2020-01-14

Meredith On Sabbatical

Meredith Garmon is on sabbatical from 2019 Oct 1 to 2020 Apr 1. He will be in residence at Great Vow Zen Monastery in Clatskanie, OR for these six months.

The Saturday morning, 10:00am, Zen practice -- at Community UU Congregation, 468 Rosedale Ave, White Plains, NY -- will continue under the guidance of Seth Zuiho Segall.

Seth will send regular email news about what's up at Boundless Way Zen Westchester. To get on his email list, email him at sethzuihosegall -at- gmail -dot- com.

We are now revisiting Shunryo Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind. We'll be looking at the chapters below on the date indicated.

2019
Oct 5 -- Breathing
Oct 12 -- Control
Oct 19 -- Mind Waves
Oct 26 -- Mind Weeds
Nov 2 -- The Marrow of Zen
Nov 9 -- No Dualism
Nov 16 -- Bowing
Nov 23 -- Nothing Special
Nov 30 -- Single-minded Way
Dec 7 -- Repetition
Dec 14 -- Zen and Excitement
Dec 21 -- Right Effort
Dec 28 -- No Trace

2020
Jan 4 -- God Giving
Jan 11 -- Mistakes in Practice
Jan 18 -- Limiting Your Activity
Jan 25 -- Study Yourself
Feb 1 -- To Polish a Tile
Feb 8 -- Constancy
Feb 15 -- Communication
Feb 22 -- Negative and Positive
Feb 29 -- Nirvana, the Waterfall
Mar 7 -- Traditional Zen Spirit
Mar 14 -- Transiency
Mar 21 -- The Quality of Being
Mar 28 -- Naturalness

BoWZ Westchester Sutra Book

Blue Cliff Record 90

198
Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #90
Zhimen and the Essence of Prajna

Personnel and Date
  • ZHIMEN Guangzuo (Chimon Kôso, 940?-1031, 15th gen) disciple of Xianglin Chengyuan (908-87)
  • Date guess: ca. 1008
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
The phrase before any voice – the thousand sages cannot transmit it.
The single thread before your eyes – limitless time, infinite continuation4.
Completely naked, perfectly revealed.
The hair grows in natural profusion, the ears are sharp.
Just tell me. What is this about?
To test I am citing this, look!
Case (Sekida)
A monk asked Zhimen, "What is the essence of prajna?"
Zhimen siad, "The oyster swallows the full moon."
The mons said, "What is the action of prajna?"
Zhimen said, "The hare conceives by the full moon."
Hongzhi's Verse (Sekida)
A piece of emptiness transcends description;
This has made heaven and earth remember Sunyata.
The oyster conceives by the moon -- amazing!
Monks ever since have done Dharma battle on it.

Blue Cliff Record 21

197
Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #21
Zhimen's Lotus Flower and Lotus Leaves

Personnel and Date
  • ZHIMEN Guangzuo (Chimon Kôso, 940?-1031, 15th gen) disciple of Xianglin Chengyuan (908-87)
  • Date guess: ca. 1007
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
Raising the dharma flag, and presenting the true teaching – this is covering brocade with flowers.
Taking off the muzzle, and unloading the horse's packs – this is the season of great peace.
If you can grasp the transcendent phrase, you understand three when one is raised.
However, if you are not yet that far, listen respectfully to the direction of one of old.
Case (Sekida)
A monk asked Zhimen, "What will the lotus flower be when it has not yet come out of the water?"
Zhimen said, "The lotus flower."
"What about when it is out of the water?"
"The lotus leaves."
Hongzhi's Verse (Sekida)
The lotus leaves! The lotus flower!
He is so kind to tell you of them!
The lfower coming out of the water --
What difference, before or after?
If you wander about, now north of the river, now south of the lake,
Questioning Master Wang and the like,
As one doubt is settled others will arise,
And you will puzzle over question after question.

