Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #2
Dogen's 300 #102
Baizhang and the Fox (extended)
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #2
Dogen's 300 #102
Baizhang and the Fox (extended)
- BAIZHANG Huaihai (Hyakujo Ekai, 720-814, 9th gen), disciple of Mazu Daoyi (709-788).
- An old man/fox
- HUANGBO Xiyun (Obaku Kiun, 755? - 850, 10th gen), disciple of Baizhang H (720-814).
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. Aitken: Once when Baizhang gave a series of talks, a certain old man was always there listening together with the monks. When they left, he would leave too. One day, however, he remained behind. Baizhang asked him, "Who are you, standing here before me?"
The master asked him, “What man are you, standing in front of me?”
The man replied,“Indeed, I am not a man. In the past, in the time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived on this mountain as a priest.Then he asked, “Does a perfectly enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?”
On one occasion a monk asked me, 'Does a perfectly enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?'
I answered, '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 on my behalf and release me from the body of a fox.”
The master answered, “The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured.”
Upon hearing this, the old man immediately became deeply enlightened. Making his bow, he said, “I have now been released from the old fox and will be behind the mountain. I dare to make a request of the Master. Please perform my funeral as you would for a deceased priest.”
The master had Inô strike the anvil with a gavel and announce to the monks that after the meal there would be a funeral service for a deceased priest. The monks wondered, saying, “All are healthy. No one is sick in the infirmary. What's this all about?”
After the meal, the master led the monks to the foot of a rock behind the mountain and with his staff poked out the dead body of a fox. He then performed the ceremony of cremation.
That evening the master ascended the rostrum in the hall and told the monks the story.
Huangbo thereupon asked, “The man of old missed the turning word and fell to the state of a fox for 500 lives. Suppose every time he answered he made no mistakes, what would happen then?”
The master said, “Just come nearer and I'll tell you.”
Huangbo then went up to the master and slapped him.
The master clapped his hands and, laughing aloud, said, “I thought the barbarian's beard was red, but here is a barbarian with a red beard!”
Cleary: Whenever Master Baizhang held a meeting, an old man used to listen to the teaching along with the assembly. When the people of the assembly left, the old man would also leave. Then one day the old man stayed behind, and the master asked him who he was.
Gu: Every time Baizhang taught, there was an old man who followed the congregation to listen to dharma talks. When the congregation dispersed, so would the old man. Unexpectedly, one day this elderly man stayed behind, so Baizhang approached him, "Who is it that stands before me?"
Hinton: Often, when Master Hundred-Elder Mountain spoke before the sangha, there was an old man listening to the dharma with all the monks. When the monks left, he left too. But one day, this stranger stayed behind, and the master asked, "Who is this person standing here before me?"
Low: 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. The master asked him, "Who are you standing in front of me?"
Sekida: When Baizhang Osho delivered a certain series of sermons, an old man always followed the monks to the main hall and listened to him. When the monks left the hall, the old man would also leave. One day, however, he remained behind, and Baizhang asked him, "Who are you, standing here before me?"
Senzaki: Baizhang was delivering a series of Zen lectures. An old man attended them, unnoticed by the monks. At the end of each talk, when the monks left the hall, he would follow them out. But one day he remained, and after the monks had gone, Baizhang asked him, "Who are you?"
Shibayama: Whenever Master Baizhang gave teisho on Zen, an old man sat with the monks to listen and always withdrew when they did. One day, however, he remained behind, and the master asked, "Who are you standing here before me?"
Loori (Dogen's 300): When Master Baizhang Huaihai taught, an old man would always come to hear his dharma talk. He always left when the assembly did, but one day he didn't leave. Bazhang asked, "Who is it that stands there?"
 Kashyapa Buddha is the sixth of the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity, Shakyamuni being the seventh. Here we may understand that “the time of Kashyapa Buddha” means long, long ago. (Sato)
Aitken: The old man replied, "I am not a human being. In the far distant past, in the time of Kasyapa Buddha, I was head priest at this mountain."
Cleary: The old man said, "I am not a human being. In the past, in the time of a prehistoric Buddha, I used to live on this mountain."
Gu: The old man said, "I'm actually not human. In the time of the ancient Buddha Kasyapa, when I was dwelling here on this very mountain,..."
Hinton: "Someone. No one. Not a human being," the old man replied. "Kalpas ago, in the long-lost time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived here on this mountain."
Low: The old man replied, "I am not a human being. In the past, in the time of Kashyapa Buddha, I lived on the mountain as a Zen priest."
Sekida: The old man replied, "I am not a human being. In the old days of Kashyapa Buddha, I was a head monk, living here on this mountain."
Senzaki: The man replied, "Many eons ago, I was a human being. This was in the time of Kashyapa Buddha (the prehistoric Buddha), and I was a Zen master living on this mountain."
Shibayama: The old man replied, "I am not a human being. In the past, in the time of the Kasho Buddha, I was the head of this monastery."
Loori: The old man siad, "I am not a human being. I was abbot of this monastery at the time of Kasyapa Buddha."
 Aitken: "One day a monk asked me, 'Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?' I replied 'Such a person does not fall under the law of cause and effect.'"
Cleary: "As it happened, a student asked me whether or not greatly cultivated people are also subject to causality. I said that they are not subject to causality,..."
Gu: "...a student asked me, 'Does a person of great practice still fall into cause and effect or not?' I replied that he does not fall into cause and effect."
