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The Blue Cliff Record

From Wikipedia:

The Blue Cliff Record (Chinese: 《碧巖錄》 Bìyán Lù; Japanese: Hekiganroku (碧巌録?)) is a collection of Chán Buddhist koans originally compiled in China during the Song dynasty in 1125 (宋宣和七年) and then expanded into its present form by the Chán master Yuanwu Keqin (圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135). The book includes Yuanwu's annotations and commentary on Xuedou Zhongxian's (雪竇重顯 980 – 1052) collection 100 Verses on Old Cases 《頌古百則》 — a compilation of 100 koans. Xuedou selected 82 of these from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu 《景德傳燈錄》 (Jingde era Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), with the remainder selected from the Yunmen Guanglu 《雲門廣録》 (Extensive Record of Yunmen Wenyan (864 – 949). Yuanwu's successor, Dahui Zonggao (大慧宗杲 1089 – 1163). wrote many letters to lay students teaching the practice of concentrating on koans during meditation. But Dahui did not explain and analyze koans. Oral tradition holds that Dahui noticed students engaged in too much intellectual discourse on koans, and then burned the wooden blocks used to print the Bìyán Lù.

Hekiganroku - Case 1: Bodhidharma's "Clear and Void"

Emperor Bu of Ryo 1 asked Great Master Bodhidharma,

"What is the highest meaning of the holy reality?"

Bodhidharma replied,

"Clear and void, no holiness."

The emperor said,

"Who are you in front of me?"

Bodhidharma said,

"I don't know."

The emperor did not match him.

Finally, Bodhidharma crossed the Yangtse River and came to the kingdom of Gi.

Later, the emperor asked Shiko for his view. Shiko said,

"Does Your Majesty know who this man is?"

The emperor said,

"I don't know."

Shiko said,

"He is the Mahasattwa Avalokitesvara transmitting the seal of Buddha's Mind."

The emperor regretted and wanted to send an emissary to invite Bodhidharma

back. Shiko said,

"Your Majesty, do not intend to send an emissary to fetch him back. Even if

all the people in the land were to go after him, he would not return."

1 Emperor Bu reigned over the land of Ryo between 502-509

Hekiganroku - Case 2: Joshu's "Supreme Way"

Joshu, instructing the assembly, said,

"The supreme Way is not difficult; it simply dislikes choosing 1. But even

if a word is uttered, it is already an action of 'choosing' or of adhering

to 'clarity'. This old monk 2 doesn't dwell in clarity. Do you monks want

to keep a firm hold on 'clarity' or not?"

At that time a monk asked,

"You say you do not dwell in clarity. If so, what is there to keep a firm

hold on?"

Joshu said,

"I don't know, either."

The monk said,

"If you, Master, don't know, why do you say that you don't dwell in clarity?"

Joshu said,

"You have already asked amply. Bow and withdraw."

1 Cf. the beginning of the Shinjinmei (Believing in the Mind; Poem composed

 by the third Patriarch Sosan): 

    "The supremet Way is not difficult; 

     it simply dislikes choosing. 

     Only if there is no love or hatred, 

     all is complete clarity." 

2 "this old monk" i.e. "I"

Hekiganroku - Cas 3: Master Ba Is Ill

Great Master Ba was seriously ill. The chief priest of the temple asked him,

"Master, how are you feeling these days?"

Great Master said,

"Sun-face Buddha, Moon-face Buddha" 1.

1 The "Sun-face Buddha" is a buddha, who is said to have a life of

 1800 years, while the "Moon-face Buddha" lives only 24 hours. 

Case 4: Tokusan with His Bundle

Tokusan arrived at Isan. Carrying his bundle under his arm, he stepped into

the Dharma hall. He walked across it from east to west and from west to east.

Looking around he said, "None, none!" and went out.

(Setcho 1 commented: "Seen through!")

But when he got to the entrance gate, Tokusan said, "Still, I shouldn't be so

hasty." So, he dressed formally and entered again to meet Isan. As Isan sat at

his place, Tokusan held up his sitting cloth in a ceremonial manner and said,

"Master!" Isan was about to take his whisk, when suddenly Tokusan shouted,

"Kaatz!" Then he flourished his sleeves and went out.

(Setcho commented: "Seen through!")

Turning his back on the Dharma hall, Tokusan put on his straw sandals and left.

In the evening, Isan asked the head monk, "Where is the newcomer who was here

a while ago?" The head monk said, "He soon turned his back on the Dharma hall,

put on his straw sandals and went away." Isan said, "One day that fellow

will build a grass hut upon a lonely peak, and scold the buddhas and abuse

the patriarchs."

(Setcho commented: "Piling up frost on top of snow.")

1 Setcho Zenji is the compiler of the Hekiganroku.

2 In Japanese: hossu i.e. a stick with a flexible whisk on top

Hekiganroku - Case 5: Seppo's "Grain of Rice"

Seppo, teaching the assembly, said,

"When you pick up the whole earth in your fingers, it's the size of a grain

of rice. I cast it down before you. Like in a black lacquer bucket, you

don't recognize it any more. Beat the drum, call everyone to look for it!"

Hekiganroku - Case 6: Unmon's "Good Day"

Unmon, giving instruction, said,

"I don't ask you about before the fifteenth day; bring me a phrase about

after the fifteenth day."

Unmon himself answered in the monks' stead,

"Every day is a good day."

Case 7: Echo Asks about Buddha

A monk asked Hogen, "I, Echo, ask you, Master. What is Buddha?"

Hogen said, "You are Echo."

Case 8: Suigan's "Eyebrows"

Towards the end of summer 1, Suigan instructed the assembly, saying,

"All summer I've preached to you, my brothers. Look here, are Suigan's

eyebrows still there? 2"

Hofuku said,

"The robber's heart is terrified!"

Chokei said,

"They are well grown!"

Unmon said,

"Kan!" 3

1 Summer-sesshin for 3 months.

2 According to the popular belief a great criminal should lose his eyebrows

 as a sign of his coming punishment in hell. 

3 Literally kan means "barrier" (cf. Mumonkan). In those days this Chinese

 word colloquially meant also, "Watch out!" or "There!" 

Hekiganroku - Case 9: Joshu's Four Gates

A monk asked Joshu,

"What is Joshu?" 1

Joshu said,

"East gate, west gate, south gate, north gate."

1 The name of the Zen Master Joshu is taken from the city "Joshu", near

 which he taught. 

Case 10: Bokushu's "Idiot"

Bokushu asked a monk, "Where have you come from?"

At once the monk shouted, "Kaatz!"

Bokushu said, "The old monk has been scolded by you with a 'Kaatz'!"

The monk shouted again, "Kaatz!"

Bokushu said, "After three or four shouts of 'Kaatz', then what?"

The monk was silent.

Bokushu hit him saying, "You idiot!"

