2018-03-05

Book of Serenity 73

135
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #73
Caoshan's Filial Fulfillment

Personnel
  • CAOSHAN Benji (Sozan Honjaku, 840-901, 12th gen), disciple of Dongshan
  • an unnamed monk.
Wansong's Preface (Sato)
Relying on the grasses, hanging onto the trees, one becomes a ghost;
Suffering humiliation, being punished without cause, one turns into a revengeful demon.
When you summon them, you burn paper money and prepare the shape of a horse;
When you send them away, you bless the water and send charms out.[a]
How could you attain [real] peace for your family?
[a] These two lines depict scenes of a provincial “spirit festival.”

Case (Sato)
A monk asked Caoshan, “When one leaves off his mourning clothes, how about that?”[1]
Caoshan said, “Caoshan today has fulfilled filial piety.”[2]
The monk said, “How about after you have fulfilled filial piety?”[3]
Caoshan said, “Caoshan loves to get drunk.”[4]
[1] "Mourning clothes" are worn when a parent dies. Here it symbolically designates the clothes during Zen practice.

Wansong's Interjections (Cleary)
[1] The cicada has shed its shell but still holds the cold twig.
[2] He doesn't turn away from everyday life.
[3] Easy-going, he takes big strides.
[4] What's not all right?
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick, italics Cleary)
The house of unbroken honor admits no neighbors.
   The pure household has no neighbors:
Many years of sweeping the gates, not letting in dust.
   For long years staying in sweeping, not admitting any dust.
Turning from full brightness, the moon hangs low, a crescent.
   Where the light turns tilts the moon remaining at dawn:
As winter solstice passes, yin rises to the east-northeast.
   When the forms of the hexagrams are distinguished,
   Then are established dawn and spring.
Requite filial piety anew, and meet with the spring.
   Having freshly fulfilled filial duty,
   Then one meets the spring --
Drunken steps, crazy songs: so what if my cap falls off?
   Walking drunk, singing crazily, turban hanging down,
Tousled hair, weaving walk, who cares?
   Ambling with tousled hair, who cares--
Tranquil, replete: a person who is stumbling drunk.
   In great peace, with no concerns, a man falling-down drunk
Background (Wansong)
A monk asked Chan Master Tongan Wei, "How was it before Niutou saw the Fourth Patriarch?
Tongan said, "A spirit shrine beside the road -- all who see it raise their fist."
The monk asked, "How about after seeing the Fourth Patriarch?"
Tongan said, "In the house there is no bier -- the whole family is impious."
This monk said, "How is it when the mourning clothes are not worn?"
Wansong's Comment (Cleary)
Dongshan Souchu said "Three pounds of hemp" (in answer to, "What is Buddha?"). If you reach this point, you will understand how Caoshan fullfilled his filial duty.
[3] This monk is all right too -- he wants to see how Caoshan acts today.
[4] Jiaofan said, "His mind is like a clear mirror, his mouth like a drunken man."
Related Case
Also involving Caoshan and alcohol: GG10: Chingshui the Poor
Wick's Comment
Coashan is talking about fulfilling his obligation to his Dharma parent -- his teacher.
[1] How long do we mourn the loss of our teacher? Or our biological parents? How can we be free of our attachment -- while also fulfilling our obligations -- to our teacher? To our parents? As Maezumi said: "Sit well."
[2] He's saying, "I am complete as I am right now. What more needs to be done? I light incense, bow to my Ancestors, yet I am complete and independent as I am." Here's a test: If there's anybody who gets under your skin, you're not independent.
Our training is not about pretending to be a good Zen student. This practice is about digging down, and bringing to light all of your follies, bringing them to the surface, really looking at them and allowing them to be, and then transforming them. But to force some kind of a loving behavior on top of it, that will hide all these things from us. Your whole being has to be lovingness, but unless you totally appreciate yourself, it won't happen. That's independence.
[3] I.e., now that you're totally independent what are you going to do?
[4] What's it like when you're stumbling drunk? You don't care what anybody thinks or says about you or anything. What kind of wine is Caoshan talking about? Let's drink to freedom, independence, not being bound, not holding ourselves down; let's drink to acting naturally, without analyzing, without judging. Let's all get stumbling drunk on Caoshan's wine!
Yamada's Comment
[1] To say that one removes mourning clothes means to realize great enlightenment. That means the period of mourning is over. Having finished learning and having nothing else to do. One has shed all entanglements and is in a state of complete freedom, naked of all trappings. The monk is asking about such a state of consciousness.
[2] Caoshan is saying “Today I have finished my duty of the three-year period of mourning and have taken off my mourning clothes. I have sufficiently discharged by filial duties.” This is saying that there is nothing that is binding him any more.
[3] The monk is asking: How is it after one has realized great enlightenment, when one has exhausted all learning and has nothing else to do? This is truly cause for joy. It is “leaving things to ordinary life” -- an everyday life of “just this.” When you get up you simply get up. When you eat you simply eat, with nothing else sticking. This is telling us that we must all reach that state of mind.
[4] It would be an error to think he is literally talking about drinking alcohol here. Remember the words of Confucius: “I could follow the dictates of my own heart; for what I desired no longer overstepped the boundaries of right.” There are also the words from the "Jewel-Mirror Samadhi": “Like an idiot, like a fool.” It is like walking alone in samadhi in perfect serenity, without a trace of worry or doubt in one’s heart. This sort of inner peace must be found in our everyday lives. Caoshan, like Confucius, no longer oversteps the boundaries of right. He just follows the dictates of his own heart. That is all.
Andy Ferguson's Verse
Caoshan's Fulfillment of Filial Piety

If you are like Caoshan in filial clothes,
you’ll pay careful attention and not pick your nose,
but as for silk robes, a black skirt or a tie,
You leave them behind and you understand why.
Hotetsu's Verse
In the sloping front yard, the maple
   has on its autumn yellows.
The grade continues two miles,
   down to the river,
Beyond which, mountains rise.
The evening star has come out.

What does a maple tree do for fun
   that it isn’t doing anyway?
The river, for vacation, goes to the ocean,
   but is that not its employment?
How is a mountain’s play
   distinguished from its work?
Here is what Venus says:
   just twinkle.

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