Book of Serenity 28

207
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #28
Huguo's "Three Disgraces"

Personnel and Date
  • HUGUO Jingyuan (Gokoku Keigen, 1094-1146, 22nd), disciple of Yuanwu “Foguo” Keqin (1063-1135)
  • Date guess: ca. 1146
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
A person wearing not even an inch of thread is nothing but a naked non-Buddhist;
A person chewing no grain of rice is definitively reduced to the red-faced king of demons.
Even if you are born in a holy place,
You cannot escape from the danger of falling down upon a pole top.
Is there anywhere you can hide your disgrace?
Case (Wick)
A monk asked Huguo, "When a crane stands upon a withered pine, then what?"
Huguo said, "On the ground below, it's a shame."
The monk then said, "When dripping water freezes, what then?"
Huguo said, "After sunrise, it's a shame."
The monk then said, "At the time of Wuzong's persecution of Buddhism, where were the good gods to protect the Dharma?"
Huguo said, "For the two guardians of the triple gate, it's a shame."
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
Vigorous in the prime of life, one's temples are not yet grey;
a man who doesn't exert himself is not awarded nobility
Instead recall the family members of unbroken honor;
the brook for washing ears is not for watering the ox.

2020-01-13

Book of Serenity 44

199
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #44
Xingyang P's Garuda Bird

Personnel and Date
  • XINGYANG Qingpou (Kôyô Seibô, 968?-1025?, 17th gen), disciple of Dayang Jingxuan (943-1027)
  • Date guess: ca. 1018
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
A lion strikes an elephant, the Garuda[1] knocks down a dragon.
Even flying creatures and running animals distinguish between lord and subject;
Patch-robed monks should learn to tell between guest and host.
But how could you judge a person who dares to defy the heavenly authority?
[1] A giant bird in the ancient Indian mythology, who also eats dragons (Sato).

Case (Wick)
A monk said to Qingpou of Xingyang, "A dragon-king leaves the ocean, and heaven and earth are calm. Meet him face to face and then what?"
The master replied, "The Garuda attains the universe. At such a time, who would dare stick his head out?"
The monk countered, "When the head sticks out, then what?"
Xingyang answered, "It's like a falcon seizing a dove. If you don't understand, check in front of the balcony and know the truth."
The monk then said, "Well then, I clasp my hands on my chest and retreat three steps."
And Xingyang remarked, "Blind turtle pinned under Sumeru. Don't get hit on the forehead and scarred again!"
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
The imperial order descends; the general's order disperses.
Within the fortress, the emperor; outside the walls, the general.
Thunder doesn't wait for the astonished bugs to crawl out.
You'll never know the wind has stopped the flowing clouds.
The looms lower warp is continuous and golden needle and jeweled thread are naturally there.
Plain and vast before sealing, originally there's no ideograph, or worm hole.

Book of Serenity 100

200
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #200
Langye's "Mountains and Rivers"

Personnel and Date
  • LANGYE Huijue (Rôya Ekaku, 980?-1050?, 17th gen), disciple of Fenyang Shanzhao (947-1024)
  • Date guess: ca. 1020
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
“One word can make a nation rise, one word can make a nation fall" [said Confucius].
“This medicine can kill people and can give people life” [said Bodhisattva Manjusri].
“The benevolent person sees it and names it benevolence,
The wise person sees it and calls it wisdom” [added Confucius].
Tell me, where is the profit and where is the loss?
Case (Wick)
A monk asked Huijue of Langye, "If the original state is clean and pure, then why suddenly do rivers, mountains, and the great earth arise?"
Langye replied, "If the original state is clean and pure, then why suddenly do the mountains, rivers, and great earth arise!"
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
Seeing existence, don't take it as existence.
Turning the hand up, turning the hand down,
the man in Mount Langye --
he does not fall behind Gautama.

Book of Serenity 76

195
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #76
Shousan's Three Phrases

Personnel and Date
  • SHOUSHAN Xingnian (Shuzan Shônen, 926-93, 15th gen), disciple of Fengxue Yanzhao
  • Date guess: ca. 981
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
One phrase makes three phrases clear;
Three phrases make one phrase clear.
Three and one have no relation with each other.
Very clear is the way of the highest realization.
Tell me, what phrase exists first?
Case (Wick)
Shoushan addressed the assembly, saying, "When you are awakened by the first phrase, you become a teacher of Buddhas and Ancestors. When you are awakened by the second phrase, you become a teacher of men and devas. When you are awakened by the third phrase, you can't even save yourself."
A monk asked, "Osho, by which phrase were you awakened?"
Shoushan replied, "After the moon sets in the third watch, one penetrates through the city."
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
Withered skulls of Buddhas and Ancestors skewered on one stick.
The water clock's drop after drop moves the pointer minutely.
Essential activity of devas and men.
Firing a thousand pounds by catapult.
Thunderheads glistening and glowing swiftly shoot down lightning.
You over here! See the transformations.
When meeting the lowly, be noble. When meeting the noble, be lowly.
Leaving the finding of the jewel to Mosho, the ultimate Way stretches endlessly.
Leting the butcher's knife sort freely in the dead ox, there's implicit trust each moment.

