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Buddhadharma : Winter 2008
33 wiNter 2 00 8 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly Hyakujo did not dare say, “I am that person.” Instead, he would have said, “You are the one, my dear Alfonse,” and would have slapped his disciple’s face. But obaku prevented this by slapping his teacher’s face: “You are the one, my dear Gaston.” 3 Hyakujo then clapped his hands and laughed. “I thought the foreigner had a red beard, and now I know it.” MuMon’s CoMMent “An enlightened person is not subject to”—How can this answer make the monk a fox? Because he postulates an enlightened person, and separates himself from the law of causation. “An enlightened person is one with the law of causation”— How can this answer emancipate the fox? When you are enlightened, you can do as you please; yet you will always live within the law. To understand this clearly, you must have only One eye. That’s what Mumon says, but it’s too late in this zendo. All who have attended this class know very well, “The eye with which I see God is the very eye with which God sees me!”4 Mumon, Mumon, are you trying to sell the “Extra, extra!” of the day before yesterday?5 MuMon’s Verse Subject to or not subject to? The same die shows two faces. Not subject to or subject to? Both are mistaken! In Zen, thinking and acting must be without an instant’s hesitation, otherwise your action or word will be an uncertain gamble. • Case Three: Gutei’s Finger • Whenever he was asked a question about Zen, Gutei raised his finger. A young attendant began to imitate him. When anyone asked the boy about his master’s teaching, the boy would raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy’s mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and began to run away. Gutei called out to him. When the boy turned his head, Gutei raised his finger. At that, the boy was enlightened. When Gutei was about to pass from this world, he gath- ered his monks around him and said, “I attained my one-fin- ger Zen from my teacher, Tenryu, and throughout my whole life, I have not exhausted it.” Then he passed away. Bodhisattvas: In the time of Gutei, the Chinese government persecuted Buddhism, destroying 40,000 Buddhist temples and canceling the ordination status of 260,000 monks and nuns. This took place in 845 CE; the tyrannical rule lasted for twenty months. As a monk, Gutei lost his temple home. He hid himself in a remote mountain, begging for his food secretly among the villagers. one evening a nun came to his shelter and walked around him three times with her travel- ing staff without taking her hat off. It was very impolite to act that way at a monk’s shelter. She made it clear that she considered him a stone image, not a living monk. Gutei com- manded her to take off her hat. The nun said, “If you are not a stone image, say a word of Zen, and then I will properly pay you my respects.” Gutei had never attained Zen; therefore, he could not say a word. The nun called him a stupid monk, and went away. Gutei was ashamed of himself to no small degree. He made up his mind that he would undertake a journey through which he might attain understanding. Before he could start out, however, he was visited by an old monk. Gutei expressed his shame and resolve, frankly, in a man-to- man talk. The old monk then raised his finger. Seeing this, Gutei was enlightened. The old monk was Tenryu, a great teacher of that time. Although the Chinese government’s persecution resulted in the worst circumstances for the Buddhist establishment in its history in China, it created the opportunity for good monks and nuns to set out on pilgrimages. Gutei, too, caught his chance at this time of oppression. He sensed keenly that the opportunity for realization is rare and noble. This was the reason why, in our present story, he cut off the boy’s finger. An imitation of the teaching seems at first rather innocent, but if it is not nipped in the bud, it will grow into the ugly weed of religious complacency, or into the troublesome weed 3 Alfonse and Gaston were names familiar to all in Senzaki’s era as personifica- tions of well-bred gentlemen whose polite behavior resulted in stalemates; each would insist that the other go first, saying, “After you, Alfonse,” and “No, after you, Gaston,” ad infinitum. 4 one of Senzaki’s favorite sayings of the Christian mystic Johannes Eckhart, known as “Meister Eckhart.” 5 Newsboys would call out “Extra, extra, read all about it!” as they tried to sell the latest edition of the newspaper,