The Lighthouse in the Ocean of Chan


Chapter 2 The First Story of the Lighthouse: Entrance

Section 1 Selected Disclosures and Koans Relative to the Entrance Stage
Section 2 Examples of Conditions for Attainment at the Present Stage
Section 3 Selected Koans with Different-Stage Answers
Section 3.1 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "The Intention of Bodhidharma's Coming from the West"
Section 3.2 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Family Style"
Section 3.3 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Ox Herding"
Section 3.4 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Duster"
Section 3.5 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Glancing Sutra"
Section 3.6 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Sending a Letter"
Section 3.7 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Mind"
Section 3.8 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Body"
Section 3.9 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Environment"
Section 3.10 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Still Coming to the Feast?"

The fundamental place of renunciation as dealt with in the last chapter and the places of "entrance", "exit", "use" and "finish" as dealt with in this and subsequent chapters are not a place, and are not different places. Because your understanding and practice have not yet attained swallowing the whole thing in one gulp, and because people who stand solidly on the ground would not swallow anything indiscriminately so as to finish it in a blurry way, there is no harm in talking about the above mentioned places. If you are a "word-stickler," then please stop reading so that I would be spared one more transgression. If you are an old hand, then here is all that was shared with you, hand in hand on the path. Every sentence suits the mind and is appropriate for the occasion, and every sentence is also superfluous rubbish.

This book censures the verbal Chan fellows of this last period of the Dharma. They remember koans well and are quite good at elaboration; however, they have never traversed the path on foot. There are thousands of koans accumulated through thousands of years, resulting in all sorts of sayings. What is ultimately the field? What is ultimately the state? How profound or shallow is it? Why does one koan have many different answers? Dare you say which answer is right and which wrong? Judged by the words and sayings, you would be hundred and eight thousand miles away. Judged by activities and measure of realization, how could you who is not an old hand know? Since you don't know, you should not blab. Here I assign you no fixed, traditional border, nor do I permit you to be without borders and depths. From the "entrance" of this chapter to the "finish," there seems to be a sequential order, and yet there is no rule delineated for you to grasp. Although there seems to be no definite sequential order, and yet it does indicate the various depths of attainment for you. If you turn around now and stop your blabbing, you should feel terribly ashamed; touch your heart to reflect on yourself: to what field have you attained? Definitely should not deceive others with your two pieces of skin; that would only be unworthy of your own consciousness.

Section 1 Selected Disclosures and Koans Relative to the Entrance Stage

A monk asked Sheng Nian, "How to attain an entrance?" Sheng Nian replied, "Even though the chieftain is said to have surrendered, but he is not seen to have come with offerings of sheep and jade." Jian says, "Readers, just try to think: would this entrance still need you to bring something along? Had better not to vilify it."

Zhao Zhou heard a novice monk shouting for an interview, so he told the attendant, "Tell him to go away." The novice monk bid farewell and left. Zhao Zhou said, "That novice monk gained an entrance, while the attendant remains outside."

Da Dian asked Shi Tou, "The ancients said 'exist' or said 'not exist'; such two slanders, may the teacher please exterminate." Shi Tou said, "Even one thing does not exist; what is there to exterminate? Please say it without your throat, lips and tongue!" Da Dian said, "No this." The teacher said, "Thus, you have gained an entrance." Jian says, "Of all the ancient patriarchs, was there anyone who allows you to take one thing as the gate of entrance?"

A monk asked about the right cause, "How is no events?" Yi Duan said, "Exactly like empty sky, only then is there some slight correspondence, because empty sky has no lock, no windows, no shape and no mind's eyes."

Zheng Yuan said: "Time and again, the ocean changes into mulberry farms. Only the empty sky remains forever clear and calm. He who reaches the other shore should not cling to the raft. He who has not ferried across still needs the boat." Jian says, "That the empty sky shatters is the state of exit to be covered in the next chapter; here it is still out of the question. Attainment should not involve self-deceit. On views, you may surpass the teacher, and yet in activities it could not be not walking step by step on solid ground, with soles completely touching the earth. A persistent fellow at first should value that his view be clear; but a bluffing fellow could not just value on views. At what position, say what kind of talk."

Vasumitra, the Seventh Patriarch of India said: "Mind equals the empty sky. Exhibit dharmas equivalent to the empty sky. When empty sky is actually realized, there is neither dharma nor non-dharma." Jian says, "The empty sky may seem to be an entrance; however, if you set up an empty sky besides all things to conjure it up as an entrance, and secretly hold on to it, you are just playing with your own consciousness; as to entering the gate of Chan, it would take place only in the year of the Donkey. Should know that this entrance is not a separate place, does not have a gate, does not need a stepping forward to enter, is not ahead of you, and is not a shore that you can turn back to. To those who have not entered, it would always remain inexplicable. If you have really gained an entrance, there is no need for other sayings. The important thing is to set your heart on renunciation as described in Chapter One, completely not to rely on anything. Before you gain an entrance, with this mind of renunciation, you seek out and visit experienced Chan practitioners. Then one day encounter a Guru who is connected with you through past conditions; once the harmonious contact is established, suddenly an entrance is attained. Then you would know it instinctively. Here I have revealed to you the most straightforward information about this matter."

Buddhanandi, the Eighth Patriarch, said:

The empty space has neither inside nor outside,
Also like this are the dharmas of mind;
If the resemblance to empty sky is comprehended,
The truth of Suchness would be understood.

Jian says, "Understanding the truth of Suchness is one thing, attaining an entrance is quite another. Should not think that having seen amounts to having arrived."

