The Blue Cliff Record is a translation of the Pi Yen Lu, a collection of one hundred famous Zen koans accompanied by commentaries and verses from the . Besides thinking about this koan each day, I used the following koan Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei. The Blue Cliff Record is the “model koan text” for Zen Buddhists, according to the back of the book in front of me. Shunryu Suzuki uses some of.

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Blue Cliff Record – Wikipedia

Research and Commentary by Michael P. Blue Cliff RecordHekiganrokuCase Besides thinking about this koan each day, I used the following koan literature and specific reference sources: The Blue Cliff Record. Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. Foreword by Taizan Maezumi Roshi. Glossary, biographies, bibliography, pages. Edited and koas by A.

The Blue Cliff Record by Yuanwu Keqin

New York, Weatherhill, Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Introduction, recommended reading, pages. The Masters and Their Teachings. Foreword by Reb Anderson. Boston, Wisdom Publications, Buddhas and sentient beings are not, by nature, different. Mountains, rivers, and your own self are all just the same.

The Blue Cliff Record

Why should they be separation and constitute two worlds? Even if you are well versed in Zen koans and know how to deal with them, if you stop then everything is spoiled.

If you do not stop, the whole world will be dissolved, with not a particle of it left behind. Now tell me, what does it mean to be well versed in Zen koans?

Ummon held out his staff and said to the assembled monks, “The staff has transformed itself into a dragon and swallowed up the universe! Where are the mountains, the rivers, and the great world? Mumonkan and HekiganrokuTranslated by Katsuki Sekida,p. How then does there come to be duality? If you can put a saying into effect and occupy the essential pass, it still won’t do to let go. If you don’t let go, the whole earth is worth grasping.

But where does on put a saying into effect? Ummon showed his staff to a group and said, “The staff has turned into a dragon and swallowed the universe. Where can you find the mountains, rivers, and earth?

Comments by Hakuin on Case This is the ancient tune of the Ummon school. Even I explained it mistakenly three times; this is my explanation this time.

When you have returned everything to self, you loose what you have and are at a loss for a place to stand. Comments by Tenkei on Case Also, though the universe has been swallowed, the mountains, rivers, and earth are still there, just as they are; whence did it come to be this way? Is this after all the ultimate point of this koan of Ummon? Here if you say the staff has turned into a dragon your blind; but if you say the staff is just a staff, the universe and world are just as they are, and there is no such thing as a staff turning into a dragon and swallowing the universe, then you are dead to the domain of unconcern, with the independently manifest potential of Ummon.


So anyway, is there such a kosns In this way Ummon pressed people to try to say. Don’t say peach blossoms float on the waters. The fish that gets it tail singed May fail to grasp the mist and clouds. The ones that lie with gills exposed Need not loose heart. My verse is done. But do you really hear me?

Seventy-two blows are not enough I want to give you a hundred and fifty. The whole crowd ran away. Just be free and at ease, stop any further confusion, Seventy-two blows is still getting off easy; It’s hard to let you go with a hundred and fifty.

Setcho suddenly picked up his staff and descended from the dais; the whole assembly scattered at once. Return to the Index for this Webpage. Setcho, being the reviver of the Ummon school of Zen, has thoroughly absorbed the lessons of his spiritual ancestor. He talks for naught of peach blossoms traveling on the recore. There is no such thing as koabs into a dragon.

Why must failure mean loosing courage and spirit? Even if you are knocked down by the waves and get busted up, that is not real; you are not one who as experienced the great death. Even those who have passed the three tiers cannot make it; how much less beginning bodhisattvas. With that, the matter has been cleared up for now.

Did you hear the foregoing citation? Just be free and at ease. Stop being so sticky; be clean and untrammeled. Seventy-two blows is getting off easy. This phrase should be read with the next one. Much has been said about these two phrases, but it is not worth taking seriously. Setcho suddenly picked up his staff. He was a dharma-heir of Xuefeng Yicun.

The name is derived from Yunmen monastery of Shaozhou where Yunmen was abbot. The Yunmen school flourished into the early Song Dynastywith particular influence on the upper classes, and eventually culminating in the compilation and writing of the Blue Cliff Record.

The school would eventually be absorbed by the Rinzai school later in the Song. Every Zen Master favoring koan study says you should be going seated meditation Silent Illumination on a daily basis, reflecting on the koan on a daily basis Koan Gazingand having a qualified Zen master work privately Dokusan with you on a bue basis to test your understanding of the koan.

I am not currently studying and working directly with a Zen Master, nor have I ever done so.

I do a variety passive and active meditation practices during each kaons. I am not a regular member of any organized Buddhist church or Zen group. Therefore, these facts in some ways really disqualify me as a worthy commentator on Zen koans. My contemplation of koans, going back tohas enabled me to peek through the Great Barrier many times; then go back to my duties and responsibilities as a layman following the Eightfold Path. Koan rrecord has long been a literary endeavor, attracting many students and scholars of spiritual literature.


Koans seriously play with metaphors, similes, contradictions, non-sequiturs, stories, legends, allusions, riddles, fakery, fancy, jokes, nonsense, translations, and puzzles. The study of the koan literature has been interesting, enjoyable, and beneficial for me. Kans literary studies of koans and using koans to achieve a spiritual breakthrough are separate matters, literature is a source of much insight and consolation for many people.

Koan study or Hua Tuo practice are a proven method of raising one’s awareness and focus on Buddhist concepts, theory, and achieving a direct personal experience of a profound and illuminating nature. People use a variety of methods and practices to stimulate and reinforce spiritual experiences: The Dharma is spread to the world in many ways.

C,iff really enjoy reading the commentaries on the hundreds of Zen koans. We now have many fine books and articles available on the subject in English, many written by highly qualified Zen masters and teachers.

I thank them for their efforts to share their understanding with lay people, like blje, whom they will never meet in person. Recorc up and studying koan books by such experts and masters as Aitken, Cleary, Kapleau, Kirchner, MacInnes, Magid, Loori, Shibayama, Tarrant, Wick, or Yamada is a great privilege and outstanding opportunity to open, stimulate, and free my mind. Questions, doubts, surprises, insights, and quandaries are often more interesting to me than answers, doctrines, and koas responses.

I ciff only spend 3 months contemplating a specific koan, then I will move on to rexord koan. Many Zen teachers advocate spiritual progress based on methods other than words and scriptures; and involving a mind-to-mind, person-to-person, Master to student, Guru to disciple interaction over a long period of clirf.

Writing and reading about koans, for them, misses the mark. My best wishes to those fortunate enough to have ready access to a qualified Zen teacher, a supportive Sangha, and who are dedicated to this path.

For me, I must use literature and Eightfold Path to connect to the Buddhist views and traditions. So, I read and write anyway, grinding away, fool that I am; and, smile when a few sparks fly from the grinder.

In koan practice with a Zen master, he or she assigns a koan for you to work on. They choose the koan, you do not. They pass judgment on your “understanding” of the koan that they assign you to work on. Here, I choose the koan that I want to investigate.

Compiled by Mike Garofalo. Staff, Cane, Stick, Wand: In China, dragons are a symbol of transformation and change. Dragons can change shape, size, personality, and domicile.

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