Baizhang Huaihai
Caoshan Benji
Dahui Zonggao
Daman Hongren
Danxia Tianran
Dayi Daoxin
Dazhao Puji
Dazhu Huihai
Dazu Huike
Deshan Xuanjian
Dongshan Liangjie
Guifeng Zongmi
Guishan Lingyou
Guizong Zhichang
Heze Shenhui
Hongzhi Zhengjue
Huangbo Xiyun
Huanglong Huinan
Jinshan tanying
Linji Yixuan
Longtan Chongxin
Luohan Guichen
Mazu Daoyi
Nanquan Puyuan
Nanta Guangyong
Nanyang Huizhong
Nanyue Huairang
Niutou Farong
Qingliang Wenyi
Qingyuan Xingsi
Shishuang Chuyuan
Shitou Xiqian
Tianhuang Daowu
Xiangyan Zhixian
Xitang Zhizang
Xuansha Shibei
Xuedou Chongxian
Xuefeng Yicun
Yangqi Fanghui
Yangshan Huiji
Yantou Quanhuo
Yaoshan Weiyan
Yongjia Xuanjue
Yongming Yanshou
Yunmen Wenyan
Yunyan Tansheng
Yuquan Shenxiu
Zhaozhou Congshen
Guishan Lingyou
Middle and late Tang Dynasty
founder of GuiYang House
POSTH name
Chan Master Dayuan
Baizhang Huaihai
Yangshan Huiji, Jingshan Torrent, Jinshan Fahai, Xiangyan Zhixian
Records of Chan Master Guishan Lingyou, Guishan's Admonitions
Encounter Dialogues
771: born in Changxi, Fujian
785: became a Buddhist monk at age 15, received tonsure ceremony at Shanjian Temple in Fujian, received the monastic precepts at Longxing Temple in Hangzhou where he studied sutra and Vinaya Pitaka.
793: at age 23, followed Zen Master Baizhang Huaihai, as his dharma heir disciple
820: became the abbot of Tongqing Temple in Guishan, Hunan Province. Master Lingyou trained many disciples, included Yangshan Huiji (813 - 890), his dharma heir. The Guiyang school was named after master Guishan Lingyou and his disciple, Yangshan Huiji.
853: died at age 83
Encounter Dialogues
Huangze, "Guishan Lingyo kicked the jar"
Master Guishan Lingyu came from Fuzhou, in modern Fujian Province on the eastern seaboard of China. At the age of fifteen he left home to become a novice at a nearby temple. In his later teens he traveled to Hangzhou to receive full ordination at Dragon Rising Monastery, and there he stayed on to study scriptures and discipline for a few years. At the age of twenty-two, having become interested in finding a Zen teacher, Lingyu set out for the Hongzhou area in Jiangxi where the famous Master Ma had taught.
When Lingyu visited the Writing Pool Monastery on Stone Gate Mountain, where Master Ma had been buried six years before, he met the master Huaihai (who was the current teacher there) and became one of his first disciples. When Huaihai moved to Baizhang Mountain, Lingyu moved with him, and continued his studies with the master for more than ten years. For much of this time Lingyu served as head of the monastic kitchen.
Once Master Baizhang Huaihai asked Lingyu to see if there were any burning coals left in the fireplace. Lingyu, without checking it, said that the fire was completely out. The master then picked up the tongs, and, searching through the ashes, pulled out a glowing ember and showed it to his disciple, saying, “What's this?” Lingyu then experienced a deep realization of the meaning of practice, and bowed to the master.
The next day, Lingyu accompanied Master Baizhang to do work on the mountain. The master asked, “Did you bring fire?”
Lingyu said, “I brought it.”
The master asked, “Where is it?”
Lingyu then picked up a stick, blew on it twice, and handed it to Baizhang.
The master approved.
After many years with Master Baizhang, Lingyu eventually left for solitary travel, heading west into Hunan. He settled in the Tanzhou region on Gui (or Dagui) Mountain, a sparsely inhabited area described as having steep cliffs, and where there were only monkeys for companions and wild chestnuts for food. Lingyu lived in a hermitage on the mountain for several years before his reputation slowly spread to the nearby villages, and from there to the regional government. Eventually a monastery was built for him called Harmonious Celebration (Tongqing), and he began his formal teaching.