Hinton: "One day back then, a monk asked: 'a great one who's cultivated the fundamentals, who's mastered them: is he too tangled in the laws of karma?' 'He's not tangled in karmic law,' was my answer." Low: "On one occasion a monk asked me, 'Is an awakened person subject to the law of causation or not?' I answered, 'He is not.'"
Sekida: "One day a student asked me 'Does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?' I answered, 'No, he does not.'"
Senzaki: "One day a student of mine asked me whether or not an enlightened person is subject to the law of causation and I foolishly replied, 'An enlightened person is not subject to the law of causation.'" Shibayama: "Once a monk asked me, 'Does an enlightened an also fall into causation or not?' I replied, 'He does not.'"
Loori: "A student asked me, 'Does an enlightened person fall into cause and effect?' I said to him, 'No, such a person does not.'"
 A turning word (tengo) is a word or phrase which has the power to turn delusions into enlightenment.
Aitken: "With this I was reborn five hundred times as a fox. Please say a turning word for me and release me from the body of a fox." (Sato)
Cleary: "...and I fell into the state of a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Now I ask you to turn a word in my behalf, so that I may be freed from being a wild fox."
Gu: "As a consequence, I have been condemned to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. I now ask you, Master, for a turning phrase so as to release me from being a wild fox."
Hinton: "And since then I've been reborn five hundred times as a fox roaming the countryside. I've come to ask you, Master, if you won't please give me the treasure of a hinge-phrase that will liberate me from this life as a wild fox."
Low: "Because of this answer I have had to live as a fox for five hundred lives." Now, I beg you, Master, please say a turning word on my behalf and release me from the fox's body."
Sekida: "Since then I have been doomed to undergo five hundred rebirths as a fox. I beg you now to give the turning word to release me from my life as a fox."
Senzaki: "For this answer, evidencing a clinging to the absolute, I became a fox for five hundred rebirths, including this present one. Will you free me with a Zen word from this prison of a fox's body?"
Shibayama: "Because of this answer, I was made to live as a fox for five hundred lives. Now I beg you, please say the turning words on my behalf and release me from the fox body."
Loori: "Because of this, I became a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Revernd master, please say a turning word for me. Free me of this wild fox body."
 Aitken: He then asked Baizhang, "Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect or not?" Baizhang said, "Such a person does not evade the law of cause and effect."
Cleary: Then the old man asked, "Are greatly cultivated people still subject to causality?" The master said, "They are not blind to causality."
Gu: Then he asked, "Does a person of great practice still fall into cause and effect or not?" Baizhang said, "He is not deluded about cause and effect."
Hinton: Then he continued, asking: "A great one who's cultivated the fundamentals, who's mastered them: is he too tangled in the laws of karma?' "He's not free of karmic law," Hundred-Elder replied.
Low: Then he asked, "Is an awakened person subject to the law of causation or not?" The master answered, "No one can escape the law of karma."
Sekida: "Tell me, does a man of enlightenment fall under the yoke of causation or not?" Baizhang answered, "He does not ignore causation."
Senzaki: "Please tell me your answer Is an enlightened person subject to the law of causation?" Baizhang replied instantly, "An enlightened person is one with the law of causation!"
Shibayama: The old man then asked Baizhang, "Does an enlightened man also fall into causation or not?" The Master said, "He does not ignore causation."
Loori: Then he asked Baizhang, "Does an enlightened person fall into cause and effect?" Baizhang said, "Don't ignore cause and effect."
 Aitken: Hearing this, the old man immediately was enlightened. Making his bows he said, "I am released from the body of a fox. The body is on the other side of this mountain. I wish to make a request of you. Please, Abbot, perform my funeral as for a priest."
Cleary: The old man was greatly enlightened at these words. Bowing, he said, "I have shed the wild fox body, which remains on the other side of the mountain. I am taking the liberty of telling you, and asking you to perform a monk's funeral." Gu: At these words, the old man was greatly awakened. He bowed in reverence and said, "I have now shed this fox's body behind the other side of the mountain. Please, master, give me a funeral service due to a dead monk."
Hinton: And upon hearing those words, the old man had a great awakening. Bowing reverently to Hundred-Elder, he said: "The fox's body that's no longer mine, it's there on the mountain's far side. I wonder, Master, please, if I may request the rites for a dead monk?"
Low: As soon as he heard this the old man was awakened. Bowing, he said, "I have now been released from the fox's body, which can be found behind the mountain. May I make a request of the master? Please perform a funeral ceremony for me as you would for a dead priest."
Sekida: No sooner had the old man heard these words than he was enlightened. Making his bows, he said, "I am emancipated from my life as a fox. I shall remain on this mountain. I have a favor to ask of you: would you please bury my body as that of a dead monk."
Senzaki: At these words, the old man was enlightened, and cried out, "Now I am free!" Paying homage with a deep bow he said, "I am no longer a fox, but I must leave this body in my dwelling place behind this mountain. Please give me a monk's funeral." Then he disappeared.
Shibayama: Hearing this the old man was at once enlightened. Making a bow to Baizhang he said, "I have now been released from the fox body, which will be found behind the mountain. I dare to make a request of the Master. Please bury it as you would a deceased monk."
Loori: Immediately the old man was greatly enlightened. He bowed and said, "I am now liberated from the body of the wild fox. My fox body will be found on the other side of the mountain. Master, please do me a favor and bury it as you would a deceased monastic."
