Archive for the ‘Mud and Water: Bassui Zen’ Category

Enlightenment Woes

"It is said that when looking at the sayings and teachings of the Buddhas and patriarchs, if you look as one with fresh hatred looks upon an enemy, you will then for the first time be able to understand them. What do you think about this?"  Bassui: "The Way is a fundamental part of everybody. Its essence is to penetrate enlightenment and to leave no trace of this attainment. If I were to explain this fundamental part, even the one word 'awaken' would add waves to a level surface. How much Read more [...]

The Fragrance of Suchness

"If you truly want to read the sutras, you first have to awaken the mind that does the reading. All formal readings from the sutras are ultimately destructive. The wonderful dharma of one's mind does not change through successive eons; it is the essence of all the sutras. If you want to comprehend this essence, you should know that the voices of frogs and worms, the sound of wind and raindrops, all speak the wonderful language of the dharma and that birds in flight, swimming fish, floating clouds, Read more [...]

The Worm of Attachment

Michael Page “There is not one among the good teachers from ancient times up to the present who hasn't said that there is no Buddha existing outside of the mind. Though it is clear from this that all phenomena are delusion, I am not able to let go of the belief in the existence of phenomena. Is this a result of lingering habits from my mind?"  Bassui: "You are unable to dismiss lingering habits simply because you are not looking into your own nature. If you clearly penetrate this truth Read more [...]

This Little Light of Mine

"It is said that when the Little Buddha is imprinted on the void and on the fragrance, one will receive unlimited merit. What does this mean?"  Bassui: "The student of the Way arouses a wise thought from his empty mind. This is the activity of the Buddha transformation body, the nirmanakaya, within his inherent nature. It is called the Little Buddha. When you turn the light inward, reflecting upon yourself, your analytical mind will return to the void. This is called imprinting the mark of Read more [...]

The Pure Lands

Bassui had the distinction of empowering others to see beyond their literal notions of the Buddha Pure Lands. However he would not make the attempt if the inquirers were exclusively attached to the phenomenal world and incapable of seeing beyond it. For those who were in earnest, i.e., who could see beyond phenomenal categories with the clear-light of zen, he would engage them with that clear-understanding. The following are extracted portions from his Pure-Land Dialogs. “Western direction Read more [...]

Dark Buddha

"It is said that one who practices the Way will remove obstructing demons. If one simply practices zazen and doesn't chant sacred words from sutras, by what grace will he remove these obstructions?"  Bassui: "A robber does not break into the home of a poor child. The cave of demons and heretics, on the other hand, is rich with human egos and analytical thoughts. Clearly seeing into one's nature is called practice, and the seat that puts an end to analytical thoughts is called zazen. When Read more [...]

Karmic Affinity

Robert Stewart “Within the teachings it is said that it is easy for one to believe if the karmic relationship with the teacher is right, and it is easy to enter if the karmic connection to the Way is right. Then no matter how hard I practice the kensho road to realization, I could not be expected to reach satori if my past karma were not right. Should I first try to practice a way that would set my karma right?”  Bassui: "It is evident that some people have a karmic inclination for the Read more [...]

The True Body of the Precepts

Questioner: "If the essence of all the Buddha's teachings were contained in the practice of looking directly into one's nature and attaining Buddhahood, wouldn't that make the formal practice of keeping the precepts meaningless?"  Bassui: "Keeping or violating the precepts is prior to the division of things and ideas (matter and mind)—when essence and form were part of one vehicle. Having not yet seen into his own nature, a person sinks in the sea of passion and discrimination, killing Read more [...]

The Pure Zen of the Tathagatas

A layman asked: "Though Zen is said to be transmitted outside the scriptures and not through words, there are many more incidents of monks questioning teachers and inquiring of the Way than in the teaching sects. How can Zen be said to be outside the scriptures? And can reading the records of the old masters and seeing how they dealt with koans ever be considered outside the realm of words? What is the true meaning of the statement, 'Outside the scriptures, not through words'?"  The master Read more [...]

Mud and Water: Bassui Zen

In November we will be spending time with the 14th century Japanese Zen Master Bassui—a name which means “far above average”, a title bestowed by Kohō Kakumyo ( 1271-1361) who was one of many renowned Dharma-masters Bassui encountered along the way to full Self-realization. His own discussions with monks and nuns as well as lay adepts have been compiled under what has come to be known as ‘Mud and Water’, or Wadeigassui which is part of a longer title indicating that the talks originated Read more [...]
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