Whatever you consider beautiful, ugly, wonderful, tasty, or aromatic is simply a projection of your superstitious mind
– Lama Yeshe
Blue Cliff Record #46: Jingqing and the Raindrops
Jingqing, b. 867, in the Caodong (Soto) lineage, was a dharma heir of Xuefeng and dharma brother of Yunmen.
Jingqing asked asked a monk, “What is that sound outside?”
The monk said, “That is the sound of raindrops.”
Jingqing said, “People live in a topsy-turvy world. They lose themselves in delusion about themselves and only pursue [outside] objects.”
The monk said, “What about you, Master?”
Jingqing said, “I was on the brink of losing myself in such delusions about myself.”
The monk said, “What do you mean, ‘on the brink of losing myself in such delusions about myself’?”
Jingqing said, “To break through [into the world of Essence] may be easy. But to express fully the bare substance is difficult.”
Notes by Katsuki Sekida:
“What is the noise outside?” This is the teacher’s leading question. It is the mother hen tapping at the eggshell [Cf. Jingqing in last week’s case.]
“That is the voice of the raindrops.” The chick is pecking from inside. Zen has two aspects, the absolute and the positive. The absolute side is that of absolute samadhi, where there are no objects — no mountain, no river, no man, no woman, no plant, no animal, no rain, no raindrops. The positive side is that of positive samadhi, where all these things exist. Whatever answer you may make is all right if you truly realize it. Shuzan Oshō once held up a shippei (a bamboo baton) before his disciples and said, “If you call it a shippei, you oppose its reality. If you do not call it a shippei, you ignore the fact. Tell me, you monks, what will you call it?” (Gateless Gate #43).
“People live in a topsy-turvy world.” People in general are led astray by their egocentric thinking.
“They lose themselves in delusion about themselves and only pursue objects.” Our ordinary consciousness has acquired an egocentric way of thinking. It is always looking for what is most profitable for “me.” The result is a distorted view of life and the world, which has led to endless disasters: deceiving, fighting, killing, wars, and so on. But still we go on pursuing the nonexistent profit, with calamitous results. You may ask what relation the raindrops have to man’s appalling condition. The answer is that they have a close relationship, because this case is dealing with the fundamental question of cognition, and hence with the essential nature of our underlying mental attitude.
“What about you, Master?” The monk’s question was inevitable, and Jingqing had intended to elicit it.
“I was on the brink of losing myself in such delusions about myself.” Jingqing had first asked, “What is the noise outside?” He asked as any ordinary person might have done. The difference is this. A baby may be unaware of danger even if it crawls near the edge of a cliff. Jingqing was as close to danger as anyone else when he asked the question, but he did it with full knowledge. He was not deluded.
“To break through may be easy. But to express fully the bare substance is difficult.” To say it in the dimension of absolute samadhi is rather easy, but to say it in positive samadhi — that is, having transcended the busiest activity of consciousness in ordinary life — is difficult. Jingqing is stressing the importance of transcending actual daily life while being busily engrossed in it. This is what Engo means by his sentence, “Seated amid the totality of form and sound, he rises above them.”
Charlotte Joko Beck, Nothing Special,
Chapter: “Integration,” p. 93.
All meetings at:
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, Common Room
4225 NW 34th St
Gainesville, FL 32605
Dec 30: FRIDAY Evening Zen, 7pm to 8:45pm.
Two sits, chants, dharma talk.
Zen Interviews with Meredith available.
Dec 31: SATURDAY Morning UU Meditative Worship Service, 11am – noon.
A hymn, a 20-min sit, sharing, a reading, discussion, a hymn, a shorter sit, closing.
Jan 2: TUESDAY Morning Zen, 8:30am – 9:30am.
1 sit, discussion.