Blue Cliff Record 85

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #85
Tongfeng Roars Like a Tiger


  • TONGFENG Anzhu (Toho, 832?-902? 12th gen), disciple of Linji.
  • An unnamed monastic.

Yuanwu's Preface (Sato)
Grasping and fixing down the entire universe without letting go of the finest hair;
Causing everyone in the world to lose their spear-tips and having their tongues tied:
This is the true command of patch-robed monks.
Releasing light from one's forehead and letting it shine through the four heavens:
This is the diamond eye of patch-robed monks.
Touching iron and producing gold; touching gold and producing iron;
Suddenly gathering in and suddenly releasing:
This is the staff of patch-robed monks.
Cutting off [through sitting] the tongues of all people under heaven,
And making them lose their spirit and retreating three thousand miles:
This is the spirited activity of the patch-robed monk.
Just tell me: When it is not like this at all, what kind of person is this?
To test, I cite this case, look!
Case (Sekida)
A monk came to the hermit Tongfeng and asked, "What if you suddenly faced a tiger here?"
The hermit roared like a tiger.
Thereupon the monk pretended to be frightened.
The hermit laughed loudly.
The monk said, "You old robber!"
The hermit said, "What can you do to me?"
The monk said nothing further.
(Xuedou said, "They are certainly right, but these two evil robbers only know how to steal a small bell while they stop their ears.")
Xuedou's Verse (Sekida trans)
A chance, and if you fail to seize it,
You miss by a thousand miles.
The tiger had fine stripes
But no fangs and claws.
Remember the battle on Mount Daxiong:*
Their words and actions shook the earth.
If you have eyes to see, you see
They caught both head and tail of it.

*See BCR26

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