Case 11: Obaku's "Drinkers of Lees"

Obaku, instructing the assembly, said,

"You are all drinkers of lees. If you continue to go on your Way like this,

where will the 'Today' The world of nirvana be? Do you know that in

this great empire of Tang there is no Zen master?"

Now a monk came forward and said,

"What would you say to the fact that in various places there are people who

accept students and direct their assemblies?"

Obaku said,

"I don't say that there is no Zen; I only say that there is no master."

Hekiganroku - Case 12: Tozan's "Three Pounds of hemp" 1

A monk asked Tozan,

"What is Buddha?"

Tozan said,

"Three pounds of hemp." 2

1 cf. case 18 of the Mumonkan

2 In Japanese: masagin

Case 13: Haryo's "Silver Bowl" 1

A monk asked Haryo, "What is the Deva Sect?"

Haryo said, "Heaping up snow in a silver bowl."

1 Cf. Case 22/a in the Miscellaneous Koans.

Case 14: Unmon's "Preaching Fittingly"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is the teaching of the whole lifetime of Shakyamuni?"

Unmon said,

"Preaching one thing." In Japanese: Tai-issetsu.

Hekiganroku - Case 15: Unmon's "Preaching in the Reverse"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is it that's not the function of the mind in me nor a thing before me?"

Unmon said,

"Preaching in the reverse." 1

1 In Japanese: Toissetsu

Case 16: Kyosei and "Picking and Pecking"

A monk asked Kyosei,

"I, your student, am picking from inside the shell.

I beg you, Master, please peck from outside." 

Kyosei said, "But will you be alive or not?"

The monk said, "If I were not alive, people would all laugh."

Kyosei said, "You fool in the weeds!"

Case 17: Kyorin's "Sitting for a Long Time"

A monk asked Kyorin,

"What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the West?"

Kyorin said,

"I am tired from sitting for a long time."

Hekiganroku - Case 18: The National Teacher's Gravestone

Emperor Shukuso 1 asked Chu, the national teacher,

"What would you wish me to do after a hundred years ?" 2

The national teacher said,

"Make a seamless gravestone 3 for this old monk."

The emperor said,

"I should like to ask you, master, for a design."

The national teacher remained silent for a long time. Then he said,

"Did you understand?"

The emperor said,

"I didn't understand anything."

The national teacher said,

"I have a Dharma successor, my disciple Tangen, who is well versed with

this matter. Let him come to you and ask him about it."

After the national teacher passed away, the emperor called Tangen and asked

him about the meaning of this. Tangen responded:

"The south of the river, north of the lake:

  (Setcho commented, "The single hand does not sound without reason.") 

In between there's gold, which fills the whole land.

  (Setcho commented, "A staff, hewn freshly from the mountain forest.") 

Under the shadowless tree all people are in one boat;

  (Setcho added, "The sea is peaceful, the river clear.") 

In the crystal palace there is no one who knows.

  (Setcho commented, "The speech is finished.")" 

1 historically speaking it was Emperor Daiso the oldest son and successor

of Shukuso. 

2 after your death

3 an egg-formed gravestone which is made out of a single piece of stone.

It was often made for deceased monks. 

Hekiganroku - Case 19: Gutei's One Finger 1

Whatever he was asked about Buddhism, Master Gutei simply stuck up one finger.

1 see case 3 of the Mumonkan

Case 20: Suibi and the Chin Rest

Ryuge asked Suibi,

"What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the west?"

Suibi said,

"Bring me a chin rest."

Ryuge brought one and gave it to him. Suibi took it and hit him.

Ryuge said,

"You may hit me as you like. After all there is no meaning to the

Patriarch's coming from the west."

Ryuge also asked Rinzai,

"What is the meaning of the Patriarch's coming from the west?"

Rinzai said,

"Bring me a sitting cushion."

Ryuge got one and gave it to Rinzai. Rinzai took it and hit him. Ryuge said,

"You may hit me as you like. After all there is no meaning to the

Patriarch's coming from the west."

1 Literally: "Zen board" i.e. a narrow board used so as to let one sleep in

the sitting posture. 

Hekiganroku - Case 21: Chimon's "Lotus"

A monk asked Chimon,

"What is it when the lotus has not yet come out of the water?"

Chimon said,

"Lotus flowers."

The monk asked,

"What is it after the lotus has come out of the water?"

Chimon replied,

"Lotus leaves."

Hekiganroku - Case 22: Seppo's "Poisonous Snake" 1

Seppo, instructing the assembly, said,

"There's a poisonous snake on the southern side of the mountain. All of you

should look at it carefully!"

Chokei said,

"Today in the Zen hall there are many people. They have lost their body

and life."

A monk told this to Gensha, who said,

"Only Elder Brother Ryo 2 could say something like that. However,

I wouldn't talk like that."

The monk asked,

"What then would you say, Master"?

Gensha replied,

"Why does it have to be 'the southern side of the mountain'?"

Unmon threw his staff in front of Seppo and acted frightened.

1 see case 24 of Shoyoroku.

2 i.e. Chokei

Hekiganroku - Case 23: Hofuku and Chokei Go on a Picnic

Once Hofuku and Chokei went out on a picnic in the hills.

Hofuku, pointing with a finger, said,

"Right here is the summit of Myo Peak." 1

Chokei said,

"Exactly. But, it's regrettable."

(Setcho commented saying,

 "What's the use of making an excursion with these fellows today?" 

He again said,

 "Hundreds and thousands of years from now, I don't say that there will 

  be none like him, only that there will be very few.") 

Later, they reported to Kyosei about it. Kyosei said,

"If it weren't for the Reverend Son 2, you would see only skeletons in

the field."

1 Literally: "the Peak of Wonder."

2 Namely Chokei.

Hekiganroku - Case 24: Tetsuma, the Cow

Ryu Tetsuma 1 came to Isan. Isan said,

"Old Cow, you have come!"

Tetsuma said,

"Tomorrow there will be a great feast at Mt Tai 2.

Will you go there, Master?"

Isan lay down and stretched himself out. Tetsuma left immediately.

1 A famous Zen person, once a student of Isan. Her name means "Ryu, the

iron grindstone." 

2 More exactly: Mt. Gotai, which is far away in the northern part of

the country. 

Case 25: The Hermit of Lotus Peak

The hermit of Lotus Peak 1 took up his staff and showed it to the assembly,

saying, "When the old ones 2 reached this point, why didn't they dare

to remain here?" The assembly was silent. He himself answered in their stead,

saying, "Because that has no power on the Way."

Again he said, "After all, how is it?" Once more he himself answered in

their place, saying, "With my staff across my shoulders, and, paying other

people no heed, I go straight into the thousand and ten thousand peaks."

