Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #3
Dogen's 300 #245
Jinhua's One Finger (extended version)
Gateless Gate (Mumonkan, Wumenguan) #3
Dogen's 300 #245
Jinhua's One Finger (extended version)
- JINHUA Juzhi (Kinka Gutei, b. 785?, 11th gen), disciple of Hangzhou
- HANGZHOU Tianlong (Kosho Tenryu, 748-807, 10th gen) Date guess: ca. 871
Whatever he was asked (about the Way of Buddha), Master Jinhua simply stuck up his finger. Aitken: Whenever Jinhua was asked a question, he simply raised one finger.
He had a boy attendant whom a visitor asked, “What kind of teaching does your master give?”
The boy held up one finger too.
Hearing of this, Jinhua cut off the boy's finger with a knife.
As the boy ran away, screaming with pain, Jinhua called to him.
When the boy turned his head, Jinhua stuck up one finger.
The boy was suddenly enlightened.
When Jinhua was about to die, he said to the assembled monks, “I received this one-finger Zen from Hangzhou. I've used it all my life, but have not exhausted it.”
Having said this, he entered nirvana.
Cleary: Whenever Master Jinhua was questioned, he would just raise a finger.
Gu: Whenever he was questioned, Venerable Jinhua would hold up a finger.
Hinton: Whenever a question was posed, Master Million-Million simply raised a finger.
Low: Whenever he was asked a question Jinhua simply raised his finger.
Sekida: Whenever Jinhua Osho was asked about Zen, he simply raised his finger.
Senzaki: Whenever he was asked a question about Zen, Jinhua raised his finger.
Shiabyama: Master Jinhua, whenever he was questioned, just stuck up one finger.
Loori (Dogen's 300): Jinhua Juzhi, whenver he was asked a question, held up one finger.
 Aitken: One day a visitor asked Jinhua's attendant what his master preached." The boy raised a finger.
Cleary: Later a servant boy would also raise a finger when outsiders asked him what the master taught.
Gu: One time, one of the boys in the congregation was asked by an outsider, a visitor to the monastery, "What is the essential teaching of Jinhua, your master?" The boy also held up a finger.
Hinton: Now, Million-Million had a houseboy, and one day a visitor asked this boy: "What is the dharma-essence your master teaches?" The boy held up his finger, like the master.
Low: One day a visitor asked Jinhua's attendant, "What is your master's teaching?
The boy too raised a finger.
Sekida: Once a visitor asked Jinhua's boy attendant, "What does your master teach?" The boy too raised his finger.
Senzaki: A young attendant began to imitate him. When anyone asked the boy about his master's teaching, the boy would raise his finger.
Shibayama: At one time he had a young attendant, whom a visitor asked, "What is the Zen your master is teaching?" The boy also stuck up one finger.
Loori: A young acolyte in his assembly was asked by someone, "What kind of essential dharma does your master teach?" The acolyte held up on of his fingers.
 Aitken: Hearing of this, Jinhua cut of the boy's finger with a knife.
Cleary: When Jinhua heard of this, he cut off the boy's finger with a knife.
Gu: When Jinhua heard about this, he took a knife and cut off the boy's finger.
Hinton: Hearing of this, Million-Million chopped the houseboys finger off with a cleaver.
Low: Hearing about this, Jinhua cut off the boy's finger with a knife.
Sekida: Hearing of this, Jinhua cut off the boy's finger with a knife.
Senzaki: Jinhua heard about the boy's mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger.
Shibayama: Hearing of this, Jinhua cut off the boy's finger with a knife.
Loori: When Jinhua heard about it, he cut off the young acolyte's finger with a knife.
 Aitken: As he ran from the room, screaming with pain...
Cleary: The boy ran out scraming in pain...
Gu: As the boy ran out howling in pain...
Hinton: Howling in agony, the boy turned and fled.
Low: The boy, screaming with pain, started to run away.
Sekida: The boy, scraming with pain, began to run away.
Senzaki: The boy cried and began to run away.
Shibayama: As the boy ran out screaming with pain,...
Loori: The acolyte cried out in pain and began to run away.
 Aitken: ...Jinhua called to him.
Cleary: ...but Jinhua called him back.
Gu: ...Jinhua called him back.
Hinton: Just then, Million-Million called to him.
Low: Suddenly Jinhua called to him,...
Sekida: Jinhua called to him...
Senzaki: Jinhua called called out to him.
Shibayama: ...Jinhua called to him.
Loori: Jinhua called the acolyte.
 Aitken: When he turned his head, Jinhua raised a finger.
Cleary: When the boy turned his head, Jinhua raised a finger.
