July 2021 Sesshin, Day 7: Blue Cliff Record #4, "Tokusan Carries His Bundle"
9:00PM Aug 4, 2021
Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede
This is the last day of this July 2021, seven day sesshin. And we'll turn to a koan today. This is from the Blue Cliff Record. It's one of the two most famous collections of koans used in Zen. And this is number four in the Blue Cliff Record -- Tokusan carries his bundle.
It's a long case. So I'm just gonna read the first half and we'll catch up to the rest later, when he talks on came to his son's temple. He carried his pilgrims bundle with him into the Buddha Hall, where he crossed from east to west, and from west to east. He son sat quietly, doing zosen looking around, took sound said nothing, nothing, and went out talks and got to the monastery gate but then said to himself, I shouldn't be so crude. So he re entered the hall in the prescribed manner for the meeting. As his son sat there, took some holding up his kneeling cloth said master isn't made as if to take up his ceremonial whisk, whereupon took son shouted cuffs and left with a suite of his sleeves. All right, some this toxin is Chinese name is dushaan. I'm going to switch to the Chinese because it may it's that it's one of the less difficult Chinese names of masters to pronounce. So the so bold as to use try to pronounce the Chinese dushaan. His dates are 819 to 914 pay some squarely in the great Tang Dynasty.
He came from a northern province of China. When he was young he on reading from the book Zen's Chinese heritage Andy Ferguson's huge volume of biographical biographies of the masters. When he was young, he thoroughly studied the rules of the vinaya and was an authority on the Diamond Sutra. He has earned the nickname diamond Xiao Vinay is, was the the monastic rules and regulations, there was a whole school like Zen or the pure land or other other other great lineages. The idea was that in mastering the monastic rules and regulations one is comes to a mastery of this very important third leg of the Dharma Buddhism, which is morality, or sometimes called wisdom, or other morality or discipline. The other two legs are meditation and wisdom. So he's, he's a scholar, he was a scholar. He went to the video and then he, he also became an authority, a real authority, well known authority on the Diamond Sutra. And that's where his nickname came from diamond Zhao.
I'll briefly sketch out just from memory, the The deep the circumstances of his own and his enlightenment he, he became such a, an authority on the Diamond Sutra, he would travel as a monk he would travel around lecturing on the Diamond Sutra with the Tao the sutras, these these roles, the scrolls on his back, and he was headed somewhere one day and he encountered an old woman at a tea stand. One translation has it as a as a dimsum. Stand. And the old woman said, so what would you got in your back there? What's What are those? And now adding a little my own color, he probably drew himself up and said, while my my good woman, these are the diamonds, sutras and, and she said, I have a question for you. If you answer it right, then I'll donate this these dumplings to you. But if not, you just have to go on Find your refreshments somewhere else. And then she quotes the Diamond Sutra. Here's this, this old woman on a dusty road and nowhere in China. And she says, she says, past mind cannot be attained. Present mind cannot be attained. And future mind cannot be attained. Or you could say grasped. I tell me, monk, what mind are you revealing right now? Which left the shine speechless.
So, he went on his way now reeling from this woman having gotten the better of them. And he arrived at the the monastery of longtime longtime in Chinese leptons, namings, Dragon Marsh, I mean, the English translation of the Chinese dragon marsh. So when he got there to the Dharma Hall, and encountered the master Runtown, he said, long have I heard of a long time, but arriving here, I've see I see no Marsh, nor is there any dragon to be seen. Now just an important note here, the diamond sutras emphasis, even more than other sutras is on emptiness, no thickness. So he's done his homework. And he's got enough confidence no doubt brimming with confidence to go to this Zen master and, and make this provocative statement. I see no Marsh no dragon. And torch longtown said, Now you have seen the true dragon Marsh told that longtown said nothing but remain there could be a whole story behind that alone. I saw that something he needed there. And then one evening he was visiting dushaan was visiting the master in his room. And longtown said it's getting late You should go now that Sean said goodbye and he started to go out. And he turned and said it's dark outside at which lumentum lit a paper candle and gave it to their shot how good our tradition and just as Dutch unreached to take it loom Chan blew it out that their shine experienced great enlightenment.
And that and more it's forms another teisho at another koan in this one in the blue in the room on Khan.
