Blue Cliff Record 8, Book of Serenity 71

Blue Cliff Record (Hekiganroku, Biyan Lu) #8
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #71
Cuiyan's Eyebrows

  • CUIYAN Lingcan (Suigan Reisan, 850?-940?, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • BAOFU Congzhan (Hofuku Jûten, 868-928, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • CHANGQING Huileng (Chôkei Eryô, 854-932, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
  • YUNMEN Wenyan (Ummon Bun'en, 864-949, 13th gen), disciple of Xuefeng
Yuanwu's Introduction (Sato)
When you have attained realization, you can make free use [of all things] on the way, like a dragon taking to water, or a tiger roaming its mountain.
When you have not yet attained realization, you remain adrift in worldly things; [you are like] a ram [whose horns are] caught up in the hedge, or one who is watching a stump waiting for a hare.
Sometimes a single phrase is like a lion crouching on the ground; sometimes it is like the diamond treasure sword.
Sometimes it cuts off the tongues of all people under heaven; sometimes it follows the billows and chases the waves.
As for those who can make free use [of all things] on the way, when two of them meet, who are intimate friends, their states of mind correspond with each other; they mutually know what is good or bad [about each other] and attest to it respectively.
If [on the other hand] you meet someone who is adrift in worldly things, you must have the one eye to cut off the ten directions by sitting, to stand like a thousand-foot cliff.
Therefore, it has been said that when a great activity manifests itself, no fixed rules exist.
Sometimes you use a blade of grass as the sixteen-foot golden body [of the Buddha]; sometimes you use the sixteen-foot golden body as a blade of grass.
Now just tell me: What principle does this rely upon? Do you clearly understand it?
I will try to present a case, look!
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
If you hold blood in the mouth and spit it at others, you defile your own mouth;
If you love sake cups, you will end up paying for the debts of others all your life.
You have been selling paper for three years,
And yet you even lack “paper money for the demons.”[1]
I, Wansong, have preached to you all [likewise];
Will that strike a fair balance or not?
[1] In ancient China there was a custom of making “paper money” out of a small amount of paper to dedicate for the demons (Sato).

Case (Sekida)
Cuiyan, at the end of the summer session [3-month ango], spoke to the assembly and said, "During the summer session I have talked to you a great deal. Now, look! Has Cuiyan any eyebrows?"[1]
Baofu said, "He who commits theft has a guilty conscience."[2]
Changqing said, "They have grown."[3]
Yunmen said, "Kan!"[4]
[1] According to the popular belief a great criminal should lose his eyebrows as a sign of his coming punishment in hell (Sato).
[2] "The robber's heart is terrified" (Sato); "A man who commits robbery has cowardice in his heart" (Cleary BCR); "The thief's heart is cowardly" (Cleary BOS); "A man who is a thief has a timid heart" (Wick).
[3] "They are there" (Sato BCR); "They are well grown" (Sato BOS); "They've grown!" (Cleary); "Growing" (Wick).
[4] Literally: “barrier” (cf. Mumonkan). In those days this Chinese word colloquially meant also, “Watch out!” or
“There!” (Sato).

Xuedou's Verse (Sekida)
Cuiyan's words! Unanswerable in thousands of years.
Yunmen's "Kan!" Losing his money, committing a crime.
Dotard Baofu! Was he nimble or did he mumble?
Long-tongued Cuiyan! Definitely a thief.
Flawless is the jewel! Who can appraise the priceless?
Changqing knew well! He said, "They have grown."
Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
The heart of the thief, guts that excel all others;
clearly, universally, a confrontation with brethren.
Baofu's and Yunmen's pendulous noses betray their lips.
Cuiyan's and Changqing's luxurious eyebrows reflect in their eyes.
Bumpkin Zen monks. When will it ever end?
You're superficially saying, "Cut off intention and expression altogether."
Burying yourselves, withholding your energy, swallowing your speech.
Distressing past Ancestor, facing the wall, carrying a board.
Sturmer's Verse
Under an iron gate
the siler paths of snails
circle around,
disappear into the long grass.
Old animosities are
prepetually rekindled.
An ancient birdbath
collects fallen leaves.

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