 Inô (Chinese: awei-na; Sanskrit: karmandana) is an official position and title in a Zen monastery, being the monk in charge of rules, regulations, and the registry of monks. In order to make an announcement in the temple, the monks often used a kind of wooden anvil (byakutsui), which was about 120 cm tall, cut octagonally, and made slimmer toward the top surface. A gavel, which was also cut in octagonal shape, was used to strike the center of the surface of the anvil hard after first moving it several times in a spiral on the anvil's surface. (Sato)
Aitken: Baizhang had a head monk strike the signal board and inform the assembly that after the noon meal there wold be a funeral service for a priest. The monks talked about this in wonder. "All of us are well. There is no one in the morgue. What does the teacher mean?" After the meal, Baizhang led the monks to the foot of a rock on the far side of the mountain. And there, with his staff, he poked out the body of a dead fox. He then performed the ceremony of cremation.
Cleary: So the master had one of the group hit the sounding board and announce to the community that they would send off a dead monk after mealtime. The community debated about this, wondering how it could be so, seeing that everyone was fine and there had been no one in the infirmary. After the meal, the master led the group to a cave on the other side of the mountain, where he fished out a dead fox with his staff. Then he cremated it.
Gu: Baizhang ordered the rector to pound the gavel to summon the assembly and announced to them, "After we eat, we shall hold a funeral for a dead monk." The congregation was puzzled and began to discuss the matter among themselves. They went to the infirmary, but there was no one sick there. They wondered why Baizhang was acting like this. After their meal, Baizhang led the congregation to a cliff on the other side of the mountain, where he used his cane and dragged out the body of a dead fox from a crevice in the rocks. They then formally cremated the body as they would a monk's.
Hinton: Hundred-Elder told the supervising monk to strike the clapper and announce to the sangha that after the meal they would bid farwell to a dead monk. The whole sangha started talking: "We're all perfectly fine. No one's been sick in the infirmary's Nirvana Hall. So how can this be?" After they'd eaten, Hundred-Elder led the sangha to the mountains far side; and there, poking around with his travel-staff at the bottom of a cliff, he uncovered a dead fox. Then the sangha build a ritual fire and burned the body.
Low: The master had the head monk strike the gavel and announce to the rest that after the meal a funeral service would be held for a dead priest. The monks wondered, musing, "We are all healthy. No one is sick in the infirmary. What is going on?" After the meal, the master led the monks and, with his staff, from under a bush he poked out the body of a dead fox. He then performed the ceremony of cremation.
Sekida: Baizhang had the director of the monks strike with the gavel and inform everyone that after the midday meal there would be a funeral service for a dead monk. The monks wondered at this, saying, "everyone is in good health; nobody is in the sick ward. What does this mean?" After the meal Baizhang led the monks to the foot of a rock on the far side of the mountain and with his staff poked out the dead body of a fox and performed the ceremony of cremation.
Senzaki: The next day Baizhang told the head monk to make preparations for a monk's funeral. "But no one has been sick in the infirmary," wondered the monks. "What can this mean?" After dinner, Baizhang led the monks out of the dining hall and around the mountain. There they found a cave. Taking his staff, Baizhang poked around in the leaves at the cave's mouth until he uncovered the body of a fox. He then performed the ceremony of cremation.
Shibayama: The Master had the Ino strike the gavel and announce to the monks that there would be a funeral for a deceased monk after the midday meal. The monks wondered, saying, "We are all in good health. There is no sick monk in the Nirvana Hall. What is it all about?" After the meal the Master led the monks to a rock behind the mountain, poked out a dead fox with his staff, and cremated it.
Loori: Baizhang asked the head of the monastics' hall to announce to the assembly that they were going to have a funeral for a deceased monastic after their meal. The monastics said to one another, "Everyone here is well and no one in the nirvana hall is sick. What's going on?" After the meal, Baizhang led the assembly to the base of a rock behind the mountain. With his stick he poked out a dead wild fox. Respecting proper procedure, they cremated the body.
 Yamada's note: Huangbo, in order to teach himself true humbleness, constantly prostrated himself before the Buddhist altar, whereby hitting the floor with his forehead so hard that there eventually formed a protuberance, which came to be known as one of his physical features.
Aitken: That evening he took the high seat before his assembly and told the monks the whole story. Huangbo stepped forward and said, "As you say, the old man missed the turning word and was reborn as a fox five hundred times. What if he had given the right answer each time he was asked a question -- what would have happened then?"
Cleary: That evening the master went up in the hal and recounted the foregoing events. Huangbo asked, "An ancient who gave a mistaken answer fell into the state of a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes; what becomes of one who never makes a mistake?"
Gu: That night, Baizhang ascended up to the dharma hall and related the full story of what had happened. Huangbo then asked, "One wrong reply and this old man was condemned to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. If his reply had been correct, then what?"
Hinton: That everning, the master took his place in the Dharma Hall and explained to his sangha what had happened, what formthe origin-tissue had taken in the man's life. At this the head monk, Yellow-Bitterroot Mountain, asked: "When that long-ago man got the hinge-phrase wrong, he was condemned to five hundred lives as a wild fox. But what if you get it right every time, hinge after hinge, what then?"
Low: That evening the master ascended the rostrum in the hall and told the monks the whole story. Huangbo, a senior disciple, thereupon asked, "The man of old missed the turning word and had to live as a fox for five hundred lives. Suppose every time he answered he had made no mistakes, what would have happened then?"