1 Originally "Rengeho." His real name was Sho, a Dharma grandson of

Unmon Zenji 

2 The great Zen personages of old.

Hekiganroku - Case 26: Hyakujo on Daiyu Peak

A monk asked Hyakujo,

"What is the matter of extraordinary wonder?"

Hyakujo said,

"Sitting alone on Daiyu 1 Peak!"

The monk made a deep bow. Hyakujo thereupon hit him.

1 The name of the mountain, where Hyakujo's monastery was located.

Hekiganroku - Case 27: Unmon's "Complete exposure"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?"

Unmon answered,

"Complete exposure of the golden wind. 1"

1 The autumn wind was also called "golden wind".

Case 28: Nansen's "Dharma That Has Never Been Preached"

Nansen went to see Master Hyakujo Nehan.

Hyakujo asked,

"Is there any Dharma that the sages of the past have never preached to

the people?" 

Nansen said,

"There is."

Hyakujo asked,

"What is this Dharma that has never been preached to the people?"

Nansen said,

"This is not mind, this is not Buddha, this is not thing."

Hyakujo said,

"You did preach like that."

Nansen said,

"That's how it is with me. How about you, Master?"

Hyakujo said,

"I am not a man of great wisdom. How am I to know whether there is a

Dharma that has been preached or that has never been preached?" 

Nansen said,

"I don't understand."

Hyakujo said,

"I have already preached to you fully."

Hekiganroku - Case 29: Daizui and the "Kalpa Fire"

A monk asked Daizui,

"When the great kalpa fire is inflamed, the whole universe 1 will be

destroyed. I wonder if 'that' will also be destroyed or not."

Daizui said,

"Destroyed."

The monk said,

"If so, will 'that' be gone with the other?" 2

Daizui said,

"Gone with the other."

1 Literally: "a billion worlds"

2 The word "the other" means "the universe."

Hekiganroku - Case 30: Joshu's "Giant Radishes"

A monk asked Joshu,

"I've heard that you personally met Nansen 1. Is it true or not?"

Joshu replied,

"The province of Chin 2 produces giant radishes."

1 I.e., "... that you were a student of Nansen."

2 The province of Chin was famous for producing great radishes. Joshu's

monastery was also located in that area. 

Hekiganroku - Case 31: Mayoku Circles Around the Master's Dais

Mayoku, with his ring-staff in hand, came to Shokei.

He circled Shokei's dais three times, shook the ring-staff and

stood there bolt upright.

Shokei said, "Right, right!" (Setcho comments, "Wrong!")

Mayoku then came to Nansen. He circled Nansen's dais three times, shook

the ring-staff and stood there bolt upright.

Nansen said, "Not right, not right!" (Setcho comments, "Wrong!")

Then, Mayoku said, "Master Shokei said, 'Right, right!' Why, Master, do you

say, 'Not right, not right!'?"

Nansen said, "With Shokei it is right, but with you it is not right.

This is nothing but a whirling of the wind 1. In the end, it will perish."

1 one of the four elements in Chinese physics (earth, air, fire, wind),

wind is the element of movement.

Case 32: Jo and the "Essence of Buddhism"

A senior monk Jo asked Rinzai, "What is the essence of Buddhism?"

Rinzai came down from his seat, grabbed him by the lapels, slapped him and

thrust him away. Jo stood there as if rooted to the spot.

A monk standing nearby said, "Senior monk Jo! Why don't you make a deep bow?"

As he made a deep bow, Jo suddenly attained a great enlightenment.

Hekiganroku - Case 33: Chinso Has One Eye

National Secretary Chinso went to see Shifuku. When Shifuku saw him coming, he

drew a circle. Chinso said,

"It is already straying from the essence that your student has come to you

at all. Why do you draw a circle in addition to that?"

Thereupon Shifuku closed the door of his room.

(Setcho said, "Chinso has but one eye.")

Case 34: Kyozan's "Not Wandering"

Kyozan asked a monk,

"Where have you come from?"

The monk said,

"From Mount Ro." 1

Kyozan said,

"Have you been to the Goroho Peak?" 2

The monk said,

"No, I have never been there."

Kyozan said,

"Then you have never been to the mountains at all!" 

Unmon said,

"Because of too much compassion these words have fallen into grasses."

1 One of the most beautiful and most famous mountains in the southern part

 of China with many Zen monasteries. 

2 The Goroho Peak, translated as "Five Elder" Peak, is the most noted peak

 of Mt. Ro. 

Case 35: Manjusri's "Three Three"

Manjusri asked Mujaku,

"Where have you come from?"

Mujaku answered,

"From the south." 1

Manjusri said,

"How is the Buddhist Dharma in the South maintained?"

Mujaku said,

"The monks of this age of the corrupted Dharma are venerating the precepts

a little."

Manjusri said,

"How many monks are over there?"

Mujaku said,

"Three hundred here, five hundred there."

Mujaku asked Manjusri,

"How is the Buddhist Dharma maintained here?"

Manjusri said,

"Worldly and Saints live together, dragons and snakes are mixed with

each other."

Mujaku said,

"How many monks are here?"

Manjusri said,

"Three three before, three three behind."

1 The South of China, namely the region of Konan.

Hekiganroku - Case 36: Chosa Goes Picnicking

One day, Chosa went for a walk in the mountains.

When he returned to the gate, the head monk said,

"Where have you been, Master?"

Chosa said,

"I was out walking about in the mountains."

The head monk said,

"Where did you go?"

Chosa said,

"First, I went following the scented grass; then came back through the

falling flowers."

The head monk said,

"It sounds very much like a spring mood."

Chosa said,

"It's better than the autumn dew dropping on the lotus flower."

(Setcho commented, "I am grateful for that answer.")

Case 37: Banzan's "Not One Thing in the Three Worlds"

Banzan, giving instruction, said, "In the Three Worlds 1, there is not one

thing. Where should one seek the mind?"

1 The World of desires, the World of materials, and the World of

 non-materials. 

Hekiganroku - Case 38: Fuketsu's "Heart Seal"

When he was staying at the government office of the Province Ei, Fuketsu

entered the hall to preach and said,

"The heart seal 1 stamp of the patriarch 2 resembles the activity

of the iron ox 3. When it goes away, the impression of the seal

remains; when it stays there, the impression of the seal is brought to

naught. If it neither goes away nor stays, would it be right to give a

seal of approval or not?"

Then Elder Rohi came up and said,

"I have the activities of the iron ox. However, I ask you, Master,

not to give me the seal."

Fuketsu said,

"I am accustomed to leveling the great ocean through fishing whales. But,

alas, now I find instead a frog wriggling about in the mud."

Rohi stood there considering.

Fuketsu shouted

"Kaatz!"

and said,

"Why don't you say anything else, Elder?"

Rohi was perplexed.

Fuketsu hit him with his whisk and said,

"Do you remember what you said? Say something, I'll check it for you."

