The World-Honored One Ascends the Seat

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During this day I started to bring up a teaching which has been said to be kind of the core teaching of our family in China, particularly starting around the time of the person who is considered sort of our family founder in China. His name is Dongshan Liangjie. But you can see his teaching in his teacher's teaching, and his teacher is called Yuen Yuen, and then you can see it also in his teacher's teacher, who is Shirtou.


Shirtou wrote The Harmony of Difference and Unity, so we can see the beginnings of this this teaching of the interfusion of, in that text, in the text of The Harmony of Difference and Unity, it's particularly spoken of in terms of darkness and light. So in that text it says, right in dark there is lightness, and right in lightness there is dark, or darkness. Darkness and light are like forward and backward step in walking. Also in that text it says the spiritual source shines in the darkness, and the branching


streams flow in the light. So there's a kind of counterintuitive way of talking about darkness and light, that the darkness refers to the principle, the ultimate, and the light refers to like discriminating consciousness. So, around that time in the history of our family, there's introduction of this teaching by these images of darkness and light, how they interpenetrate each other, and how, because they interpenetrate each other, darkness isn't really darkness, and light isn't really light, and the principle isn't really principle, and the phenomena aren't really phenomena. Everything's compromised by what it's not.


So Shirto, and then comes Yaoshan, but Yaoshan didn't leave us any particular famous text, and then there's Yuen Yen, and Yuen Yen had this, what's it called, it's called the Precious Mirror Samadhi, and he gave the Precious Mirror Samadhi to Tungshan, and then Tungshan wrote these very important poems about this interpenetration. He also spoke of it in terms of upright and inclined. So, if you're really upright, there's no particularity. You have to sort of like lean one way or another to be something particular.


So phenomena are kind of leaning into some form. They're kind of biased, like you're a biased form of the universe, you're a biased form of the universe, I'm a biased, I'm the universe sort of inclined in this way. You're the universe inclined this way. But you also have an upright quality where you're not inclined any particular way. You're equally everything, rather than kind of like a little bit more this way than other ways. So Tungshan taught that, and he wrote a song about this Pure Mirror Samadhi. The Pure Mirror Samadhi was transmitted to him by his teacher who taught him,


just this is it, or just this is. And then when he saw a reflection of himself in a river, he understood his teacher's teaching, just this is it. And he said, to seek for it outside, you turn away from it. It's always with me. Now, I am not it, but it is me. And then that poem which he expressed when he understood, just this is it, he incorporated that poem into his song of the Precious Mirror. Because when he looked in the water, he saw himself, but the reflection of yourself is not what you are.


And yet, that's what you are, is that you're not what you are. And then he has transmitted this, we are what we are, and we're also otherwise. And this is, again, a core teaching which has been expressed in all these different metaphors, darkness and light, sameness and difference, upright and inclined, proper and added, infinite and finite, and so on. So, I don't know how it's going to go, but many years ago, I walked through the Book of Serenity with a group of people for about ten years,


and now I look back at the Book of Serenity and I see it as teaching this, this interplay. The first case of the Book of Serenity is, I kind of quoted it this morning when you were sitting, part of it. The first part which I didn't quote is, Once upon a time, the World Honored One ascended the seat. And it doesn't say, but he ascended the seat and sat on it. Then Manjushri struck the gavel and said,


Clearly observe the teaching of the King of Teaching. No, clearly observe the teaching of the King of Teaching. The teaching of the King of Teaching is thus. The World Honored One sat in stillness and silence. This is the upright. This is the principle. But this principle also has bias.


And then the Bodhisattva Manjushri hits the mallet and says, Clearly observe. There's the activity. There's the speech. It's actually just one way to say it. It's kind of biased. Clearly observe. It's kind of biased. The Dharma of the King of Dharma. It's kind of biased. He could have said a lot of other things, but he said that. That's the particular phenomena of his speech for us, which is telling us about something that is not biased, just sitting silent and still. And then the person who collected these stories,


after each story he writes a poem to comment, a poetic comment on the World Honored One sitting still and silent, showing us the ultimate, the complete. But the ultimate and complete we can't get a hold of. So Manjushri confines it into speech. And then we can hear it in this limited way. But it was there before Manjushri spoke. It was there before Manjushri spoke. But nobody could get a hold of it. So he limited it. He limited it.


