2016-03-11

Book of Serenity 8

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Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #8
Baizhang and the Fox (first part)

Personnel
Baizhang (720-814, 9th generation, Hongzhou) was a disciple of Mazu (709-788, 8th generation) and the teacher of Huangbo and Guishan. Baizhang appeared as a secondary character in two of the Mazu koans. He is the primary character in seven of our cases.

Case
Whenever Master Baizhang delivered a sermon, an old man was always there listening with the monks. When they left, he left too. One day, however, he remained behind. Baizhang asked him, "What man are you, standing there?"
The old man replied, "In the past, in the time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived on this mountain as a Zen priest. Once a monk came and asked me, 'Does a perfectly enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?' I said to him, 'He does not." Because of this answer, I fell into the state of a fox for 500 lives. Now, I beg you, Master, please say a turning word."
Baizhang said, "The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured."
Upon hearing this, the old man became greatly enlightened.

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