Blue Cliff Record 22, Book of Serenity 24

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #22
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #24
Xuefeng's Poisonous Snake

Wansong's Preface
The carp of the Eastern Sea, the turtle-nosed snake of the South Mountain, Fuke's donkey brays,
Shiko's dog bays –
They do not fall into to the ordinary tracks, and do not wander into the beast kind.
Just tell me, whose way is this?
Xuefeng, instructing the assembly, said, “There's a poisonous snake on the South Mountain [the location of Xuefeng's monastery]. All of you should look at it carefully!”
Changqing said, “Today in the Zen hall there are many people. They have lost their body and life.”
A monk told this to Xuansha, who said, “Only Elder Brother Changqing could say something like that. However, I wouldn't talk like that.”
The monk asked, “What then would you say, Master”?
Xuansha replied, “Why does it have to be 'the South Mountain'?”
Yunmen threw his staff in front of Seppô and acted frightened.
Hongzhi's Verse
Xuansha's excessive strength, Changqing's tiny courage:
The turtle-nose snake in the South Mountain is dead and useless.
When wind and clouds meet, a horny head emerges.
You now observe how Shôyô2 plays with it.
He plays with it – see the change in a flash of lightning.
On one hand he superbly sends back and summons;
On the other he grips and releases.
Whom shall I impart this matter now?
The cold mouth bites the people, and they do not feel any pain.
Richard von Sturmer's Verse
Xuefeng's Turtle-Nosed Snake

While seated in zazen
small wings grow
from the tips of your elbows
lifting you high into the air,
setting you down on South Mountain
before the serpent.

A string of saliva
hangs from its jaws.
You wrap it around your finger
as if it were candy floss.

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