Blue Cliff Record 25

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #25
The Hermit of Lotus Flower Peak's Staff

Personnel and Date
  • LIANHUA Fengxiang (Renge Hôshô, 936?-1006?, 15th gen), disciple of Fengxian Daoshen
  • Date guess: ca. 1006, just before Lianhua's death
Yuanwu's Introduction (Sato)
If your activity does not depart from its position, you tumble down into the poisonous sea.
If your words fail to amaze the crowd, you fall into the commonplace.
If you can distinguish black from white in the spark struck from the flint-stone;
If you can choose between killing and giving life in the flash of lightning:
Then you can cut off the ten directions by your sitting, and tower up like a wall of a thousand
But do you know if there is such a time?
I will try to show you an example, look!
Case (Sekida)
The master of Lotus Flower Peak cottage held out his staff and said to his disciples, "When, in olden times, a man reached the state of enlightenment, why did he not remain there?"[1]
No one could answer, and he replied for them, "Because it is of no use in the course of life."[2]
And again he asked, "After all, what will you do with it?"[3]
And once again he said in their stead,
"Taking no notice of others,
Throwing his staff over his shoulder,
He goes straight ahead and journeys
Deep into the recesses of the hundred thousand mountains."
[1] “When the old ones reached this point, why didn't they dare to remain here?” (Sato); "When the ancients got here, why didn't they consent to stay here?" (Cleary & Cleary); "Men of other days, as to this (Lotus Peak, or hermit life) why did they not consent to this mode of life?" (Shaw).
[2] “Because that would have no power on the way” (Sato); "Because they did not gain power on the road" (T. Cleary); "Because they did not have strength for the way" (Shaw).
[3] “After all, how is it?” (Sato); "In the end, how is it?" (Cleary & Cleary); "What about the ultimate?" (T. Cleary); "After all, what about it?" (Shaw)
[4] “With the staff across your shoulders, and, paying other people no heed, you will immediately be gone into the thousand and ten thousand peaks” (Sato); "With my staff across my shoulder, minding no one, I go straight into the myriad peaks" (T. Cleary); "Carrying my palm-staff at my side, I will ignore men, I will just depart and go into the thousand, the ten thousand peaks" (Shaw).

Xuedou's Verse (Sekida)
His eyes filled with sand, his ears with clay,
Even among the thousand mountains he does not remain.
Falling blossoms, flowing streams: he leaves no trace.
Open your eyes wide, and you'll wonder where he's gone.

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