One day Master Guishan Lingyu entered the hall and sat on the teaching seat. A monk came forward and said, “Master, please expound the teaching for the community.”
Guishan said, “ I have already expounded it exhaustively for you.”
The monk bowed.
Once a monk asked Master Guishan, “What is the way?”
Guishan said, “No-mind is the way.”
The monk said, “I don't understand.”
Guishan said, “It's good to understand not-understanding.”
The monk asked, “What is not-understanding?”
Guishan said, “It's just that you are not anyone else.”
One day Master Guishan called for the monastery director. When the director came, Guishan said, “I called the director. What are you doing here?
The director said nothing.
Guishan then asked his attendant to get the head monk. When the head monk came, Guishan said, “I called for the head monk. What are you doing here?
The head monk said nothing.
Once the monk Huiji asked Master Guishan, “When the hundreds and thousands of objects arrive all together, how is it?”
Guisahn siad, “Blue is not yellow; long is not short. All phenomena abide in their own positions, and don't cause me any concern.”
Huiji bowed.
One day Master Guishan addressed the community saying, “There are many who have great capacity, but few who manifest great function.”
Huiji went to visit a hermit who lived near the monastery and told him the master's words. Then he asked, “How do you understand the meaning?”
The hermit said, “Say it again and we'll see.”
When Huiji began to speak, the hermit gave him a kick and knocked him over.
Later Huiji returned to the monastery and told Guishan what happened. The master laughed.
Once when the community was out on the hillside picking tea leaves, the master said to Huiji, “All day today I've heard your voice, but I've not seen you yourself. Show me yourself.”
Huiji shook a tea bush.
The master said, “You attained it's function, but you haven't realized it's essence.”
Huiji asked, “What would the master say?”
Guishan was silent.
Huiji said, “You, master, have attained it's essence, but haven't realized it's function.”
The master said, “I spare you thirty blows of my staff.”
One day Guishan said to Huiji, “I have a lay student who gave me three rolls of silk to buy a temple bell in order to spread happiness to all people.”
Huiji asked, “What did you give him in return?”
Guishan hit the sitting platform three times and said, “This was my offering.”
Huiji asked “How will that benefit him?”
Guishan again hit the platform three times and said, “Why don't you like this?”
Huiji said, “It's not that I dislike it, it's just that that gift belong to everyone.”
Guishan said, “Since you know it belongs to everyone, why did you want me to repay him?”
Huiji said, “I just wondered how you understand that even as it belongs to everyone, you could still make it a gift.
Guishan said, “Don't you see? The great master Bodhidharma, coming from India, also brought a gift. We are always receiving gifts from others.”
Once after sitting Guishan pointed at their straw sandals and said to Huiji, “All hours of the day we receive people's support. Don't betray them.”
Huiji said, “Long ago in Sudatta's garden, the Buddha taught just this.”
Guishan said, “That's not enough, say more.”
Huiji said, “When it's cold, to wear socks for others is not prohibited.”
During the Huichang persecution of Buddhism (841-846) Master Guishan was forced into hiding as a layman and his monastery was partially destroyed. When a more favorable regime returned to power, the influential minister Pei Xiu, recently having become a student of Guishan's spiritual brother Huangpo Xiyun, became a supporter of Master Guishan as well, and helped rebuild his temple. Around this time, Master Guishan wrote an essay about practice and discipline that has come to be known as “Guishan's Admonitions” (Guishan Jingce) and is among the most reliable surviving sources of the teaching of the Tang Dynasty Zen masters (see Part Two – Discourses). Master Guishan's reputation continued to grow, and he attracted numerous officials, as well as monks and nuns, to his monastery seeking advice and teaching.
The government official Commander Lu once came to visit the monastery at Guishan. On a tour of the monk's hall, he asked the master, “Among these monks, who are the meal servers and who are the meditators?”
The master said, “There are no meal servers and no meditators.”
Lu asked, “Then what are they doing here/'
The master said, “Officer, you will have to find that out for yourself.”
One day a twelve year old young woman, the thirteenth daughter of the Zheng family, came to study with Master Guishan, together with an older nun. When they entered the master's room, the elder nun made a full bow and stood up. The master asked, “Where do you live?”