Sekida: That evening he ascended the rostrum and told the monks the whole story. Huangbo thereupon asked him, "The old man gave the wrong answer and was doomed to be a fox for five hundred rebirths. Now, suppose he had given the right answer, what would have happened then?
Senzaki: Later that evening, Baizhang related the story to the monks. Huangbo, after listening carefully, asked Baizhang, "I understand that a certain person, many ages ago, gave a wrong answer. For this he was turned into a fox for five hundred rebirths. No please tell me -- if some modern master, being asked many questions, always gives the right answer, what then?" Shibayama: In the evening the Master ascended the rostrum in the hall and told the monks the whole story. Huangbo thereupon asked, "The old man failed to give the correct turning words and was made to live as a fox for five hundred lives, you say; if, however, his answer had not been incorrect each time, what who he have become?"
Loori: In the evening Baizhang gave a dharma talk and told the story of the old man. Then Huangbo asked, "The teacher of old gave a wrong answer and became a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. What would have happened if he hadn't give a wrong answer?"
 Aitken: Baizhang said, "Just step up here closer, and I'll tell you."
Cleary: The master said, "Come here and I'll tell you."
Gu: Baizhang said, "Come here and I'll tell you."
Hinton: "Come. Stand before me," said the master, "and I'll tell you."
Low: The master responded, "Just come here a moment and I'll tell you."
Sekida: Baizhang said, "You come here to me, and I will tell you."
Senzaki: "If you will come up here to me," Baizhang replied, "I will tell you."
Shibayama: The Master said, "Come closer to me, I'll tell you."
Loori: Baizhang said, "Come closer and I will tell you."
 Aitken: Huangbo went up to Baizhang and slapped him in the face.
Cleary: Huangbo then approached and gave the master a slap.
Gu: Huangbo then went up and gave Baizhang a good slap in the face.
Hinton: Yellow-Bitterroot walked up to Hundred-Elder and slapped him once!
Low: Huangbo went up to the master and slapped him.
Sekida: Huangbo went up to Baizhang and boxed his ears.
Senzaki: Without hesitating, Huangbo got up and hurried to his teacher, giving him a resounding slap on the cheek, for he knew that this was the answer his teacher intended for him.
Shibayama: Huangbo then stepped forward to Baizhang and slapped him.
Loori: Huangbo went closer and slapped Baizhang's face.
 Aitken: Baizhang clapped his hands and laughed, saying, "I thought the Barbarian had a red beard, but here is a red-bearded Barbarian."
Cleary: The master clapped and said, "I thought foreigners' beards were red; there is even a red-bearded foreigner here!"
Gu: Baizhang clapped his hands and laughed and said, "I knew the (Western) barbarian's beard was red but didn't know that red was the beard of the barbarian!"
Hinton: Clapping his hands together and laughing, the master said, "People talk about Bodhidharma, the Barbarian with a red beard. But suddenly, right here before me, I see the red-bearded Barbarian himself!"
Low: The master clapped his hands and, laughing aloud, cried, "I thought the barbarian's beard was red, but here is a red-bearded barbarian."
Sekida: Baizhang clapped his hands with a laugh and exclaimed, "I was thinking that the barbarian had a red beard, but now I see before me the red-bearded barbarian himself."
Senzaki: Baizhang clapped his hands and laughed aloud at this discernment. "I thought the foreigner had a red beard," he cried, "and now I know it!"
Shibayama: The Master laughed aloud, clapping his hands, and said, "I thought a foreigner's beard is red, but I see that it is a foreigner with a red beard."
Loori: Baizhang clapped his hands in laughter and said, "I've heard of barbarians whose beards were red. Here is a red-bearded barbarian."
Not falling under the law of cause and effect - for what reason had he fallen into the state of a fox? The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured - for what reason has he been released from a fox's body? Aitken: "Not falling under the law of cause and effect." Why should this prompt five hundred lives as a fox? "Not evading the law of cause and effect." Why should this prompt a return to human life? If you have the single eye of realization, you will appreciate how old Baizhang lived five hundred lives as a fox as lives of grace.
If in regard to this you have the one eye, then you will understand that the former Baizhang enjoyed 500 lives of grace as a fox.
Cleary: If not subject to causality, how could one degenerate into a wild fox? If not blind to causality, how would one be liberated from being a wild fox? If you can set a single eye here, then you will know how the former resident of the mountain gained five hundred lifetimes of elegance.
Gu:"Not falling into cause and effect" -- why was he condemned to be a wild fox? "Not being deluded about cause and effect" -- why was he released from the fox's body? If you have the eyes of insight, then you will know why, long ago on Baizhang Mountain, the old man won for himself five hundred lifetimes flowing with the wind.
Hinton: Not tangled in karmic law: how could that make someone a fox roaming the countryside? Not free of karmic law: how could that liberate someone from a fox's body? You here before me in this sangha: if you can reveal this wholly with Buddha-eye clarity, you'll understand how old Hundred-Elder grew rich folicking like wind-drift through five hundred life-times.
Low: "Not subject to the law of causation" -- why did he have to live out his lives as a fox? "No one can escape the law of karma" -- for what reason was he released from the body of a fox? If with regard to this you have the one eye, then you will understand that the former Baizhang enjoyed his five hundred lives as a fox.
