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Thread: Guidepost of Silent Illumination, another take

  1. #1

    Guidepost of Silent Illumination, another take

    A few years ago, Jundo wrote beautiful and profound jazzy lines inspired by the words of Wanshi Zenji translated by the excellent Taigen Leighton. You will find them clicking on the link below:

    As a reminder for my stupid self and a teaching to beat the crap out of my own dullness, I have decided to write my own lines. I have thought that people and my students could benefit from these directions which are pointers to the real practice of Shikantaza, my point is not to compete with Jundo 's remarkable insights , but just to present in my broken English pretty much the same stuff with a slightly different flavor.



    Guidepost of Silent Illumination

    Silent and serene, forgetting words, bright clarity appears before you.

    Before- beyond thinking
    casting off all involvements
    dropping self and others,
    the enlightened universe reveals itself.

    When you reflect it you become vast, where you embody it you are spiritually uplifted.

    No need to do anything,
    reflection-action arises
    Up and forward
    in the four directions
    and three times

    Spiritually solitary and shining, inner illumination restores wonder,

    The Backward step
    the open itself
    the treasure house
    shines forth

    Dew in the moonlight, a river of stars, snow-covered pines, clouds enveloping the peak.

    Intimate merging of all things
    beyond the conventional
    and the expected,
    Mountain cloaked in thoughts
    all things rest
    in their original state

    In darkness it is most bright, while hidden all the more manifest.

    In darkness it shines
    Breaking from the dual and non dual
    Nothing could trap
    Or catch it

    The crane dreams in the wintery mists. The autumn waters flow far in the distance.

    The dance of emptiness and form,
    arising and fading
    As-it-isness is then a field
    In which space knows itself

    Endless kalpas are totally empty, all things completely the same.

    Timeless, neither one nor two
    Gulp it and spit it out
    Where cannot you see it?

    When wonder exists in serenity, all achievement is forgotten in illumination.

    True illumination has no concept
    No color no skin
    Awakening no move or traces
    Wide and broad circle
    It conceals

    What is this wonder? Alertly seeing through confusion
    Is the way of silent illumination and the origin of subtle radiance.

    To awake to the dream
    Seeing through one's delusion
    Even this shimmering veil of thoughts
    Turns into

    Vision penetrating into subtle radiance is weaving gold on a jade loom.

    Eye in eye
    Eye weaving this very life- fabric
    Radiance into radiance
    The impossible is made ordinary
    The distant intimate

    Upright and inclined yield to each other; light and dark are interdependent.

    One cannot pick up a corner of this universe
    Without lifting the whole thing
    Majesty in modesty
    Pair of opposites dancing

    Not depending on sense faculty and object, at the right time they interact.

    The action is self triggered
    Perception, perceived and dance
    You cannot manufacture it
    In the here- beyond

    Drink the medicine of good views. Beat the poison-smeared drum.

    Even if virtue is the spontaneous
    Naturally found,
    Discipline this bag of skin
    You cannot do any harm
    As you enter

    When they interact, killing and giving life are up to you.

    Life and death
    Not separated
    Yet you are here the one
    That do or undo

    Through the gate the self emerges and the branches bear fruit.

    The gateteless gate of here-now-this
    Is but you
    You are
    Path, goal and traveller
    In here
    Fruits in bloom, flowers sweet

    Only silence is the supreme speech, only illumination the universal response.

    Words arise there and lead to this
    Round moon
    Full moon

    Responding without falling into achievement, speaking without involving listeners,

    Traps, nets and snares
    Won't catch it
    Undoing is the work
    Releasing your students the task

    The ten thousand forms majestically glisten and expound the dharma.

    Not a single thing excluded
    All belong
    Your teacher is the very moment
    The very situation
    In which you let everything down
    And give yourself away

    All objects certify it, every one in dialogue.

    Nothing to add or take away

    Dialoguing and certifying, they respond appropriately to each other;

    As you stop interfering, being in the way,
    As you stop controlling
    As you give up any hope
    It speaks

    But if illumination neglects serenity then aggressiveness appears.
    Certifying and dialoguing, they respond to each other appropriately;
    But if serenity neglects illumination, murkiness leads to wasted dharma.

