Wednesday, June 25, 2008

77. [Between Stimulus & Response:] .............. The Final Frontier


HERE IS WHERE IT IS -- and thus, by really saying so, the buddha-ancestors allow themselves to be. What the buddha-ancestors really say spontaneously communicates itself from direct descendant to direct descendant -- and thus the skin, flesh, bones and marrow, integrated by the whole body, are hanging in space. This space is beyond such categories as the twenty kinds of space. How could space be only twenty kinds of space? There are eighty-four thousand kinds of space, and there may be countless more besides.

Zen Master Shakkyo Ezo asks Zen Master Seido Chizo, "Do you get how to grasp space?"

Seido says, "Yes, I get it."

The Master says, "How?"

Seido clutches at thin air.

The Master says, "You do not get how to grasp space."

Seido says, "How do you grasp it, brother?"

The Master grabs hold of Seido's nostrils and gives them a yank.

Seido whimpers, "You murderous brute, yanking a bloke's nose. You have set me free!"

The Master says, "You should have grasped it like this in the first place."

Shakkyo's words "Do you get how to grasp space" are asking: "Is your whole body, also, totally informed by hands and eyes?" Seido says, "Yes, I get how to grasp it." Space is one immaculate lump. By touching it, they have spoiled it. Having been spoiled, space has fallen to earth. Shakkyo's words "How do you get it?" mean: "Even if you say that it is just as it is, that has already messed it up completely." Still, we muddle through the mess, and leave it at that. Seido's clutching at thin air is only getting how to ride the tiger's head; it is not yet getting how to take the tiger by the tail. Shakkyo says, "You do not get how to grasp space." It is not only that he fails to grasp it: he has never seen space even in a dream! Still, I am not going to try to spell out for him what has endured from the deep and distant past. Seido's words "How do you grasp it, brother?" mean "Say a word or half a word of your own, esteemed superior. Do not leave it all up to me!" Shakkyo grabs hold of Seido's nose and tweaks it. Let us study in practice for a while Shakkyo's putting of his body into Seido's nostrils. Or, in other words, what is happening is realization of the words "nostrils are hauling in Shakkyo." And at the same time space is one unbroken mass, bustling and jostling. Seido whimpers, "You murderous brute, yanking a bloke's nose. You have set me free!" He had been expecting to meet some bloke, but now suddenly he has been able to meet himself. And yet tainting of the self is just what is not allowed. We should realize the oneness of practice-and-self.

Shakkyo says, "You should have grasped it like this in the first place." It is not that there is no grasping it like this in the first place, but what is lacking between Shakkyo and Seido is grasping in which the two extend one hand. What is lacking between space and space is grasping in which the two extend one hand. In that case, there is no reliance yet on energy spontaneously expending itself. In general, although the universe has no gaps in which to accommodate "space," this story has long been reverberating around space like thunder. Since the time of Shakkyo and Seido practitioners proclaiming themselves to be masters of five sects have been many, but those who have looked into space and fathomed it out are few. Before and after Shakkyo and Seido, various mugs have struck poses of playing with space, but few have put their hands on it. Shakkyo has attained some grasp of space. Seido does not glimpse space. I, Daibutsu, must say to Shakkyo: "Before, when you grabbed Seido's nostrils, if you wanted to grasp space you should have grabbed your own nostrils. You should have got what it is to grasp the fingertips with the fingertips." That said, Shakkyo knows a little bit about the majesty of space-grasping. But even a dab hand at space-grasping needs to go on studying the inside and outside of space, studying the inhibition and excitation of space, and knowing the lightness and weight of space. The work of the buddhas and the ancestors -- their striving for awakening, their kick-starting of the mind, their practice-and-experience, and their assertions and questions -- we should allow to be just what they are: the grasping of space.

My late Master Tendo, the old Buddha, says:

The whole body is like a mouth, hanging in space.

Clearly, the whole body of space is suspended in space.

Chief Lecturer Ryo of Seizan mountain goes to practise under Baso. Baso asks him, "You are a reader of what sutra?"

Ryo replies, "The Heart Sutra."

Baso says, "How do you read it?"

Ryo replies, "I read it from the heart."

Baso says, "They say the heart is like the leading man, the will is like a supporting actor, and the six kinds of consciousness are the cast. But how can these read out the Sutra?"

Ryo says, "If the heart cannot do the reading, then it is hardly space that causes the Sutra to be read out, is it?"

Baso says, "It is just space that does the reading."

With a dismissive sweep of his baggy sleeves, Ryo withdraws.

Baso calls out, "Chief!"

Ryo turns his head.

Baso says, "From being born to growing old, just this is it."

At this Ryo has a moment of coming to. By and by he conceals himself on Seizan mountain, and nothing more is heard of him.

Thus, every buddha-ancestor is a Sutra-reader. And every instance of Sutra-reading is space. If it were not for space, it would be impossible for even a single sutra to be read out. Whether we read out the Heart Sutra or read out the Body Sutra, the reading out, in every instance, is done through space. It is through space that thinking has been realized and that not thinking has been realized. What constitutes taught wisdom and untaught wisdom, innate intelligence and learned intelligence, is always space. The making of buddha, or the making of an ancestor, likewise, must be a matter of space.

The seventh ancestor, the Venerable Vasumitra, says: "The mind, being the same as finite space, lets be known as space the real substance of Sitting. When we are able to experience space, there is no such thing as being right, and there is nothing which is not it."

The mind here and now in which the person facing a wall, and the wall facing a person, meet and realize each other -- the mind of fences and walls, the mind of withered trees: this mind is just finite space. To those who can be crossed over by means of this body, just revealing this body and thereby explaining to them the method of Sitting: this is letting space be known as the real substance of Sitting. To those who can be crossed over by means of another body, just revealing that body and thereby explaining to them the method of Sitting: this is letting space be known as the real substance of Sitting. Being used up by the twelve hours, and having the twelve hours at our mercy, are when we are able to experience space. A big stone being big and a small stone being small is no such thing as being right and nothing not being it. For the present there is nothing to do but explore space like this, as the treasury of the eye of true Sitting, and the fine mind of nirvana.

Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting


Delivered to the assembly at Daibutsu-ji temple in Fukui-prefecture on the 6th day of the 3rd lunar month in the 3rd year of Kangen [1245].

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The whole of Space swallowed in one heroic gulp on 24th June 2008.
(Timidly regurgitated the following morning.)


Plato said...

What is the subject of this chapter? What is the space?


Mike Cross said...

Hi Plato,

I am not a bloke who knows what space is.

I think that what Vasumitra means by being able to experience space, might have something to do with inhibiting unconscious behaviour --which might entail, in the first instance, giving up the unconscious desire to gain some end, to fry some fish.

If I were better able to do this, I might be better able to answer your question.