Gu: When the boy looked back, Jinhua held up a finger.
Hinton: When the boy looked back, Million-Million held up his one finger.
Low: ...and when the boy turned around, Jinhua raised a finger.
Sekida: ...and when he turned around, Jinhua raised his finger.
Senzaki: When the boy turned his head, Jinhua raised his finger.
Shibayama: When the boy turned his head, Jinhua stuck up his finger.
Loori: As the acolyte turned his head, Jinhua held up a finger.
Some versions add here: "Reflexively the boy responded by attempting to raise his own (cut off) finger." (Koro Kaisan)
 Aitken: The boy was suddenly enlightened.
Cleary: Suddenly the boy attained enlightenment.
Gu: The boy was abruptly, suddenly awakened.
Hinton: Suddenly, the boy was awakened.
Low: The boy came suddenly to awakening.
Sekida: The boy suddenly became enlightened.
Senzaki: At that, the boy was enlightened.
Shibayama: The boy was suddenly enlightened.
Loori: At this moment the acolyte had realization.
 Aitken: When Jinhua was about to die, he said to his assembled monks" "I received this one-finger Zen from Hangzhou. I used it all my life but never used it up."
Cleary: When Jinhua was about to die, he said to a group, "I attained my teacher Hangzhou's one-finger Zen, and have used it all my life without exhausting it."
Gu: When Jinhua was about to die, he told his congregation, "I got Hangzhou's one-finger Chan and have used it my whole life without exhausting it."
Hinton: When Million-Million was about to follow the vanishing way of things, he said to the sangha: "I received this one-finger Chan from Heaven-Dragon Mountain. I used it for an entire lifetime and never exhausted it."
Low: When Jinhua was about to die he said to the assembled monks, "I goe one-finger Zen from Hangzhou and used it all my life, but couild not exhaust it."
Sekida: When Jinhua was about to pass away, he said to his assembled monks, "I obtained one-finger Zen from Hangzhou and used it all my life but still did not exhaust it."
Senzaki: When Jinhua was about to pass from this world, he gathered his monks around him and said, "I attained my one-finger Zen from my teacher, Hangzhou, and throughout my whole life, I have not exhaused it."
Shibayama: When Jinhua was about to die, he said to the assembled monks, "I attained Hangzhou's Zen of One Finger. I used it all through my life, but could not exhaust it."
Loori: When Jinhua was about to pass away, he said to the assembly, "I inherited Hangzhou Tianlong's one-finger Zen and have not exhausted it throughout my entire liftime.
 Aitken: With this he entered into his eternal rest.
Cleary: So saying, he passed away.
Gu: As his words ended, he died.
Hinton: With those words, he passed into extinction.
Low: [leaves out this sentence]
Sekida: When he had finished saying this, he entered into eternal Nirvana.
Senzaki: Then he passed away.
Shibayama: When he had finished saying this, he died.
Loori: He then held up a finger and died.
The enlightenment of Jinhua and the boy have nothing to do with the tip of a finger. If you realize this, Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself are all run through with one skewer. Aitken: The enlightenment of Jinhua and the boy has nothing to do with the end of a finger. If you can realize this, then Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself are all run through with a single skewer.
Cleary: The enlightenment of Jinhua and the boy is not in a finger. If you can see here, then Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself will be skewered on the same stick.
Gu: Jinhua and the boy were not enlightened by the finger. If you can see into this, then Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself are all strung through on the same string.
Hinton: Million-Million and the houseboy: their enlightenment doesn't reside in a lifted finger. It's always right there in front of you. You here before me in this sangha: if you can see through this wholly -- Heaven-Dragon and Million-Million, the houseboy and you yourself are all run through and strung together on a single strand.
Sekida: The enlightenment of Jinhua and of the boy does not depend on the finger. If you understand this, Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself are all run through with one skewer.
Senzaki: The enlightenment that Jinhua and the boy attained has nothing to do with the finger. If you cling to the finger, Hangzhou will be so disappointed that he will annihilate Jinhua, the boy, and you.
Shibayama: The satori of Jinhua and of the boy attendant are not in the finger. If you really see through this, Hangzhou, Jinhua, the boy, and you yourself are all run through with one skewer.
Old Hangzhou made a fool of Jinhua, Aitken: Hangzhou made a fool of old Jinhua who cut the boy with a sharp blade,
Who cut the boy with a sharp blade.
The mountain deity Juling raised his hand, and lo, without effort,
Great Mount Hua with its many ridges was torn in two.
Cleary: Jinhua makes a dunce of old Hangzhou; The sharp blade held up alone tests the little boy.
