Monday, July 21, 2014



Daikaku is the formal title of a Chinese monk named Tao Lung. He came to Japan in 1246 to teach, though he had little knowledge of Japanese in the first years. The following selection talks about what he called the heart of practice. It contains several beginning steps as well as a description of the "end" of practice.


          -- The following is from Zen and the Ways, by Trevor Leggett

Sayings of Daikaku  (1203-1268)

Zen practice is throwing away one's preconceived views along with the sacred texts, and then penetrating the layers covering the self.  All of the awakened ones have turned within and sought the self, and by doing this they went beyond doubt.  It is then that thinking comes to an end, and making distinctions ceases; wrong views and ideas disappear of themselves; and true action and true impulse appear. Then one can know the truth.

The person determined in the way must from the beginning never lose sight of it, whether in a place of calm or in a place of strife, and must not be clinging to quiet places and shunning those where there is disturbance.  If you try to take refuge from trouble by running to some quiet place, you will fall into confusion.

[In other words, live in the world, but do not be a part of it.]

This is the main point of meditation. In the beginning, however, one cannot mount to the treasure in one step.  When in sitting meditation there is agitation of thought, so find where the agitated thought comes from, and who is aware of it.  You will find that the agitation does not have any original location, and that the one who is aware of it also is invalid. 

Hearing a sound, take it simply as sound. Seeing a form, take it simply as form.  Learning how to turn the light back and control vision and how to turn hearing within are things which most people understand.  In hearing sounds as you do all day long, find out whether it is the sound which comes to the ear, or the ear that goes out to the location of the sound.  If it is the sound which comes to the ear, there is no track of its entry. 

Turn the hearing back till hearing comes to an end. Purify awareness till awareness becomes empty.  Then there will be a perception of things which is immediate, and after that, even in a welter of sounds and forms, you will not be swept away by them. This is the activity of a person of great freedom, and one who has attained the Way.

Whether you are going or staying, sitting or lying down, the whole world is your own self. You must find out whether the mountains, rivers, grass, and forests exist in your own mind or exist outside it.  Analyze the ten thousand things, dissect them minutely, and when you take this to the limit, you will come to the limitless. 

The true nature is eternal and unchanging, the same and equal in Buddhas and other beings.  When wisdom illumines this sameness and equality, there is no appearance of ignorance.  The words of the patriarchs are only a tile to knock at the gate before entering. “See the nature to be Buddha" is the ultimate word, but when inside there is no concern with any form, and "to be Buddha" has no meaning.




-- The following is from The Cultivation of Realization (1739), author unknown; taken from Taoist Meditation, translated by Thomas Cleary


A proverb says that sages accomplish the ultimate human attainment based on calmness. The ultimate attainment is great balance as a human being.  Sages are based in calmness, not because they think calmness is good and so they focus on it, but because nothing disturbs their minds.  They are naturally calm without seeking calmness.

People seeking calmness today have not gotten the true tradition. They all say to chain the monkey-mind tightly and tether the idea-horse. When they find they cannot chain or tether it down, finally they say the mind is ultimately ungraspable and thus calm. They do not even reflect that this practice is a mistake that is due to failure to attain knowledge.

When you attain knowledge, you are clear. When you are clear, you see that all truths in the world are settled and do not admit of any personal ideas at all. That is known as having stability after knowing where to stop.  After you are stable, you can be calm.  After you are calm, you can be at peace.


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