Tozen: Dharma from the other shore…3



Master, please explain the difference between Enlightenment and practice [of it],…and the difference between Prajna and Prana?”

“I am busy doing exactly that! Don´t you have eyes and ears?

“What do you mean?”

” The hand cuts, and the tree bows back in gratitude of its release! [shouts happily] Oh wondrous dharma!”

“How can cutting that bonsai tree, explain all of these four fundamental pillars of the Dharma? I simply do not understand.”

Slaps the student hard over the face.

“Is that better?”


” I know turtles that get it faster while walking towards the blissful waterness of the great sea.

Ah well…let’s see now… Once enlightened, the awakened bodhisattva, released for a brief period from the mortal coil, stands face to face with the deathless truth of his own self bathing in the pure light of such blissful dharma. Now when the real has conquered the shadow-world of Mara, even if it is only for a brief moment, consequently, the practice ahead, is to return back to and become more of this deathless body. It is after all a jewel of noble wisdom with a myriad marvelous functions. As this is done the bodhisattva becomes less (in identity) of the mortal body sitting like a stone buddha of no value beneath him.

Further, the ability to make a clear distinction between this deathless truth body and the impermanent phenomena that the body beneath is tied to, through interdependent origination, is called – Prajna or Bodhi. The eye of noble wisdom that instantaneously reveals the difference between the true self (atta) and the false self (anatta).

The power or life force found in the true self, truth body or that which is Unborn is also known in ancient India as Prana, or Bodhipower as we say in our school, and pervades as such, all ten directions of this and any other universe, animating the latter trillions of times every second. That is simply a result of its sheer productiveness that is perfect even in the most imperfectly viewed forms.

Its wondrous pure self-nature can instantaneously bring your spirit anywhere it desires. This is covered in the 39th book of the Avatamsaka sutra. Also known as the handbook for eager bodhisattvas looking for advice and directions from the sublime dharma (laughs). ”

“I am speechless.”

“Even that is proof of the dharma having its way with the living dead! ”

[continues cutting the tree with a roaring laughter]


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