Rohi tried to say something. Fuketsu hit him again with his whisk.

The Magistrate said,

"Buddha's law and the King's law are of the same nature."

Fuketsu said,

"What principle do you see in them?"

The Magistrate said,

"If you do not make a decision where a decision should be made,

you are inviting disorder."

Fuketsu descended from the rostrum.

1 The form of the heart-mind.

2 Bodhidharma.

3 An "iron ox" is a massive construction which lay at the bottom of the

 Yellow River. It stood against the great stream and protected the area 

 from flood. 

Hekiganroku - Case 39: Unmon's "Garden Fence"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is the Pure Dharma-body 1?"

Unmon said,

"Flower fence" 2.

The monk said,

"What if I understand the point that way?"

Unmon said,

"A golden-haired lion."

1 The body of the ultimate Truth (Jap. hoshin, sk. dharmakaya) or one of the

 three bodies of Buddha. 

2 In Japanese: Kayakuran. It actually was a flower fence around a restroom.

Case 40: Nansen and the Flower

Minister Rikuko talked with Nansen.

Rikuko said,

"Dharma-teacher Jo said, 'Heaven and earth and I have one and the

same root; all things and I are one single body.' How wonderful this is!"

Nansen pointed at the flowers in the garden, called to Rikuko and said,

"People of our time 1 see these flowers as in a dream."

1 I.e. "you."

Case 41: Joshu's "Great Death"

Joshu asked Tosu,

"What is it if a man who has died a great Death comes back to life?"

Tosu said,

"I don't allow walking about in the night. Come in the daylight."

Hekiganroku - Case 42: Ho Koji's "Beautiful Snow"

Ho Koji 1 was leaving Yakusan. The latter ordered ten of his Zen students

to see Koji off at the temple gate. Koji pointed to the falling snow in the

air and said,

"Beautiful snow-flakes! -- they don't fall on any other place."

At that time there was a student named Zen, who said,

"Where then do they fall?"

Koji gave him a slap. Zen said,

"Koji, don't be so rough."

Koji said,

"If you name yourself Zen student in such a condition, Old En 2 will

never release you!"

Zen said,

"What then would you say, Koji?"

Koji slapped him again and said,

"You see with your eyes but you are just like a blind man. You speak with

your mouth, but you are just like a dumb man."

(Setcho added his comment, "At the first words, I immediately would have

made a snowball and threw it against him.")

1 Koji is an honorific for a lay practitioner of Buddhism.

2 Usually named Emma-Daio (the King of hell Emma). He is supposed to be the

 fearful judge at the entrance of the realm of the dead. 

Case 43: Tozan's "Cold and Heat"

A monk asked Tozan,

"When cold and heat come, how should one avoid them?"

Tozan said,

"Why not go to a place where there is neither cold nor heat?"

The monk said,

"What kind of place is it where there is neither cold nor heat?"

Tozan said,

"When it is cold, the cold kills you; when it is hot, the heat kills you."

Hekiganroku - Case 44: Kasan's "Beat the Drum"

Kasan, giving instruction, said,

"Practicing and learning -- it is called 'hearing' (mon);

completing learning -- it is called 'being next to the fact' (rin).

When you have passed through these two, it is called 'true passing'

(shinka). "

A monk stepped forward and asked,

"What is the 'true passing'?"

Kasan said,

"Beat the drum."

He asked again,

"What is the true Reality?"

Kasan said,

"Beat the drum."

He asked again,

"I do not ask about the sentence, 'Mind itself is Buddha.'1

But What does 'Neither Mind nor Buddha'2 mean?"

Kasan said,

"Beat the drum."

He asked once more,

"When someone who knows the ultimate Truth comes, how should we receive him?"

Kasan said,

"Beat the drum!"

1 Cf. Case 30 in the Mumonkan.

2 Cf. Case 33 in the Mumonkan.

Hekiganroku - Case 45: Joshu's "Cloth Robe"

A monk asked Joshu,

"The ten thousand Dharmas 1 come down to one.

What does the one come down to?"

Joshu said,

"When I was living in the Province of Sei, I made a cloth robe.

It weighed seven pounds."

1 The word "Dharma" means here "phenomenon". "Ten thousand Dharmas" means,

 therefore, "all things that exist in the world of phenomena". 

Hekiganroku - Case 46: Kyosei and the Raindrops

Kyosei asked a monk,

"What is that sound outside?"

The monk said,

"That is the sound of raindrops."

Kyosei said,

"People live in a topsy-turvy world. They lose themselves in delusion about

themselves and only pursue outside objects."

The monk said,

"What about you, Master?"

Kyosei said,

"I was on the brink of losing myself in such delusions about myself."

The monk said,

"What do you mean, 'on the brink of losing myself in such delusions

about myself'?"

Kyosei said,

"To break through into the world of Essence may be easy. But to express

fully the bare substance is difficult."

Hekiganroku - Case 47: Unmon's "Six"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is the Dharma-body 1?"

Unmon said,

"The six 2 can't grasp it."

1 (same note as Case 39) The body of the ultimate Truth (Jap. hoshin, sk.

 dharmakaya) or one of the three bodies of Buddha. 

2 The "Six" means "six roots" (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, consciousness),

 "six objects" (color, voice, odor, taste, touch, phenomenon), and/or 

 "six functions" (see, hear, smell, taste, feel, know). Or it could be 

 any other "six"-ness. 

CASE 48: Tea at Shokei Temple

Minister Ô 1 visited Shokei Temple, where he offered tea. The senior monk

Ro took up the kettle to serve Myosho 2. But Ro overturned the kettle

over the tea hearth. The minister saw this and asked the senior monk,

"What is there under the tea hearth?"

Ro said,

"Deities holding up the hearth 3."

The minister said,

"If they are deities holding up the hearth, why did they overturn the

kettle?" 

Ro said,

"Thousand days of good service -- all is lost in one morning."

The minister flourished his sleeves and went out.

Myosho said,

"Elder Ro, you have eaten plenty of rice in Shokei Temple, and yet

you are simply a _useless_ stump in the field." 

Ro said,

"What would you have said, Master?"

Myosho said,

"These non-human beings 4 wreaked havoc."

(Setcho said, "At that moment I would have kicked over the tea hearth.")

1 Minister Ô was a patron of Shokei Temple.

2 Myosho was senior to Ro. He was the abbot of the neighboring temple

 and was apparently invited to the tea too. 

3 The legs of the tea hearth were shaped like demi-gods.

4 I.e., the "deities who hold up the hearth".

Hekiganroku - Case 49: Sansho's "Net"

Sansho asked Seppo,

"When a fish with golden scales has passed through the net, what should

it get for food?" 

Seppo said,

"I will tell you when you have passed through the net."

Sansho said,

"A great Zen master with 1500 disciples doesn't know how to speak."