Book of Serenity 65

194
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #65
Shoushan's "Bride"

Personnel and Date
  • SHOUSHAN Xingnian (Shuzan Shônen, 926-93, 15th gen), disciple of Fengxue Yanzhao
  • Date guess: ca. 980
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
Tut, tut! Whoop, whoop!
Crump, crump! Grumble, grumble!
Puff, puff! Zing, zing!
Gong, gong! Huh, huh!!
Impossible to chew, difficult to come near.
Tell me, what is this all about?
Case (Wick)
A monk asked Shoushan, "What is Buddha?"
Shoushan replied, "A new bride rides a donkey. Her mother-in-law leads."
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
A new bride rides a donkey.
Her mother-in-law leads.
The manner of appearance is quite natural.
How laughable! The neighbor lady imitates the grimace:
facing the people, turning more ugly, she's not attractive.

Gateless Gate 20

209
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #20
A Person of Great Strength

Personnel and Date
  • SONGYUAN Chongyue (Shôgen Sugaku, 1132-1202, 25th gen), disciple of Mi-an Xianjie (1118-1186)
  • Date guess: ca. 1182
Case (Shibayama)
Master Songyuan said, “Why is it that a man of great strength cannot lift his leg?”[1]
Again he said, “It is not with his tongue that he speaks.”[2]
[1] “Why can’t the person of great strength lift up a leg?” (Aitken);
“Why is it that someone of great power cannot lift a foot?” (Cleary);
“Why can’t a person of great strength lift his own foot?” (Guogu);
“How does a person of great power walk without raising a foot?” (Hinton);
“Why is it a man of great strength does not lift his legs” (Low, Sekida);
“Why is it that a man of great strength does not lift up his leg?” (Yamada).
[2] “Again he said, ‘It is not with the tongue that you speak’” (Aitken);
“He also said, ‘Speaking out is not a matter of the tongue’” (Cleary);
“’[Because] he speaks without using his tongue,’ he continued.” (Guogu);
“Then he continued: ‘Or speak without moving a tongue?’” (Hinton);
“And he also said, ‘He does not speak with his tongue’” (Low);
“and he also said, “Opening the mouth has nothing to do with the tongue’” (Senzaki);
“And he also said, “It is not the tongue he speaks with” (Sekida);
“He also said, “It is not with the tongue that we speak” (Yamada).

Wumen's Comment (Shibayama)
Of Songyuan it must be said that he emptied his intestines and turned his belly out. Yet no one understands it. Even though there is a man who immediately understands it, I will give him severe blows with my stick if he comes to me. Why? Nii! If you want to know pure gold, see it in the midst of fire.
Wumen's Verse (Shibayama)
Lifting his leg he kicks up the Scented Ocean,
Lowering his head, he looks down on the Four Dhyana Heavens.
There is no place to put this gigantic body.
You please add another line.

Gateless Gate 4

208
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #4
The Barbarian Has No Beard

Personnel and Date
  • HUOAN Shiti (Wakuan Shitai, 1108-1179, 23rd gen), disciple of Huguo Jingyuan (1094-1146)
  • Date guess: ca. 1158
Case (Yamada)
Huoan said, “Why has the western barbarian no beard?”[1]
[1] same (Aitken, Low, Sekida);
“Why has the Foreigner from the West no whiskers?” (Cleary);
“Why does the Barbarian from the west have no beard” (Guogu);
“Bodhidharma, the Western Barbarian with a red beard – how is it he had no beard?” (Hinton);
“Seeing a picture of Bodhidharma, Huo-an asked, ‘Why does that son of a western barbarian have no beard?’” (Senzaki);
“Why has the foreigner from the West no beard?” (Shibayama).

Wumen's Comment (Yamada)
If you practice Zen, you must actually practice it. If you become enlightened, it must be the real experience of enlightenment. You see this barbarian once face to face; then for the first time, you will be able to acknowledge him. But if you say that you see him face to face, in that instant there is division into two.
Wumen's Verse (Yamada)
In front of a fool
Do not talk about dreams;
The barbarian has no beard:
It’s adding obscurity to clarity.

