Friday, November 8, 2013

KOAN: One Finger Zen

Dhr. Seven, Roshi Jeff Albrizze (, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly, The Book of Equanimity, Case 84 "Gutei's One Finger"; The Gateless Gate (Mumonkan)
Alt pop idol Avril Lavigne, following Zen Master Gutei's example but misunderstanding which digit he used, points out the path: middle finger, middle way.

Zen zero (Stanoin/
One hearing, a thousand awakenings;
One understanding, a thousand [results].
A superior person with one realization takes care of everything.
Mediocre and inferior persons, though they hear a great deal, mostly don't have faith.
Let's try to show the most accurate, simple point and see.

Great Zen Master Gutei, whenever he was questioned, simply raised one finger.

Eminem's Lose Yourself is Buddhist?
Old Gutei's fingertip Zen.
For thirty years, inexhaustible
Truly a person of the Way has limitless stratagems,
But common people can't see it in front of them.
What is gained is so utterly simple,
Yet expedients become endless in number.
Thousands of lands and seas swallowed up by a hair-tip.
Boundless dragons falling into whose hands?
Ninko's holding the fishing pole is appreciated.
I, too, raise one finger and say, "See?"
Tenryū-ji (天龍寺) is the head temple of the Tenryū branch of Rinzai Zen Buddhism in Kyoto, Japan, founded by Ashikaga Takauji in 1339 to venerate the Buddha Gautama. More
Which finger?
Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps (trans.), Mumonkan, "Gutei's Finger"
Juzhi Yizhi (Gutei)
Gutei raised his finger whenever he was asked a question about Zen. A boy attendant began to imitate him in this way. When anyone asked the boy what his master had preached about, the boy would raise his finger.

Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. He seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and ran away. Gutei called out and stopped him. When the boy turned his head, Gutei raised up his own finger. In that instant the boy was "enlightened."

When Gutei was about to pass from this world, he gathered his monks around him. "I attained my finger-Zen," he said, "from my teacher Tenryū, and in my whole life I could not exhaust it." Then he passed away. 

Mumon's comment: Enlightenment, which Gutei and the boy attained, has nothing to do with a finger. If anyone clings to a finger, Tenryū will be so disappointed that he will annihilate Gutei, the boy, and the clinger all together.
Gutei cheapens the teaching of Tenryū,
Emancipating the boy with a knife.
Compared to the Chinese god who pushed aside a mountain with one hand,
Old Gutei is a poor imitator.
It is due to this story that Gutei has commonly become known as Gutei Isshi, meaning "Gutei One-finger."

Fall Zen Retreat with Brad Warner
Author Brad Warner (There is No God and He is Always With You, Hardcore Zen, etc.), an ordained Zen monk and former punk rock musician, will lead a three-day intensive at the Mount Baldy Zen Center in the forest above Los Angeles Nov. 8-10, 2013. Includes zazen (sitting meditation), dokusan (interviews), chanting, hiking. Also yoga with Nina Snow ($350). See videos

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