Seppo said,

"The old monk_1_ is just too busy with temple affairs."

1 I.e., "I"

Hekiganroku - Case 50: Unmon and the "Dust-Dust Samadhi"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is the dust-dust samadhi 1 ?"

Unmon said,

"Rice in the bowl, water in the pail."

1 The word "dust" comes from the expression "six dust particles", which

 means the same thing as the "six objects" (cf. note to Case 47). 

Hekiganroku - Case 51: Seppo's "What Is This?"

When Seppo was living in a hermitage, two monks came to pay their respects.

When he saw them coming, Seppo thrust open the gate of his hermitage with his

hands, jumped out, and said,

"What is this?"

The monks also said,

"What is this?"

Seppo hung his head and retired into his hermitage.

Later, the monks came to Ganto. He asked them,

"Where have you come from?"

The monks said,

"From Reinan 1."

Ganto said,

"Did you ever visit Seppo?"

The monks said,

"Yes, we visited him."

Ganto said,

"What did he say?"

The monks related what had happened. Ganto said,

"What else did he say?"

The monks said,

"Not a word; he hung his head and retired into his hermitage."

Ganto said,

"Ah, how I regret now that in those days I did not tell him the last word!

If I had told it to him, no one under heaven could do anything against him."

At the end of the summer practice period the monks came back to this

conversation and asked him about its meaning. Ganto said,

"Why didn't you ask me about it sooner?"

The monk said,

"We could not dare to ask you about it."

Ganto said,

"Seppo was born on the same stem as I 2, but he will not die on the same

stem. If you want to know the last word, it is just this."

1 A region in the south, where Seppo was living at that time.

2 Seppo and Ganto were both students of Tokusan; cf. Case 13 in the Mumonkan.

Case 52: Joshu's Stone Bridge

A monk asked Joshu,

"For a long time, the stone bridge of Joshu 1 has echoed in my ears.

But now that I've come here, I just see a log bridge." 

Joshu said,

"You simply see a log bridge; you don't see the stone bridge yet."

The monk said,

"What is the stone bridge?"

Joshu said,

"It lets donkeys cross, it lets horses cross."

1 (same note as case 9) The name of the Zen Master Joshu is taken from the

 city "Joshu", near which he taught. 

Hekiganroku - Case 53: Hyakujo and the Wild Ducks

When Great Master Ba was walking with Hyakujo, he saw wild ducks flying by.

The Great Master said,

"What is that?"

Hyakujo said,

"Wild ducks."

The Great Master said,

"Where did it go?"

Hyakujo said,

"They flew away."

The Great Master twisted Hyakujo's nose tip. Hyakujo cried out in pain.

The Great Master said,

"Why flew away?"

Hekiganroku - Case 54: Unmon Stretches His Arms

Unmon asked a monk,

"Where have you come from?"

The monk said,

"From Saizen."

Unmon said,

"What words does Saizen say lately?"

The monk stretched out his arms. Unmon slapped him.

The monk said,

"I have something to say about it."

Unmon then stretched out his own arms. The monk remained silent.

Then Unmon hit him.

Case 55: Dogo's Condolence Visit

Dogo and Zengen came to a house to express condolences. Zengen tapped on the

coffin and said,

"Is this life or death?"

Dogo said,

"I don't say life, I don't say death."

Zengen said,

"Why don't you?"

Dogo said,

"I won't say, I won't say."

On the way back Zengen said,

"Master, please say it to me right away. If you don't, I shall hit you."

Dogo said,

"If you want to hit me, you can hit me. But I will never say."

Thereupon Zengen hit him.

Some time later Dogo passed away. Zengen went to Sekiso and told him what

had happened. Sekiso said,

"I don't say life, I don't say death."

Zengen said,

"Why don't you?"

Sekiso said,

"I won't say, I won't say."

With these words, Zengen came suddenly to an insight.

One day, Zengen took a hoe and walked in the Dharma-hall from east to west and

west to east. Sekiso said,

"What are you doing?"

Zengen said,

"I am seeking the sacred bones of the late master."

Sekiso said,

"Giant billows far and wide; whitecaps swelling up to heaven. What

sort of sacred bones of your late master are you searching for?" 

(Setcho commented, "Heavens! heavens!")

Zengen said,

"That was very good for me in order to gain power."

Taigen Fu 1 said,

"The sacred bones of the late master are still there."

1 He stood in the Dharma line of Seppo.

Hekiganroku - Case 56: Kinzan and the "Arrow"

A Zen devotee named Ryo asked Kinzan,

"What is it when one single arrow breaks through three barriers?"

Kinzan said,

"Drive out the master from behind the barriers, so that I may see him."

Ryo said,

"If so, I will acknowledge my failure and correct it."

Kinzan said,

"Till when do you want to wait?"

Ryo said,

"I made a nice shot, but no one could see the arrow,"

and he went out. Kinzan said,

"Wait, sir."

Ryo turned his head. Kinzan grasped him and said,

"Let's put aside the story of the arrow which breaks through three barriers.

Just shoot an arrow for me, so that I may see it."

Ryo hesitated. Kinzan hit him seven times with a stick and said,

"I will allow this fellow to keep puzzling for thirty years."

Hekiganroku - Case 57: Joshu and the "Bumpkin"

A monk asked Joshu,

"'The supreme Way is not difficult; it simply dislikes choosing'. What

is non-choosing?"

Joshu said,

"Above the heavens and under the heavens I am the only one, alone and

exalted."

The monk said,

"That is still choosing."

Joshu said,

"You stupid bumpkin, where is the choosing?"

The monk remained silent.

Case 58: Joshu and the "Pitfall"

A monk asked Joshu,

"'The supreme Way is not difficult; it simply dislikes choosing.' Isn't

that the pitfall of the people of our time 1?"

Joshu said,

"Once someone asked me like that. I am sorry that even after five years

I still can't give an answer to it."

1 (same note as Case 40) I.e. "you."

Hekiganroku - Case 59: Joshu's "Supreme Way"

A monk asked Joshu,

"'The supreme way is not difficult, it simply dislikes choosing. But even

if a word is uttered, it is already an action of 'choosing.' -- Then how

can you, Master, try to lead other people?"

Joshu said,

"Why don't you quote the sentence to the end?"

The monk said,

"I just had this much in my mind."

Joshu said,

"It's only: 'The supreme way is not difficult; it simply dislikes

choosing.'" 1

1 Cf. Case 2.

Hekiganroku - Case 60: Unmon's Staff

Unmon showed his staff to the assembly and said,

"This staff has changed into a dragon and has swallowed up the heaven and

the earth. Where do mountains, rivers and the great earth come from?"

Hekiganroku - Case 61: Fuketsu's "House and Nation"

Fuketsu, giving instruction, said,

"If one raises a speck of dust, the house and the nation prosper. If one

does not raise a speck of dust, they perish."