Gateless Gate 8

206
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #8
Xizhong Makes Carts

Personnel and Date
  • YUEAN Shanguo (Gettan Zenka, 1079-1152, 22nd gen), disciple of Kaifu Daoning
  • Date guess: ca. 1109
Case (Shibayama)
Master Yuean said to a monk: “Xizhong made a cart whose wheels had a hundred spokes.[1]
Take both front and rear parts away and remove the axle:[2]
then what will it be?”[3]
[1] “Xizhong made a hundred carts” (Aitken, Low, Yamada);
“The original wheel-maker made wheels with a hundred spokes” (Cleary);
“Xizhong makes carriages with wheels of a hundred spokes” (Guogu);
“When What-Next invented the cartwheel, it had a hundred spokes” (Hinton);
“Xizhong, the first wheel-maker in China, made two wheels of fifty spokes each” (Senzaki);
“Xizhong, the first wheelmaker, made a cart whose wheels had a hundred spokes” (Sekida);
[2] “If you take off both wheels and the axle,” (Aitken);
“If you take away both sides and remove the axle,” (Clear);
“Yet, dismantle the two parts, the front and the back of the carriage, and remove the axle,” (Guogu);
“But what if hub and rim are broken off, spokes scattered away –” (Hinton);
“If we took off the wheels and removed the axle” (Low)
“Now, suppose you remove the nave uniting the spokes (Senzaki);
“Now, suppose you took a cart and removed both the wheels and the axle” (Sekida);
“If he took of both wheels and removed the axle,” (Yamada).
[3] “what would be vividly apparent?” (Aitken);
“what does this clarify?” (Cleary);
“then what will the carriage be?” (Guogu);
“do you understand the bright clarity of what it could do then?” (Hinton);
“what would be left?” (Low);
“What would become of the wheel? If Xichong had done this, could he be called a master wheel-maker?” (Senzaki);
“What would you have?” (Sekida);
“what would he make clear about the cart?” (Yamada).

Wumen's Comment (Shibayama)
If you can immediately see through this, your eye will be like a shooting star and your spirituality like lightning.
Wumen's Verse (Shibayama)
When the vividly working wheel turns
Even an expert is lost.
Four directions, above and below:
South, north, east, and west.

Gateless Gate 45

204
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #45
Who Is That One?

Personnel and Date
  • WUZU "Qingyuan" Fayan (Goso Hôen, 1024-1104, 20th gen), disciple of Baiyun Shouduan
  • Date guess: ca. 1087
Case (Yamada)
Master and Patriarch Fayan of Wuzu said, “Even Shakyamuni and Maitreya are servants of that one. Just tell me, who is that one?”[1]
[1] “…are servants of another. Tell me, who is that other” (Aitken);
“…are servants of another. Tell me, who is that?” (Cleary);
“…are his slaves. Tell me, who is he?” (Guogu);
“…servants to someone else. Right now: speak up! Tell me! Who is that someone else?” (Hinton);
“…are his servants. Who is he?” (Low);
“…are servants of another. I want to ask you, who is he?” (Sekida);
“…are both servants of that one. Now tell me, who is it?” (Senzaki);
“…are but his servants. Now tell me, who is he?” (Shibayama);

Wumen's Comment (Yamada)
If you clearly recognize that one, it will be just like meeting your father at the crossroads. It is not necessary to ask others whether it is he or not.
Wumen's Verse (Yamada)
Don’t draw another’s bow;
Don’t ride another’s horse;
Don’t speak of another’s faults;
Don’t inquire into another’s affairs.

Gateless Gate 38

203
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #38
A Buffalo Passes through a Window

Personnel and Date
  • WUZU "Qingyuan" Fayan (Goso Hôen, 1024-1104, 20th gen), disciple of Baiyun Shouduan
  • Date guess: ca. 1086
Case (Shibayama)
Wuzu said, “To give an example, it is like a buffalo passing through a window.
Its head, horns, and four legs have all passed through. Why is it that its tail cannot?”[1]
[1] “It is like a buffalo that passes through a latticed window. Its head, horns, and four legs all pass through. What can’t its tail pass through as well?” (Aitken);
“It is as if an ox had passed through a window screen: Its head, horns, and four hooves have all passed through; why can’t the tail pass through?” (Cleary);
“It is like a water buffalo passing through a window frame. Its horns and hooves have all passed through. What can’t the tail pass through?” (Guogu);
“It’s like a water buffalo passing your window. Nose, horns, four hooves: they all lumber slowly by. But then, how is it the tail never goes past?” (Hinton);
“A buffalo passes through the window. His head, horns, four legs all go through. But why can’t the tail go through also?” (Low);
“It is like a buffalo that get out of his enclosure. His horns, his head, and his hoofs all pass through. Why can’t his tail also pass through?” (Senzaki);
“A buffalo passes by the window. His head, horns, and four legs all go past. But why can’t the tail pass too?” (Sekida);
“For example, it’s just like a great cow passing through a latticed window. Her head, horns, and four legs have passed through. Why is it that her tail can’t pass through?” (Yamada).

