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Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Discussion of Japanese Rinzai Zen (臨済宗) including Obaku Zen (黄檗宗).

Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby Meido on Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:00 pm

Found a hard copy of this in my files which someone had typed up years ago. Thought it worth re-typing and sharing:

Sermon of Muso Kokushi Upon the Dedication of Tenryu-ji Monastery in Kyoto, 1339
From the Taisho Daizokyo, Vol 80, pp. 460c-61a

In the tenth month of the second year of the Ryakuo period (1339), an imperial decree ordered the conversion of the detached palace of the ex-emperor Kameyama into a monastery dedicated to the memory of the ex-emperor Go-Daigo, and also nominated the Master [Muso] to be its founding abbot. In the fourth year of Koei (1345), 4th month, 8th day, the meditation hall was opened for the first time [with their lordships Ashikaga Takauji and Ashikaga Tadayoshi in attendance]. At the hall the Master first performed the ceremony in commemoration of the Buddha’s birth and then proceeded to say:

The appearance in this world of all Buddhas, past, present, and future, is solely for the purpose of preaching the Dharma and helping all creatures cross over to the shore of liberation. The arts of oratory and types of intonation employed by Shakya were all meant to serve as a guide to the preaching of the Dharma, while the Deer Park and Vulture Peak served as places of spiritual instruction. The school of Patriarch Bodhidharma stressed the method of individual instruction directed toward the essential nature, thus setting themselves off from the schools which stressed the teaching of doctrine. But closer examination of their aims reveals that Bodhidharma’s followers likewise sought to transmit the Dharma and rescue men from the confusions of this world. Thus, all of the patriarchs, forty-seven in India and twenty-three in China, each signalized his succession to the patriarchate by making a statement on the transmission of the Dharma. The great patriarch Bodhidharma said, “I came here primarily to transmit the Dharma and save men from their blinding passions.” So it is clear that Hui-k’o’s cutting off his arm in the snow and the conferring of the robe at midnight upon Hui-neng were both meant to signify transmission of the true Dharma from one patriarch to another. In all circumstances, whether under a tree, upon a rock, in the darkness of a cave or deep in a glen, the Dharma has been set forth and transmitted by such signs to whoever possessed the right qualifications...

What is that which we call the “Dharma”? It is the truth inherent in all its perfection in every living creature. The sage possesses it in no greater amount than does the ordinary man. Enlarge it and it will fill the universe; restrict it and it can be contained in a fraction of an inch. Yesterday or today, it undergoes no change or variation. All that the Buddhas have taught, whether as the Mahayana, the Hinayana, the pseudo or the authentic, the partial or the complete – all are embraced in it. This is the meaning of the “Dharma”.

Everything the world contains – grass and trees, bricks and tile, all creatures, all actions and activities – are nothing but manifestations of this Dharma. Therefore, it is said that all phenomena in the universe bear the mark of this Dharma. If the significance of this were only grasped, then even without the appearance in this world of a Tathagata, the enlightenment of man would be complete, and even without the construction of this hall the propagation of the Dharma would have achieved realization.

As for myself, appearing before you today on this platform, I have nothing special to offer as my own interpretation of the Dharma. I merely join myself with all others – from the founder Shakya Tathagata, the other Buddhas, bodhisattvas, saints and arhants, to all those here present, including patrons and officials, the very eaves and columns of this hall, lanterns and posts, as well as all the men, animals, plants and seeds in the boundless ocean of existence – to keep the wheel of the Dharma in motion.

On such an occasion as this, you may say, “What can we do?” [Holding out his staff, the Master exclaimed:] Look here, Look here! Don’t you see Shakyamuni right here walking around on the top of my staff? He points to heaven and then to earth, announcing to the entire audience, “Today I am born again here with the completion of this new hall. All saints and sages are assembling here to bring man and heaven together. Every single person here is precious in himself, and everything here – plaques, paintings, square eaves and round pillars – every single thing is preaching the Dharma. Wonderful, wonderful it is, that the true Dharma lives on and never dies. At Vulture Peak, indeed, this Dharma was passed on to the right man!”

It is thus that Shakya, the most venerable, instructs us here. It is the teaching which comes down to men in response to the needs of their situation. But perhaps, gentlemen, you wish to know the state of things before Shakya ever appeared in his mother’s womb?