Sanghanandi, the Seventeenth Patriarch, asked his disciple, "Bell rings? Wind rings?" "Neither bell nor wind, my mind rings." "Who is this mind?" "Because they are both silent." Jian says, "Readers try to figure out, of all the ancient patriarchs, how many would consider the presence of the mind as an entrance path?"

Patriarch Bodhidharma once revealed, "Outwardly, put to rest all clingings; inwardly, the mind is free from panting. When the mind is like a wall, may enter the Tao." Jian says, "This is an unavoidable contrivance for novices. Now that the mind is like a wall, who would be the mind that enters, and who would be the Tao that is entered? Ponder!"

The Second Patriarch saw Bodhidharma and said, "Mind not tranquil; beg teacher to pacify it." "Fetch the mind, and I shall pacify it for you." "Searching for the mind and find it traceless." "I have pacified it for you."

The Sixth Patriarch asked Chan teacher Huai Rang of Nan Yue, "What is the thing that comes like this?" "To describe it as a thing is to miss it." Jian says, "Don't want to hit it? To find an entrance path, it would be in the year of the Donkey. What does it have to do with hit and miss? Mencius said, 'Look for the mind that is gone.' Here I say, 'Let go of the mind that is looking for,' it would hit automatically. To demand that it hits, would miss the mark by hundred and eight thousand miles."

Pu Yuan, seeing Huang Bo off, pointed to the latter's bamboo hat and said, "Elder's body is large, but the bamboo hat is much too small!" Huang said, "Even so, all the universe is right in the small area here." Pu Yuan said, "Where is teacher Wang (Pu Yuan's lay appellation)?" Bo thereupon left with the hat on. Jian says, "At that time Huang Bo was only at the first stage of entrance, as indicated by his saying 'right in the small area here'; Pu Yuan, however, intended to point him toward exiting. Readers would know this after reading about 'exit' in Chapter Three."

Pu Hua once rang a hand bell in the market place, and said, "Couldn't find a place to go to." Dao Wu grabbed him and asked, "Where do you intend to go to?" Pu Hua said, "Where do you come from?" Dao Wu had no reply, the teacher pulled away his grabbing hand and left.

Venerable old-hand Chen said, "You fellows should find an entrance path; having entered, do not be unworthy of old monk." Then one monk came out from the assembly to bow and said, "This one would never dare to be unworthy of teacher." "Already have been unworthy of!" Jian says, "Were it said that there is an entrance path, already have been unworthy of. Should know the so-called entrance is simply because previously you were standing outside the gate, loafing away east and west. Were it the case of really having entered, where would there be such things as indoors and outdoors? If you think you have already entered, seeing others outside your gate, that would be not yet entered, and unworthy of."

A monk asked Zhen Sui, "How is the very first sentence?" "When the world was not formed, Acarya is also here."

A monk had arrived at the foot of the mountain. He asked Tian Ran, "Which way to Mount Dan Xia?" Tian Ran, pointing to the mountain, said, "Where it is dark green." The monk said, "Isn't it simply this one?" Tian Ran said, "What a lion cub! Turn as soon as poked!"

A monk asked Wei Yan, "How are precepts, meditation and wisdom?" Wei said, "Hermit here does not have such idle domestic implements. Simply has to sit atop very high mountain, and walk on very deep ocean floor. Things of female bedrooms could not part with, that would be leakage." Jian says, "Even this 'sitting atop very high mountain' is considered by me as a temporary measure for the present stage. Had the second stage been reached, it could not help becoming a thing of female bedrooms."

A monk asked Da Tong, "Who is monk's teacher?" Da Tong said, "Greeting him, does not see his head; following him, does not see his shape." Jian says, "Just this greeting and following seem to have fallen among the rank of disciples. Were it a real lion cub, once entered, there would be no need to greet again and follow further, only then amounts to truly not unworthy."

Ju Dun asked Dong Shan: "Learner has not yet seen the reasoning path, and is not yet free from sentimental cognition." Dong Shan said, "Do you still see the reasoning path or not?" "See no reasoning path." Dong Shan said, "Where does the sentimental cognition come from?" "Learner is indeed asking this." Dong Shan said, "In that case, should go to and stand where there is not a blade of grass for thousands of miles." "Without a blade of grass, still allow standing or not?" "Simply need to go in this way." Jian says, "This is temporarily permissible at the present stage of entrance. As to the 'Five Infirmities of Lang Ya,' that one should not go where there is not a blade of grass for thousands of miles, is the field of the third stage of use. For those who have not yet arrived this field, they should first go to where there is not a blade of grass for thousands of miles. There are no steps to comprehending the Tao, but there are differences in depth of activities and realization. Even the slightest pretension cannot be permitted."

Xue Feng, pointing to a tract of land, said to Xuan Sha, "Good for erecting a seamless pagoda." Xuan Sha said, "Height, how much?" Xue looked up and down. Xuan Sha said, "As to meritorious rewards in human and deva worlds, not comparable to monk; however, as to be foretold by the Buddha at Mt. Grdhrakuta as a Buddha candidate, still far away!" Jian says instead, "If measurement is discussed, there would be seams already." For this matter, if a practitioner only imagines a pagoda with neither top nor bottom, and watches it all the time, and considers thus to be it. Great mistake! Great mistake! How could this matter be established in one's mind and sight? He who attempts to enter definitely need to reflect seriously on this.