Wumen's Comment (Shibayama)
If you can penetrate to the point of this koan, open your Zen eye to it, and give a turning word to it, you will then be able to repay the four obligations above and help the three existences below. If you still cannot do so, work with the tail singleheartedly until you can really grasp it as your own.
Wumen's Verse (Shibayama)
If it passes through, it falls into a ditch;
If it turns back it is destroyed.
This tiny tail,
How extremely marvelous!

Gateless Gate 36

202
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #36
Meeting One Who Has Accomplished the Way

Personnel and Date
  • WUZU "Qingyuan" Fayan (Goso Hôen, 1024-1104, 20th gen), disciple of Baiyun Shouduan
  • Date guess: ca. 1085
Case (Aitken)
Wuzu said, “When you meet someone attained in the Dao on the road, do not make your greeting with words or with silence. How will you make your greeting?”[1]
[1] “On the road, when you encounter people who have attained the Way, you do not face them with speech or silence. So tell me, how do you face them?” (Cleary);
“If on the road you meet a person who has fulfilled the way, greet this person with neither words nor silence. Tell me, how will you respond?” (Guogu);
“You meet a sage-master of Buddha-Way on the road, meet him not with words and not with silence. Right now, speak up! Tell me! How do you meet him?” (Hinton);
“When you meet a man of the Way on the way, do not greet him with words do not greet him with silence. Tell me how will you greet him?” (Low)
“When you meet a Zen master on the road, you cannot speak, you cannot remain silent. What will you do?” (Senzaki);
“When you meet a man of the Way on the path, do not meet him with words or with silence. Tell me, how will you meet him” (Sekida);
“If you meet a man of Dao on the way, greet him neither with words nor with silence. Now tell me, how will you greet him?” (Shibayama);
“If you meet a man on the path who has accomplished the Way, do not greet him with words or silence. Tell me, how will you greet him?” (Yamada).

Wumen's Comment (Aitken)
If you become intimate with this matter, you are certainly to be warmly congratulated. If it is not yet clear, then you must be alert to every single thing.
Wumen's Verse (Aitken)
Meeting someone attained in the Dao on the road,
Don’t make your greeting with words or with silence;
A punch in the jaw!
If you want to realize – just realize.

Gateless Gate 35

201
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #35
Chien's Soul is Separated

Personnel and Date
  • WUZU "Qingyuan" Fayan (Goso Hôen, 1024-1104, 20th gen), disciple of Baiyun Shouduan
  • Date guess: ca. 1084
Case (Shibayama)
Wuzu asked a monk, “Chien and her soul are separated: which is the true one?”[1]
[1] “The woman Chien and her spirit separated. Which is the true Chien?” (Aitken);
“A woman split her soul; which was the real one?” (Cleary);
“[at a funeral], ‘This beautiful woman has died and her spirit has departed. Which is the real person?’” (Guogu);
“Twain-Beauty’s sky-spirit fled to a life with her true love, leaving her earth-spirit to live on at home. Which was the actual Twain-Beauty?” (Hinton);
“Chien and her soul are separated. Who is the true Chien?” (Low);
“Chien, the Chinese woman, had two souls. One was always sick at home, and the other was a married woman with two children, living in another province. Which was the true soul?” (Senzaki);
“Chien’s souls separated from her being. Which was the real Chien?” (Sekida);
“Chien and her soul are separated; which one is the true Chien?” (Yamada).

Wumen's Comment (Shibayama)
If you are enlightened in the truth of this koan, you will then know that coming out of one husk and getting into another is like a traveler’s putting up at hotels. In case you are not yet enlightened, do not rush about blindly. When suddenly earth, water, fire, and air are decomposed, you will be like a crab fallen into boiling water, struggling with its seven arms and eight legs. Do not say that I have not warned you.
Wumen's Verse (Shibayama)
Ever the same the moon among the clouds;
Different from each other, the mountain and the valley.
How wonderful! How blessed!
Is this one, or two?