So I won't finish that call on to too much other stuff here. But just for some other biographical material on this dushaan
Some dialogues where a monk once asked dushaan this would of course been years after both of both of these incidents, magasin what is Bodhi? Bodhi is his wisdom dushaan struck him and said, Get out, don't defecate here. The monk asked, What is Buddha? The Shan said, an old mendicant in India.
We sell them know what these exchanges is what dushaan would have seen in the mark, that is his state of mind his his level of understanding or lack of understanding the way in which he asked the question, this is all vital information that all we get is just the bare outlines in print.
Another time another, another monk who went on to become a great master schweiz phone, ask deshawn. Can I understand the great teaching of the ancients or not? It's an opening an opening move to ask for his understanding. His teaching dushaan struck him and said, What Shri Fung said, I don't understand. And the next day, she Weifang again came for instruction. dushaan said, my teaching has neither words nor phrases. It is actually without a Dharma that may be given to others that is without a teaching that may be given to others. And that these words, swipe on now experienced enlightenment.
Shri Fung is Japanese name is seppo. And then I when young Tao heard about this, it's his Japanese name is Gustavo. He said, old dashicons backbone was as hard as iron, it couldn't be bent.
So shoe I found is asking him to speak the teaching to give words dushaan won't have a have it.
So many of the Masters in their later years, and I can understand this myself, spoke of how how pointless how exasperating It is to be put in a position where you're supposed to be teaching in words. After all, Zen has always been known as a teaching beyond words. And yet, we have this assignment where we have to speak to shows and other talks.
Here's another one dushaan said to the monks, if you speak, you get 30 blows. If you don't speak, you get 30 blows. When Lynch he heard this, that's rinzai. He said to another, I won't keep cluttering this up with Chinese names or any names. When Lynn she heard this, he said to another advanced monk, go there and ask him if I speak, why do I still give 30 blows? When he goes to hit you grab the staff and give it a shot and see what he does. So this other monk did, as he was told, went up to get dushaan. And, as dushaan struck him, the monk grabbed the staff and gave it a shot at which dushaan just went back to his room. So the monk went back and related this to Lynch he who said formerly I had doubts about that fellow. Despite what happened, did you see the show? or not, because you see his true nature. The Mark hesitated not knowing what to say, let g struck him.
Let's appreciate it's appreciate Lynch's appreciation of deshawn just going back to his room. The monk gives the staff it gives staff a shove, and desha deshawn just goes back to his room.
We can be pretty sure that dushaan here was not just meekly saying, Okay, you got the better me I better get back to my room. There's something much more subtle here
that Lynne she really appreciated
these masters some of their some of their most remarkable teaching was in silence was in non reaction like, clouds and water, not opposing, not resisting, just moving accommodating to the situation.
Remember, when I was those years when I was working closely with Roshi, sometimes we would get into some very minor disagreements about something what what how we remembered it or something. And, and I can't I came, there's one time when I realized that, you know, we had, we had remembered something differently. And I insisted on what the facts were and, and, and he had just remained silent. And I thought, Okay, well, I got the better of him there. And, and then later found out that he was right, and he knew is right. It's just a time to just let it go. Just let it be.
is a lot in, in Zen, in May in Buddhism, I suppose. And Buddhism more broadly, about Matt arguing. And I think if it is part of, of the fruits of practice, where you you can you can let go those things you don't need to stay in there arguing with someone to to try to show who's right. Does it really matter?
