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Linji yu lu

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran

“Oh, followers of the Dao! It's really hard to be really true to yourself! The Buddha Dharma is deep, dark and inscrutable, but when she is seen, how simple is she! I spend my whole day telling people what the Dharma is, but it seems as if the listeners pay no attention to my words at all. How many thousands of times they tred her with their feet! And yet she is completely dark for them.

The Dharma has no form and yet, how clearly she manifests herself in her solitude! Because they lack confidence, they try to understand her through names and words. Half a century of their lives is simply wasted dragging a soulless body from one door to another. They trot wildly throughout the country, carrying a bag filled with hollow words from half-wise masters all the time on their backs. The Lord of the Underworld will surely ask them how many sandals they have worn!

Oh, venerable followers, when I tell you there is no Dharma as long as you seek her outside of yourself, you don't understand me. You then turn in and look for its meaning. You sit with crossed legs staring at a wall in an immovable position, with your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth. You think this is the Buddhist tradition, as it has been handed down by our Predecessors. A big mistake is being committed here! If you see a state of motionless purity for what is required of you, this is the darkness of ignorance for awakening. An old master (roshi) says: 'The dark abyss of calmness – truly, you have to shudder for that!' If, on the other hand, you think mobility is the right thing: the entire plant kingdom knows what mobility is. This cannot be called the Dao. Moveableness is the nature of the wind, while immobility is the nature of the earth. Neither of them have a 'self-nature'.

If you try to catch it yourself while it moves, it is motionless; if you try to catch it while it is motionless, it will move again. It's like with the fish swimming freely through the waves of the sea. Oh, followers, moving and not moving are two aspects of the self when it is seen objectively, when in reality it is nothing but the Dao-man himself, who is not dependent on anything. This is the one that freely uses the two aspects of reality, sometimes moving, sometimes not moving. If there is a person who has an insight that goes beyond ordinary thought patterns and if he comes to me, then I will act with my whole being.

Oh, honourable followers, this is the point where the listeners must surrender with all their hearts, here is no room for manoeuvre, not even for a breath. It is like the flash of lightning or like a spark of a flint being struck against the steel. An instant and everything is gone. If the spectator's eyes stare into nothingness, everything is lost. As soon as you focus your mind on it, it slips away from you; as soon as a thought is raised about it, it turns its back on you. Who sees, knows it's right in front of him.

Oh, honourable followers, with your backpack and your body full of crab, you go from door to door expecting to find the Buddha and the Dharma somewhere. But the One who now goes around like this and is looking for something – do you know who this One is? He is the most dynamic and has no roots or strain at all. You can try to catch him, but he refuses to get entangled. You can try to push him away, but he won't let himself be removed. The harder you try to approach him, the further away he is from you. When you don't chase him anymore, you see, he's right in front of you! His transcendental voice fills your ears. Those who have no trust, aimlessly waste their precious existence.

As for the way in which I, a mountain monk, approach myself, in a positive or negative sense, she is in accordance with the true view. Good-fed and exalted above the sentences, I am free in all states and behave as if I am not involved. What changes in my environment may take place, they don't bother me. If someone comes to me with the intention of obtaining something from me, I will meet him. He doesn't recognise me. I then put on different types of clothes and the listeners begin to give their explanations and are thoughtlessly caught by my words. They lack discernment. They are interested in the clothes I wear and distinguish the different colours: blue, yellow, red, white. When I take them off and stand completely naked, they are shocked, they know nothing to do and walk around confused, they shout that I have no clothes on. I turn to them and say, 'Do you recognise the person who walks around in all kinds of clothes?' Now they finally turn their heads and recognise me in the form!

Oh, honourable followers, be wary of keeping clothes for reality. Clothes do not have the capacity for self-determination; it is man who takes on different clothes. Clothes of purity, clothes of non-birth, clothes of awakening, clothes of nirvana, clothes of Predecessors, clothes of Buddhahood. Honourable followers, what we have here are just sounds, words and they are nothing better than the clothes we change. The movements begin in the lower body and the breath that passes the teeth produces different sounds. When they are pronounced, they have mere linguistic meaning. That's why we realise they are not realistic.