Xue Feng said, "Be the world one foot wide, the antique mirror would be one foot wide; be the world ten feet wide, the antique mirror would be ten feet wide." Xuan Sha, pointing to a stove, said, "How wide is this thing?" Xue Feng said, "As wide as the antique mirror." Xuan said, "Old monk's heels have not touched the ground." Jian says, "To hang up an antique mirror, reflecting east and reflecting west, is just the same as imagining a seamless tower as described in the preceding koan. That is a great mistake. It is out of the question of heels touching the ground, but already a player of psychic. Xuan Sha in one saying had censured all those Chan fellows who did not thoroughly comprehend and yet possessed meritorious rewards to enjoy hollow reputation. Not just Xue Feng alone at that time, many people with genuine virtues but without fame were buried unnoticed under the great prominence of De Shan and Lin Ji. However, they are still known to those who have the insight. Future generations of practitioners engaging in the quest of Chan definitely should not step only after hollow fame, but must personally seek revelations from practitioners who have engaged in serious practice and attained realization. Thereby they might come across one or half of an authentic teacher."

Ke Guan asked a monk, "How is coming face to face?" The monk said, "Teacher, please verify." "Would that still be appropriate?" The monk said, "Therefore it is not allowed." Ke Guan said, "That is something else." Jian says, "It is in vain to know that 'therefore it is not allowed'; there is still verifying and being appropriate, cannot be called an entrance. 'That is something else' is free from being capable to verify and being appropriate, hence there is a slight degree of mutual correspondence."

A monk asked Chan teacher Yun, "Unsurpassable matter?" Yun said, "Before sound, clap would not scatter; after sentence, find no traces."

A monk asked monk Cheng, "How is one sentence to exit the Dharma hall?" Cheng said, "Reciting in leisure, recall only Upasaka Pang; in heaven or on earth could not be accompanied." Jian says, "Indeed having attained an entrance, what would still be there to deal with? Could it still be distinguished as to what is the entrance and what is outside the entrance?"

A monk asked Yong Ming, "How is this sutra?" Yong Ming said, "Always expounding without stop, neither meaning nor sound." The monk asked, "How to maintain?" Yong said, "Must use eyes to listen." Jian says, "Although ancient virtuous ones frequently used expressions such as 'lifting eyebrows,' it must not be taken as meaning observation. As to 'eye listening' mentioned in this koan, it should not be understood as observation either. This matter ultimately does not allow anywhere to be applied the slightest force. An old friend of mine used to practice observation but could not attain an entrance. Ever since I told him to let go and no longer practice observation, yet he suddenly entered. In Xi Kang I came across a lama of the Red School who also frequently practiced observation to the extent that his eyes were all red but no medicine could cure that. I asked him to let go, stop observation, then his eyes recovered from the symptoms. It seems that a novice would always want to observe this one steadily, so as to have a handle. Indeed that which being observed steadily, would not be round and bright, but is relative. Therefore, the ancient virtuous ones would often ask you to see what is behind. If you fix your observation toward the front, how would you then observe toward the back? The ancient virtuous ones, because you seek sounds and follow shadows in listening through ears, therefore told you to use eyes for listening. If you should then hold on dead fast to listening with your eyes, they would then ask you to let go. This matter may be likened to picking up tender bean curd jelly with a pair of jade chopsticks: Without applying force, it would be yet easier to pick up; as soon as force is applied, the jelly would break into pieces, eventually could not be picked up."

Da Hui Gao said, "Buddha said: 'Whoever wishes to know the state of Buddhahood, should purify his mind like the empty sky.' Stay far away from various attachments of the conceptual mind and pretentious and unreal delusions, also as the empty sky. Should know that where thoughts do not go, calculations do not reach, and cleverness and alacrity could not apply, this state where nothing whatsoever can be grasped, would be the time to let go of one's body and life." Again, "Discrimination does not arise, empty brightness shines of its own accord."

Seng Can said: "Gain, loss, right, wrong, all let go at once." Again, "Motionless moves without moving; motion ceases without ceasing." Again, "Even one thought does not arise, all things are faultless." Jian says, "These statements, although superfluous, yet could indicate a semblance entrance. You call them superfluous only after you have entered."

He Ze said, "No thoughts and no thinking." Again, "Mind is originally without intention; Tao is perpetually without ideas."

Bao Zhi said: "Sorrows exist because of mind, Without mind where would sorrows dwell? No need to discriminate and cling to forms, naturally attain Tao right away."

A monk asked the Sixth Patriarch, "On whom is the Dharma eye bestowed?" The Patriarch replied, "He who has Tao, obtains; he who is without intentions, comprehends." Jian says, "The various sayings of the patriarchs quoted above, seem to indicate that 'no mind' would be an entrance. However, if you grasp to this 'no mind,' then again could not attain an entrance. Let's say that the lively arising of thoughts and ideas is not Chan, and yet the 'no mind' which is lifeless like wood and stone could be Chan? Nevertheless, there are variations in the depth and shallowness of attainments. The ancients abhorred 'sitting inside the shell of no events' and 'sitting in stagnant water,' and yet said, 'to die a great death once would do.' How could the posterity follow? Should know that if you have not died a great death once, you need first to die a great death once; don't be afraid that you could not revive. If either you are alive on mouth but could not die in mind, or you could die in mind but could not be alive in opportune use, then that is not the real intention of the patriarchs. Therefore, the ancients said, 'No mind exactly use; constant use exactly nothing.' A real master hand is always dead and alive simultaneously. If that is not the case, then I would advise you to die a great death first, later become alive again."

Ma Zu Dao Yi said, "Ordinary mind is Tao; there is neither artificiality, nor right and wrong, nor preference and renunciation, nor extinction and permanence, nor sages and commoners."

Elder Guan Nan said in his ode "On Securing a Pearl":

If only all dharmas do not concern the mind,
Since beginningless time had there ever birth and senility?

