Yuehshan Holds It

The governor of a state asked Yueh-shan, "I understand that all beasts possess Sila (precepts), Dhjana (meditation) and Prajna (wis-dom)—Do you keep the precepts? Do you practice meditation? Have you attained wisdom?"

"This Poor monk has no such junk around here," Yueh-shan replied.

"You must have a very profound teaching" the governor said "but I do not understand it. "

"If you want to hold it," Yueh-shan continued, "you must climb the biggest mountain and sit on the summit or dive into the deepest sea and walk on the bottom. Since you cannot enter even your own bed without a burden on your mind, how can you grasp and hold my Zen?"

NYOGEN: When one keeps the precepts, he can meditate well; when his meditation becomes matured, he attains wisdom. Since these three, Sila, Dhyana, and Prajna, are interrelated and equally essential, no one of the three can be carried as an independent study. But the governor was trying to understand the teaching as he might a civil-service examination. He himself had often selected men who might be deficient in one quality, provided that they were strong in another. What foolish questions to ask Yueh-shan! If a monk is deficient in the precepts, he cannot accomplish his meditation; if his meditation is not complete, he never attains true wisdom. He cannot _ specialize in any one of the three. Today there are Buddhist students

who write books but never practice meditation or lead an ethical life and Zen masters" who lack many of the simpler virtues. Even though they shave their heads, wear yellow robes, and recite the sutras, they never know the true meaning of Dharma. What can you do with these imitators? The governor could not understand Yueh-shan's steep Zen, but when he admitted it, Yueh-shan saw there was hope and proceeded to give him some instruction. GENRO: Yueh-shan uses the mountain and the sea as an illustration. If you cling to summit or bottom, you will create delusion. How can he hold "it" on the summit or the bottom? The highest summit must not have a top to sit on, and the greatest depth no place to set foot. Even this statement is not expressing the truth. What do you do then? (He turns to the monks.) Go out and work in the garden or chop wood.

FOGAI: Stop! Stop! Don't try to pull an unwilling cat over the carpet. She will scratch and make the matter worse. NYOGEN: Now! How are you going to express it?

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