There's another one that Shawn said to the monks, as soon as you ask, you have erred, if you don't ask you're also wrong. A monk came forward and bowed. dushaan struck him. The monk said, I just bowed. Why did you hit me? dushaan said, What use would it be to wait until you open your mouth
and the Shawn was famous for his well like like lingshi rinzai and, and the other these especially these Tang Dynasty masters, they're, they're fierce, iconic, clastic irreverence. He must have been strong already in China at the time, a strong
inclination to toward devotion to be devout in pious, pious about Buddhas and masters and everything. And these these masters like the shine they could see that that That can get in the way of really understanding what's the essence of the Dharma, if you elevate these masters and and deify them or, or idealize them to put it in contemporary language. And that With that in mind, here's one of his most famous statements. He entered the hall and address the monk saying, I don't hold to some view about the ancestors. Here, there are no ancestors and no Buddha's. Bodhidharma is an old, stinking foreigner. Shakyamuni is a dried piece of excrement. My juicery and samantabhadra body suffers of wisdom and action, respectively, are done carriers. What is known as realizing the mystery is nothing but breaking through to grab an ordinary person's life. Bodie and Nirvana are a donkey's tethering post. The 12 divisions of the Scripture are devils texts, just paper for wiping infected skin boils. The four fruition and the three virtuous states original mind and the 10 stages. These are just graveyard guarding ghosts. Go never save you must have felt that it took strong strong medicine to shape these these overly pious monks out of their attachment, their their their tendency to idealize
and then the close of his life dushaan gave a final admonishment to his congregation saying, groping after what is empty and chasing echoes will only fatigue your mind and spirit beyond awakening from a dream and then going beyond this awakening, what matters remain and that he died, sat peacefully and died 865
the other master in this koan is East son his Chinese name is Grace Shawn, so I'll go with that too. gration. Gonna be shorter now because the clock is ticking. This question. Naturally, he lived at the same time as as deshawn. He was a disciple of the great choco Joe. He founded. He co founded a whole big school of Zen.
He left home which means he became a monk at the age of 15. He too studied under Vinay a master first. And then he found his way to this the great Jaco Joe. And then great Shawn, became the head of training among these monks.
Once when, great Shawn was acting as attended to shocker Joe yakka. Joe asked him Who's there? Greg, Sean said, me. Kalka Joe then said to him, stick a poker in the fire and see if there's any fire left in it. glaceon did so and said nope, there's no fire left. And then how could Joe took the poker himself stuck a deep into the stove and pulled out some hot embers and showing these to glaceon he said, Is this not fire? And hearing these words great Shawn came to enlightenment.
And there's a lengthy passage here about what yaka just said to him after his enlightenment of this read the first sentence because it's most important I think to us today what you've experienced is a temporary fork in the road no final resting place no crowning experience.
It's enough for gration move on now to back to the case.
So this question came to excuse me deshawn came to Galatians temple. It is pilgrims bundle a bundle of the standard issue. backpack basically with a robe and maybe robe and and bowl and few other the monks essentials and he went into the Buddha Hall. And he crossed back and forth from east to west and west to east. doesn't exactly say this, but it implies that glaceon just sat there doing Zen. He just set
and deshawn looks around gazes here and they're standing standing in front of great Shawn. He says nothing, nothing. And then he goes out. So this is really the nub of the koan this and well, there's a second part it's also goes right to that.
Here's the hero. He is the former scholar of the Diamond Sutra that emphasizes Above all, be the essential nothingness of everything. And now he's got some authority or the some experiential authority behind it. Nothing, nothing. And Seto who is offers comments and a lot of these koans sexual comments completely exposed.
Just some comments here. I fished out of the blue Cliff record for this case in the blue Cliff record. And these these are by the editor is credited with being the author of the blue Cliff record you want Whoo. And regarding this opening scene, with dushaan coming in, and his son grace Shan sitting there quietly doing Zen. One Mu says, gration watches this fellow with cold eyes. It takes this kind of man to grab a tiger's whiskers. By the way, I meant to mention, this would have been this whole koan, his whole story would have been right after death, Sean's awakening at the blowing out of the candle.
And then he adds that Shawn has for the monastery gate, but then says he said to himself, I shouldn't be so crude. So he switches strategy here and he re enters the hall. And the you want to woo comments, but this this junk Share of the story. He changes heads, switches faces, he stirs up waves where there's no wind. So now he comes back in, and he follows the prescribed advocate for coming in to see a teacher. He comes in with his kneeling cloth. What the Japanese call the Kaisa. It's laid down when you're about to do a prostration. We, those of us who are priests have these use them in ceremonies. So the shank comes back, he holds up his kneeling cloth as if he's about to do a prostration. And all we're told is that he says, Master, and then there's an ellipsis. After that, indicating that then gration when he took up his ceremonial whisk. Let's call it a stick, it's good enough. It takes up his stick that he's interrupting, interrupting dushaan and I which, after glaceon, takes up his stick, dish, deshawn, shouts, cuts and he left with a sweep of his sleeves.
And again, we have such those comments. Again, completely exposed.
And then deshawn. Now after the second encounter with grace, Shani turns his back on the hall, which by the way, is not following the etiquette. turns his back on the hall put on his straw sandals and left. So this is quite a splash this dushaan made here.