Oh, venerable followers, outwardly through sounds and words and inwardly through changing forms of consciousness we think and feel, and these are the many clothes in which we dress. Don't make the mistake of seeing the clothes people wear for reality. If you continue like this, even after the passing of countless kalpas, you will remain a connoisseur of clothes and no more. You will have to roam the triple world and let the wheel of birth and death roll. Nothing can be compared to a life of indeedness (wuwei), as an old master (roshi) says: 'I meet him and yet I don't know him, I talk to him and yet I don't know his name.'

The reason why in these days the listeners are not able to examine reality is that their understanding does not go beyond names and words. What they do is write down the words of some semi-wise, senile masters in their precious books and after folding these triple, no fivefold, they carefully store them in their pockets. This is to prevent others from doing their curious research. Thinking that these words of the masters express the deep theme of the Dharma, they honour it extremely reverently. They commit such a serious misdeed! Oh, those old, short-sighted followers! What juice do they expect from old, dried bones? There are those who do not know what is right and what is not right. They study the different writings and after much consultation and calculations, they keep some phrases about them that are used for their own purposes. It's like a man who, after swallowing a piece of dirt, spits it out and gives it to others. Those who spread a rumour like a chat, will wear out their lives uselessly. Sometimes they say, 'We are humble monks and nuns' and when others ask them about Buddhist teachings, they shut up and say nothing. Their eyes stare in the dark and their closed mouth is like a crooked shoulder stick. Even when Maitreya appears in the world, such people are destined for another world; they go to hell to suffer.

Oh, venerable followers, what are you looking for with going from one place to another so diligently? It will only flatten your soles! There are no Buddhas that can be found by you. There is no Dao that can be reached. There is no Dharma that can be berealised. As long as you look outside of yourself for a Buddha with form, you will never realise that he has no resemblance to you. If you want to see what your original spirit (xin) is, I will tell you that it is not in the state of becoming and not in the state of dissolution. Oh, honourable followers, the true Buddha has no form, the true Dao has no content, the true Dharma has no form. All three are united in the One.”



  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    “The three bodies of the Buddha (dharmakaya, nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya) are only shadows in my firm belief. Oh, venerable followers of the Dao! You must recognise the man (jen) who plays with these shadows and see him as the source of all Buddhas and the refuge for the followers of the Dao, wherever they may be.

    It is neither your physical body, nor your stomach or liver or kidney and nor is it the empty space that the Dharma teaches and listens to it.

    Who is it then who sees all this? It is the One who is right in front of you, in full presence, in an indivisible form and in lonely brilliance. This One knows how to speak about the Dharma and how to listen to it.

    If you can see this, you will not differ in any way from the Buddha and the Predecessors. The One who knows is never interrupted through the ages. He is everywhere our eyes perceive. Only by our affective limitations is intuition intercepted; only by our imagination is reality subject to differentiation. Therefore, suffering from a variety of pains, we move on to the triple world. In my opinion there is nothing deeper than this One and it is through this One that each of us can be freed.

    Oh, followers of the Dao! Your presence (xin) is formless and permeates the ten quarters. With the eyes she is seeing, with the ears she is hearing, with the nose she smells, with the mouth she speaks, with the hands she grabs, with the legs she walks around.

    Oh, followers of the Dao! The One who is now right in front of you, in brilliance and loneliness and who listens in full presence to this talk about your existence, this man (jen) does not move anywhere, wherever he is; he goes through the ten quarters, he is his own master in the triple world. He enters in all states, distinguishes everything, he cannot be driven out of what he is.

    He can penetrate the Dharma world in a thought- instant. When he meets a Buddha, he speaks in the manner of a Buddha; when he meets a Predecair, he speaks in the manner of a Predechur; when he meets an arhat (undetachment man), he speaks in the manner of an arhat; when he meets a hungry spirit, he speaks in the manner of a hungry spirit.

    He can go in all directions, roam any land and teach all beings and yet not be absent from any thought- moment. He goes everywhere, remains pure, undefined, his light penetrates into the ten quarters and the ten thousand things are of a shit.