The nun said, “Near the Nantai River.”
The master shouted, then told her to leave. Turning to Zheng, the master asked, “Where does that woman behind you live?”
Zheng relaxed her posture, walked close to the master, and stood there with her hands joined.
The master repeated the question.
Zheng said, “Master, I have already told you.”
The master told her to leave as well.
One day Huiji went to see Master Guishan while the master was lying in bed. When Huiji came in the master sat up and said, “I just had a dream. Will you try to interpret it for me?”
Huiji got up, fetched a basin and a towel, filled the basin with water, and brought it to the master. Guishan washed his face, and arranged himself for sitting.
Just then the monk Zhixian came to see the master. Guishan said, “Huiji has just been demonstrating spiritual power by interpreting my dream. Now you give it a try.”
Zhixian immediately went out, made a cup of tea, and brought it back in to the master.
Guishan said, “The spiritual power and wisdom of you two surpass even Sariputra and Maudgalyayana.”
Once Master Guishan addressed the community saying, “After I have passed away I will become a water buffalo at the foot of this mountain. On the left side of the buffalo will be written the characters 'Gui-mountain-monk-Ling-Yu.' You might say it's the monk of Guishan, but it will still be a water buffalo. You might say it's a water buffalo, but it will also be this monk of Guishan. What will you call me?”
Huiji came forward, made a deep bow, and walked away.
Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive...
I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones...
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate,
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving...
Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so that I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.
- Thich Nhat Hahn
If you want to practice Zen and study the Way, then you should immediately go beyond the expedient teachings. You should harmonize your mind with the path (before you), explore the sublime wonders (around you), make a final resolution (to enter) the ultimate understanding, and awaken to the source of truth. (To accomplish this) you should extensively ask for instruction from those who have insight, and should stay close to virtuous friends. The sublime wonder of this teaching is difficult to discover - one must pay very careful attention. If you suddenly awaken to the clear origin then defilements are left behind. The various realms and forms of existence; past, present, and future, are all shattered. You then know that no phenomena, internal or external, are real. Arising from mind’s transmutations, they are all provisional designations. There is no need to anchor the mind anywhere. When feelings simply do not attach to objects, then how can anything become a hindrance? Let the nature of phenomena flow freely without trying to destroy or maintain anything. The sounds you hear and the forms you see all remain ordinary. Wherever you are, you freely respond to circumstances without any mistake.
The mind of a person of the Way is plain and straightforward without pretense. There is no front or back; there is no deceit or delusion. Every hour of the day, you remain aware of ordinary things and ordinary actions. Nothing is distorted. You do not need to shut your eyes or ears to remain unattached to things. The sages of the past warned of the dangers of polluting conceptions - when delusion, biased views, and unwholesome thinking habits are abandoned, the mind is as clear and tranquil as the autumn stream...
When you hear the truth you penetrate immediately to the ultimate reality, the realization of which is profound and wondrous. Mind is illuminated naturally and perfectly, free from confusion. On the other hand, there are innumerable theories about spirituality advocated by those seeking reputation and praise. But reality itself cannot be stained by even a speck of dust; no action can distort the truth. When your approach to awakening is like the swift thrust of a sword to the center, then both worldliness and sacredness are completely cut off, and absolute reality is uncovered. Thus the one and the many are revealed as identical. This is the “suchness” of awakening.
A monk asked master Guishan - Does a person who has experienced sudden awakening still need to cultivate (a practice)?
The master said - When you truly awaken, entering into the fundamental and realizing the nature of self and other, then cultivation and non-cultivation are just dualistic opposing ideas.
Right now, even if the conditions for the initial inspiration arrive, even if within a single thought you awaken to your own true reality, there are still habitual tendencies that have accumulated over endless ages that cannot be dispersed in a single instant. You should certainly be taught to gradually let go of unwholesome tendencies and mental habits. That is cultivation. There is no other cultivation that needs to be taught.
Based on translations by Mario Poceski of Guishan's Admonitions (Guishan Jingce,c.850) and Ch’ang Chun-yuan and Mario Poceski of Guishan’s records in the Jingde Era Transmission of the Lamp (Jingde Chuan Deng Lu, 1004).
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