Category Archives: Bankei Zen

Women and the Unborn


“I can tell you something about this matter of women’s Buddha Mind. I understand that women feel very distressed hearing it said that they can’t become buddhas. But it simply isn’t so! How is there any difference between men and women? Men are the Buddha Body, and women are the Buddha Body too. You shouldn’t entertain any doubts of this sort. When you thoroughly grasp the Unborn, then, in the Unborn, there’s no difference whether you’re a man or a woman. Everyone is the Buddha Body. read more

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Practice Makes Perfect


To practice is hard 

“Even among those in the assembly now who acknowledge what I say, there are some who merely teach the Unborn with their mouths and don’t continually abide in the Unborn, people who only know about the Unborn, people of merely intellectual understanding. From the standpoint of the Unborn, intellectual understanding too is empty speculation, so you can’t say such a person has conclusively realized the Unborn. When you come right down to it, this kind of approach is worthless. Even if you teach others about the Unborn, they won’t realize it. read more

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In Sickness and in Health


Illness and the Buddha Mind 

“With my only thought to find the Buddha Mind, I struggled fruitlessly, floundering desperately and dashing all over. But what happened was that I got myself ill and was laid up in bed for a long time, so that I’ve come to know a lot about sickness too. Being born into this world and having a body, we must expect to meet with illness. But when you conclusively realize the Unborn Buddha Mind, you don’t distress yourself over the sufferings of illness: you clearly distinguish illness as illness, suffering as suffering. This is because the Buddha Mind, being originally unborn, has nothing to do with joy or suffering, the reason being that that which is unborn transcends thought. read more

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A Psychology of the Unborn?


Like little children of three or four 

The Master instructed the assembly: “As you’ve all been hearing me say, everyone has the innate Buddha Mind, so all you need to do is abide in the Unborn just as it is. However, [following] the ways of the world, you get into bad habits in life and switch the Buddha Mind for the wretched realm of hungry ghosts with its clinging and craving. Grasp this thoroughly and you’ll always abide in the Unborn Buddha Mind. But if, wishing to realize the Unborn, you people try to stop your thoughts of anger and rage, clinging and craving from arising, then by stopping them you divide one mind into two. It’s as if you were pursuing something that’s running away. As long as you deliberately try to stop your rising thoughts, the thought of trying to stop them wars against the continually arising thoughts themselves, and there’s never an end to it. To give you an example, it would be like washing away blood with blood. Of course, you might get out the original blood; but the blood after that would stick, and the red never go away. Similarly, the original angry thoughts that you were able to stop may have come to an end, but the subsequent thoughts concerned with your stopping them won’t ever cease. read more

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Anger Not


A monk said to Bankei: I was born with a short temper. It’s always flaring up. My master has remonstrated with me time and again, but that hasn’t done any good. I know I should do something about it, but as I was born with a bad temper, I’m unable to rid myself of it no matter how hard I try. Is there anything I can do to correct it? This time, I’m hoping that with your teaching, I’ll be able to cure myself. Then, when I go back home, I’ll be able to face my master again, and of course I will benefit by it for the rest of my life. Please, tell me what to do.   read more

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On Death


People generally have the wrong idea about living and dying at will. They think it means that someone decides on one day that he will die on the next, or that he predicts the day and month in the following year when he is to die and then does indeed die a natural death on that date, or they think it means the ability to extend one’s lifetime so many days or months. read more

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A Blessing or a Curse


“My teaching isn’t concerned with either self-power or other-power: that which transcends both self-power and other-power, that’s what my teaching is about. Let me prove this to you: While everyone is turned this way to hear me saying this, out back there may be sparrows chirping, crows cawing, the voices of men or women, or the sighing of the wind. But, without your deliberately trying to hear every one of those sounds, each of them comes to you clearly recognized and distinguished. It’s not you doing the hearing, so it’s not a matter of self-power. On the other hand, since you can’t very well have someone else do your hearing for you, you couldn’t call it other-power! So, that which isn’t concerned with self-power or other-power but transcends them both is what my teaching is about. Isn’t that right? When you listen this way with the Unborn, you transcend whatever there is. And all the rest of your activities are perfectly managed like this with the Unborn too. For the man who functions with the Unborn, whoever he may be, all things are perfectly managed. So, whoever he is, the man of the Unborn isn’t concerned with either self-power or other-power, but transcends them both.” read more

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Don’t take it Personally


One day, the Master addressed the assembly: “All delusions, without exception, are created as a result of self-centeredness. When you’re free from self-centeredness, delusions won’t be produced. For example, suppose your neighbors are having a quarrel: if you’re not personally involved, you just hear what’s going on and don’t get angry. read more

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Flush the Toilet Paper!


Don’t beat sleeping monks 

On the opening day of rōhatsu, the Master addressed the assembly: “In my place, our normal everyday life is meditation; so it’s not like everywhere else where they announce: ‘From today on, meditation!’ and everyone specially hurls himself into frantic practice.” read more

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Nothing Special


Thirty days in the Unborn

 “Everyone, do exactly as I’m telling you, and, following my instructions, start by trying to abide in the Unborn for thirty days. Learn to abide in the Unborn for thirty days, and from there on, even if you don’t want to—whether you like it or not—you’ll just naturally have to abide in the Unborn. You’ll be a success at abiding in the Unborn! Since that which is unborn is the Buddha Mind, you’ll be functioning with the Buddha Mind at all times. That way you’ll be living buddhas here today, won’t you? So listen to my teaching just as if today you were all born anew and starting afresh. When you’ve got some fixed notion, you won’t take in what you hear. Listen as if you were newly born right now and it will be like hearing my teaching for the first time. If you don’t have any fixed notion in your mind, at a single word you’ll instantly understand and attain complete realization of the Dharma.” read more

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