So the poem is, The Unique Breeze of Reality. Can You See It? And one translation is, Creation, but literally the Chinese characters are Mother Principle. Mother Principle. Kind of like Mother Dearest. Mother Principle. The Mother Principle. Constantly works her loom and shuttle. And the loom can be viewed as a vertical frame, an upright frame. And the shuttle goes horizontal back and forth. So she works her loom, her uprightness, and her biasness.


She works the principle and the phenomena. And by working those two together, she incorporates the patterns of spring into the ancient brocade. And then the last line is, But nothing can be done about Manjushri's leaking. So the Buddha just sits there. Can you see? Can you see the working of the loom and the shuttle and the Buddha sitting in silence? It's right there, but it's hard to see. But reality is always working. It's not just principle. It's not just the way things ultimately are. It's the way things ultimately are interacting with the way they temporarily are.


It's the way they always are with the way they are sometimes. Those two are working together to make patterns, new patterns of spring, which are incorporated into the ancient brocade of the universe. But still Manjushri has to say something. And I, the poet, have to write this poem to tell you. I thought the teaching was that then World Honored One got down. After World Honored One said that, I thought you kind of incorporated both. I thought there was both, like the phenomena, and then he stepped away. Is that true? He did. He got down from his seat. He got up from his seat after Manjushri made the announcement.


That's right. So he got up in the seat and sat. Manjushri made the announcement, and then he got down. And then, I think it's case eight in the Book of Serenity. It's quite similar. The Zen ancestor... Yeah, another one of our people in our family, the one I said didn't write much, Yaoshan, he was the teacher of a monastery, but he didn't give any talks for a long time. So the director of the monastery went to him and said, you haven't given a talk for a long time, so would you please give a talk to the monks? And so he went into the


talk hall, and he ascended the seat, and then as soon as he sat down, he got off the seat and went back to his room. And the director went to the room and said, well, he said you give a talk and you came. Why didn't you give a talk? And he said, teachers of the scriptures teach the scriptures. Teachers of commentaries teach commentaries. Would you please give me a break? Which is kind of like, he actually said, would you just let this old monk be? And so I kind of feel like saying,


they're telling you what the sutras are about. They're telling you what the commentary is about. Can I just sit? Can I just get up in the seat and sit and get down and go back to my room? But then they told a story about that. So he didn't have to tell us. I got up in the seat and I sat there and I got down. But he did get up in the seat and get down. Other people told us that's what he did and how he defended himself when he was criticized by the director. Yes? In a personal way to say that Manjushri is a geeky, I feel like Manjushri did something wrong. I don't get it.


Well, he did something... What do you call it? He defiled the teaching. He said, there it is. He said, look at it. So he defiled it. Isn't that defilement helpful? I don't know. It seems to me that it's a helpful thing. Yes, and maybe that thought that you just had is another defilement which might be helpful. But it's a defilement. So that's the world-honored one in Manjushri. That's from a long time ago. And one time... a monk came to visit the 6th ancestor of Zen. And that monk's name was... What was his name? His name was...


Nanyue Huairang. So Huairang came to see the 6th ancestor. And the 6th ancestor said to him, what is it that thus comes? So, what is it that thus comes? It's like a question about something coming. But it's also, the Buddha is called thus come. That's one of the epithets for Buddha is thus comes. So what is Buddha? So, you just came, what has just come? But also, what is Buddha? The case I just told you about, the Buddha came and sat down. And then Manjushri said, that's it. Look at it. In this case, when the 6th ancestor says, what is it that thus comes? In other words, who are you? Or, what is Buddha? Same question. Who are you? What is it that just came here? Who are you?


