BookTable of Contents
Sesshin Sutra Book
Translations/revisions by Robert Aitken Roshi
of the Diamond
Sangha Zen Buddhist Society,
Koko An, 2119 Kaloa Way, Honolulu, Hawaii,
Song on Realizing the
by Yung-chia Hsuan-ch'e (Yoka
asks, what is your sect
And how do you understand it?
the power of tremendous prajna.
People say it is positive;
say it is negative;
But they do not know.
A smooth road, a rough
Even heaven cannot imagine.
I have continued my zazen for
I do not say this to confuse you.
I raise the
Dharma-banner and set forth our teaching;
It is the clear doctrine of
Which I found with my teacher, Hui Neng,
became the Buddha-successor,
Received the lamp and passed it
Twenty-eight generations of teachers in India,
Then over seas
and rivers to our land
Bodhi Dharma came as our own first
And his robe, as we all know, passed through six teachers
And how many generations to come may gain the path,
speaks of having studied for many, many lives, he is not referring to
innumerable incarnations. When he attained his Zen, he lost his delusions
to become one with the vast ocean of wisdom whose waves of Buddhas and
patriarchs were also his. The brilliancy of Mahaprajna illumines all
beings; Buddhas and patriarchs reflect this brilliance one to the
truth is not set forth;
The false is basically vacant.
existence and non-existence aside,
Then even non-vacancy is
The twenty kinds of vacancy have no basis,
And the oneness
of the Tathagata-being
Is naturally sameness.
Mind is the base,
phenomena are dust;
Yet both are like a flaw in the mirror.
flaw is brushed aside,
The light begins to shine.
When both mind and
phenomena are forgotten,
Then we become naturally genuine.
The names of
emptiness are like a list of drugs. If you are well and strong, you are
not interested in them. Many teachers seek to bold or to mystify a student
by using the various designations of good or evil built up through the
ages. If you wish to make a business of teaching, then memorize the names,
but if you want emancipation for yourself and others, give up the drug
business and practice Zen meditation.
degenerate materialistic world!
People are unhappy; they find
In the centuries since Shakyamuni, false views
Demons are strong, the Dharma is weak, disturbances are
People hear the Buddha's doctrine of immediacy,
they accept it, the demons will be crushed
As easily as a roofing
But they cannot accept, what a pity!
chooses his own era. . . accuracy, imitation, or degeneration. He may
study for years only to accumulate knowledge (his age of degeneration),
but if he is brave and sincere enough to concentrate his study of
meditation, next week may be his era of imitation or accuracy.
mind is the source of action;
Your body is the agent of calamity;
pity nor blame to anyone else.
If you don't seek an invitation to
Never slander the Tathagata's true teaching.
It is a
self-evident fact that each person, irrespective of attainment, is subject
to the law of causation. If he would terminate his own suffering and help
others as well, then let him work in accord with the law of the universe
rather than strive to evade it.
sandalwood forest, there is no other tree.
Only the lion lives in such
deep luxuriant woods,
Wandering freely in a state of peace.
animals and birds stay far away.
Just baby lions follow the
And three-year-olds already roar loudly.
How can the jackal
pursue the king of the Dharma
Even with a hundred-thousand demonic
It is said
in India that no inferior trees grow near a forest of Chandana
[sandalwood], so Buddhists use the name as a symbol of ultimate wisdom. In
this stanza, birds and beasts represent fame and glory. Monks are
indifferent to these in any form in any age. Only the lion cubs can follow
the older lions, and even they have learned to roar while still young. A
yelping fox may fool some with his imitations, as a false teacher will use
the words and rituals of true teachings, but when he meets a real lion he
will be helpless.
BookTable of Contents
Notes and comments
are lifted from the endnotes of the Empty Sky compilation of these Zen
Buddhist texts and The Syllabus section of Encouraging
Words - zen buddhist teachings for western students by Robert