[The Master tapped his staff on the floor:] Listen, Listen!
明道禅徹
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:13 pm

Well, Thank You, Mr. Meido!
Dharma lectures such as this are rare to find.
Every sentence upholds the ancestral teachings, worth careful scrutiny.
Reminds me of ancestor of our sect, Soto, Shitou:
"Our teaching has been handed down by the ancient buddhas. We do not speak of meditation or spiritual progress, only at the arrival at the knowledge and vision of buddhahood."
:Namaste:
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby Michaeljc on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:30 pm

Thank you Meido

Interestingly, Mosu Soseki expresses a theme in very much in the same vein and language as Dogen, who died 20 years before he was born. Dogen, in turn makes reference to the sayings of scores of ancestors that went before him. It can be difficult to differentiate between what is original and what is a repeat. They intentionally repeat these historical expressions.

Whatever, one message from Dogen (and the OP message) that stands out is the emphasis on a dharma that flows through all time (generations) and entities.

The inferal is that the great ancestors really do still exist within living practitioners today.

m
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:47 pm

all phenomena in the universe bear the mark of this Dharma. If the significance of this were only grasped, then even without the appearance in this world of a Tathagata, the enlightenment of man would be complete, and even without the construction of this hall the propagation of the Dharma would have achieved realization.

outstandingly honest
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby flutemaker on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:49 pm

Meido wrote:[The Master tapped his staff on the floor:] Listen, Listen!

The "Listen, Listen!" sounds simultaneously with the sound of the staff when it just comes into contact with the [wooden?] floor, or a quick moment before the first touch, or during the most "touching" point, when the after-sound is gradually fading away?

It's not uncommon to say, "Listen!" and then produce a sound on a flute. It's much more interesting to make sound, and say, "Listen!", at the very moment of the after-sound becoming inaudible.
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:03 pm

how about not discriminating sound now and then
how about listening 2 a teacher
u chose and he accepted
y bother us with such
clearly stated
direct pointing
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby flutemaker on Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:11 pm

bokki wrote:how about not discriminating sound now and then
how about listening 2 a teacher
u chose and he accepted
y bother us with such
clearly stated
direct pointing

Quick guide to write Clear, Simple and Correct English

8. Ignore slang and jargon.
Not everybody can comprehend slang and jargon. Therefore those who can comprehend, it’s useful for them but those who can’t, slang and jargon isn’t useful.
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:39 am

Yes, your critique is in place.
These days the staff is rarely used as a teaching.
As i recall, a crucial question would be raised,
a long pause,
the staff presented,
a long pause.
No words while presenting the staff.
Teachers and Bodhisattvas here may shed much more light regarding the staff.

ps worse than my English is my reactive response
for which i apologize to this forum
i will check it
and seriously ponder upon words before i utter one

May i ask for a few words about your understanding of Muso Sosekis Direct Pointing?

Thank you, Mr. Flutemaker.
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby flutemaker on Thu Mar 23, 2017 5:14 pm

bokki wrote:
May i ask for a few words about your understanding of Muso Sosekis Direct Pointing?

Thank you, Mr. Flutemaker.

I have a small flute that weights 45 grams, a medium one that is 100 g, and the largest bass is 74 cm long 140 g weight and is tuned to Indian scale D# (the lowest tone A#). Each one serves different purpose, sounds differently, and has to be used according to circumstances. A couple of weeks ago my light bulb burned out and I completely forgot about it. Late at night going into my room to practice flute playing I turned the light on... but it was just a flick of the switch. You see...
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:15 pm

[A couple of weeks ago my light bulb burned out and I completely forgot about it. Late at night going into my room to practice flute playing I turned the light on... but it was just a flick of the switch. You see...*]

LOL
yes i c
LOL
you just made my day
LOL
smiling in appreciation, recognition and acceptance

Now look at what you've done, i just cant stop smiling.
reminds me of the 2 monks raising the blinds
and an ancestor blowing out a candle

Well, Thank You !
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby bokki on Fri Mar 24, 2017 1:08 am

now that u know,
pester ur teacher
make him reply
4 the cloth he wears he is bound 2 reply
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby flutemaker on Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:49 pm

bokki wrote: and an ancestor blowing out a candle
yep.

(To play a flute I keep my eyes closed. But that's just me... )
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby organizational on Fri Mar 24, 2017 5:58 pm

ha! Ha! Ha!
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Re: Muso Soseki's Direct Pointing

Postby organizational on Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:57 pm

Sincerity is good.
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