Da Zhu said, "Don't ponder! Don't seek! Ever present, nothing to consider. Not to start thoughts following sounds and shapes, nor to form interpretations based on appearances, then naturally become free from problems."

Zhao Zhou said, "Moreover, where could be attached? 'Even one thought does not arise, all things are faultless.' Ponder on this in sitting for thirty years; if you still do not comprehend, cut old monk's head off." Jian says, "Zhao Zhou was so compassionate as to offer guarantee for posterity. Nowadays most people are unworthy of him; efforts are made on mouth and lips, would not realistically reflect on one's mind, especially would not continuously ponder for thirty years. Therefore, verbal Chan are many, while those engaging in real quest and true comprehension are few."

Shi Bei said, "Fully in sight but not seen; fully in hearing but not heard. Whoever cannot apprehend it in these two fields is a sleepyhead indeed. If it is thoroughly grasped, without action the distinction of commoners and saints would be rid of, and in the three realms there is not a thing, even as tiny as the sharp point of a needle, as an object of clinging or an object of opposition." Again, "Ponder finely up to where no efforts could apply, all clingings will naturally fade away."

A heretic asked Sakyamuni Buddha, "Not asking for words, nor asking for no words." The Buddha remained silent for a long while. The heretic prostrated in gratitude for attaining entrance. Ananda asked, "How did he attain entrance?" The Buddha said, "Just as a good horse would start running upon seeing the shadow of a whip." Jian says, "In the past the patriarchs would all employ this remaining silent for a long while of the Buddha. Many people attained entrance during this period of silence, and yet many others still missed it right in their faces. This 'long while of silence' should not be taken as a temporal noun, nor as a special suggestive manner then hinting at something. It should be understood that during that long while of silence, there is neither that which reveals, nor that which is revealed, nor without revelation. It works only when it matches right then and entrance attained."

A monk asked Zhi Chang, "How to attain entrance?" Zhi said, "The power of wonderful wisdom of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara can relieve all worldly sufferings." "How is the power of wisdom?" Zhi Chang thereupon knocked a tripod three times and asked, "Have you heard?" "Heard." "Why didn't I hear it?" The monk had no words, Zhi hit him. Jian says, "There are many ancient examples of attaining entrance through sound. Nevertheless, the sound is also not an entrance. Just as a door is not the room, what Zhi Chang meant by not hearing may be likened to one who has entered a room no longer paying attention to the door."

Ben Jing said: "Examine the truth, the truth has no features; Exhaust delusions, delusions have no form. Reflect on the mind that examines and exhausts, know that this mind is also a pseudo name." Jian says, "Observing that the mind has no subsistence is one way to attain an entrance, just as pondering on a koan. However, unless the observation is continuous and thorough until it is impossible to advance or retreat, would not attain an entrance. Whoever can cease all other pursuits and continuously observe it, not to forget it even during meals and sleep, to the extent that looking is without seeing, listening is without hearing, and eating is without tasting, would then suddenly be able to come across a trace of it. To observe the mind without efforts and seriousness, even though practiced for ten or twenty years, is useless."

Yu Jun Rong asked Hui Zhong, "How does Bai Ya Shan practice throughout the day?" The teacher summoned a boy, caressed the top of his head and said, "Smart continuously, clear continuously, smart and clear, continuously clear; from now on, do not be deceived by others." Jian says, "First of all, one should understand that this paragraph on being smart is about maintenance after having entered."

Tong Chang said, "Experience it from where Buddha cannot be attached. In time perpetually present. When consciousness ceases and efforts die, even a sudden flash of awareness would amount to hurting it, leave alone speeches and sentences."

Ling Yan praised the receiving of San Ping by Shi Gong with the following stanza:

Knowing to grasp the aiming arrow,
Why was he called only half a fellow?
Since he had learned from the path,
Therefore his manhood is not whole.

This koan and the koan of the old lady who requested a Chan teacher to turn the wheel of Tripitaka, when studied in contrast, would reveal the entrance. If it is only half, then it is not a real entrance. Just as one, who looks only ahead but forgets about the half behind, simply because he stands right in the middle and himself forms an obstacle, intends to attain an entrance; wait till the year of the donkey!

[The koan of an old lady requesting a Chan teacher to turn the wheel of Tripitaka is added here by the translator for the readers:

An old lady sent some money to a Chan teacher requesting him to turn the wheel of the Tripitaka for her. The master took the money, got off his couch, made a complete turn and said to the messenger who brought the money, "Tell the old lady that I have turned the wheel of Tripitaka for her." The person went back and told the old lady what happened. The old lady said, "I asked him to turn the wheel of the entire Tripitaka, how could he have turned only the wheel of half the Tripitaka?"]

Shou An composed a poem which reads:

Sitting quietly on the southern terrace with a pot of incense;
All day long in tranquillity, all worries forgotten.
Not resting the mind to eradicate delusions,
Just because there are no matters to think about.

Jian says, "Resting the mind to eradicate delusions cannot be forced to become realized. As a matter of view, knowing for sure that originally there are no events; seeing it thoroughly, thinking and not thinking are all irrelevant. A regular practitioner of Samatha would teach people first to remove scattered thoughts as delusions. Here, for those who have entered, having delusions or not are both irrelevant. However, if you have never attained entrance, being able to remove delusions would be a good thing. Those who are infested with hordes of delusions, naturally will find it comparatively less easy to attain entrance. This is not to say, however, that once the delusions are eradicated entrance will be attained."

