Shobogenzo 28, BUTSU-KOJO-JI: The Matter of Buddha Going On Up
The high ancestor Tozan is the close and direct heir of Ungan, going on up through thirty-eight ancestors from the Buddha. He is the thirty-eighth ancestor in going on up above himself. One day he preaches: "When we physically get the matter of buddha going on up, then we can speak a bit." A monk asks: "What is it to speak?" Tozan says: "When speaking, governor, you are not listening." The monk says: "Are you listening, Master, or not?" Tozan says: "Waiting in my own non-speaking-time, I am just listening."
This teaching of the matter of buddha going on up has Tozan as its original ancestor. Buddha-ancestors other than him, having learned his teaching in practice, physically get the matter of buddha going on up. Know exactly: the matter of buddha going on up is a matter neither of latent causes nor of effects coming to fruition. Even so, it is experienced to the full, by physically getting non-listening, in speaking-time. Without reaching the level of buddha going on up, buddha going on up is not physically got. Without speaking, we do not physically get the matter of buddha going on up. It is neither revealed by one to another nor concealed by one from another, it is neither conferred by one to another nor stolen by one from another. Therefore, when speaking is really realized, it is a matter of buddha going on up. When the matter of buddha going on up is really realized, the governor is non-listening itself. "The governor is non-listening," means the matter of buddha going on up is spontaneous non-listening. Thus, "When speaking the governor is non-listening." Remember, speaking is neither tainted by to listen nor tainted by not to listen. For this reason, to listen or not to listen is not relevant. The inside of non-listening contains the governor and the inside of speaking contains the governor -- but [others discuss] "meeting a person and not meeting a person," "being like this and not being like this." The time when the governor is speaking is itself the governor/non-listening. The fundamental point, with regard to this condition of non-listening, is this: because it is held by the bones of the tongue, it is non-listening; because it is blocked by the insides of the ears, it is non-listening; because it is pierced by shining of the eyeballs, it is non-listening; and because it is plugged up by the body-mind, it is non-listening. Because [conditions of non-listening] are like that, they are non-listening. They are not to be twisted and turned into speaking. It is not that non-listening equals speaking; it is non-listening, in speaking time -- only that. In the high ancestor's words "In speaking time, the governor is non-listening," the whole head-to-tail truth of speaking is like wisteria clinging to wisteria; and at the same time it might be speaking entwining with speaking -- or being restricted by speaking itself. The monk says, "Is the Master himself listening, or not?" He is not speculating what it is to be a listening/speaking Master -- the question he now asks has nothing to do with him being a Master, or with speaking. Rather, what the monk is now getting at is whether it is possible to learn, in speaking time, just to listen. For example, he is aiming to hear whether speaking can be just speaking, and is aiming to hear whether listening itself can be listening itself. That said, governor, the saying is not of your own tongue! We must definitely investigate the words of the high ancestor Tozan, "Waiting in my own non-speaking-time, I am just listening." In other words, in the very moment of speaking, just to listen is totally not it. Real just listening must be in non-speaking time. It is not that he idly sets aside non-speaking time and waits not to speak. Neither, in the time of just listening, does he make a bystander of speaking -- because that really is being a bystander. It is not that, in the time of just listening, speaking has gone off and remained on one side. Nor is it that, in the time of speaking, just listening is intimately hiding its body inside the eyes of the speaking, then to strike like a thunderbolt. The point, then -- whether, as in the case of the governor, speaking-time is non-listening; or whether, as in the case of [Tozan's] own my, non-speaking-time is just listening -- is truly to possess the means to speak a bit, and is physically to get the matter of buddha going on up. And that means, for example, physically to get, in speaking-time, just listening -- hence, "Waiting in my own non-speaking-time, I am just listening." Though described thus, the matter of buddha going on up is not a matter prior to the Seven Buddhas; it is the matter of the Seven Buddhas going on up.
Great Master Gohan, the high ancestor of Tozan mountain, tells the assembly: "Know that there are people who are buddhas going on up." Then a monk asks, "What kind of person is a buddha going on up?" The Great Master says: "A non-buddha."
Unmon says: "Unable to name it and unable to describe it, we say 'non'."