Gu: Jinhua made a fool of old Hangzhou. Holding up the sharp blade alone to test the boy.
Hinton: Dumbly wielding a sharp blade to reveal a small child, Million-Million dulled old Heaven-Dragon's instrument.
Low: Jinhua made a fool of old Hangzhou, With a sharp knife he freed the boy.
Sekida: Jinhua made a fool of old Hangzhou, Emancipating the boy with a single slice.
Senzaki: Jinhua cheapens Hangzhou's teaching, Emancipating the boy with a knife.
Shibayama: Jinhua made a fool of old Hangzhou, With a sharp knife he chastised the boy."
 Aitken: just as the deity Juling raised his hand, and Huashan, with its many ridges, split into two.
Cleary: The great spirit lifted its hands, without much ado, And split apart the millions of layers of Flower Mountain.
Gu: Like the Great Spirit Julin who lifts his hand effortlessly And splits apart the great ridges of Mount Hua.
Hinton: In one handstroke, the river god split its course through Flourish Mountain's ten thousand thousand high ridges.
Low: Juling raised his hand and, with no effort, The great ridge of Mount Hua was split in two!
Sekida: Just as Juling cleaved Mount Hua To let the Yellow River run through.
Senzaki: Compared to the Chinese god who divided a mountain with one hand, Old Jinhua is a poor imitator.
Sibayama: Juling raised his hand with no effort, And lo! the great ridge of Mount Hua was split in two!
Jinhua spent some years in solitary practice before being visited by the nun, Jissai, and then, Hangzhou. Jinhua's mistake was in supposing that lots of zazen is enough in itself. It is not. Even a small amount of zazen can be bondage if it is a device for avoiding the world. It is in engagment that we find our true natur -- the true nature of the universe. Some Zen students, who have come from other religious paths, listen for the "inner voice." This can be a great delusion. Lots of people are in prison or in asymums because they made a practice of listening to their inner voice. Jinhua's finger is much more reliable.Cleary's Comment
Other teachers are well known for their distinctive actions. Luzu [9th gen], a brother of Baizhang and Nanquan in the Dharma, was famous for just turning around and facing the wall when a student came to him for instruction. Bankei Yotaku [1622-1693] is famous for uttering the single word "unborn." But few teachers, it seems, were as singular in their method as Jinhua. But be careful. Don't be casual about that one finger. Not only your own finger, but your life, your vitality, your hopes, your inner riches -- all will be dissipated by superficial imitation. You must express Jinhua's mind clearly. What do you do? What do you say? Hangzhou's finger and then Jinhua's finger reveal the marvelous extent of the world and ourselves. Jinhua's life reveals the importance of accepting the world at the outset of practice. My way cannot be my exclusive way. It is the Dao of the universe or it is vain.
When Zen master Jinhua would raise a finger, he was simply pointing, both symbolically and directly, to the one true reality that is beyond personal conceptions and judgments. Jinhua's finger signals his devotion to the practice of meditation through the use of a spell [dharani]. The original meaning of "spell" in this sense in English is to render stationary, to fix or train on one point. Thus a spell is a concentration formula repeated to focus the mind steadily. In the figure of the boy seemingly punished for imitating master Jinhua is the principle that ignorant imitation, or repetition of superficial forms received at second hand, is not the Way to direct experience of reality. Jinhua was not imitating his own teacher, who did not raise a finger to every question. Jinhua had been blasted to kingdom come by his teacher's spontaneous gesture, and spent the rest of his life just pointing to suchness. Had the boy absorbed the master's message, he would have been able to point to suchness another way. A popular Zen meditation theme says, "All things return to One; where does the One return?" This is the way to work on the koan of Jinhua's finger.Yuanwu's Verse (Cleary)
How could it be easy to replyBackground Tale: Nun Shiju (Gu)
To the casual conditions of question and answer?
It's hard to be really stylish if you have no money.
There's something in his heart, but he cannot say it;
In his hurry he just holds up a finger.
