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Torei Zenji

Authored Bodhisattva's Vow (a road rage abatement program)

ZEN HISTORIAN AND LITERARY MAN OF EMINENCE

Torei Zenji

BORN:

1621

Died:

1692

Home:

Ryutakuji Mishima Japan

Calling:

Rinzai Zen Master

Aliases: Torei Enji


REMARKS


Dharma Heir to Hakuin Ekaku. Founder of Ryutaku Monastery in Mishima, Japan. Less than robust in old age. His stay-at-home-nature kept him from public acclaim. Never seen as a man of the people or having the common touch. A Zen historian and literary man of eminence.

His Bodhisattva's Vow is part of the traditional Rinzai sutra collection and recited daily by groups with connection to him. This includes the Diamond Sangha as both Robert Aitken and Katsuki Sekida, the first Diamond Sangha teacher, practiced at Ryutakuji.



TOREI ZENJI: BODHISATTVA'S VOW

I am only a simple disciple, but I offer these respectful words

When I regard the true nature of the many dharmas, I find them all to be sacred forms of the Tathagata's never-failing essence. Each particle of matter, each moment, is no other than the Tathagata's inexpressible radiance.

With this realization, our virtuous ancestors gave tender care to beasts and birds with compassionate minds and hearts. Among us, in our own daily lives, who is not reverently grateful for the protections of life: food, drink, and clothing! Though they are inanimate things, they are nonetheless the warm flesh and blood, the merciful incarnations of Buddha.

All the more, we can be especially sympathetic and affectionate with foolish people, particularly with someone who becomes a sworn enemy and persecutes us with abusive language. That very abuse conveys the Buddha's boundless loving-kindness. It is a compassionate device to liberate us entirely from the mean-spirited delusions we have built up with our wrongful conduct from the beginningless past.

With our open response to such abuse we completely relinquish ourselves, and the most profound and pure faith arises. At the peak of each thought a lotus flower opens, and on each flower there is revealed a Buddha. Everywhere is the Pure Land in its beauty. We see fully the Tathagata's radiant light right where we are.

May we retain this mind and extend it throughout the world so that we and all beings become mature in Buddha's wisdom.


NOTES

on
The Virtue of Abuse

from
Original Dwelling Place
by Robert Aitken Roshi


Torei Zenji's Boddhisattva's Vow Theme:

  • Sacred nature of all phenomena
  • Effectiveness of abusive words as an opening to the Dharma
  • Vow that all being share in realization of the Dharma


Aitken Roshi notes five phases of theme.
  • I am only a simple disciple, but I offer these respectful words

    Introduction of one who rests in the Dharmakaya, the pure clear vast empty aspect of being.

  • Each particle of matter, each moment, is indeed no other than the Tathagata's inexpressible radiance

    This radiance, for only as long as we are Torei Zenji's simple disciple. Conceptual understanding is not enough. Essential nature only presents to essential nature. Aitken Roshi illustrates the need for this gut-level understanding with case 79 from The Blue Cliff Record.

  • With this realization, our virtuous ancestors gave tender care to beasts and birds with compassionate minds and hearts.

    The experience is one of wonder and gratitude. A sense of connection giving rise to sympathy and affection.

  • All the more, we can be especially sympathetic and affectionate with foolish people, particularly with someone who becomes a sworn enemy and persecutes us with abusive language.

    A simple disciple can see all people in this same light of sympathy and affection including jerks and assholes. This is not to say the world will be transformed into a place of total goodness and light. You will still be played, insulted, disrespected and abused. The Dharma Gate comes forth like a hot knife pressed against your cheek.

    Will the Dark Side always be thrashed by the Force? Sometimes a non-violent response carries the day. Sometimes a more vigorous response to violence expounds the Way. Sometimes it's a mugging, a rape, a murder. You are not spared. Still, the Pure Land comes forth. Aitken Roshi notes "even the Buddha Dharma itself is untrustworthy, and there is nothing whatever to rely upon. (footnote: case 37 from Book of Serenity)," .

  • May we retain this mind and extend it throughout the world so that we and all beings become mature in Buddha's wisdom.

    Aitken Roshi comments

    Here the Bodhisattva reaches the place of total trust in nothing at all and finds there the glorious light of the Pure Land, and vows that this light may shine brilliantly in the conscious mind of all beings.




case 79 from The Blue Cliff Record

A monk asked T'ou Tzu, "All sounds are the sounds of Buddha-right or wrong?"
T'ou Tzu said, "Right."
The monk said, "Teacher, doesn't your asshole make farting sounds?"
T'ou Tzu then hit him.

Again the monk asked, "Coarse words or subtle talk, all returns to the primary meaning -- right or wrong?"
T'ou Tzu said, "Right."
The monk said, "Can I call you an ass, Teacher?"
T'ou Tzu then hit him .

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case 37 from Book of Serenity

Guishan asked Yangshan, "If someone suddenly said, 'All sentient beings just have active consciousness, boundless and unclear, with no fundamental to rely on,' how would you prove it in experience?" Yangshan said, "If a monk comes, I call him, 'Hey, you!' If the monk turns his head, I say, 'What is it?' If he hesitates, I say, 'Not only is their active consciousness boundless and unclear, they have no fundamental to rely on."' Guishan said, "Good!"

A monk asked Yunan, "The Treatise on the Flower Ornament says that the fundamental affliction of ignorance itself is the immutable knowledge of all Buddhas; this principle is most profound and mysterious in the extreme, difficult to comprehend." Yunan said, "This is most distinctly clear, easy to understand." At that moment a boy happened to be sweeping there; Yunan called to him, and the boy turned his head. Yunan pointed to him and said, "Is this not immutable knowledge?" When Yangshan calls a monk and the monk turns his head, that is precisely this situation. Yunan then asked the boy, "What is your buddha-nature?" The boy looked around, at a loss, and left; Yunan said, "Is this not fundamental affliction?"

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