2019-12-28

Book of Serenity 70

181
Book of Serenity (Shoyoroku, Congrong Lu) #70
Jinshan Questions the Nature of Life

Personnel
  • QINGXI "Jinshan" Hongjin (Seikei "Shinsan" Koshin, 893-954, 15th gen), disciple of Luohan "Dizang" Guichen
  • LONGJI "Xiushan" Shaoxiu (Ryusai "Shuzan" Shoshu, 893-954, 15th gen), disciple of Luohan "Dizang" Guichen
Wansong's Introduction (Sato)
A person who hears the fragrant [especially powerful and vital] elephant crossing the river[1]
Goes certainly away according to the stream;
A person who knows that life has unborn nature
Is led to stay with life.
Furthermore: If you talk about becoming a bamboo shoot or becoming a bamboo rope before Samadhi or after Samadhi,[2]
The sword is already long gone; you are making a mark on the edge of your boat.[3]
Kicking the wheel of activity, how do you tread on one special road?
I will bring an example up, so look!
[1] "In the Nirvana-Sutra it is said that a Bodhisattva hears the fragrant elephant crossing the river" (Sato).
[2] "bamboo shoot": too young and soft, so that no bamboo ropes can be made out of it. "bamboo rope": rope made of grown, strong bamboos.
[3] "Once a man wanted to cross the Yantze River on a boat. By mistake he let his sword fall from the boat into the water. He thereupon made a mark on the edge of the boat and said, “From here I let my sword fall into the water.” When the boat stopped later, the man jumped into the water and tried to look for the sword according to the mark of the boat – but in vain" (Sato).

Case (Wick)
Priest Jinshan questioned Priest Xiushan, saying "Knowing clearly that life has the nature of being unborn, why is one held back by life?"[4]
Xiushan said, "The bamboo shoot eventually becomes a bamboo. Right now, can you use it as a bamboo sheath, instead?[5]
Jinshan replied, "You will be enlightened on your own later on."
Xiushan said, "I am just like this. What's your meaning, Joza?"
Jinshan remarked, "This is the administrator's quarters. That is the cook's quarters."[6]
At that, Xiushan bowed low.
[4] "...why does one adhere to life?” (Sato); "...why are we stayed by life?" (Cleary).
[5] "But is it possible to make a bamboo rope already out of a bamboo shoot?" (meaning, “I am still a bamboo shoot; you cannot make a bamboo rope out of me” --Sato); "but if you use them now for bamboo rope, can you make them serve the purpose?" (Cleary).
[6] Alternatives to "administrator": "temple steward" (Sato); "monastery superintendent" (Cleary).

Hongzhi's Verse (Wick)
Vastly clear, attachments left behind.
Elevated calm, unfettered.
Peaceful home, rare the person who arrives.
Minor ability, the level is discerned.
Capacious body and mind go beyond right and wrong.
Right and wrong gone beyond.
Alone, he stands everywhere, leaving no tracks.

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