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Zen training is done with bravery, it is not a decoration for our life...
Harada Roshi

Mountain flowers bloom like brocade

Sanka hiraite nishiki ni nitari
Kansui tataete ai no gotoshi 

Mountain flowers bloom like brocade 
The valley streams brim indigo blue 

This couplet comes from the eighty-second case of the Blue Cliff Record. 

Master Dairyo Chiko Kosai was of Tokusan's lineage, but little more than that is known about his life. In this case, a monk asks him, "The physical body rots away: what is the hard and fast body of reality?" 

Our physical body will without fail lose its breath and its pulse. If taken to the crematory, it become ashes. If buried, it becomes worm food. Everything is impermanent; without fail everyone dies. Those who meet part; whatever is built crumbles. Feeling this impermanence, we long for the eternal. 

This longing is what led the Buddha to leave home. For six years he trained in the mountains, and then he experienced that which is without birth and without death. He awakened to the eternal life energy. Each and every one of us has to discover this eternal life within our own rotting flesh. That is the truth of the Buddhadharma. 

The monk asked, "The physical body rots away: what is the hard and fast body of reality?" That eternal life energy, that which is not born and does not die, that to which the Buddha awakened—where is it? Did this monk already know? Was he asking his question to test Dairyo? If he asked without knowing, then he was still confused about where he himself was headed. If he knew and still asked, he was falling into the trap of dualism and relativity. He was still looking for something special within himself, and anything that he understood was only mental dross and not yet born from experience.

Dairyo replied without hesitation, "Mountain flowers bloom like brocade. The valley streams brim indigo blue." The cherry trees are blooming. The mountains are a rich brocade, a gloriously complete world. This is the pure body of the Dharma. The stream is so full that the water appears not to move. This is the eternal world of our wide-open aware-ness. We want the blossoms to last forever, but in three days they are gone. They fall with the rain. With one gust of wind, no trace remains. At the stream's edge the water seems still, but it's always flowing, always changing. Yet in the constantly flowing water we can find that world that does not flow at all. The cherry flowers all of a sudden fall away, but in an instant we discover a world that does not change. 

This body of ours will die and be gone, but within it exists an eternal form. In our own body we can find the pure body of the Dharma, the absolute that drinks down the whole universe. There's no eternal separate from the temporary. There's no absolute separate from the individual. Dairyo offered no such intellectualization or explanation. He simply spoke about the world exactly as it is. In that way, he highlighted the monk's weakness. But this monk probably didn't understand. He was looking for something apart from the physical body, something to hold on to! We all think we need that! But Master Dairyo smashed the concept of a precious soul. If we have had the same experience as the Buddha and the Ancestors, then we have been liberated from any dependence on the Dharma and the Buddha. We know Dairyo's free and easy state of mind because it's ours. It's the responsibility of such a person to crush the delusions of a person of training, and this is what Master Dairyo did. 

Roshi Shodo Harada

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