Xuan Sha said, "Just recognize your secret diamond body; it is like the sunlight. Not a single worldly operation in maintaining livelihood is not dependent on the sunlight. Does the sun's body still have many varieties? Still have mental activities? Still have unreachable spots? Still have the discrimination of commoners and saints? Does it have your mental activities? Should not say no, then it is gotten."

Wen Yan of Yun Men said, "Just as monk Xue Feng said, 'The whole earth is you.' Jia Shan said, 'Select old monk on the tips of varieties of grasses; recognize emperor in a busy market place.'" Pu Le said, "As soon as a grain of dust is noticed, the entire earth is gathered; at the tip of one hair is the lion, the whole body is just you. Ruminate on this constantly for days and years, in time an entrance will be attained. Once an entrance is attained, open wide your eyes, hang up your bowl and bag, break your walking stick, and spend ten years, twenty years to attain a thorough achievement; don't worry that it would not be accomplished." Jian says, "Readers definitely should not misunderstand this rumination as an entrance path. Listen to what Wen Yan had to say further: 'There is yet another type of person who, when talking about a resting place, would face the dark realm with eyes closed, conduct their livelihood in a rat hole, sit under the Black Mountain among the ghosts, and call that as having attained an entrance path. Has it been dreamed of? Only braggarts.'"

Ji Zhao said, "If you enter through Manjusri, all inanimate things, earth, wood, tiles, gravel, would help you start comprehending. If you enter through Avalokitesvara, all sounds and noises, the croaking of frogs, the chirping of crickets, would help you start comprehending. If you enter through Samantabhadra, you would arrive without taking a step." Jian says, "These supreme aids to help start comprehending cannot be pursued by the readers. Where efforts are applied would not be where entrance would be attained; and yet where no efforts are applied would be that which could enter. That which enters and where entrance is attained must be consistent, only then really having entered."

Ming Zhen's poem reads:

Blind, deaf or mute persons are deities and Buddhas,
Fully in sight but their contemporaries cannot benefit from them.
Right at this instant you should appreciate the wonders
That are body, mind, and the myriad of all phenomena.

Jian says, "This poem is a footnote to my earlier comments on applying efforts to observation. Xuan Sha said, 'If blind, deaf or mute persons could not be received, Buddha Dharma would be without inspirational effectiveness.' The arrogant Chan fellows nowadays talk like torrential rivers but are without even half an iota of real virtue. When these three kinds of people come, the deaf ones do not listen to your verbal Chan, the blind ones do not see whether your duster is raised or hung, the mute ones cannot answer your questions; how do you distinguish whether these people have comprehended or not? It is futile to become familiar with some koans through reading or to have learned some hand gestures; what maneuvers are there for teaching people to attain an entrance? It would be better to engage oneself in real quest to attain true comprehension; no need to worry that there will be no one to receive oneself."

Now we come to the last of the selected koans about entrance. Yi Cun asked Hui Quan, "What is the point of your attaining entrance?" Hui said, "Have discussed it with monk already." "Where discussed?" "Where go and come?" "After you have attained an entrance, how then?" Hui had no reply; the teacher beat him. Jian says instead, "Just right to exit from here."

Readers should stop contemplating on the entrances attained by others. After you have finished reading the preceding paragraphs on the present stage of entrance, temporarily do not read on to the next chapter, nor go back to read the preceding materials, and without your having to get up and take a single step, nor need you to raise your eyebrows or blink your eyes, just let go as it is at such ever ready original state. This, beginningless and endless, without the discrimination of saints and commoners, long since has never been exited from; what is the need for an entrance?

Section 2 Examples of Conditions for Attainment at the Present Stage

Xiang Yan relied on Gui Shan. Gui Shan asked about "the matter of one's original share before one exited from the womb." Xiang consulted all Chan koans and discourses of masters everywhere but still could not respond. Therefore, he burned all such materials and left. One day in the hills, he threw a piece of broken tile at a bamboo and caused a sound; while bursting into laughter he suddenly comprehended. His poem reads:

One hit, forget what was known;
No longer have faith in practice and treatment.
Advocate the ancient way actively,
Not falling among those who remain silent.
Everywhere without traces,
Grandeur bearing beyond sound and form;
Everywhere those who have attained Tao
All say that this is of the most supreme capacity.

Jian says, "From his 'One hit, forget what was known' would know that comprehension was attained not because of the sound, but due to oblivion of what was known. This 'oblivion of what was known' is not something on the mouth or under a pen, but is complete factual oblivion of all that was known. If you intend to attain oblivion of all that are known, it is guaranteed that you would attain an entrance."

Zhi Qin attained comprehension while seeing peach blossoms; he said:

For thirty years a searcher for the sword,
Several times the leaves fallen and then new branches grow.
Ever since once seeing the peach blossoms,
Up to now no longer doubt.

Jian says, "Inanimate objects expound the Dharma; how could it be limited to peach blossoms only? Read on!"

When Liang Jia learned from Yun Yan for the first time, during the conversation he learned that inanimate objects are expounding the Dharma. Later, while crossing water, he saw his own reflection and attained great comprehension. His poem reads:

How strange! How strange!
That inanimate objects are expounding Dharma is inconceivable!
If listened by ears, it would be difficult to comprehend,
Only when you hear sounds in sight will you know.
Definitely should not seek from others,
That would be far, far away from me.
Now I go about all alone,
Everywhere can I meet it.
Now it is just me,
Yet I now am not it.
In this way should it be comprehended,
Only then will suchness be attained.