Sekida: Not falling under causation: how could this make the monk a fox? Not ignoring causation: how could this make the old man emancipated? If you come to understan this, youi will realize how old Baizhang would have enjoyed five hundred rebirths as a fox.
Senzaki: "An enlightened person is not subject to" -- How can this answer make the monk a fox? "An enlightened person is one with the law of causation" -- How can this answer emancipate the fox? To understand this clearly, you must have only One eye.
Shibayama: "Not falling into causation." Why was he turned into a fox? "Not ignoring causation." Why was he released from the fox body?
Not falling, not obscuring, A block of wood, plastic etc. with a different number of spots on each side, used in games (pl.: dice). (Sato)
Two faces, one die.
Not obscuring, not falling,
A thousands mistakes, ten thousand mistakes.
Aitken: Not falling, not evading -- two faces of the same die.
Cleary: Not subject, not blind -- Two faces of one die.
Gu: Not falling, not deluded, Two faces of a single die.
Hinton: Not tangled in karma, not free of karma: two colors in a lush procession of color.
Low: Not falling, not escaping, Two faces, one die.
Sekida: Not falling, not ignoring: Two faces of one die.
Senzaki: Subject to or not subject to? The same die shows two faces.
Shibayama: Not falling, not ignoring: Odd and even are on one die.
 Aitken: Not evading, not falling -- a thousand mistakes, ten thousand mistakes."
Cleary: Not blind, not subject -- A thousand errors, ten thousand mistakes.
Gu: Not deluded, not falling, Tens of thousands of errors!
Hinton: Not free of karma, not tangled in karma: all a thousand, ten thousand times wrong.
Low: Not escaping, not falling, A thousand mistakes, ten thousand mistakes.
Sekida: Not ignoring, not falling: A thousand errors, a million mistakes.
Senzaki: Not subject to or subject to? Both are mistaken!
Shibayama: Not ignoring, not falling: Hundreds of thousands of regrets!
Gaofeng Miao's Verse (Cleary)
The former's "not subject," the latter's "not blind" -- is there any gain or loss?Lingyuan's Verse (Cleary)
If there is no causality, how can ther be subjection and release?
If there is, try to come forth and express it clearly.
Is there? Is there?
Clearly saying "not subject," when was the old man ever mistaken?Baizhang Zheng's Verse (Cleary)
Pointedly saying "not blind," how did Baizhang ever understand?
Nonunderstanding with nonmistaking together express subtle awareness;
Nonsubjection and nonblindness distinctly represent the true state.
The causes and effects of the whole potential have reasons:
Rising and sinking in the totality, there is nothing taboo.
"Wrong" is its own wrong; "right" is whose right?
Distracted from the source at the spoken word, on gave rise to deliberation;
Questioning again, he had it brought up once more.
Secretly watching the rousing of wind and thunder underneath it all,
With an opposing wind he shouted him around, so the thunder's rumble died.
Shutting up, the fox returned to his home to hid his disgraceful ineptness;
Baizhang lifted the autumn moon all the way over the peak.
An artist draws a picture of hell,Anonymous Master's Verse (Shibayama)
Depicting hundreds and thousands of scenes.
Setting down his brush, he looks it over.
And feels a shiver run through him.
"Not falling into causation"A Possibly Related Tale
And he was turned into a fox -- the first mistake.
"Not ignoring causation"
And he was released from the fox body -- the second mistake.
One day Baizhang asked Huangbo, "Where have you been?"Aitken's Comment
"I have been to the foot of Mount Daxiong to gather mushrooms," replied Huangbo.
"Then didn't you come across a tiger?"
At this question from Baizhang, Huangbo instantly roared at him, himself becoming a tiger.
Baizhang swung up his axe to strike him but Huangbo gripped his teacher's arm, slapped him, and left him, laughing heartily.
Later, at the time teisho, Baizhang ascended the dais and said to the monks, "At the foot of Mount Daiyu there is a tiger. You monks should have a good look at him. I myself was bitten by him today."
The fox is everything in Asian folklore that it is in Western folklore -- tricky, dishonest, and unreliable. Even more, in the East the fox is the familiar of the witch -- like the black cat in our culture, but more dangerous. There is something occultly nasty about an oriental fox. It can possess you, as it possessed Baizhang the Elder.Cleary's Comment
From the very beginning of Buddhism the effort of the believer has been to purify all past karma. Attaining such liberation, one has no residual cause for a return -- there is no further rebirth, no further suffering. Such a realized Buddha has harmonized completely with essential nature.
But far from being liberated, Baizhang the Elder had been enslaved. What was wrong with his answer? Or was he wrong?
Baizhang the Elder had said that an enlightened person does not fall under the law of cause and effect. This can be construed in two ways: the literal and the essential. The literal view is the belief that there really can be Buddhas who are harmonized perfectly with essential nature. Then there is the essential view: the integral purity of all beings from the very beginning.
Baizhang the Younger says, "Such a person [an enlightened one] does not evade the law of cause and effect?" What is he saying here? On the one hand, Buddha nature is steady and serene; it does not come or go, it is always at rest. On the other hand, everything depends upon everything else. Karma and no karma are inextricably mixed. Life and death, no-life and no-death -- these only seem to be separate matters.
Don't just go skipping over the cremation ceremony. Hakuin, a thousand years later, challenged Baizhang on this: "What you doing, old Baizhang, performing a funeral for a fox as though it were a priest?" He is raising an important point.