    Wisdom and compassion in intimate embrace
    Not drunk with emptiness
    Not mesmerized by brightness

    When silent illumination is fulfilled, the lotus blossoms, the dreamer awakens,
    A hundred streams flow into the ocean, a thousand ranges face the highest peak.

    Dreaming within a dream
    Is but to awake
    From a single moment in space and time
    The whole expanse and entire universe
    Move forward

    Like geese preferring milk, like bees gathering nectar,
    When silent illumination reaches the ultimate, I offer my teaching.

    Just follow the universal law
    These words and my dharma
    Don t even belong to me

    The teaching of silent illumination penetrates from the highest down to the foundation.

    It knows no bound
    Doesn' t give birth to a territory
    Beggar and king
    Always had
    A single face

    The body being shunyata, the arms in mudra;

    Your own body-mind sitting
    Mountain in space
    Form and formless
    As clouds go by

    From beginning to end the changing appearances and ten thousand differences share one pattern.

    The one in the many
    The many returning to the one

    Mr. Ho offered jade [to the Emperor; Minister] Xiangru pointed to its flaws.
    Facing changes has its principles, the great function is without striving.
    The ruler stays in the kingdom, the general goes beyond the frontiers.
    Our school's affair hits the mark straight and true.
    Transmit it to all directions without desiring to gain credit.

    A single intention, and you loose your way
    Don't turn the Buddha's teaching into a making
    Easy, easy and open
    Without merit, and in not knowing
    Just sit

    from "Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi", translated by Taigen Dan Leighton.
    Last edited by Taigu; 07-05-2013 at 08:19 PM.

  2. #2
    This is a lifetime reading perhaps many lifetimes. The practice infinite.

    My humble thanks for this profound but so beautiful teaching.



  3. #3
    Beautiful vibrant Taigu, thank you.


  4. #4

  5. #5
    In the face of the ineffable, I am speechless.
    Nine full bows for this freely imparted treasure,

  6. #6

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  7. #7
    That is beautiful, Taigu, and rich in content. Thank you so much for sharing.

    If I might make a suggestion, there should be a link to both these lines and Jundo's underneath Hongzhi's book in the booklist so that newcomers also have a chance to see them.


  8. #8
    Very beautiful.

    Lots to sit with. Nothing to sit with.

    Thank you, Taigu.


    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  9. #9
    Thank you for this... looks like I have some homework this weekend



  10. #10
    No need to do anything,
    reflection-action arises
    Up and forward
    in the four directions
    and three times.
    Thank you Taigu. Gassho
    Heisoku 平 息
    Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. (Basho)

  11. #11
    Good to read you Taigu, maybe your students will benefit from a collection of texts from you or chosen from others in a kind of book who represents your way of expressing shikantaza.
    I knew this text in french translated and with commentaries from Mister Reich.

    I'm happy to read Jundo's version, I was not at treeleaf in 2011.

    Gassho to our teachers and a deep bow to Myozan, very beautiful verses

    Last edited by Myoshin; 07-05-2013 at 11:05 PM.

  12. #12
    'Undoing is the work'

    Thank you Taigu (and Jundo - post prior to my joining Tree Leaf)


  13. #13
    Even if virtue is the spontaneous
    Naturally found,
    Discipline this bag of skin
    You cannot do any harm

  14. #14
    This is beautiful, thanks for sharing!!

  15. #15


    no thing needs to be added

  16. #16
    Thank you Wanshi, Taigen, Jundo and Taigu; as you watch this rusty radiator dance!

  17. #17

    thank you all for keeping the flames of our practise tradition alive and well,whether teacher or student. Worshipping ashes we ain't around here, we pass on the fire every day


    Hans Chudo Mongen

  18. #18
    Thank you; I will have to return to your words several times over.


  19. #19
    Thank you Taigu.

    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  20. #20
    Thank you so much for this Taigu!

    Gassho, John

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