Jian Zhen, as he was invited by the King of Min, sat on Qing Feng Lou [a multi-story building] for a long while. He raised his head and suddenly saw the sunlight, thereupon suddenly attained immediate comprehension. His poem reads:

On Qing Feng Lou I attended the official banquet,
This day in my entire life my eyes suddenly opened.
Only then did I know that the event in the year Pu Tong so long ago,
Did not come about via the route of Onion Peak.

[Pu Tong was the year when Bodhidharma arrived China in the Liang Dynasty; 520 AD]

Readers please review the four examples cited above; bamboo, peach blossom, water and sunlight, which one is not a factor contributing to comprehension of Tao? Furthermore, not only these, there are numerous other examples in the koans, such as the one about a butcher saying, "Where do you not see lean meat?" and the one about a prostitute singing, "Since you have no Xin, nor have I." [Xin in Chinese means heart and mind.] They could not be cited one by one here. Confucius said in Lun Yu, his Analects, "Having presented one corner to someone and yet he still cannot learn about the remaining three corners, I no longer repeat my efforts." That is the same idea as here.

Section 3 Selected Koans with Different-Stage Answers

For the same koan there are yet many answers. The intention of some answers is at the first stage of entrance, while that of others is at the second stage of exit, and still that of others is at the third stage of use. Those who are without the eye cannot distinguish the differences in depth, and are often unworthy of the motherliness of ancient adepts. Therefore, in this book, at each stage a number of koans that are related to the corresponding stage are selected and listed so as to help readers make comparison; only then will the interconnection and comprehension among one and many, similarity and difference, be known. The later stages can comprehend the earlier stages, while the earlier stages can connect to the later stages. There is difference in similarity, and similarity in difference. One needs to comprehend through the similarities, and to discriminate through the differences. It must not be swallowed as a whole without discrimination; nor can it be torn into pieces.

Section 3.1 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "The Intention of Bodhidharma's Coming from the West"

A monk asked Yang Shan, "What was the intention of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?" Yang Shan drew a circle and wrote at its center the Chinese character for "Buddha." Jian says, "Were I there, I would certainly have broken that circle and cast away that 'Buddha' word; and yet Yang Shan could do nothing about it. However, at the present stage of entrance, it is temporarily allowed to hold; if there is not even this circle, then it cannot be counted as an entrance. Readers try to comprehend what, after all, this circle is. If not understood, for the time being go back to read the koan in which Wei Yan answered a monk's asking, 'How are discipline, meditation and wisdom?' What is meant by 'sit atop very high mountain, and walk on very deep ocean floor'? Draw a circle from the pinnacle of the very high mountain to the bottom of the very deep ocean; is it a live circle or not? Suddenly I recall a story which is related below to make the readers laugh: A gang of rats gathered to discuss, how they might be informed of the coming of the cat. They all said that by fastening a bell around the cat's neck its coming would sound, then they could escape upon hearing the bell. They all thought that this is the right solution. Then an old rat asked, 'Who can fasten the bell on the cat's neck?' With wide-opened eyes they all had nothing to reply with. Now I ask, 'How can the carcass, which is like but a grain in the ocean, draw a circle from the pinnacle of the very high mountain to the bottom of the very deep ocean?' Ponder!"

A monk asked Qing Gan, "What was the intention of Bodhidharma's coming from the West?" Qing responded, "Goat-head cart pushes bright moon."

Jian daily, during the resting period of his retreat, allocated half an hour for the writing of books. While being a visitor there are but few books on Chan available; a copy of Jing De Chuan Deng Lu (Jing De Record of the Transmission of the Lamp) was borrowed from Upasaka Zhang Xiang Cheng. The preliminary step was to compile from it a "Record of General Selection of Koans." Then koans in "Record for Comparison of Same Koans at Different Stages" were selected from this "Record of General Selection of Koans" but not through a process of special selection from all available koans. Therefore, among these koans with different-stage answers, some are with the second and third stage answers, some are with the first and second stage answers, but not necessarily all are with all four stage answers. The author should apologize to the readers for not having gone through a process of comprehensive selection for koans with different-stage answers. As far as doing good is concerned, who would be inferior to me? Who knows that people in the future would not be capable of filling this regrettable gap for me? Here only two or three examples are presented; readers naturally can learn by deduction.

Section 3.2 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Family Style"

A monk asked Sheng Nian about his family style. Sheng replied, "Personal supervision before the cliffs of Mt. Shao Shi [where Bodhidharma spent nine years facing a wall]." The monk said, "Please make a loud response!" Sheng said, "Now should also make it known to all." Then he continued, "It is speechless even with mouth like a thousand rivers; only in front of a ten thousand fathom cliff can it be said." With the intention of the second stage of exit, Jian criticizes, "Too advanced!" For the present stage, it needs to pass the ten thousand fathom cliff once. The Patriarch said, "With mind like a wall"; definitely so.

A monk asked Jing Xuan about his family style. Jing replied, "A full vase will pour out pebbles; large ocean has no enemy."

A monk asked about the family style of Tian Zhu [the monastery where Chong Hui presided]. Chong Hui replied, "At times white clouds come to block the doors; no more wind and moon floating in the hills." Jian says, "Too tight!" This criticism is based on the second stage of exit; it does not mean that it was inappropriate as such at the present stage.

There are still many "family style" koans at the present stage, please excuse the lack of a comprehensive selection and a complete recording here. The same shall apply to the subsequent chapters.