Hofuku says: "Buddha-non!"
Hogen says: "Telling a white lie, we call it buddha."
Broadly, the one who is our buddha-ancestor, having gone on up beyond being a buddha-ancestor, is the high ancestor of Mount Tozan. How so? Because many others have the facades of buddhas and the facades of ancestors, but none have glimpsed, even in a dream, the truth of buddha going on up. Even if it is explained for the likes of Rinzai and Tokuzan, they are a target that cannot be hit. The likes of Ganto and Seppo, pulverize their bodies though they might, do not know the flavour of this fist. The teachings of the high ancestor, such as "When we physically get the matter of buddha going on up, then we can speak a bit," and "Know that there are people who are buddhas going on up," cannot be experienced to the full merely through the training and enlightenment experiences of one, two, three, four or five triple-whammies of hundred-enormities of aeons. The means may be present only in those who have it in them to learn the profoundly hidden path. We should know that there are people who are buddhas going on up. We are talking, in other words, of vivacious lives of letting the soul play. And yet we can pick it up from the examples of olden buddhas, and we can glean it from the holding up of fists. If we have thus been able to see it, we know that there are people who are, through being, buddhas going on up, and we know that there are people who are, through being without, buddhas going on up. What he is now telling the assembly is not to try to become a person who is buddha going on up, and not to try to meet a person who is buddha going on up. He is just telling us, for the present, to know that there are people who are buddhas going on up. One who has acquired command of this pivot-point truly not-knows a person who is, through being, a buddha going on up and truly not-knows a person who is, being without anything, a buddha going on up. That person, a buddha going on up, is just a non-buddha. When prone to doubts about what non-buddha is, think it out! It is not called non-buddha because of being prior to buddha; it is not called non-buddha because of coming after buddha; and it is not non-buddha because it goes beyond buddha. Simply because it is buddha itself, going on up, it is non-buddha. We call it non-buddha because of its dropping off a buddha's face and eyes, and because of its dropping off a buddha's body and mind.
Zen Master Koboku tells the assembly: "Once we know of the matter of the buddha-ancestors going on up, then we can talk. Tell me, Zen do-gooders, just what is this matter of a buddha-ancestor going on up? There is, born to a human family, a child deficient in the six sense organs and imperfect in the seven kinds of consciousness. He does whatever he likes, and is without a seed of the buddha-nature. Meeting with buddha, he kills buddha. Meeting with ancestors, he kills ancestors. Heaven cannot accept him, and even Hell has no gate that would take him in. Do you lot know this person or not?" He pauses a good while and says: "You are facing one who is not quick at anticipating others' wishes, who sleeps a lot and talks a lot in his sleep."
The six sense organs being deficient means, in other words: Somebody has swapped my eyeballs for two black beads! Somebody has swapped my nostrils for bamboo tubes! Somebody has swiped my skull to make a shit-scooper! What is at the bottom of this swapping? On this basis the six sense organs are deficient. His deficiency being a function of his six sense organs, he has gone through a blast furnace and been a golden buddha, has gone through the ocean's depths and been a clay buddha, and has gone through an inferno and been a wooden buddha. The seven kinds of consciousness being imperfect expresses a broken wooden dipper. Though he kills buddha, he also meets with buddha. It is because he has met with buddha that he kills buddha. If he aimed to enter Heaven, Heaven would collapse at once, and if he made for Hell, Hell would instantly be torn asunder -- so he faces what he faces, which makes his face break into a smile. In regard to the wishes of others, he is utterly without anticipation. Even though he sleeps a lot, still he often talks in his sleep. We should know that the principle here is that all mountains, and the whole Earth, both are friends who know him well; and his whole body of jewels and stone is smashed into a hundred bits and pieces. We should quietly work on and work out for ourselves what Zen Master Koboku is telling that lot. Do not be too quick about it.
Ungo Doyo visits Tozan, who asks him: "What's your name, governor?" Ungo says, "Doyo." Tozan asks further, "Go on up and say again!" Ungo says, "If I were to reach up and say, it would not be named Doyo." Tozan says, "When I was in Ungan's order, our exchange was no different."