    What is the true seeing? It is you who enters all states: the ordinary and the holy, the smeared and the pure; it is you who enters all Buddha- lands, in the Tower of Maitreya, in the Dharma- world of Vairochana. And when you enter, you manifest a country subjected to the four stages of becoming: creation, growth, destruction, extinction.

    The Buddha appeared in the world, spinning the great wheel of the Dharma and entered the nirvana, instead of roaming the earth forever, as we ordinary mortals do. Yet there are no signs of going and coming. When you try to trace his birth and death, you won't find them anywhere.

    He enters the Dharma world of the Unborn; he travels through every country. He enters the world of the Lotus manss and sees that all things are indeterminate (sunyata) and have no real substance (anatman). The only existing being is the Dao-man (Dao-jen), who depends on nothing now listens to this talk about your existence. This man is the mother of all Buddhas. Thus the Buddha is born of that which depends on nothing. When what is dependent on nothing is seen, the Buddha is also found elusive. When someone acquires this insight, he is said to be able to 'see the truth'.

    Those who do not know this are attached to names and words and are hindered by concepts such as the ordinary and the wise. When their view of the Dao is obstructed in this way, they cannot see the Dao clearly.

    Even the twelve parts of the Buddha's teaching are nothing more than words and concepts. Those who do not understand this try to find meaning in mere concepts and sentences. Being dependent on something, they become entangled in the law of cause and effect and cannot escape the cycle of birth and death in the triple world.

    If you wish to rise above birth and death, rise above and come and want to be completely detached, then you must recognise the person who is now listening to this talk about your existence. He is the one who has no form or stature, no root or stem and no dwelling place, but is full of activity.

    He reacts to all possible conditions and shows himself in his inactivity and yet he comes from nowhere. That's why he's far away when you try to find him; the closer you approach him, the further he moves away from you. His name is 'Secret'.”

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think The liminal space Veteran

    This kind of language speaks to me. Since getting involved with spirituality I've had a resonance with Taoism, and my formative years in Buddhism were with Tibetan Buddhism. This comes across as some sort of synthesis. Google seems to say that Linji Yu Lu was a founder of Chan?

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited October 2023

    Yes, Linji Yixuan was an early Chan master who died 866 CE. The Linji Yu Lu is the record of Linji, the main source of information about his life. In Japan he is known as Rinzai. These texts are machine translations of a Dutch translation that I came across in a blog.

    Linji is described as using the Three Mysterious Gates to maintain the Chán emphasis on the nonconceptual nature of reality, while employing sūtras and teachings to instruct his students:

    The First Gate is the "mystery in the essence", the use of Buddhist philosophy, such as Huayan, to explain the interpenetration of all phenomena.
    The Second Gate is the "mystery in the word", using the Hua Tou for "the process of gradually disentangling the students from the conceptual workings of the mind". The Chinese term Hua-t’ou can be translated as “critical phrase.” Literally it means the “head of speech” or the “point beyond which speech exhausts itself.”
    The Third Gate is the "mystery in the mystery", "involving completely nonconceptual expressions such as striking or shouting, which are intended to remove all of the defects implicit in conceptual understanding".

    From the Wikipedia page.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited October 2023

    “There is One, who now stands before all these followers of the Dao and listens to this talk about your existence; it is he who is not burned by fire, does not drown in water; it is he who hopping around as in a garden, even when he enters the three evil paths or enters Naraka (Sanskrit: 'hell'); it is he who will never have to bear the consequences of karma, even when he enters the realm of the hungry spirits or of the animals. Why? Because he knows no circumstances he should avoid.

    If you love the wise and hate the ordinary, you will sink into an ocean of birth and death. The bad passions come from the mind; when you have no mind, what bad passions can bind you? If you are not plagued by preferences and attachments, you will reach the Dao quickly and without effort. As long as you walk around among your loved ones in a confused state of mind, you will have to return to the realm of birth and death, no matter how many kalpas you try to master the Dao. It is better to go back to your monastery and sit with crossed legs in the zendo.

