A certain master of the Precepts School asked: “Doesn’t your Reverence observe the precepts?”
The Master said: “Originally, what people call the precepts were all for wicked monks who broke the rules; for the man who abides in the Unborn Buddha Mind, there’s no need for precepts. The precepts were taught to help sentient beings—they weren’t taught to help buddhas! What everyone has from his parents innately is the Unborn Buddha Mind alone, so abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind. When you abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind, you’re a living buddha here today, and that living buddha certainly isn’t going to concoct anything like taking the precepts, so there aren’t any precepts for him to take. To concoct anything like taking the precepts is not what’s meant by the Unborn Buddha Mind. When you abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind, there’s no way you can violate the precepts. From the standpoint of the Unborn, the precepts too are secondary, peripheral concerns; in the place of the Unborn, there’s really no such thing as precepts. . .
Intermittently during our study of the Platform Sutra we focused on the import of the Precepts, like “discerning the three bodies of the Buddha”; “reciting the Bodhisattva vows”, ect. Amongst Bankei’s diverse audience were masters from the various Buddhist Schools; here we have one who placed a high premium on the Precepts and who wanted to know Bankei’s take on them. Bankei immediately shreds any form of dependency upon the Precepts. Like many other sundry “religious” rules and regulations, they are meant by and large to keep the “religious faithful” in-tow, so much so that they replace authentic spiritual growth that is never dependent upon religious trinkets. Bankei knew that there is never self-transcendency with such a mindset. One’s exclusive “outward” devotion to pious transparencies only reveals the shallow herd-like mentality of the devotees. This type of formalism oftentimes produces religious fanaticism. Bankei says that one who abides in the Unborn Buddha Mind has no need for such abominations. As the prior Blog disclosed, when one is AT ONE with the Unborn what need is there for anymore inadequate peripheries? Everything is already Perfectly-Resolved in the Unborn. Precepts are only for the dull-witted who never cease depending upon outside intermediaries who will never lead them to the True Promised Land of the Dharmakaya.
The same old thing
“A certain teacher of Buddhism told me: ‘Instead of teaching the same old thing in your sermons day after day, you ought to throw in a few Buddhist miracle stories once in a while and give people a refreshing change of pace.’ Of course, he could be right. I may be thickheaded, but provided something is really helpful to people, then, thickheaded or not, I’m not beyond memorizing one or two old stories if I put my mind to it. However, teaching this sort of thing is like feeding poison to sentient beings. And feeding people poison is something I certainly can’t do!”
I don’t talk about Buddhism
The Master further said: “I don’t teach people by quoting from the words of the buddhas and patriarchs. Since I can manage simply by dealing with people’s own selves, there’s no need on top of that to quote the words of the buddhas and patriarchs too. I don’t talk about Buddhism, and I don’t talk about Zen. There’s really no need to talk about these things. Since I can manage perfectly just by dealing with people’s own selves as they are right here today, there’s no need for me to talk about Buddhism, or Zen either. . . .”
As was pronounced at the outset of this series, Bankei was the quintessential iconoclast. He’s not interested in conforming to or appeasing the vast array of religious sensitivities of his diverse audience. In a grand, Nietzschean-like manner, Bankei makes the Transcendent Case for a Re-Valuation of all values. Sure, including nice little stories from time to time can serve to wet the appetite and grab the attention of certain adepts who are forever like restless little children, but for the aspiring Dragon Minds of earnest and adroit-hearers of the Buddhadharma, there can be no substitute for the Real-Stuff . As Bankei quite aptly puts it, that kind of “poison” only serves as an opiate for the lesser-able. Bankei was too authentically As One in the Unborn to ever debase himself in such a fashion.
Haskel has wonderful apropos headings for these passages, indeed, Bankei never taught “about” Buddhism or Zen—he lived it to the core and his foremost purpose was to awaken others to their own innate At-One-Ment with the Unborn. Don’t try to learn about the Unborn, rather, Recognize and make that Sudden Ascent to your own True and Original Nature. Bankei is truly a man for all time. His teachings are a wake-up call for all seekers of Truth to awaken from their slumber and to fully Recollect their own heritage in the Unborn. It’s the same across the board…don’t try to learn about the Buddha—but BE A BUDDHA; don’t just sit there like rotting cabbages and buy into tooth and nail what is being preached at ya “about Jesus”, rather, arise from your stupor and awaken to the “Christ” –the True Light-Bearer within you..BE THE CHRISTOS—the anointed One-At-One in the Unborn. Awaken to your True and Best-Self.
Meeting masters: Dosha and Ingen
“Until the age of thirty, I continued to wear my jittoku robes without putting on a proper monk’s robe. When I was thirty, however, my teacher suggested I go to meet the Chinese Zen Master Dosha Chogen of Naninsan, who’d recently landed at Nagasaki. I decided to go, and my teacher told me: ‘Up to now you’ve been able to get by with your jittoku robes; but now that you’re going to call on a real Chinese monk, they won’t do. As it’s also for the sake of the Dharma, from here on you’d better wear a proper monk’s robe, so go put one on and call on Dosha.’
“And that’s how, at the age of thirty, following my teacher’s advice, I put on a monk’s robe for the first time and went off to see Dosha. I immediately presented my understanding. Dosha sized me up at a glance and told me: ‘You have transcended birth and death!’
“Among the Zen teachers at that time, only Dosha was able, to this modest extent, to confirm for me my experience of enlightenment; but, even so, I wasn’t fully satisfied. Now, looking back, today I wouldn’t even find Dosha acceptable. If only Dosha had gone on living till now, I might have made a better man of him. But he was an unlucky fellow and died young, to my great regret.”
“When I was a member of Dosha s assembly, an invitation was sent to China to [the Zen Master] Ingen. I was among those who consulted on this, and, fortunately, Ingen arrived in Japan while I was with Dosha, landing at the harbor in Nagasaki. I went along to welcome him, but the moment Ingen stepped ashore from the boat, I realized he wasn’t a man of the Unborn, and that’s why I never studied with him.”
During his early years of spiritual formation, Bankei was quite taken-up with his teacher, Umpo Zenshō; he followed his advice often and was quite pleased to meet up with Zen Master Dosha. Dosha had enough insight to recognize the Light of the Unborn within Bankei. But as time went on Bankei realized that even Dosha lacked the fullness of the Unborn Tathatic-Spirit. Bankei’s Dharma and Tathatic Eye was most profoundly astute; as soon as Zen Master Ingen stepped off the boat, Bankei was empowered to see right through Ingen’s energy signature and immediately discerned that he “wasn’t a man of the Unborn.”