One day when Jinhua was sitting right in the middle of his hut, a nun whose name was Shiji came bargin in without introduing herself, in her thatched straw hat and carrying her other belongings. (Shi means "actual" or "true"; ji means "occasion" or "time.") Shiji circled around him three times, then stopped right in front of him. She said, "If you can say something, I will take off my hat." She meant, "Eitehr you've got it or you don't. If you've got it, I'll study with you. If you don't, I'll leave. Say something!" Jinhua was dumbfounded. He did not know what to say. She circumambulated again three times. Afterward, she repeated what she had said. He just looked at her speechless and felt great shame. The nun left. He chased after her and said, "It's getting late. At least stay overnight." She turned around and said, "You've got it or you don't! Say something!" But he couldn't, and he felt even worse. She left, and he started to pack up. He thought, "I need a teacher. I can't go on living like this." As he was packing a mountain spirit appeared to him and said, "Don't bother. In a few days there will be a Chan master visiting here. Get ahold of him instead of wandering about, not knowing where you're going, looking for teachers. Just stay put." A few days later, Chan master Hangzhou came by. Jinhua recognized him and prostrated. He told Hangzhou about the episode with the Nun Shiji, concluding, "I couldn't say a word to the nun; what is the buddhadharma, what is it, what is it?" Master Hangzhou just raised his finger. Jinhua became completely awakened.Gu's Comment
If I were to comment bluntly about this case, I would say, IAG -- It's All Good. The boy in the story is an attendant, an acolyte, ready to become a novice monk, probably Master Jinhua's attendant. The issue here is about being ripe to buddhadharma. If you are ripe, everything is a shiji, or "true occasion" for realization. Without that process of practice -- being able to have your heart-mind at peace, allowing IAG ("It's All Good") to come alive inside you -- a person can raise a finger or a big toe, give a shout or a slap, but nothing will happen.Low's Comment
You lack nothing. From the perspective of Chan, you already have peace. The practice is to recognize that and not create problems where there are none. IAG.
"Is there a life after death?" Jinhua raises a finger. "Is there a meaning to my life?" Jinhua raises a finger. "Am I all alone in a world that cares nothing for me?" Jinhua raises a finger. Always the same response. Some people say that Jinhua's finger stands for one mind, a symbol for unity. This was the boy's mistake. In Zen one is admonished not to confuse the finger with the moon to which it points. But then, what does the moon point to? Fayen was wasked, "What is the moon?" and he replied, "The finger." He was then asked, "What is the finger?" and he replied, "the moon." Both Jinhua and his attendant in their own way exhausted all the resources of their being. Both were brought to the abyss of their own true nature, and it was only then each could plunge into renewed life by the raising of a finger. Someone observed "If you see into a speck of dust, you see into the whole universe." After the boy's finger was cut off, how would he then reply to a question? it is like working on mu. Before the thought of mu arises, what is mu?Sekida's Comment
Hakuin asked the meaning of the "the voice of one hand." Bankei advocated "unborn" and "unborn" alone. Jinhua simply raised his finger on every occasion. Each of these demonstrations of the truth was the same; and all were, at the same time, different. Jinhua's was the samadhi of the intuitive first nen; Bankei's the samadhi of the intuitive third nen; Hakuin's a combination of both. True samadhi controls not only momentary attention but also the whole stream of consciousness: that is, the trend of the mind. In samadhi also, each and every moment is independent. Jinhua's samadhi was a demonstration of this. Although he always raised his finger, he never raised the same finger. He was always new.Senzaki's Comment
"Did not exhaust it." One cannot exhaust Dharma treasure. It is never ending.
Although the Chinese government's persecution [under Emperor Wuzong, reigned 840-46] resulted in the worst circumstances for the Buddhist establishment in its history in China, it created the opportunity for good monks and nuns to set out on pilgrimages. Jinhua, too, caught his chance at this time of oppression. He sensed keenly that the opportunity for realization is rare and noble. This was the reason why, in our present story, he cut off the boy's finger. An imitation of the teaching seems at first rather innocent, but if it is not nipped in the bud, it will grow into the ugly weed of religious complacency, or into the troublesome weed of hypocrisy. To open the gate of realization, one must block off one's road of conceptualization. At the moment that Jinhua called for the boy to stop -- and the boy turned his head toward Jinhua, and the master raised his finger -- there! With his road of thinking blocked, the boy could be enlightened. This koan not only teaches you to realize Zen for yourself, but also shows you how to open the minds of others and let them see the truth as clearly as daylight. The power of Zen that Jinhua received from Hangzhou was not merely the act of raising a finger; it was the means to enlighten others.Shibayama's Comment
