Blue Cliff Record 77, Book of Serenity 78

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #77
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #78
Yunmen's "Kobyo"

  • YUNMEN Wenyan (Ummon Bunen, 864-949, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • An unnamed monk
Yuanwu's Introduction (Sato)
If one turns to the highest,one ties up the nostrils of all people under heaven.
One is like a falcon catching a dove.
If one turns to the lowest, one’s own nostrils are in the hands of others.
One is like a turtle in its shell.
If, in the midst of this, someone should suddenly come forth and say,
“There is intrinsically no highest and no lowest; what will you do by ‘turning’?”
I would tell that person, “Now I know: you make a living in the cave of devils.”
Just tell me: How do you distinguish between black and white? –
I was silent for a moment, and then said, “If there is a clause, you follow that clause;
If there is no clause, follow an actual example.”
I will try to bring it up, look.
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
Searching for the price in the entire heaven – it is remunerated in the form of the whole earth.
Applying a hundred devices is nothing but a disgrace.
Is there anyone who knows going and returning, or being good and bad?
Case (Sato)
A monk asked Yunmen, “What is meant by the expression 'to go beyond the Buddha and the ancestors'?”[1]
Yunmen said, “Kobyô."[2]
[1] "What is the teaching that transcends the Buddha and patriarchs?" (Sekida); "What is talk beyond Buddhas and Zen masters?" (Cleary); "What is speech that transcends the Buddhas and goes beyond the Ancestors?" (Wick).
[2] Kobyo: cheap, unrefined rice cake, made with sesame; generally flat and oval. Compare: "A sesame bun" (Sekida); "A piece of cake" (Cleary BCR); "Sesame cake" (Cleary BOS); "Farm rice-cake" (Wick).

Xuedou's Verse (Sato)
Many are the Zen students who ask about the expression to “go beyond.”
Do you see the rent, so big and wide?
Even the cry of “Kobyô” does not mend the hole.
Up until now there have been mistakes under heaven.
Hongzhi's Verse (Sato)
“Kobyô” is said to be the “expression ‘going beyond the Buddha and the ancestors’.”
There is no taste in the phrase – how could you grasp and present it?
If a patch-robed monk one day knows how to be satiated,
He will certainly see that Yunmen's face is not ashamed.[2]
[2] I.e., Yunmen does not have to be ashamed of his unduly kind teaching (Sato's note).

Sturmer's Verse
On an arduous journey
when he felt a tooth
about to come loose
the traveling monk
recalled the words
of Zen Master Dogen:
The land of painted rice cakes
is revealed and confirmed.

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