January 29, 2012


Turbulence #3

Bukko, Zen Master said:

At the beginning you have to take up a koan.

The koan is some deep saying of a patriarch. Its effect in this world of distinctions is to make a man's gaze straight, and to give him strength as he stands on the brink of the river bank.

For the past two or three years, I have been giving, in my interviews, three koans: "The true face before father and mother were born", "The heart, the buddha",and "No heart, no buddha." For one facing the turbulence of life-and-death, these koans clear away the sandy soil of worldly concerns and open up the golden treasure which was there from the beginning, the ageless root of all things.

However, if after grappling with a koan for three or five years, there is still no satori, then the koan should be dropped; otherwise it may become an invisible chain round one. Even these traditional methods can become a medicine which poisons.

In general, meditation has to be done with urgency, but if, after three or five years the urgency is still maintained forcibly, the tension becomes a wrong one and it is a serious condition. Many lose heart and give up as a result.

About Bukko:

Bukko was the Chinese Chan master Wuxue who came to Japan in 1280 and spent the last years of his life there, becoming the abbot of the Engakuji Temple.

He is famous for being the Zen master of the Japanese samurai, Hojo Tokimune, who is credited with repulsing the Mongolian invasion of Japan in the 13th century.

He is also well known for being the master of Japan's first enlightened Zen woman, Chiyono, also known as Mugai Nyodai.

Bukko Kokushi is his posthumous name, meaning "National Teacher" Bukko, which he is usually identified as in Japanese Zen literature.

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