(Setcho held up his staff and said,

"Is there anyone who lives and dies with this?")

Hekiganroku - Case 62: Unmon's "One Treasure"

Unmon, instructing the assembly, said,

"'Within heaven and earth, in the midst of the universe, there is one

treasure hidden in a body.' 1 You take up the lantern and go to the

Buddha Hall; you take the temple gate and put it on the lantern."

1 A sentence from the Hozoron by Monk Jo (?-414).

Hekiganroku - Case 63: Nansen Kills a Cat 1

Once the monks of the eastern and western Zen halls in Nansen's temple were

quarrelling about a cat. As he saw this, Nansen held up the cat and said,

"You monks! If one of you can say a word, I will not slay the cat."

No one could answer. Nansen cut the cat in two.

1 Cf. Case 14 in the Mumonkan.

Hekiganroku - Case 64: Joshu and the Sandals 1

Nansen told Joshu what had happened 2, and asked him for his view. Joshu

thereupon took his sandals, put them upon his head and went away. Nansen said,

"If you had been there, I could have spared the cat."

1 Cf. case 14 in the Mumonkan.

2 Cf. case 63.

Hekiganroku - Case 65: A Non-Buddhist Questions Buddha 1

A non-Buddhist asked Buddha,

"I do not ask about words, I do not ask about no-words."

Buddha remained still. The non-Buddhist praised him and said,

"The great benevolence and great mercy of the World-Honored One have opened

the clouds of my delusion and enabled me to enter the Way."

After the non-Buddhist took his leave, Ananda asked Buddha,

"What did the non-Buddhist realize so that he said you had enabled him

to enter the Way?"

Buddha said,

"He is like a fine horse that runs even at the shadow of a whip."

1 Cf. case 32 in the Mumonkan.

Hekiganroku - Case 66: Ganto and the "Sword"

Ganto asked a monk,

"Where have you come from?"

The monk said,

"From Saikyo 1."

Ganto said,

"After Koso 2 was gone, did you get his sword?"

The monk said,

"Yes, I got it."

Ganto stuck out his neck, approached the monk, and said,

"Ka!"

The monk said,

"The Master's head has already fallen."

Ganto laughed loudly.

Later, the monk came to Seppo. Seppo asked,

"Where have you come from?"

The monk said,

"From Ganto."

Seppo asked,

"What did he say?"

The monk told him what had happened. Seppo gave him thirty blows with his

stick and drove him away.

1 The western capital of the Tang Dynasty.

2 A rebel who -- according to a legend -- received a sword from heaven on

which it was inscribed, "Heaven gives Koso this sword." He conquered 

Saikyo in 880, but was killed four years later. 

Case 67: Fu Daishi Expounds the Sutra

The emperor Bu of Ryo 1 invited Fu Daishi 2 and asked him to lecture

on the Diamond Sutra. Daishi thereupon mounted the rostrum, struck the

lectern once and descended. The emperor Bu was astounded. Shiko 3 asked him,

"Did Your Majesty understand it?"

The emperor said,

"No."

Shiko said,

"Daishi has already finished his Sutra lecture."

1 (Same note as case 1) Emperor Bu reigned over the land of Ryo

 between 502-509. 

2 "Daishi" means Bodhisattva

3 Cf. case 1

Hekiganroku - Case 68: Kyozan and "Your Name"

Kyozan asked Sansho,

"What's your name?"

Sansho said,

"Ejaku. 1"

Kyozan said,

"Ejaku -- that's me."

Sansho said,

"My name is Enen. 2"

Kyozan laughed loudly.

1 The complete name of Kyozan is "Kyozan Ejaku".

2 The complete name of Sansho is Sansho Enen.

Hekiganroku - Case 69: Nansen Draws a Circle

Nansen, Kisu and Mayoku set out together to pay their respects to the National

Teacher Chu. On their way Nansen drew a circle on the ground and said,

"If you can say something, then let's go farther."

Kisu seated himself 1 in the circle. Mayoku made an informal bow. Nansen

said,

"If it is so, then let's not go any farther."

Kisu said,

"What is this all about?"

1 I.e., in Zazen posture.

Hekiganroku - Case 70: Isan's "Speak, Master"

Isan, Goho and Ungan were all attending upon Hyakujo. Hyakujo asked Isan,

"How does one speak with one's lips and throat closed?"

Isan said,

"I'd rather have you speak, Master."

Hyakujo said,

"I might as well speak to you, but then, I would lose my Dharma descendants."

Hekiganroku - Case 71: Goho's "Close!"

Hyakujo said to Goho,

"How does one speak with one's lips and throat closed?" 1

Goho said,

"You too, Master, should close your lips and throat."

Hyakujo said,

"Where there is no one, I will shade my eyes with my hand 2 and look

up to you respectfully."

1 Cf case 70.

2 A gesture expressing admiration.

Hekiganroku - Case 72: Ungan's "Can You?"

Hyakujo said to Ungan,

"How does one speak with one's lips and throat closed?" 1

Ungan said,

"Can you, Master, do such a thing?"

Hyakujo said,

"Now I will lose my Dharma descendants."

1 cf cases 70 and 71

Hekiganroku - Case 73: Ba and "One Hundred Negations" 1

A monk asked Great Master Ba,

"Apart from the Four Phrases, beyond one hundred Negations 2, please

tell me directly, Master, the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from

the West."

Master Ba said,

"I am tired today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Chizo."

The monk asked Chizo about it. Chizo said,

"Why don't you ask our master?"

The monk said,

"He told me to ask you."

Chizo said,

"I have a headache today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Brother Kai."

The monk asked Brother Kai about it. Kai said,

"I don't understand nothing about that question."

The monk told Great Master Ba about it. Great Master said,

"Chizo's head is white, Kai's head is black."

1 Cf. case 6 in the Shoyoroku.

2 I.e., free from all theories and concepts.

Hekiganroku - Case 74: Kingyu's Rice Bucket

At each meal, Master Kingyu himself would bring the rice bucket to the front

of the Zen hall, dance there and laugh loudly, saying,

"Dear Bodhisattvas, come and eat rice!"

(Setcho said, "Although he behaved that way, he was not being kind.")

A monk asked Chokei,

"An ancient worthy said, 'Dear Bodhisattvas, come and eat rice.' What

does it mean?"

Chokei said,

"That is exactly like praising and giving thanks to the rice."

Hekiganroku - Case 75: Ukyu's Blind Stick

A monk came from Master Joshu 1 to Ukyu. Ukyu asked,

"What is the difference between Joshu's Dharma-way and the Dharma-way here?"

The monk said,

"There is no difference."

Ukyu said,

"If there isn't any difference, return to him again,"

and hit him. The monk said,

"Your stick should have an eye. You should not hit a person so recklessly."

