#5028 - Thursday, September 19, 2013 - Editor: Gloria
The Record of Linji
Zen Master Linji (d. 866)
Excerpted from The Record of Linji trans by
Jeffrey Broughton 2013
Stream enterers! It's none other than you; in
your venue of activities, right in
front of you, no different from that of
the buddhas who are our patriarchs. You
just don't have confidence in this,
and so right away proceed to external seeking.
Make no mistake! Externally there is no dharma;
even the internal is ungraspable
mentally. Rather than appropriating the
words from my mouth, it would be better
for you to give it a rest and have
nothing-to-do. Thoughts that have already
arisendo not continue them.
Thoughts that have not yet arisenyou must not let
them get loose.
It would do you more good than ten years'
traveling on foot throughout the world
trying to locate a teacher in order
to seek the dharma and realization. According
to my vision, there's no
"yadda, yadda, yadda" to it. It's just a matter of being
your usual self as
in your daily activities. Put on your clothes, eat your food, and
You who come from all over the place are all
with-mind, seeking "the Buddha" and
seeking "the dharma," seeking
"liberation," seeking to "escape the three realms."
Idiots! You want to
"escape the three realms," but exactly what place do you think
to? The "buddhas" and "patriarchs" that you are seeking are only
bestow bondage. Do you want to know the "three realms?"
They are not apart from the mind ground of you
who are listening to the dharma
right now. Your single moment of greed is
the desire realm. Your single moment of
anger is the form realm. Your single
moment of stupidity is the formless realm.
They are the furnishings that come with your
house. "The three realms" won't say
to you: "We are the three realms." In
any case, it's you, the stream-enterer, right
now before me, clearly casting
your light on all things and sizing up the world, who
does the attaching of
names to the three realms.
Students today fall short in their understanding
because they consider names to be
understanding. In great big books they
transcribe the sayings of some old dead
geezer, (some master without the
eye), stacking them three layers deep, five layers
deep, into their monk's
traveling bags and not letting anyone else see them. They
say, "This is the
mysterious principle" and guard it as a secret treasure. Big
Just what kind of juice do you hope to extract
from such dried-up bones as these
words of instruction from dead geezers,
recorded in your great big books?
There is a type of bad teacher who doesn't know
good from bad. They conjecture
and haggle over the teachings, fabricating
interpretations of the phrasing. It is as
if they hold clods in their mouths
and spit them back out for other people. It's like
secret passwords and counter-passwords for identifying
friend from foea
whole life frittered away. .
Even though bad teachers say the secret
password, "I have left home," the moment
they are asked about the
"buddhadharma" which is not the expected
counter-password, they right away
clam up and have nothing whatsoever to say.
Their eyes are like the
blackened vent of a stove, and their silent mouths are like a
sagging under a heavy load. Beings like this, even if they were to
the next buddha Maitreya as he emerges into the world, would fall into
Venerables! You bustle along going to various
regionswhat are you looking for?
The soles of your feet have gotten as wide
as planks from tramping about traveling
on foot far and wide in search of a
teacher and realization. There is no "buddha"
that ought to be sought; no
"Way" that ought to be completed; no "dharma" that
ought to be attained,
Externally seeking for a "buddha" with
characteristics, a nirmanakaya buddha
adorned with thirty two
characteristics or a buddha made of clay or wood, would
not resemble you,
the true buddha of your own mind/that one person. If you want
to know your
original mind, the true person, it's not something outside of you that
can join up with; nor is it something you can ever be apart from.
Stream-enterers! The true buddha, everyone's
dharmakaya buddha, has no form;
the true Way has no substance; the true
dharma has no characteristics. These
three dharmas come fused together as
the single, seamless place. Those who haven't
been able to perceive the
single, seamless place we call transmigrating sentient
beings of confused
Question: "What are the true buddha, the true
dharma, and the true Way like?
Please give us instruction."
The Master said: "A 'buddha' is mind purity
itself. The 'dharma' is mind-radiance
itself. The 'Way' in every place is
unobstructed radiance itself. The three are one,
and they are all empty
terms, without real existence. For the practitioner of
beholding reality as
it truly is, moment after moment the mind never breaks off
reality as it truly istwenty four hours a day peacefully dwelling
state of the original portion.