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Buddhadharma : Fall 2016
fall 2 0 1 6 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 25 rajnatara was the teacher of Bodhidharma, the founder of the Zen school. In addition to the notable role of being Bodhidharma’s teacher, Prajnatara is also an interesting figure because there is some evidence that she was a woman. This possibility first came to my attention a number of years ago through a brief arti- cle by a successor of Jiyu Kennett Roshi, the founding abbess of Shasta Abbey. When Jiyu Kennett Roshi was training in Japan, her teacher, Koho Zenji, told her that there were female masters in their direct ancestral line. Years later, Jiyu Kennett asked one of her students to try to find them. His research led him to records within the Korean Zen lineage in which Prajnatara is remem- bered as being a woman, as well as to historical and oral traditions from Kerala in southern India, where Prajnatara lived and is remembered within If you know yourself as the unity of past, present, and future, says Geoffrey shugen arnold, then you see you’re right where you ought to be. In Accord with All Time Prajnatara Transmission of the Light | Case 28 Main Case The Buddhist master Punyamitra said to Prajnatara, “Do you remember events of the past?” Prajnatara said, “I remember in a distant eon I was living in the same place as you. You were expounding great wisdom, and I was reciting the most profound scripture. This event today is in conformity with past cause.” Verse The light of the moon reflected in the depths of the pond is bright in the sky. The water flowing to the horizon is thoroughly clear and pure. Sifting and straining, over and over, even if you know it exists, Boundless and clear, it turns out to be utterly ineffable. — from Keizan Jokin’s Transmission of the Light, translation by Thomas Cleary