    Oh, followers of the Dao! You who now listen to this talk about your existence, you are not the four elements that form your body. You are that which of the four elements uses. When you are able to see this truth, you are free in your coming and going. As far as I can see, there's nothing I'd like to reject.

    What is required of the followers of the Dao is that they have confidence in themselves. Don't look for it outside of yourself. When you do that, you are only carried away by futile appearances and you are not at all able to distinguish pure from impure. But there are Buddhas, there are Predecessors, one will say. These are in fact no more than traces of words left by the Dharma. When a man appears before you and unfolds a word or a phrase in all its ambiguous entanglements before you, you are amazed and begin to doubt. Because you don't know what to do, you walk to neighbours and friends and inquire in all directions. You are completely confused. People of character should not waste their time on altercations and senseless talk about host and intruder, about pure and impure, about matter and wealth.

    As I stand here, I have no respect for monks and laymen. Whoever appears before me, I know where the visitor comes from. Whatever he may want to be, I know he relies on words, gestures, letters, phrases, all of which are nothing more than a dream or vision. I see only man who controls all the states that occur; he is the mysterious theme of all Buddhas.

    The Buddha- situation cannot occur on its own. It is this Dao-man (dao-jen) who appears independently as the master of the situation. When a person comes to me and says, 'I am looking for the Buddha', then I appear according to the state of purity. If a person comes to me and asks about the bodhisattva, then I appear according to the state of empathy (karuna). If a person comes to me and asks for bodhi (awakening), then I appear according to the state of unparallelled brilliance. When a person comes to me and asks about nirvana, then I appear according to the state of unseizable rest. The conditions can change endlessly, but man (jen) does not change. 'He takes all forms in accordance with the states, as the moon alternately reflects in the water,' it is said.

    Oh, followers of the Dao, it is urgent that you seek the true sight so that you can go through the world unhindered, without being misled by false Predecessors of Zen.

    The aristocrat is he, who is laden with nothing, who is in a state of inactiveness (wu-wei). Nothing extraordinary characterises his daily life. As soon as you turn out to look for your own limbs with your loved ones, as if you weren't already carrying them yourself, you make a mistake. You can try to find the Buddha, but he is no more than a name. Do you know the One who goes around and seeks like this?

    The Buddhas and Predecessors have appeared in the ten quarters, in the past, the future and the present and their purpose is to seek nothing less than the Dharma. All followers of the Dao who are now studying the Dao: they too seek the Dharma and nothing else. When they have found her, their task is finished. When they have not found her, they will continue to pass from one form to another, along the five paths of existence.

    What is the Dharma? She is nothing but presence (xin, 'heart', 'spirit'). Presence has no form and permeates those ten quarters and her work can be seen with our eyes. People don't believe it. They try to discover her names and words and imagine that the Buddha Dharma can be found in it. How far are they from the truth! It's like the distance between heaven and earth.

    Oh, followers of the Dao! What do you think my speaking is concerned with? She is concerned with the xin that enters ordinary and wise people, in impure and pure, in worldly and unworldly. It's about you not being ordinary and not wise, not worldly and worldly. And it is you who give names to the unworldly and to the worldly, to the ordinary and to the wise. Neither the worldly or the unworldly, nor the wise or ordinary, can give a name to this man.

    Oh, followers of the Dao! It's up to you to see this truth and make free use of it. Don't get attached to names. The mysterious subject is called 'the truth'.

    A person with a strong character is not expected to be deceived by others. This man is his own master, wherever he or she goes. Everything is fine with this person, as long as he stands.

    As soon as a thought of doubt arises, ominous minds take possession of your mind. As soon as the bodhisattva harbours doubt, the demon of birth and death is given a good chance. Make sure your mind is not disturbed, do not long for the outside. Let light shine on the conditions the moment they arise. Only rely on the One who acts on now. He doesn't express himself in some specific way.

    As soon as a thought is born in your mind, the triple world rises with all its circumstances belonging to the six sensory fields. If you continue to act in response to the circumstances, what are you missing? In a thought- moment you enter the purifying and the impure, in the Tower of Maitreya, in the Land of the Three Eyes. Wherever you go: nothing but empty names.”

  • I LOVES them there Zeniths …

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