“Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking brings us close to the actual existing world and its wholeness.”
– Gary Snyder, Beat Poet and Zen Practitioner
Tuesday Jul 24, 8:30am
Friday Jun 27, 7:00pm
This Week’s Reading
Thich Nhat Hanh, Old Path While Cloud, Chapter 4.
This Week’s Koan
Book of Serenity #64: “Zizhao’s ‘Succession'”
Head Monk Zizhao [a disciple of Changqing] asked Fayan, “You have opened a zendo, Master. But who did you succeed to?”
Fayan said, “Master Dizang.”
Zizhao said, “You have gone a great deal against your late master Changqing.” [Fayan had also practiced under Changqing.]
Fayan said, “I still don’t understand a turning word of Changqing’s.”
Zizhao said, “Why didn’t you ask me?”
Fayan said, “‘The one body manifests itself in myriad phenomena’, what does it mean?”
Zizhao stuck up his whisk.
Fayan said, “That is what you learned under Changqing. What is your own view, Head Monk?”
Zizhao was silent.
Fayan said, “When it is said, ‘The one body manifests itself in myriad phenomena’, are the myriad phenomena swept away or are they not?”
Zizhao said, “Not swept away.”
Fayan said, “There are two.”
All the disciples on the right and the left side said, “Swept away.”
Fayan said, “The one body manifests itself in myriad phenomena. Look!”
Fayan (“Hogen” in Japanese), b. 885
Lineage: Shitou > Tianhuang > Longtan > Deshan > Xuefeng > Xuansha > Luohan > Fayan
Dharma Siblings: Jinshan Honglin, Xiushan Longji
Also appears in: Gateless Gate #26 (=BOS 27), Blue Cliff Record #7, Book of Serenity #17, 20, 51, 74
Zizhao (“Shisho” in Japanese) and Fayan had both been disciples of Changqing (“Chokei” in Japanese). Changqing, Baofu, Yunmen, and Xuansha (Fayan’s Dharma “grandfather”) were all Dharma “brothers” of each other — and Dharma “sons” of Xuefeng (“Seppo” in Japanese). Zizhao had stayed with Changqing. Fayan moved on to study under Dizang (a.k.a. Luohan; “Jizo” in Japanese).
Katagiri Roshi stduied a lot. Mainly he stduied Buddhism, but he also took very seriously his study of the English language. He used words that some of us didn’t even know and we were constantly scrambling home after his lectures to consult our dictionaries. Even words we recognized he often used in ways we didn’t understand and Webster was our only source of deciphering his meanings, which were always precisely according to the dictionary, though often different from contemporary American usage.His pronunciation was painful to figure out, something which required much concentration and for a time caused me terrific headaches. And his translations from Japanese were often literal though not following any rules of English grammar and thus were often interpreted differently than what he meant. I encountered this a lot in trying to edit transcriptions of his lecture. I got used to listening to him, so transcribing wasn’t difficult. But when I tried to edit, I always became conflicted about what he really meant and afraid to change his sentence structures for fear of misinterpreting what he was trying to say.His study helped him to show us his deep understanding of the Dharma and of this practice. He dug into his Japanese references and he translated originals for us, finding exactly the right English words to convey his understanding. Most of all his sincere devotion to the practice was evidenced in his actions and his demeanor.