed we will learn by just by John's behavior. The next day mod zoo went to the hall to address the monks. Just when the monks had finished assembling. In other words, everyone was this Han was playing they were settling into their seats. by John, his attendant rolled up his sitting mat. In other words, it's like taking away the mat from the tongue. Matsu got down from his chair and by John followed him to the Abbott's room. Mises said, just now. Just now I hadn't said a word. Why did you roll up? The sitting mat? by John said yesterday the master painfully twisted my nose. Matsu said Is there anything special about yesterday that you've noticed? And then by John Nizam wasn't going to be caught in that division of time he said today my nose doesn't hurt anymore to which was who said then you really understand what happened yesterday by John then bowed and without
notice that after his awakening, he was crying painfully. Well, that's what we might do when we're in a great deal of pain. That too is a perfect expression of Zen. Oh, oh