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Buddhadharma : Spring 2006
spring 2006| 80 |buddhadharma Nichiren Shu Namu Myoho Renge Kyo www.nichiren-shu.org Resources for Study & Practice for Groups and Individuals • Library Facility • Reference Materials and Study Guides in Japanese and English NBIC Nichiren Buddhist International Center 29490 Mission Blvd • Hayward, CA 94544 510-690-1222 email: NBIC@nichiren-shu.org North America 323-262-7886 Hawaii 808-595 -3517 London 44-20-8349-1433 priest of a temple, whereas the authorita tive accounts have her visiting him when he lived alone in a small mountain hut. Shiji was willing to circle his hut, as was customary, but not willing to remove her hat unless he could say something that would satisfy her. To Juzhi’s great conster nation, he was speechless. He remained in that mountain hideaway, consumed by the despair and selfdoubt that Shiji had engendered, until Hangzhou Tianlong (Koshu Tenryu) came along and awak ened him with his “onefinger Zen.” This is such an important case in the Gateless Gate that those who have been transformed by its profundity must bristle at Tisdale’s wiseass, dismissive trivializing of Juzhi’s realization: “After that, he didn’t say or do anything as a teacher but hold up a single finger. ... It saved him a lot of breath, and maybe it saved him having to figure out what to say that was worth hearing.” While Tisdale often has the women characters in this book also utter such putdowns, no doubt in an effort to turn the tables, it’s a demeaning approach. It’s unlikely that these extraor dinary and fully realized dharma masters, who were undaunted by the patriarchy of their times, would stoop that low. These and other concerns regarding accuracy aside, Tisdale has created a well written, deeply moving collection of sto ries that are vivid portrayals of living, breathing women ancestors. Fanciful and eminently readable, Women of the Way brings us facetoface with our long obscured matriarchs. Tisdale conveys not only their remarkable resolve and cour age, but manages to impart something of their realization experiences, as in this wonderful concluding passage in the story of Teijitsu, abbess of Hakujuan, a nun nery near Eiheiji: “She saw that arising arose, abided, and fell away. ... She saw that knowing this arose, abided, and fell away. Then she knew there was nothing more than this, no ground, nothing to lean on stronger than the cane she held, nothing to lean upon at all, and no one leaning, and she opened the clenched fist in her mind and let go and fell into the midst of everything.” Roko sheRRy chayat is abbot of the ZeN ceNteR of syRacuse hoeN-Ji. iN 1998, she becaMe the fiRst aMeRicaN woMaN to ReceiVe tRaNsMissioN iN the RiNZai tRaditioN.