But also, who is Buddha? What is Buddha? And Wai Rong said, to say it's this, to point at it, defiles it. So, in a way, I guess I could say, as a parting shot, each of us is a defiled version of the universe. Each of us is the universe kind of twisted into a little package, which has no, you know, and nothing reaches what we are. We're beyond anybody's story about us, because we're actually the whole universe and nobody can ever tell our story.


But we're also the universe put into a little package so you can see us. But we're kind of a defilement of everything. We're kind of like a biased version of everything. Yes, Matt? I'm almost definitely a defilement, because we want to tell our stories constantly. I'm almost definitely a defilement, because we always want to tell our stories. I can't actually be defiled, though. The soul makes me think of Judas. Yes, sometimes people say that Manjushri is Judas. He's the Buddhist Judas in this story. And then what happens? He points at the Buddha and tells us, not only is that Buddha, everybody knew it was Buddha, but he said, the teaching is right there.


Did you by any chance miss it? No, you don't miss it. I just showed you. Well, thanks. That's so helpful. But then what happened to Jesus as a result of that? Was it helpful? What happened to Jesus after he was pointed out? Was that helpful? No, what happened to Jesus? Jesus got pointed out. Jesus got pointed out. So what happened to Jesus? He was killed. Was he really killed? I thought that's debatable. And was the Buddha really killed? Apparently not. So anyway, Huai Rong will not say who he is


or what Buddha is. He says, to say it's this defiles it, misses the point. To say, clearly observed, the Dharma of the King of Dharma, the Dharma of the King of Dharma is thus. That misses the point. He missed the point. And is it helpful that he missed the point? Karen thinks maybe it is. Is it helpful when Charlie Brown puts the football out there and he runs at it and misses it? Is that helpful? Some people think it's helpful. Other people think, well, I don't know if it's helpful, but it's funny. Now, not too many people when Judas pointed out Jesus thought it was funny. But when he pointed him out, he missed him.


And when Manjushri pointed out the Dharma, he missed it. But almost nobody laughs at that line. There's some talk about that Judas knew what he was doing and I wonder about Manjushri as well and that it was expedient means, as in the Lotus Sutra, expedient means everything. Yeah, so that's another one. The real and the expedient. So the real is the loom and the expedient is the shuttle. And we use the expedient together with the loom. But some people say, forget the expedient, let's just have the loom. But the problem with that is nobody sees anything. Well, what do you call it?


We did it. We did it again. We did a day at no abode. We sat in the rain and let it, and let it, we let it fall. Right? You let it fall, didn't you? Thank you. I didn't intend to bring up this case but it got brought up, got brought up in the morning and it's brought up in the afternoon now. The World Honored One is here sitting with us. But I'm not going to tell you


anything about Him. I'm not going to tell you anything about Her. I'm not going to tell you anything about Them. But I just did. I can't avoid it. I can't get away from the expedient because you know when I tell you I'm not going to tell you anything I just failed. Nothing can be done about this. There's 99 more cases where that one came from. Another thing which


some of you heard me mention is that there was a there actually is a revival of this TV show. It's called The Naked City. Now it's on Netflix. It's a revival It's a show called The Naked City and it's about New York City. And it's a naked city. There's no stories actually in New York. But the beginning says there are 8 million stories in the naked city and then they tell you one of them. But New York actually none of the stories in New York reach New York. New York is naked of all the stories you tell about it. So we tell stories


but they don't reach what we're telling stories about. And what no stories reach is speaking stories which don't reach it. These stories come from what the stories don't reach. Yes? I'm sorry but it reminds me of another Netflix show that I share. There's the queen she's taking lessons from a faculty member in a college and she says there's two types of people in the world there's the dignified and there's the efficient. Which do you think you are? She thinks about it and she says the dignified and that's the episode where she's remembering that but that's the episode where she does her first televised broadcast


of life inside the story and life inside the palace. So it's very similar. Yeah. Thank you very much.