The first essential point of this wild fox story is to make it clear that the practice and experience of the Zen Buddhist No does not negate causality, reason, or morality; the real meaning of No is to penetrate the veil of subjective ideas and imaginings that blind us to objective causal relationships. Thus Zen practice does not exempt us from what is actually happening; it frees us to see what is really happening. What Zen exempts us from is the compulsive need to assure ourselves that the world is as we have learned to assume it is. It frees us from the mesmerism of wishful and fearful thinking. It opens the door to reality.Guo Gu's Comment
Huangbo's "slap" symbolizes the dismantling of the framework of the teaching event once the point had been made. The phantasmagoric nature of the event in Baizhang's story symbolizes the expedient nature of the teachings.
"I thought foreigners' beards were red; there is even a red-bearded foreigner here!" In Zen idiom this means, "I know what Zen masters are like; here is another Zen master!" This was Baizhang's recognition of Huangbo's mastery.
A positive interpretation of the old man's denial of subjection to causality means artful and creative participation in the world, by free will rather than compulsion. This is what Wumen refers to as "five hundred lifetimes of elegance."
In premodern East Asia imaginaire, a fox is seen to be a shape-shifter, a trickster, a deceiver. Even though the old man's reply about karma, or cause and effect, was indeed true, from the Chan perspective, he was a wild fox. Why? Because he himself was deceived by the illusion of samsara, and in answering his student, he deceived others. Thus, samsara continued for him, confining him for so long in suffering. So he begged Baizhang for words that can turn delusion to awakening -- by revealing the true nature of right and wrong, falling and not falling, delusion and awakening. Baizhang replied to the same question, changing "does not fall into" to "is not deluded about." Baizhang thus shattered the old man's attachment to right and wrong, falling and not falling, delusion and awakening.Low's Comment
The red beard remark: Baizhang is saying, How wonderful! Men are males, males are men, women are females, females are women. Similarly, not falling into cause and effect is not to be deluded by cause and effect. However, if you believe that "does not fall into" and "is not deluded about" are identical, then you are also wrong!
"I am not a human being." This case is acted out against the background of this affirmation. You are not a human being either. You are not a body or brain, not a soul, spirit, nor even Buddha nature. And you are most certainly not nothing. But please resist the temptation to ask, "Then what am I?" This lust to be something is the cause of all karma. Awakening to the faith mind by which one enters into the vast mystery of knowing and being comes when you see clearly you are not a human being.Sekida's Comment
The old man says, Yes, there is a possible way out of the rat race, so he is punished by having to live or five hundred lives as a fox. Whay was he punished? After all his is only telling us what we would expect. Is this not what spiritual practice is about? Do we not practice to free ourselves from the trammels of existence, to find peace and love, to get off the gerbil wheel of samsara? One basic question of this koan is whether we have to bear the consequences of our actions, or can escape them. What is the merit for coming to awakening? If an awakened person is not subject to the law of karma, then, because we are all inherently fully awakened, none of us is. But how can this be possible?
Upon hearing Baizhang say, "No one can escape the law of karma," the old man is awakened. When he hears that no one can escape the law of karma, he escapes the law of karma! He is finally released from the fox's body. This is the bite of the koan: I am not a human being, yet as a human being I am subject to the law of karma. The old man did not give the wrong answer, nor Baizhang the right one. Nor is it that simply being one with the fox, the whole world, the church bell chime, we have resolved the whole dilemma. One may get a glimpse of the truth, "I am beyond all form," but that does not mean that one can live in accordance with that glimpse. To live a life of no separation is beyond most of us. This koan is an invitation to an ethical life, a life that is thoroughly grounded in a moral life. Although one gets beyond good and bad, one does not thereby obtain a license to commit evil.
Huangbo asks, "Suppose he made no mistakes, what would happen then?" This question sums up the whole mystery of the awakened state: what do fully awakened persons do after they reach full awakening? Is it simply a question of vanishing into nothing? This is what the koan is about.
Baizhang happened to find the dead body of a fox and invented the whole story.Senzaki's Comment
Causation. A nen is either a unit of thought or a steadily willed activity of mind. Zen theory sees the activity of consciousness as a continuous interplay between a sequence of nen. The first nen always acts intuitively and performs a direct, pure cognition of the object. The second nen immediately follows the first and makes the first its object of reflection. By this means, one becomes conscious of one's own thoughts. The secondary nen integrate and synthesize preceding nen into a continuous stream of thought. These nen are the basis of self-consciousness and ego-activity. The integrating, synthesizing action of consciousness is the third nen. Reasoning, introspection, and so forth come from the third nen. But this third nen, clouded by its ego-centered activity, often argues falsely and draws mistaken conclusions. This delusive thinking in turn interferes with the pure cognition of the first nen. Absolute samadhi cuts off delusive thoughts, the activity of the second and third nen ceases, and gradually the first nen is freed to perform its inherently pure and direct cognition. In this koan, causation represents the effect of each nen-thought on the next. It is not so much the actions of killing, stealing, wronging others, and so on that give rise to evil karma as it is the delusions of nen-thought, which thinks of killing, stealing, or wronging others.
