"I am all things when there is no barrier.” -Joko BeckChants for Tue Aug 23 - Tue Sep 22 (from Boundless Way Zen Sutra Book. See: BoWZ Westchester Chant Schedule)
- Song of the Jeweled-Mirror Samadhi, p. 18
Room 24, Community UU
468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY
This week's reading: "The Observing Self," from Charlotte Joko Beck, Everyday Zen. p. 122. (To order from Amazon CLICK HERE)
This week's case: "Shizu Does Not Understand," Book of Serenity, #93
Nanquan Puyuan (748-835) has appeared in our eight previous cases. Zhongnan Shizu (b. 780?) was Nanquan's pupil.
Shizu asked Nansen, "'People do not recognize the Mani-jewel [i.e., the jewel of perfect freedom; Buddha-nature]. I picked it up myself in the Tathagata treasury.' [A quote from the famous Shôdôka by Yôka Daishi]. What is this treasury?"
Nanquan said, "Old Master O [i.e., Nanquan himself] exchanges questions and answers with you. That's it."
Shizu said, "How about when there is no exchange of questions and answers?"
Nanquan said, "That's also the treasury."
Shizu said, "What is the jewel?'
Nanquan said, "Reverend Shizu!"
Shizu said, "Yes!"
Nanquan said,"Get out. You don't understand my words."
Jade thrown at magpies and gold held in the mouths of old rats: its worth is unrecognized and its use is unknown. Isn't there someone who suddenly perceives the jewel in the clothes?
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick trans)
Separating right and wrong, illuminating gain and loss,
responding to this in one's heart, point to this in one's palms.
Give-and-take and no give-and-take are both the storehouse.
King O awarded it for those who had competence,
Emperor Ko obtained it from Mosho.
Turning the hub utilizing one's abilities.
We clear-eyed students mustn't be negligent.
Hongzhi's Verse (Cleary trans)
Distinguishing right and wrong, clarifying gain and loss.
Responding to it in the mind, pointing to it in the palm
Coming and going, not coming and going --
It's just this -- both are the mine.
A universal monarch rewards it to those who have merit;
The Emperor of Yellow got it from Wang Xiang.
Turning the pivotal works, capably skilled,
A clear-eyed mendicant has no crudity.
The Lankavatara Scripture says, "The peaceful and unimpassioned is called one mind; one mind is called the mine of realization of thusness" 'Mine' contains three meanings: one, the meaning of concealment, because it covers and hides away buddhahood; two, the meaning of containing, because it contains the lands of all sentient beings; three; the meaning of producing, because it produces the practices of human and divine paths with untainted causes and effects. The first refers to before enlightenment, the last to after enlightenment, and the one in between is strictly the essence.
The Lankavatara Sutra, written in about 300 CE, describes the "storehouse consciousness" and that is the storehouse referred to in this case. Storehouse consciousness explains memory and experiential continuity. It is the receptacle of all the perceptions, thoughts, and habit energies that are in our consciousness. It's like a granary full of karmic seeds, all of which have the potential to grow into something else. The karmic seed of enlightenment is already in the storehouse consciousness; it just needs the right causes and conditions to bring it forth. The functioning of the storehouse consciousness is a mystery -- just as the works of God are said to be. Standing up is a mystery, sitting down's a mystery, hearing a sound is a mystery, uttering a sound in response is a mystery -- yet that's what happens in the give-and-take. Shizu asks, "How about when there's no give-and-take?" Nanquan says, "That's also the storehouse." In the Heart Sutra, it says, "No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind. No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena." That's the absolute state, where you and others are so identified that everything disappears -- no give and no take. When you're communicating with somebody and you're totally identified with him or her, there's no give-and-take. Just this. Those who are greedy can't reach it. Those who are totally satisfied don't need it. Still, they all are continuously revealing it.
The Manijewel is also known as the jewel of suchness -- pure and unstained. This is a reference to our true essence, to our true self. Both are
possible meanings for Mani jewel. All of your minds are this jewel of suchness. In our mind are contained all virtue and wisdom of the Buddha without limit. Most people are unaware of it, even though they possess it. How do we become aware of it? By realizing our true nature.
“What is this treasury?” This is referring to your own mind.
“Old Master Ô exchanges questions and answers with you. That's it.” I, Nanquan, have been talking with you about it all along. That’s it! Me speaking like this and you listening like that, that’s it!
“How about when there is no exchange of questions and answers?” “That's also the treasury.” In other words, when you’re completely silent, that’s it too.
Daido Loori's Comment
It includes heaven and encompasses the earth. It is beyond the sacred and the secular. On the tips of a hundred thousand weeks, it reveals the wondrous mind of nirvana and the exquisite teachings of formless form. From deep within the forest of brambles, the light of the mani jewel is released. This is the adamantine eye of the adept.
Diado Loori's Verse
It illuminates itself, the solitary light of the mani jewel.
No! It illuminates the ten thousand things -- see, there are no shadows.
Seeing, not seeing -- bah!
Riding backward on the ox, distant mountains endlessly unfold.
John Sheehy's Verse
Shizu's Not Understanding
In your hand you hold nothing, or maybe a jewel,
could open China like Nevada with a word, maybe two,
pull out a rabbit with one glance from your eyes,
step inside a dewdrop as your brilliant disguise.
Doubtful, I sit here as a hungry guest
But I would be ready, were you ever to say “Yes!”
The treasury is your heart wondering what the treasury is.
The treasury is your heart moving on from wondering what the treasury is.
Summer breezes turn to autumn gusts
The budding peach blossom is already the fallen fruit.