"What is the essence of Buddhism?" "What is Zhaozhou's 'Mu'?" "Bring out your mind and show it to me." "When your body is all decomposed, where do you go?" Whatever Jinhua was asked, he stuck up one finger. Throughout his life he gave no talks. What a hearty Master he was! The fact was, he could never put it in words even if he wished to do so. Or I might say he expressed it fully. One is all. There is nothing to add. True it may be, but tell me, "What is the finger?" Is there anybody who does not have a finger? Or Truth, or the Buddha Nature, or whatever you may call it? Pitiful indeed are those who are not aware of the foolishness of seeking after water while they are in the midst of it. Yet if you stick to the finger, you are thousands of miles away from the Truth. Jinhua was himself enlightened when Hangzhou held up a finger. What is important here is not the lifted finger, but the intensity of the inner struggle Jinhua went through. In Zen training one has to strive with soul and body to transcend his dualistic discriminating consciousness. One has to come to the ultimate extremity where any slightest touch may effect a great change in his personality, so fundamental as to be described by saying that the "the earth splits and the mountains collapse." If one starts asking what this one finger might mean and tries to find some significance in sticking up the finger, apart from the actual inner struggle Jinhua went through, he is a complete stranger to Zen. If I dare to explain it philosophically, one finger held up here is not a finger any longer; it is Jinhua himself, I-myself, the universe itself -- but if one clings to such an explanation, Zen is no longer there. [RE: cutting off the boy's finger:] That is, he cut off the boy's finger of imitation, which is no better than a corpse. In the extreme pain penetrating the universe, the boy grasped the Truth of One Finger. The boy, losing his finger, attained the true finger and eternal life. This Zen of One Finger is nothing but the Truth pervading the whole universe. The marvelous capability of Jinhua in cutting it off should certainly be admired. Although the physical body of Jinhua, a historical person, did die, his Zen is alive here now, in my finger and your finger, transcending space and time. The whole universe is a finger; a finger is the whole universe. It should then be ever new and alive, and its creative work can never be exhausted; it exists forever together with the universe itself.Xuansha's Comment (Shibayama)
In the past, had I witnessed Jinhua sticking up one finger, I should certainly have wrenched it away!Yamada's Comment
The point of this koan is just holding up one finger. What does it mean? In the Xinxin Ming ["Faith in Mind," attributed to Sengcan, d. 606], is a line: "One is everything. Everything is one." In the absolute world, the world of enlightenment, the logic of "One is everything, everything is one" reigns. When Hangzhou sticks up a finger, that one finger is the whole universe. When we stick up one finger, there is nothing but one finger in the whole universe. When you stand up, there is nothing but standing up in the whole universe. When Jinhua saw Hangzhou holding up one finger, he realized clearly that the one finger and the whole universe are one. There isn't anything else that remains. There is nothing outside it. That is enlightenment.Daido Loori's Comment (Dogen's 300)
Although Jinhua is free and boundless, nevertheless, his understanding is not really refined. The acolyte, imitating his master, not only misses the truth of the teaching but falls into a pit of branbles as well. Jinhua, however, is quick to rescue him. Wielding a sharp knife, he cuts away the complications.Daido's Interjections
Although the boy lost a finger, he gained his nostrils. Don't you see? The truth of Jinhua's teachings is not to be found in the finger. This being the case, you tell me, if the truth is not the finger, then where is it?
Jinhua Juzhi, whenever he was asked a question held up one finger.Daido's Verse
A blind man making his way with a finger.
A young acolyte in his assembly was asked by someone, "What kind of essential dharma does yur master teach?" The acolyte held up one of his fingers.
A facsimile is always a facsimile, not the original.
When Jinhua heard about it, he cut off the young acolyte's finger with a knife.
If you understand it, then the finger is extra.
The acolyte cried out in pain and began to run away.
He should have run away before he lost his finger.
Jinhua called the acolyte.
What will he say?
As the acolyte turned his head, Jinhua held up a finger.
Encompassing the heavens, covering the earth.
At this moment the acolyte had realization.
Aside from the missing finger, what else did he realize?
..."I inherited Hangzhou Tianlong's one-finger Zen and have not exhausted it throughout my entire lifetime."
Pretty dull-witted if you ask me. Don't you have any other provisions?
"Do you want to understand it?" He then held up a finger and died.
Bah! If I had been there, I would have looked away before he could raise a finger and then asked him to say it so that it could be heard.
If you are not intimate with it,Hotetsu's Verse
when it's revealed, you think it's something.
When words and ideas are finally eradicated,
the light first appears.
Finger or no finger, wet with the morning dew --
the tips of ten thousand grasses.
Teachers do this,
Cut off parts of their students --
A finger, a toe, a nose,
A vanity, a limiting story, a jaded detachment --
Whatever: the cut hurts.
There's screaming and blood.
Some teachers offer bandages and prosthetic
Replacements that meet a purpose.
Others don't, but only watch
With silent eyes the dripping wound
To see what the excised part
Had been inhibiting,
Teacher and student alike
Surprised at what emerges,
In wonder of what it might be for.
Second illustration by Mark T. Morse