When a phenomenon appears, it is there; when it disappears, it is not there. Everything is in constant mutation. But when your mind attaches itself and makes a problem of what there is or is not, then the feeling comes of being a victim of events, of falling under the yok f causation. A child does not feel such a yoke. He simply lives life as it happens and enjoys it because he lives in samadhi. Other animals, as well as plants as minerals, too, are all in a samadhi of their own. Only adult humans have lost the Eden of samadhi because of their deluded thinking. To free your own mind from delusion is the only true emancipation.
Baizhang answered, "He does not ignore causation." Baizhang recognizes that nen-thoughts always occur, that they necessarily leave their traces in the subconscious, and that hence karmic causation must occur. Thus, to ignore causation only compounds one's malady. To recognize causation constitutes the remedy for it.
Red-bearded Barbarian. The text might be paraphrased like this: "I thought Bodhidharma was read-bearded, but now I see before me a red-bearded Bodhidharma himself."
It is probable that Baizhang made up this tale himself, in order to impress on his monks the authority of the law of causation. The old man became a fox because he had postulated an enlightened person and separated himself from the law of causation.Shibayama's Comment
Every action brings its own results in the material world, in the realm of the mind and in society. None can break the law of causation. Enlightened person or unenlightened person it makes not the slightest difference. The person who understands the law is wise enough; the person who knows to beware of the law can live righteously. One who does as one pleases, yet stays within the bounds of the law, is a great sage. Those who believe in the power of the church or priestcraft to erase their sins are all foxes; they expose their inability to live congenially within the law and generate evil karma.
Huangbo was asking, "Where is the person who is always one with the law of causation?" Baizhang did not dare say, "I am that person." Instead, he was about to say, slapping Huangbo, "You are the one, my dear Alfonse," But Huangbo prevented this by slapping his teacher's face: "You are the one, my dear Gaston." Baizhang then clapped his hands and laughed. "I thought the foreigner had a read beard, and now I know it."
The point of the koan is to make Zen students realize what real emancipation is, and the superficial ghost story is just a means to illustrate the point. The fact of cause and effect is so clear and undeniable! This being the case, the person of real freedom would be the one who lives in peace in whatever circumstances cause and effect bring about. He is causation itself. What is the old man? What is Baizhang? Neither is a human being; neither is a fox. Anything is just "it." Anything is just causation. When the whole universe is causation itself, how can there be "falling" or "not falling"? You may say, "not ignoring causation," yet if you become attached to "not ignoring" you are turned into a fox. You may say, "not falling into causation," and if you do not become attached to it, you are released from the fox body. Falling and ignoring should both be broken through and transcended.Yamada's Comment
Baizhang's reply means that "an enlightened one does not ignore the fact of cause and effect, but lives according to it." This answer is opposed to "He does not fall into causation." Why did Baizhang dare to give such a contradictory reply, which stands over against the Mahayana teaching of emancipation from transmigration? The inexpressibly deep significance should be found here. One has made an irreparably fatal mistake if he thinks that "not falling into causation" is an incorrect reply while "not ignoring causation" is correct. Zen makes free use of both "not falling" and "not ignoring."
Approaching Baizhang, Huangbo gave his teacher a slap in the face. Did he mean, "Your reply -- I'll give it to you"? Wonderful indeed is the greatness of Baizhang. Splendid indeed is the freedom of Huangbo. the Master and the disciple are living in the same spirituality, and the great working of Zen is here naturally developed. The point of the koan should be clearly grasped here.
In accordance with the law of cause and effect, all phenomena are constantly changing. They have no definite form. On the other hand, the essential nature of things does not change. The phenomenal and the essential are two different aspects, but they are two aspects of one substance. From the very beginning, they are intrinsically one. Phenomenally, the man becomes a fox, and the fox becomes a man. Essentially, there is no change. It is always the same, from the very beginning, now, and on into the endless future.Daido Loori’s Comment (Dogen's 300)
"I thought the barbarian's beard was red, but here is a barbarian with a red beard!" In everyday language it would read something like this: "I think I am a deeply enlightened person, and I acknowledge that you, too, are deeply enlightened." Baizhang recognized that Huangbo had presented the genuine activity of his essential nature in a most lively way without even a trace of delusive thought or feeling adhering to it.
A fox life of 500 lives is nonetheless the life of grace. This is because when (the elder) Baizhang was a fox, he was the only fox in the whole universe, and when he was restored to being human, he was the only human in the whole universe. In spite of phenomenal changes, the essential nature does not change in the slightest from the beginning.
If you say, "falling into causation," you go straight to hell as quick as an arrow. If you say "not falling into causation," you are a fox through and through. How will you leap clear of Baizhang's trap?Daido's Interjections
Only Huangbo is able to see through Baizhang's clumsy ghost story. If you fall into the words and ideas or try to imitate Baizhang or Huangbo, you too will be a fox spirit. Say a word that goes beyond dualistic discriminations and free yourself of the fox body.
...one day he didn't leave. Baizhang asked, "Who is it that stands there?Daido’s Verse
He wants to test the stranger.
"...A student asked me, 'Does an enlightened person fall into cause and effect?' I said to him, 'No, such a person does not.'"
...he asked Baizhang, "Does an enlightened person fall into cause and effect?" Baizhang said, "Don't ignore cause and effect."
...Then Huangbo asked, "...What would have happened if he hadn't given a wrong answer?"
Tread carefully here; this is a lion stalking its prey.
Baizhang said, "Come closer and I will tell you."
The old man has a strategy of his own.
Huangbo went closer and slapped Baizhang's face.