And then that evening, glaceon that's the master who had sat there doing zosen he asked the hedmark Where is that guy? Where's that newcomer? And the head monk replied, when he went out, he turned his back on the Buddha Hall. How do you think that went down with a head monk turned his back on the Buddha Hall, put on the straw sandals and left which great Shawn said, hereafter that fellow will go to the summit of an isolated peak, establish a hermitage and scold the Buddha's and abuse the ancestors. It's another point there are several for the student to demonstrate and dog sounds another point to demonstrate is to capture that it's meant to inhabit glaceon saying that in in one's own words and to which again sexual offers this comment, adding frost to snow.
So these these first two comments bisexual completely exposed, completely exposed, what is exposed? For that matter, who is exposed?
In the blue Cliff record for this koan, the editor you want to woo? He says, Many in the assembly, many monks say that question was afraid of dushaan What has this got to do with it? question was not flustered at all. This is why it is said. One whose wisdom surpasses a birds can catch a bird, one whose wisdom surpasses an animal's can catch an animal and one whose wisdom surpasses a man's can catch a man. And then you want Mu continues when one is immersed in this kind of Chan, even if the multitude of appearances and myriad forms, heavens and hells, and all the plants, animals and people all were to shout at once, he still wouldn't be bothered. Even if someone overthrew his meditation seat and scattered his congregation with shouts, he wouldn't give it any notice. It is as high as heaven brought his Earth
is a saying another from elsewhere and Zen. Nothing disturbs the water of a deep well.
What we have here, and this is not giving away too much with respect to the koan are working on the koan is to enlighten monks. One fresh out of his enlightenment, the other very much older, much more seasoned and refined understanding.
Roshi used to say that the Japanese say that after, right after one's enlightenment, you can be like, fresh bread, just just out of the oven sort of full and full of oneself puffed up. Such a contradiction isn't that you think, Okay, let me get this straight. Enlightenment. Enlightenment means you've seen through the South. So how can you go swaggering in and throwing your weight around arrogantly after that, but again, as as most of you have heard over and over again, it's not enough to have the experience and there is the lag there is the the the habit force the personality is not just cleaned up just like that. It's, it's it takes a while to uproot these blind passions takes a while to uproot. These, it's it it's not logical that it is not logical how a chicken they say can scamper around the yard after it's been beheaded. It's some kind of force that can take in the case of exam, wakening can take years and years to clean up. These forces of egotism
St. exupery, the French aviator and writer might have been referring to glaceon, the master in this who's sat there doing Zen, when he said in anything at all, perfection is finally attained, not when there was no longer anything to add. But when there is no longer anything to take away, when a body has been stripped down to its nakedness.
There are 234 other koans Well, I say one or two besides the two we read today, there are one or two other koans about this dushaan this bumptious dushaan that occurred later, much later in his life. He's the opposite of this swaggering arrogant guy
Again, I think of that woman in the backseat I when I was driving them to the airports and he used to be so angry referring to Roshi Kapleau when she had known him, but was it 10 years earlier
this dushaan, or Japanese took son had went on to have many enlightened disciples of his own, as did great Sean.
There was a phrase at the time
clenches stick dushaan shout.
And there are a few people today in 21st century, Western countries who would respond very well to this kind of stick wielding and shouting.
But we can bring to our own practice each one of us the, the uncompromising spirit, the fierce spirit behind this into just our pure Zen. We don't compromise. But press on and on and on gut a gut a product gut a beyond beyond far beyond, going far beyond not settling for anything short of full enlightenment. We can all agree that that's what's ahead of us. Even means these great masters themselves knew that they had further to go. There's a saying in, in Japan, even Shakyamuni is only halfway there.
What does that mean? here to wait a minute Hold your horses Shakyamuni supposed to be supremely perfectly enlightened?
Maybe? How would we know? It's religious tradition. 2500 years has elapsed since the Buddha's life.
We don't need to know what that Buddha's enlightenment was. We found the path we found his path that he had reopened. We know what to do. Just a matter of committing to this ever faltering or if we falter then get back up on the horse. Press on. You can be sure that even dushaan and glaceon these two masters would have had their periods of discouragement
told a matter of continuing continuing perseverance. Faith, perseverance comes out of faith. Faith in this true nature of ours is mind of wisdom and compassion.