Blue Cliff Record 73, Book of Serenity 6

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #73
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #6
Mazu and the 100 Negations

Mazu (709-788, 8th generation) was the disciple of Nanyue (677-744, 7th generation), who was a disciple of the 6th Patriarch, Huineng (638-713). Mazu is the founder of the Hongzhou school, from which the the Linji and the Guiyang Houses of Zen derived. Mazu reportedly had 139 Dharma successors. Mazu appears in five of our koans: GG #30, GG #33, BCR #3 (BOS # 36), BCR #73 (BOS #6), and BCR #53. Xitang (735-814, 9th generation) and Baizhang (720-814, 9th generation) were both disciples of Mazu. At the time of this case, Xitang and Baizhang would have been among the eldest and most senior of Mazu's disciples.

A monk asked Great Master Mazu, "Apart from the four Phrases, beyond one hundred Negations [i.e., free from all theories and concepts], please tell me directly, Master, the meaning of Bodhidharma's coming from the West."
Master Mazu said, "I am tired today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Xitang."
The monk asked Xitang about it. Xitang said, "Why don't you ask our master?"
The monk said, "He told me to ask you."
Xitang said, "I have a headache today, I can't explain it to you. Go and ask Baizhang."
The monk asked Baizhang about it. Baizhang said, "I understand nothing about that question."
The monk told Great Master Mazu about it. Great Master said, "Xitang's head is white, Baizhang's head is black."

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