The lion cub is a few steps ahead of him.
Baizhang...said, "I've heard of barbarians whose beards were red. Here is a red-bearded barbarian."
Ultimately it's all dirt from the same hole.
Self and other are two parts of the same reality.Setsusho’s Verse
When the activity of the mind ceases,
the ten thousand things return to the self,
where they have always been.
Walking the forest road backwardsHotetsu's Re-Telling: "Fox in the Henhouse"
Bloody elbows, bruised backside
“Where did I go wrong?”
Just this stinging
Long ago, in a pool hall, two novice monastics, having slipped away from Henhouse Monastery for an evening of what at the time seemed to be freedom, were playing eight-ball. Clack! went the cue against the solid five -- such a whole and lovely sound, and the polished colored sphere rolled so beautifully toward the pocket.Hotetsu's Verse
"Cause and effect, right there," said one monk.
The other monk lined up a shot, missed, and mused,
"Does an enlightened person fall under the law of cause and effect?"
"What's 'enlightened'?" said the first, and winked. Then added, as he took aim at the deep blue two, "Ask the master about that." Clack!
The next day, at afternoon samu in the garden, the two were pulling weeds. Weeds, weeds, and weeds.
"Well, I asked him."
"About the falling under causation thing?"
"What did he say?"
"He said an enlightened person does not fall under the law of cause and effect."
"Huh. What about an enlightened billiard ball?"
"I didn't ask. Wouldn't've had a chance to anyway. He turned into a fox and ran away."
"I'll be damned."
"I know. Weird, right?"
Another weed pulled, and then another. "Do you think he'll be back for the evening teisho?"
Five hundred fox-lives later, the latest Master Henhouse is giving the evening teisho.
"Monastics," she says, "as to old Gotama's second point, many of you have been getting it wrong. It's not that dukkha has a cause, but that dukkha has effects. 'Birth, aging, illness, death, union with what is displeasing, separation from what is pleasing, not getting what one wants' -- these things are dukkha and they cause reactions. Greed, hatred, delusion -- attachment and aversion -- are effects of dukkha. These effects can, in turn, cause further dukkha, but old Gotama's primary point is that reactivity is an effect of dukkha."
That night as Henhouse prepares for sleep she hears a scratching at her door. Opening it, she finds a fox.
"I was listening to your talk from outside the hall," says the fox.
"Were you?" says Henhouse.
"I have a question."
"Would enlightenment free one from the law of cause and effect?" asks the fox.
"The law of cause and effect? Are we talking about billiard balls?"
"What I mean is," says the fox, "this reactivity you were talking about. Can one be liberated from reactivity?"
"Oh, THAT law of cause and effect. Gotcha," says Henhouse as she steps out and sits down beside the fox on the portico floor. "Yes, liberation is possible."
"It would be lovely to not have reactivity -- to be free of that for good."
"'Liberated from' does not mean 'free of.' 'Liberated from' means not having to be controlled by reactions. There will always be reactions. To avoid falling under their control requires paying careful attention to them. Attend to the arising of a reaction, attend to its budding and blossoming. Investigate into its nature at every step."
The fox silently stares off at the distant moon rising over the treeline. At length he says, "I once told a monk that an enlightened person does not fall under cause and effect."
"I heard there was a master here once who said that, and then became a fox."
"Yep. That was me."
"You were right, what you said. The law of cause and effect cannot be obscured -- not if one is manifesting enlightenment. In delusion, though, we continually obscure cause and effect from ourselves. When the roots of reactivity are not investigated and remain hidden, reactivity dictates our actions. In so far as we manifest enlightenment, however, reactivity is revealed, inspected, known, and thus -- only thus -- is falling under it avoided."
"So...the enlightened person does not fall under cause and effect BECAUSE she doesn't obscure it."
"Because? Yes. Attention to reactions is the cue ball that knocks us out of being controlled by reactions."
"Clack!" says the fox.
"Clack!" says Master Henhouse.
Some weeks later, Henhouse told her senior disciple about the encounter with the fox.
"So, if the old Master Henhouse had given a different answer, would he have turned into a fox?" asked the disciple.
"You've been around this block a few times. Don't make me say it. You say it."
"Clack!" said the disciple.
"That's fine if you want to cut through the question. We have cut through a lot of questions together and seen the essential matter -- mountains and rivers and the great wide earth all included in that resounding 'clack!' Perhaps we'd like to step off our 100-foot pole and give such an answer as would be compassionate to a novice who asked?"
"Clack!" said the disciple again.
"Clack!!" answered Henhouse, louder.
"OK. Here's what I might offer, not even to a novice, but to an audience of nonpractitioners. I'd say it didn't matter what answer the Old Master gave. For many years Old Master Henhouse had been ardently seeking to stifle all reactions. He sat like a stone because he wanted to be a stone. He exerted strenuous efforts to suppress his reactions. The monk's question brought all his suppression to a head in a moment. Those energies finally pushed him into the body of a fox. It wasn't his answer that did it -- it was the question. He only had time to speak the one sentence before his mental act of considering the question released the culmination of years of suppressive practice."
"Your beard is as red as a three-ball," said Henhouse.
The orange five-ball rolling across the green felt
Its vector determined by the angle and magnitude of the force that acted upon it,
So utterly free! So totally liberated!
That monk holding the cue stick, on the other hand:
Illustration by Mark Morse, http://www.thegatelessgate.com/