These words of master and disciple must be examined closely. Doyo says: "If I were to reach up and say, it would not be named Doyo." This means that Doyo is going on up. We should learn in practice that in Doyo just as he has come, there is something, not named Doyo, that is going on up. Doyo, having realized the truth that going on up is beyond being named Doyo, really is Doyo. But never say that there might be Doyo in his going on up. On hearing Tozan's words "Go on up and say again!", if he were then to blurt out his enlightenment by exclaiming, "Reaching up, I would still be named Doyo!" just that would be his expression of going on up. Why do I say so? Because Doyo instantly springs into his brain in order to contain his body. And while thus concealing his body, he makes a show of himself.
Zen Master Sozan Honjaku visits the high ancestor Tozan. Tozan asks him: "What is your name, governor?" Sozan says, "Honjaku." Tozan says, "Go on up and say again!" Sozan says, "I am saying nowt!" Tozan says, "On what basis are you saying nowt?" Sozan says, "Not being named Honjaku." Tozan affirms this.
It is not that, in going on up, there is nowt said. It is just the saying of nowt. Tozan says: "You are saying nowt on the basis of what." In other words, "You are beyond the name Honjaku!" So what going on up says is "saying nowt," and what says nowt about going on up is the unnamed. Honjaku not being named is what going on up is saying. On this basis Honjaku is not being named. So there exists non-Honjaku; there exists, as a dropping off, the being not named; and there exists, as a dropping off, Honjaku.
Zen Master Banzan Hoshaku says, "The unitary path of going on up the thousand saints do not transmit."
These words "the unitary path of going on up" are the words of nobody but Banzan. He neither speaks of going on up as a thing nor speaks of people reaching up: he speaks of going on up as a unitary path. His fundamental intention is that, even if the thousand saints come vying on it head to head, the unitary path of going on up is beyond transmission. The meaning of "beyond transmission" is the thousand saints each keeping his or her own share of what is beyond transmission. We should study it like this. But there is something else to say too, which is this: We do not deny the existence of the thousand saints and thousand sages. But even for a sage or saint, the unitary path of going on up goes beyond the boundaries of sagacity and sainthood.
A monk asks Zen Master Chimon Koso, "What is the matter of buddha going on up?" The Master says, "The head of the staff is playing keep-up with the sun and moon."
I say: The staff being held tightly in the grip of the sun and moon is the matter of buddha going on up. When we conduct research into the sun/moon-staff, and lose all our bearings completely, that is the matter of buddha going on up. That the sun and moon are just the staff, is not it. The head of the staff is totally the staff.
In the order of the Great Master Sekito, Zen Master Dogo asks: "What is the great intent of the Buddha-Dharma?" Master Sekito says, "Not getting, not knowing." Dogo says, "Going on up, is there anywhere else to move onto?" Master Sekito says, "The wide sky not restricting the white cloud's flying."
Sekito is the second-generation descendant of Daikan Eno, and Dogo is the younger brother in Sekito's order of Yakusan. One days he asks, "What is the great intent of the Buddha-Dharma?" This question is not one with which beginners and late learners can cope. It is voiced at a time when, having asked the great intent, a person might already have grasped the great intent. Sekito says, "Not getting, not knowing." Remember, in regard to the Buddha's Truth of Sitting, that there is great intent in the very first moment of mindfulness, and there is great intent in reaching the plane of the ultimate. The great intent is the getting of negation. Awakening the mind, training, and tasting enlightenment are not nonexistent: they are the getting of negation. The great intent is the knowing of negation. That practice and enlightenment do not exist, is not it. That practice and enlightenment exist, is not it. They are knowing negation and getting negation. Again, the great intent is getting negation and knowing negation. That practice and verification of the noble truths do not exist, is not it. They are getting negation and knowing negation. That practice and verification of the noble truths exist, is not it. They are getting negation and knowing negation. Dogo says, "Going on up, is there anywhere else to move onto?" If there is realization of this moving on, going on up is realized. Moving on somewhere else, in other words, is the means whereby. The means whereby, in other words, is the buddhas themselves, the ancestors themselves. And the expression used, when speaking of this, is liable to be "there is somewhere else." Though there may be somewhere else, we should not allow to leak away, and we should express, there being nowhere else. "The wide sky not restricting the white cloud's flying" is Sekito's expression. The wide sky is sweepingly negated restriction of the wide sky, and the wide sky is negated restriction of the wide sky's flying. At the same time, the white cloud is sweepingly negated restriction of the white cloud itself, the white cloud's flying is negation of restrictions, and the white cloud's flying does not restrict at all the wide sky's flying. Negating other's restrictions is negating the self's restrictions. To see it as necessary for each person's restrictions to be negated, is not it; and for each object to exist as negated restriction, is not it. Thus, each is not restricted, and each displays the essence and form of the wide sky not restricting the white cloud's flying. Just in such a moment, raising an eyebrow of this eye of learning in practice, we glimpse a buddha coming or meet an ancestor coming. We meet the self coming, and meet the other coming. This truth has been called the truth of asking once and being answered ten times. In this asking once and being answered ten times, the one who asks once must be a true person, and the one who answers ten times must be a true person.