Section 3.3 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Ox Herding"

Shi Gong was working in the kitchen; Ma Zu asked, "Doing what?" Shi said, "Ox herding." "How to herd it?" "Whenever it enters the grass, pull it right back by the nose." Ma Zu said, "You are really herding the ox." Thereupon Shi stopped. Jian says, "Try to figure out what Teacher Wang (Pu Yuan) meant by asking people not to forget to come with a blade of grass held in the mouth. The reader may go to the "ox herding" koan under the third stage of use in sub-section 3.3, section 3, Chapter Four for comparison, then you would realize that the depth and shallowness of attainment are different. Were it a good ox, it would understand to hold grass in its mouth; however, to be a good cowboy, at the beginning one should not let the cattle trample on others' seedlings. How could it be that Ma Zu did not know about Teacher Wang's event? Nevertheless, that was all that Shi Gong could do at the time. Ma Zu knew well that Shi Gong had to go through such a stage, hence he still praised him to be truly a good herder. Nowadays ordinary arrogant Chan fellows teach people only to hold grass in the mouth; although it is high sounding, but what to do with heels not touching the ground? It was foretold by a Patriarch that Ma Zu would trample and kill all people under the sky, meaning that he would be able to give teachings that suit the capacity of each individual. He would not presumptuously administer a remedy suitable for students with superior capacity to those with inferior capacity. Try read Da Hui Gao Yu Lu Quan Ji (the Complete Analects of Da Hui Gao); it teaches people to wade in a boiling cauldron throughout the whole book. This person very much dare not agree."

Da An asked Bai Zhang, "How to recognize Buddha?" Bai Zhang said, "Riding on a cow and yet looking for it." "How is it after Buddha is recognized?" "Similar to riding a cow home." "How is it from beginning to end?" "Just as a cowherd watching it with a stick in his hand, not allowing it to encroach on people's crops." Jian says, "Not allowing it to encroach on people's crops can only be considered as the beginning, but not the end. As regards the end, one should refer to the koan of Pu Yuan (Teacher Wang) as cited in Chapter Four, the third stage of use. However, in order to teach people to cultivate their practice at the present stage of entrance, there is no harm in saying that it is so from beginning to end. It is essential that readers would carefully appreciate such subtleties on their own."

Liang Jia of Dong Shan while inspecting the rice field saw Superior Seat Lang leading a cow by a rope. Liang said, "This cow should be well watched lest it will eat the rice." Lang said, "Were it a good cow, it would not eat the rice." Jian says differently, "Were it a good cow, it would know better to eat rice." However, this meaning belongs to the third stage of use.

A bhikhuni asked Zong Hui, "Cart stops but not the ox, how then?" "What is the driver for?" Jian answers differently, "When the cart stops, just right for the ox to rest, and yet it would not stop; born lowly oneself, why ask me?"

Section 3.4 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Duster"

A monk asked about the matter before the Buddha's forty-nine years of preaching. Xue Feng instantly used the duster to hit him on the mouth.

A monk bade farewell to Fa Zhen to go on pilgrimage to worship Samantabhadra at Mt. E Mei. Fa Zhen raised the duster and said, "Manjusri and Samantabhadra are always here." The monk drew a circle with his hands, threw it to the back, and then prostrated. Fa Zhen called the attendant and said, "Fetch a cup of tea for this monk." Jian says, "'Always here' belongs to the 'duster' koan of present stage. The rest of the koan was pushed to the second stage already. See that chapter."

Section 3.5 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Glancing Sutra"

Shen Zan saw his teacher glancing a sutra; a wasp happened to be trying to bore through the paper window. Hence, Shen Zan said, "The world is so wide and yet you would not go there; boring the old paper would get you nowhere!" Thereafter his teacher asked him to expound the Dharma, and only then did his teacher attain an entrance.

A monk asked Wei Yan, "Monk does not allow people to glance sutras; how is it that you are glancing them yourself?" Wei Yan said, "Just aim at covering eyes." The monk said, "Would it be all right for this one to imitate monk?" "In your case, even ox hide should be glanced through."

Section 3.6 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Sending a Letter"

Xuan Sha sent a monk to deliver a letter to Xue Feng. Feng opened it, only three blank sheets of paper there. He asked the messenger monk, "Understand?" The monk said, "Not understood." Feng said, "Haven't you heard that 'Gentlemen, even though thousand miles apart, are of the same style'?" The monk returned and reported the incident to Xuan Sha. Sha said, "This old monk did not even realize that he had missed it!" Jian says, "Feng's answer was at the present stage of entrance, while Sha's criticism was meant to point at the third stage of use. Therefore, say instead, 'Even though all are just as white, what a pity that sheet after sheet has not a word on it.' It would then be consistent with the intention of the third stage of use. Xuan Sha was a Chan master who had already attained great opportunity and great use. He was not only treating Xue Feng like this, but there were several others who were reproached by him for not having their soles touched the ground. Readers will see this in Chapter Four on the third stage of use."

Section 3.7 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Mind"

Fa Chang heard Ma Zu's saying "Mind as such is Buddha" and attained an entrance. Then he lived on Plum Mountain without coming down. Ma Zu sent a monk to ask him, "What kind of entrance did monk attain that you are staying up on the mountain?" Fa replied, "Mind as such is Buddha." The monk said, "Ma Zu's recent teaching on Buddha Dharma is again different." Fa asked, "How is it different?" The monk said, "Neither Mind nor Buddha." Fa said, "This old fellow confuses people without ever ending. Despite your 'neither Mind nor Buddha,' I simply adhere to 'Mind as such is Buddha'." The monk returned and reported it to Ma Zu; Ma Zu said, "The plum is already ripe!" Readers try to figure out, "What was the basis for Ma Zu's approbation on him that the plum was ripe?" If it were based on his firm grasp on "Mind as such is Buddha," then injustice would have been done to Ma Zu. If it were based on his saying that Ma Zu confuses people without ever ending, then it would seem like having slandered Ma Zu.