Ukyu said,

"Today I hit a right man,"

and he hit him three more times. The monk went out immediately. Ukyu said,

"There is a fellow who well deserves a blind stick."

The monk turned and said,

"What shall I do, as the stick is in your hand?"

Ukyu said,

"If you need it, I will give it to you."

The monk approached him, snatched the stick from his hand and hit him three

times. Ukyu said,

"Blind stick, blind stick!"

The monk said,

"There is a fellow who well deserves it."

Ukyu said,

"I have hit a real man quite wantonly."

Then the monk promptly made a bow. Ukyu said,

"Master, is that all right for you?"

The monk laughed loudly and went away. Ukyu said,

"Is that right, is that right!"

1 This is not the famous master Joshu Jushin in the Mumonkan, etc., but

 Master Joshu Sekizo (718-800). 

Case 76: Tanka's "Eating Rice"

Tanka asked a monk,

"Where have you come from?"

The monk answered,

"From the foot of the mountain."

Tanka asked,

"Have you eaten your rice?"

The monk said,

"Yes I have eaten it."

Tanka said,

"The one who brought rice and gave it to you to eat did he have an

_enlightened_ eye?" 

The monk said nothing.

Chokei asked Hofuku,

"Surely it is an act of thanksgiving 1 to bring rice and give it to the

people to eat. How then is it possible not to have an _enlightened_ eye?" 

Hofuku said,

"Server and receiver are both blind."

Chokei said,

"Even if one has done everything, does one still remain blind, or not?"

Hofuku said,

"Do you call me blind?"

1 That is, for the guidance already received from buddhas, patriarchs and

 masters. 

Hekiganroku - Case 77: Unmon's "Rice Cake"

A monk asked Unmon,

"What is meant by the pronouncement 'to go beyond the Buddha and the

patriarchs'?"

Unmon said,

"Rice cake 1."

1 In Japanese: kobyo.

Hekiganroku - Case 78: The Boddhisattvas Take a Bath

In the old days there were sixteen bodhisattvas. When the monks took a bath,

they too entered the bath according to their custom. At once they realized

the cause of water. Now, my Zen friends, how do you understand this? 1

The bodhisattvas said, "Wonderful feeling! Perfectly clear! We have attained

the dwelling place of the children of Buddha." You can attain it -- only by

breaking through seven times and digging through eight times.

1 It is Setcho who speaks here.

Case 79: Tosu and "the Buddha's Voices"

A monk asked Tosu,

"It is said, 'All voices are the voices of the Buddha.' Is it true or not?"

Tosu said,

"It is true."

The monk said,

"Master, don't fart around so loudly."

Thereupon, Tosu hit him. He asked again,

"It is said, 'Rough words and gentle phrases return to the first principle.'

Is this true or not?" 

Tosu said,

"It is true."

The monk said,

"May I call you, Master, a donkey?"

Thereupon, Tosu hit him.

Hekiganroku - Case 80: Joshu and a "Newborn Infant"

A monk asked Joshu,

"Does a newborn infant have the Six Functions 1 or not?"

Joshu said,

"Throwing a ball on the swift current."

The monk asked also Tosu,

"What does 'throwing a ball on the swift current' mean?"

Tosu said,

"Every consciousness flows without ceasing."

1 Cf. the note to case 47.

Hekiganroku - Case 81: Yakusan's "Look! The Arrow!"

A monk asked Yakusan,

"On the grassy plain there gather great and small deer. How can one shoot

the greatest deer of them all?"

Yakusan said,

"Look! The arrow!"

The monk threw himself on the floor. Yakusan said,

"Attendants! Carry this dead fellow out of here."

Thereupon, the monk ran away. Yakusan said,

"This fellow will keep playing with mud balls for ever and ever!"

(Setcho took up this story and said,

 "He is alive for three steps, but he should die with the fifth step.") 

Case 82: Dairyu and the "Dharma-Body"

A monk asked Dairyu,

"The phenomenal body perishes. What is the Dharma-body which remains solid?"

Dairyu said,

"The autumn foliage of the mountains spreads like brocade;

the water in the valley remains blue as indigo." 

Hekiganroku - Case 83: The Old Buddha and a Pillar

Unmon, instructing the assembly, said,

"The old buddha and a pillar intersect each other. What number of

activity is that?"

On behalf of the assembly he said,

"Clouds gather over the South Mountain; rain falls on the North Mountain."

Hekiganroku - Case 84: Vimalakirti and "Not-Two"

Vimalakirti asked Manjusri,

"What does it mean that the Bodhisattva enters the Dharma-gate of Not-Two?"

Manjusri said,

"I see it like this: in all phenomena, there are neither words nor

explanations, neither presentations nor knowledge; it is beyond all

questions and answers. That is what I understand with 'to enter the

Dharma-gate of Not-Two'." ....

Then Manjusri asked Vimalakirti,

"All of us have finished giving our explanations. Now you should give your

explanation. What does it mean that the Bodhisattva enters the

Dharma-gate of Not-Two?"

(Setcho said, "What did Vimalakirti say?" Again he said, "Seen through!")

Case 85: Toho and the "Tiger"

A monk came to the hermit Toho and asked,

"What if you suddenly faced a tiger here?"

The hermit roared like a tiger. Thereupon the monk pretended to be frightened.

The hermit laughed loudly. The monk said,

"You old robber!"

The hermit said,

"What can you do to me?"

The monk said nothing further.

(Setcho said,

 "They are certainly right, but these two evil robbers only know how to 

  steal a small bell while they stop their ears.") 

Hekiganroku - Case 86: Unmon's "Bright Light"

Unmon, giving instruction, said,

"Everyone has his own bright light. When you look at it, you can't see it;

it is complete darkness. Now, what is your bright light?"

He himself answered on behalf of the monks,

"The kitchen and the entrance gate."

Again he said,

"It would be better not to have even the best things."

Hekiganroku - Case 87: Unmon's "Medicine and Disease"

Unmon, instructing the assembly, said,

"Medicine and disease correspond to each other. The whole earth is

medicine. What is your true self?"

Case 88: Gensha's "Three Diseases"

Gensha, instructing the assembly, said,

"All old masters said, 'Attend to the living beings and save them.'

Suppose you face three people with different diseases, how would you 

attend to them? The blind person can't see, even if you take up a gavel 

or raise a whisk. The deaf person can't hear, even if you speak beautiful 

phrases. The dumb person can't speak, even if you ask him to speak up. 

How would you attend to them?  If you cannot attend to these people, 

Buddhist Dharma has no true efficacy." 

A monk asked Unmon about this. Unmon said, "Make a deep bow." The monk made a

deep bow and stood up. Unmon poked his staff at him. The monk retreated.

Unmon said, "So you are not blind." Further he said, "Come here." The monk

came closer to him. Unmon said, "So you are not deaf." Then he said,

"Have you understood?"

