January 4, 2013, 11:18 am ~ by Shodo Harada, translatorDaichi in news
Drinking down the Universe, all dualism is extinguished
When no fixed forms are anywhere, then wherever you stand is true
Entering the weeds and becoming a snake, our boundless intent
Is to be ever fresh in our vow to love all beings.
Every New Year we begin by offering a poem, in the way of Zen, to Daruma Daishi as our "Nose Patriarch" (BiSo).
This may not be how he is known historically, but in Buddhism this is what he is called, because of the importance of the Nose, being the first part of a human body which forms into a shape. Of course a baby is not using its nose in placenta , still it is where the breath enters and exits, and since Life is Breath he is called the Nose Patriarch. For this reason people of training offer to him first on the first morning of a new year with their deepest sincere heart and vow to practice with wholehearted determination, the very first activity of each new year.
DRINKING DOWN THE UNIVERSE - ALL DUALISM IS EXTINGUISHED
We swallow down the whole universe, we free every bit of disliking and preferring, this is what it means to extinguish all dualism. When our mind is empty, where could dualistic thinking linger? But we have to truly and actually experience this!
WHEN NO FIXED FORMS ARE ANYWHERE - THEN WHEREVER YOU STAND IS TRUE
These are the words of Master Rinzai, being a true master means to live from our formless, clear nature always. Have we really experienced that true nature? To have a true independent way of seeing and acting, all of what we do is truthful then, not being pulled and pushed around by things of the world, the desires, the violence, to not be pulled around by the temptations of the world
This true master is our Buddha Nature, our clear nature, it has no shape, if there is a shape it is ego. If no shape, then we can become anything, like water which can fill a plate and become plate shaped, fill a round long pipe or become a square vessel and become square shaped.
The same formless water can become any of these shapes and express each shape's truth.Therefore the true master is formless and therein each place is a place of truth.
ENTERING THE WEEDS AND BECOMING A SNAKE, OUR BOUNDLESS INTENT - IS TO BE EVER FRESH IN OUR VOW TO LOVE ALL BEINGS
Becoming a snake means to live together with all suffering and struggling beings, to live right in the same deep grasses.
This is the year of the snake and while the snake is not such a popular a creature in Japan, in India the snake is the creator of all things, the great Rivers of India, the Ganges, the Indus. But the snake in Zen is yet different. In Zen the snake goes into the grasses, this means it goes into the society and lives within society ith its suffering struggling people. Limitlessly speaking and living the truth, while also polishing Bodhisattva wisdom, to always guide all beings with an infinite vow, offering our whole life, not holding back and not guarding and protecting our ego.
Loving all beings, where as usually people feel it is important to love one person more or some certain people the most. In Zen what is important is to love all equally with a vow which is not mental but is held to in each hand motion and each foot motion. Otherwise we will not give realization to the truth. It cannot be merely a conceptual idea about the truth. It has to be alive.
Master Seppo Gison was the successor of Master Tokusan andd the teacher of Master Unmon, Master Chokei and Master Gensha Shibi. Seppo had a large number of disciples who manifested his teaching immeasurably everywhere, in every direction.
Seppo, when he was a monk would always go to a dojo and with him bring a big rice paddle and do all the tenzo work that was so disliked by others. He always asked to do that and the other jobs people generally disliked and did them all excellently.
He believed that he could not yet breakthrough because he did not have enough merit so he would quietly do all the least preferred jobs. At the age of forty six he was deeply awakened and immediately many disciples gathered around him. and later spread his teaching widely.
One day Master Seppo was speaking to the sangha and said, "This universe is squeezed and becomes the size of a rice grain. Putting it on the palm of a hand. if blown, it disappears. Where did it go? All of you! Beat the drum! Everyone search for it!"
Once Master Seppo said, "Nanzan is like a cobra, a severe snake, you will never know when this snake will kill you completely! In Zen this is talking about the Great Death. But are not all of you all still wriggling and full of concepts?" On this mountain there is this snake! Watch Out!"
To this Master Chokei no Eryo responded, "In the Zendo, the whole sangha were all hit by this poison and are dead!!!"
That was because he knew what poisonous snake Master Seppo was referring to.
And later on a monk asked Gensha Shibi Zenji the meaning of this and was answered, "Only Master Chokei could answer like that! Noone else could imitate him! But I would answer differently! I would say, There is an even more ferocious snake at my place!"
Unmon Bunnen Zenji then stood up and in front of them he banged his stick out in front of Master Seppo and said ,"Watch Out! You'll be bitten and killed!" He was telling them all to die completely!
They could say it like this because they all knew the experience so thoroughly!
Master Gensha Zuibi anwered, even going above Master Seppo, and then Master Unmon Bunne said, who had already manifested this in the Blue Cliff Record Case number 60, when he held up his staff and said" This staff has become a dragon and drunk down ALL of the heavens and earth, where will you go then?
Further Master Unmon held up the stick and he himself ,becoming the snake and said," Here It Comes!".
But this is not about a snake but about the True Awakening of all beings. In Zen it is not concepts but words of truth that are used and clear sincere mind is Zen. Concepts are not useful for expressing that clear sincere mind.