Shi Tou asked Da Dian, "Rid of lifting eyebrows and blinking eyes, fetch the mind." "No mind to fetch forth." "Originally there is mind; why say no mind? No mind is exactly the same as slandering the Buddha." Hearing this, Da Dian greatly comprehended. On another day, Shi Tou again asked him, "What is Chan?" Da Dian said, "Lifting eyebrows and blinking eyes." Shi said, "Other than these, present the original face." "Monk, please remove them, and then recognize this one again." "I have already removed them." "I have presented it to monk already." "Now that you have presented it, how is my mind?" "Not different from monk." Shi said, "None of your business." Da Dian said, " Originally there is not a thing." Shi said, "You are also not a thing." Da Dian said, "Since there is not a thing, that is the real thing." Shi said, "The real thing is unattainable. Such being the meaning of the immediate state of your mind, also greatly need to take care of it." Jian says, "The answer Da Dian gave then that 'No mind to fetch forth' is a Chan cliché copied from the Patriarchs. Shi Tou had telepathic ability to read others' minds, therefore he turned it around by saying 'Originally there is mind.' Da Dian thereupon recognized immediately the true Mind through this 'no mind.' The other day during the dialogue the saying that "not a thing is the real thing" is the result of this comprehension, but it belongs merely to the present stage of entrance. Therefore, Shi Tou said, 'also greatly need to take care of it,' knowing well that for the time being he was incapable of accepting that 'the real thing is unattainable,' because this belongs to the second stage of exit. Therefore, only masters of great virtue with supernatural powers can tailor Dharma teaching to individual needs. It is unlike the later Chan fellows who decreed that everyone should simultaneously wade in boiling cauldron."

Niu Tou said in his "An Inscription on Mind":

Pay no attention to anything,
Rest the mind nowhere;
Nowhere to rest the mind,
Empty brightness reveals by itself.

Jian says, "It was already declared earlier that the so-called entrance is not a place; therefore, it is said that 'nowhere to rest the mind.' However, 'empty brightness reveals by itself' is clearly indicating a place of empty brightness, hence in the "Mind" koans of the second stage, you are told to exit."

Section 3.8 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Body"

Vipasyin Buddha said, "The body is born from no form, even as the various shapes and forms come out of illusion."

Krakucchanda Buddha said, "Seeing that the body is unreal is the Buddha body."

Lu Geng said, "Disciple comes from the six directions of space; within which is there yet a body?" Pu Yuan said, "Making distinctions and remembering them; acting like a connoisseur." Lu said, "Wherever monk arrives, the world is accomplished." "All the foregoing are matters belonging to High Official's share."

A monk asked the great bhikhuni Liao Ran, "How is the body of the ancient Buddha?" "The world in ruins." "Why?" "Rather that there is no body of mine."

Tian Ran went to see Shi Tou. Shi Tou told him to work in the rice mill. Tian Ran then served in the kitchen for three years. One day Shi Tou said to the assembly, "Tomorrow mow the grass in front of the Buddha Hall; each one of you get spades ready." On that day Tian Ran alone had a basin of water to clean his head, and knelt in waiting. Shi Tou saw it, laughed and ordained him by shaving his head.

A monk asked Ling Zun, "Na Zha separated his bones to return them to his father, and his flesh to his mother; how is himself?" Ling Zun laid down the cane he held.

Section 3.9 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Environment"

A monk asked Da Mao about environment. Da Mao said, "Not showing the cutting edge." "How?" "Nothing stands in its way."

A monk asked Shui Lu, "Encountered on a narrow path, how?" Shui thereupon pushed the monk on the chest once.

A monk asked Sheng Nian, "How is a man of great peace and joy?" "Not seeing that there is a thing." "How to help others?" "Thank Acarya for receiving the speech."

A monk asked Dao Xian, "When in front is a ten thousand fathom cliff and behind are tigers, wolves and lions; how?" "At ease."

A monk asked Shou Zhen, "When in delusion and awakening, all without entering the various environments, how?" Shou asked in return, "Where does the environment come from?" "Thus, just enter the environments." "A fellow with dragon head but snake tail." Jian says instead, "Who serves as the environment for you?"

Seng Can's "An Inscription on Faith" reads, "Subject follows environments into extinction, environments follow subject into disappearance."

Section 3.10 Entrance Stage Answers to the Koan "Still Coming to the Feast?"

A monk asked Chan teacher Xian, "Today offerings are made to the late Master Wu Ran; still come or not?" Xian replied, "Originally there is nowhere one arrives; now yet would rotate with the wind?" Jian says, "If so, he would be really dead; the offerings should be pushed over. However, at the present stage, rightly should be so. Readers may consult the next three stages to find out."

Bao Xing and Elder Gan saw Madam Zheng XIII. As soon as they sat down, Bao asked, "Heard that Madam XIII visited Gui Shan; yes or no?" "Yes." "Gui Shan passed away; whereto did he go?" Zheng got up, stood by one side of the seat. Gan said, "In leisure, talking about Chan like a cataract pouring from the mouth; why not say it?" Zheng said, "What could be done by flapping these two pieces of skin?" Gan said, "What could be done by not flapping these two pieces of skin?" Zheng said, "Shut up dog's mouth!" Jian says, "This is still the Elder's question. Hence, say instead, 'Come up here.' After Elder Gan has come forth, adds, 'May a million blessings be invoked on monk Gui Shan.' Then the answer would belong to the third stage of use. However, this koan belongs only to the present stage of entrance. Elder Gan tried to help her exit to lively use, and yet Zheng did not attain it."

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