The monk said,

"No."

Unmon said,

"So you are not dumb."

With that, the monk came to an insight.

Hekiganroku - Case 89: Ungan's "Hands and Eyes"

Ungan asked Dogo,

"What does the Bodhisattva of the Great Mercy use so many hands and eyes for?"

Dogo answered,

"It is like a person in the middle of the night reaching with his hand behind

his head groping for his pillow."

Ungan said,

"I understood."

Dogo said,

"How did you understand it?"

Ungan said,

"The whole body is hands and eyes."

Dogo said,

"You said it very well. But you expressed only eight-tenths of it."

Ungan said,

"How would you say it, Elder Brother?"

Dogo said,

"The entire body is hands and eyes."

Hekiganroku - Case 90: Chimon and the "Prajna Wisdom"

A monk asked Chimon,

"What is the substance of Prajna Wisdom?"

Chimon said,

"The clam swallows the bright moon." 1

The monk asked,

"What is the use of Prajna Wisdom?"

Chimon said,

"A female rabbit becomes pregnant." 2

1 A Chinese metaphor expressing how a pearl is formed.

2 According to a Chinese legend, a female rabbit becomes pregnant when it

 swallows the light of the full moon. 

Hekiganroku - Case 91: Enkan and the "Rhinoceros"

One day, Enkan called to his attendant,

"Bring me the rhinoceros fan."

The attendant said,

"It is broken."

Enkan said,

"If the fan is already broken, bring me the rhinoceros himself."

The attendant gave no answer. 1

Tosu said,

"I wouldn't mind bringing that, but the horn on its head would not be

complete." 

(Setcho said, "I need to see that incomplete horn.")

Sekiso said,

"If I brought it back to you, nothing would remain for me."

(Setcho said, "That rhinoceros is still there.")

Shifuku drew a circle and wrote the ideograph "ox_2_" in it.

(Setcho said, "Why didn't you bring it out sooner?)

Hofuku said,

"Master, you are so advanced in years. Please engage someone else." 3

(Setcho said, "Regrettable! All efforts have proved fruitless!")

1 To this episode the following Zen personalities give their answers on

 behalf of the attendant. 

2 The Chinese character for "ox" (gyu) is one of the two characters for

 "rhinoceros" (saigyu = sai + gyu). 

3 Since the task you give me is too harsh.

Hekiganroku - Case 92: The Buddha Ascends to the Rostrum

One day, the World-Honored One ascended to the rostrum. Monjusri struck the

table with the gavel and said,

"Contemplate clearly the Dharma of the Dharma-King! The Dharma of

the Dharma-King is like this."

Thereupon, the World-Honored One descended from the rostrum.

Hekiganroku - Case 93: Taiko Dances

A monk asked Taiko,

"Chokei said, 'That is exactly like thanksgiving at lunch.' 1

What did he mean?"

Taiko danced. The monk made a deep bow. Taiko said,

"What have you seen that makes you bow like that?"

The monk danced. Taiko said,

"You stupid fox! 2"

1 cf case 74.

2 Cf. the term "fox Zen", which means mere imitation (cf. Case 2 in the

 Mumonkan) 

Case 94: "Non-Seeing" in the Ryogon Sutra

The Ryogon Sutra says,

"When I don't see, why do you not see what I do not see? If you _argue

that you_ see what I do not see, that is of course not what I do not see.

If you do not see what I do not see, then it is quite natural that it

is not a thing. Why is it not your self?"

Hekiganroku - Case 95: Chokei's "Three Poisons"

One day Chokei said,

"Even if you argue that an arhat 1 still possesses 'the three poisons',

don't argue that the Tathagata has two sorts of language. I do not say

the Tathagata has no words. I only say he does not have two kinds

of language."

Hofuku said,

"What are the words of the Tathagata?"

Chokei said,

"How can a deaf man hear?"

Hofuku said,

"Now I know that your language belongs to the second level."

Chokei said,

"What are the words of the Tathagata?"

Hofuku said,

"Have some tea."

1 An arhat is a sacred person who has reached the spiritual dimension

 without any traces of "the three poisons": covetousness, anger, folly. 

Hekiganroku - Case 96: Joshu's Three Turning Words 1

Joshu showed the assembly three turning words:

"The Buddha made of clay will not pass through water."

"The Buddha made of metal will not pass through a furnace."

"The Buddha made of wood will not pass through fire."

1 Cf. case 19 in the Miscellaneous Koans.

Case 97: "Getting Despised" in the Diamond Sutra

The Diamond Sutra says,

"It is about getting despised by other people. If you are to come into hell

because of your sins in your previous life, these sins will be extinguished

because you are despised by the people of this world."

Hekiganroku - Case 98: Tempyo's Two "Wrong"s

Master Tempyo was on an angya 1 and visited Sai'in. (He was always saying,

"Don't say you have understood Buddhism. I have sought after someone who

could give correct explanations, but in vain.")

One day, Sai'in saw him at a distance and summoned him,

"Jyui! 2"

Tempyo raised his head. Sai'in said,

"Wrong!"

Tempyo went on a couple more steps. Sai'in said again,

"Wrong!"

Tempyo came closer. Sai'in said,

"I have just said, 'Wrong!' twice. Does it mean that it is I

who am wrong, or it is you?"

Tempyo said,

"It is I."

Sai'in said,

"Wrong!"

Tempyo said nothing. Sai'in said,

"Please stay here for the summer 3. I'll examine the two 'Wrong!'s with

you."

However, Tempyo immediately left him.

Later he was the abbot of his own temple and said to his assembly,

"As I was once on an angya, I was driven by the wind of fate and came to

Elder Shimyo 4, who cried to me, 'Wrong!'. Moreover, he demanded that

I stay with him for the summer to examine this matter with him. I didn't

believe I had done anything wrong then. But when I was on my way down

south, I realized quickly that I had done something entirely 'wrong'."

1 A traditional pilgrimage in order to deepen the practice.

2 Tempyo's personal name.

3 I.e., a summer sesshin for three months.

4 I.e., Sai'in.

Hekiganroku - Case 99: Shukuso and the "Buddha with the Ten Bodies"

Emperor Shukuso asked the National Teacher Echu,

"What is the Buddha with the ten bodies who guides the living beings?"

The National Teacher said,

"Sir! Go beyond the head of Vairokana 1."

The emperor said,

"I don't understand it."

The National Teacher said,

"Never consider yourself to be even the pure Dharma-body."

1 The Buddha of the pure Dharma-body.

Case 100: Haryo and the "Sharpest Sword" 1

A monk asked Haryo,

"What is the sharpest sword?"

Haryo said,

"The moon sits on each branch of the coral."

1 Cf. case 22 (c) in the Miscellaneous Koans.