Geoffrey Shugen Arnold, Roshi
Zen Mountain Monastery, 10/26/2019
From Master Hongzhi’s “Cultivating the Empty Field.”
Picking up where he left off in the discourse from 10/24/19, Roshi explores what it is to truly let go of the narrative story lines, the reasoning and the endless explanations, just to “sit within the circle” free of discriminating consciousness. Zen Master Hongzhi’s instructions in zazen guide us to realize our very human self within all phenomena, not separate and apart from the world.
Hojin Sensei also gave a wonderful talk during the week on Master Hongzhi. Click to listen.
Here’s the full text of Guidepost for the Hall of Pure Bliss, from Taigen Dan Leighton’s translation:
By seeking appearances and sounds One cannot truly find the Way.
The deep source of realization
comes with constancy, bliss, self, and purity.
Its purity is constant,
its bliss is myself.
The two are mutually dependent,
like firewood and fire.
The self’s bliss is not exhausted,
constant purity has no end.
Deep existence is beyond forms.
Wisdom illuminates the inside of the circle.
Inside the circle the self vanishes,
neither existent nor nonexistent.
Intimately conveying spiritual energy,
it subtly turns the mysterious pivot.
When the mysterious pivot finds opportunity to turn,
the original light auspiciously appears.
When the mind’s conditioning has not yet sprouted,
how can words and images be distinguished?
Who is it that can distinguish them?
Clearly understand and know by yourself.
Whole and inclusive with inherent insight,
it is not concerned with discriminative thought.
When discriminating thought is not involved,
it is like white reed flowers shining in the snow.
One beam of light’s gleam
permeates the vastness.
The gleam permeates through all directions,
from the beginning not covered or concealed.
Catching the opportunity to emerge,
amid transformations it flourishes.
Following appropriately amid transformations,
the pure bliss is unchanged.
The sky encompasses it, the ocean seals it,
every moment without deficiency.
In the achievement without deficiency,
inside and outside are interfused.
All dharmas transcend their limits,
all gates are wide open.
Through the open gates
are the byways of playful wandering.
Dropping off senses and sense objects is like
the flowers of our gazing and listening falling away.
Gazing and listening are only distant conditions
of thousands of hands and eyes.
The others die from being too busy,
but I maintain continuity.
In the wonder of continuity
are no traces of subtle identifications.
Within purity is bliss,
within silence is illumination.
The house of silent illumination
is the hall of pure bliss.
Dwelling in peace and forgetting hardship,
let go of adornments and become genuine.
The motto for becoming genuine:
nothing is gained by speaking.
The goodness of Vimalakirti
enters the gate of nonduality.
By Hongzhi Zhengiue (Wanshi Shogaku; 1091-1157)