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Our ancestors lived with huge grace: living and dying in the Dharma...
Harada Roshi

Yosai Zenji 栄西禅士

This year is the 800th memorial year for Yosai Zenji (formerly called Eisai Zenji). There are big celebrations planned, the first one on the 26th of April in Okayama, which is the birth town of Yosai Zenji and in the fall in Kenninji, the main monastery where he taught and died. It is over 800 years ago that Rinzai Zen Buddhism was brought to Japan from China by Yosai Zenji. Here a famous teaching by Yosai Zenji:

Great indeed is the Mind! Heaven’s height is immeasurable, but Mind rises above Heaven; the earth’s depth is also unfathomable, but Mind reaches below the earth. The light of the sun and moon cannot be outdistanced, yet Mind passes beyond the light of the sun and moon. The universe is limitless, yet Mind travels beyond the universe. Though referred to as Space, or the Primal Energy that gives rise to myriad existence, it is Mind that encompasses Space and generates Primal Energy. Because of it, the sky shelters from above and the earth supports from below. Because of it, the sun and moon rotate, the four seasons change, and all things are generated. Great indeed is Mind!

Externally, the Mind teaching conforms to the position taken in Tendai teaching that the Buddha-nature, through the aid of the precepts, is always present. Internally, it joins to this the view of prajñā that awakening is attained through wisdom. This in the final analysis, is the teaching of the Zen school.


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