Obaku says, "People who have left home should know a bit about a matter that has come down to us from above. Now the Great Master Gozu Hoyu, for instance, who was a pupil of the fourth ancestor in China, Dai-i Doshin, expounded the length and expounded the breadth, and yet he never knew the pivotal thing -- going on up. With this eye and and brain, you will be able to tell the false from the true among religious groups."
The matter that has come down to us from above which Obaku expresses like this, is the matter that has been accurately transmitted from above by the buddha-ancestors, buddha-to-buddha and ancestor-to-ancestor. It is called "the true-Dharma-eye treasury and the fine mind of nirvana." It is already present in the self; still, we should know it. It is already present in the self; and yet he never knew. Without an exact buddha-to-buddha transmission, it is not envisaged even in a dream. Obaku, as the Dharma-child of Hyakujo, surpasses even Hyakujo; and, as the Dharma-grandchild of Baso, he surpasses even Baso. In general, for three or four generations of their ancestral lineage, there is nobody who matches shoulders with Obaku. Nobody but Obaku has clarified the fact that Gozu, "Bull-Head," was missing a pair of horns: buddha-ancestors other than him have never known it. Zen Master Hoyu of Bull-Head Mountain was an esteemed veteran under the fourth ancestor. His expounding the length and breadth, at least if he is seen in comparison with sutra-teachers and commentary-teachers in India and China, should not be called inadequate. Sadly, however, he never knew the pivotal thing, which is to go on up, and he never expressed the pivotal thing, which is to go on up. If we were ignorant of the pivotal thing that has come down to us from above, how could we tell, with regard to the Buddha's Method of Sitting, what is fake and what is true? A bloke like that is nothing more than a student of sayings and words. So then, to know the pivotal thing of going on up, to practice the pivotal thing of going on up, and to experience the pivotal thing of going on up, is beyond the scope of ordinary folk. But wherever true effort is made to work it out, it is invariably realized. What we have been discussing, the matter of buddha going on up, means this: reaching the level of buddha and carrying on and discovering buddha afresh -- just as ordinary beings meet buddha. That said, if meeting buddha is on a par with the meeting buddha of ordinary beings, that is not meeting buddha. If meeting buddha is akin to the meeting buddha of ordinary beings, meeting buddha is an illusion. How much less could it be the matter of buddha going on up? Remember, the matter of going on up of which Obaku speaks is way beyond the ken of the shoddy charlatans of today. Sure, there are those whose expression of Sitting falls below Hoyu's level, and there are those whose expressions of Sitting might accidentally hit Hoyu's level, but all are just the older and younger Dharma-brothers of Hoyu; how could they know the pivotal thing of going on up? Others -- those in the ten stages of saintliness, the three stages of sagacity, and the rest of it -- have not even heard of the pivotal thing of going on up. How much less could they turn their own lives on that pivotal axis, opening and closing the switch of going on up? The fundamental point here is the very eyes of learning in practice. If a person knows the pivotal thing of going on up, I call her a person of buddha going on up. Buddha going on up is a matter that she physically gets.
Treasury of the Eye of True Sitting;
The Matter of Buddha Going On Up
Delivered to the assembly at Kannon-dori-kosho-horin-ji temple on the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month in the 3rd year of Ninji .
Translation last revised May 2008