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Buddhadharma : Winter 2005
buddhadharma| 37 |winter 2005 • 13• touzi’s moon Zen master Dongshan Liangjie [Wuben] of mount Dong said to the assembly, “experience going beyond Buddha1 and say a word.” 2 a monastic asked him, “What is saying a word?”3 Dongshan said, “When you say a word, you don’t hear it.” 4 the monastic said, “Do you hear it?”5 Dongshan said, “When i am not speaking, i hear it.” 6 the great matter of the experience of going beyond Buddha is not contained within practice nor attained after enlightenment. it is simply that when you speak about it, you cannot hear it. manifesting outside of patterns and forms, it is not a matter of cause and effect. this is the wisdom that has no teacher. therefore, it is not contained in either words or silence, hearing or not hearing. It cannot be described; it cannot be pictured. The beauty of this garden is invisible to even the great sages. The magnitude of this dwelling is so vast, no teaching can stain it. 1. There is such a thing, you know, but only a handful have experienced it. 2. With your throat, mouth, and lips shut, how will you speak? 3. From beginning to end, obscure and hard to understand. 4. When the tip of the tongue obstructs, you do not hear. 5. How can one get it by accepting another’s interpretation? 6. The old master has snatched the monastic’s ears and made off with his tongue. once a monastic asked Zen master Datong of mount touzi [Ciji], “how is it when the moon is not yet full?”1 touzi said, “it swallows up three or four.” 2 the monastic said, “how is it after the moon is full?”3 touzi said, “it spits out seven or eight.” 4 master touzi is equally at ease killing or giving life. see how what he says is always spontaneously in accord with the principle and intertwines with the imperative. he never loses touch with the essential matter. the monastic’s question comes from within the realm of three or four, so old touzi answers, “it swallows up three or four.” these days when practitioners get here, they think that this is it and go about making a nest, not realizing that it does not impart strength for the road. it would have been awkward if the monastic had not asked, “how is it after the moon is full?” after all, people have been known to drown on dry land. touzi’s “it spits out seven or eight” almost settles the case, but still it must be said that this is only eighty percent of the truth. Furthermore, we should understand that the heart of touzi’s teaching is not to be found in the moon. Be that as it may, you tell me, what is the heart of touzi’s teaching, and why is it still only eighty percent of the truth? • 12• Dongshan’s “going Beyond Buddha” main Case CommentarY Capping Verse notes main Case CommentarY