Tuesday, November 29, 2011 2:59:07 PM
Bassui wrote the following letter to one of his disciples who was about to die:
"The essence of your mind is not born, so it will never die. It is not an existence, which is perishable. It is not an emptiness, which is a mere void. It has neither color nor form. It enjoys no pleasures and suffers no pains.
"I know you are very ill. Like a good Zen student, you are facing that sickness squarely. You may not know exactly who is suffering, but question yourself: What is the essence of this mind? Think only of this. You will need no more. Covet nothing. Your end which is endless is as a snowflake dissolving in the pure air."
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:54:46 PM
Zengetsu, a Chinese master of the T'ang dynasty, wrote the following advice for his pupils:
- Living in the world yet not forming attachments to the dust of the world is the way of a true Zen student.
- When witnessing the good action of another encourage yourself to follow his example. Hearing of the mistaken action of another, advise yourself not to emulate it.
- Even though alone in a dark room, be as if you were facing a noble guest. Express your feelings, but become no more expressive than your true nature.
- Poverty is your teasure. Never exchange it for an easy life.
- A person may appear a fool and yet not be one. He may only be guarding his wisdom carefully.
- Virtues are the fruit of self-discipline and do not drop from heaven of themselves as does rain or snow.
- Modesty is the foundation of all virtues. Let your neighbors discover you before you make yourself known to them.
- A noble heart never forces itself forward. Its words are as rare gems, seldom displayed and of great value.
- To a sincere student, every day is a fortunate day. Time passes but he never lags behind. Neither glory nor shame can move him.
- Censure yourself, never another. Do not discuss right and wrong.
- Some things, though right, were considered wrong for generations. Since the value of righteousness may be recognized after centuries, there is no need to crave an immediate appreciation.
- Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.
Monday, November 21, 2011 12:36:08 PM
Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.
While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"
One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."
"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."
Monday, November 21, 2011 12:18:13 PM
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"