Blue Cliff Record 15

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #15
Yunmen's "No Preaching on Oneness"

  • YUNMEN Wenyan (Ummon Bunen, 864-949, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • An unnamed monk
Yuanwu's Introduction (Sato)
A sword that kills, a sword that gives life:
This is the traditional principle of old, the pivotal point of our time.
Just tell me, where at present is the sword that kills, the sword that gives life?
I will give you an example, look!
Case (Sato)
A monk asked Yunmen, “What is it when this is not an activity [of the mind] in front of
yourself, nor is it a thing in front of yourself?”
Yunmen said, “One preaches exactly so.” (Tô-issetsu. Literally: “Reversed – one preaching.")[1]
[1] Or "No preaching on oneness" (Sekida); "An upside-down statement" (Cleary)

Xuedou's Verse (Sato, italics Cleary)
“One preaches exactly so” – dividing a tally.
An upside-down statement -- he divides a token.
Dying and living together, I will resolve it for your sake.
Dying together, living together, he gives you certainty.
Eighty-four thousand were not phoenix feathers;
The eighty-four thousand disciples of Buddha were not worthy successors;
Thirty-three persons went into tigers' dens.
Thirty-three Zen masters entered the tiger's den.
Remarkable, remarkable:
Rushing, lapping – the moon in the water.
Distinctly outstanding -- the moon in the churning rushing water.
Sato's notes: "Eighty-four thousand": The number of people in Shakyamuni’s assembly. "Not phoenix feathers": i.e., only Maha-Kashyapa was 'a phoenix feather'. "Thirty-three persons": The number of Patriarchs up to the 6th Patriarch, Huineng.

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