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
Xuansha Shibei
Xuefeng Yicun
the Record from Master Xuan Sha
Song Dynasty, Liang Kai, "Eight Eminent Monks Paintings
XUANSHA SHIBEI (835–908) was a disciple of Xuefeng Yicun. He came from ancient Fuzhou. As a young man he lived as a fisherman on the Nantai River. At the rather late age of thirty he left lay life to enter a temple on Lotus Mountain. Later he was ordained by the Vinaya master Lingxun at Kaiyuan Temple in Yuzhang (near modern Nanchang). He carried on an ascetic practice, wearing only a patched robe and straw sandals. He often fasted instead of taking the evening meal, and was regarded as unusual by the other monks. He was called “Ascetic Bei.” His relationship with Xuefeng was like that of a younger brother. As his close disciple, Xuansha worked with Xuefeng to build his teacher’s practice center. He is said to have awakened one day upon reading the words of the Surangama Sutra.
After leaving Xuefeng he first lived at the Puying Monastery. Later he moved to Xuansha Mountain in Fuzhou, where he remained for the next thirty years. The governor of Min honored him, presenting him with the purple robe and the title "Great Teacher of the One Doctrine."
One day, Xuefeng asked Xuansha, “What is Ascetic Bei?”
Xuansha said, “I dare not deceive people.”
Another day, Xuefeng called out to Xuansha, saying, “Why doesn’t Ascetic Bei go off to practice at other places?”
Xuansha said, “Bodhidharma didn’t come from the west. The Second Ancestor didn’t go to India.”
Xuefeng approved this answer.
One day, Xuefeng entered the hall and addressed the monks, saying, “If you want to understand this matter, it’s like looking into an ancient mirror. If a foreigner comes, a foreigner is revealed. If a Han comes, a Han is revealed.”138
Xuansha said, “If the clear mirror suddenly comes forth, then what?”
Xuefeng said, “The foreigner and Han are both hidden.”
Xuansha said, “The master’s feet still don’t touch the ground.”
After Xuansha became the abbot at Mt. Xuan Sha, he entered the hall and addressed the monks, saying, “Buddha’s way is vast and serene. There is no path on which to travel there. There is no gate of liberation. There are no thoughts about a ‘person of the Way.’ There are no ‘three worlds.’ Therefore one cannot ‘transcend’ or ‘fall into.’ Setting something up runs counter to the truth. Negation is a formation. Movement gives rise to the root of birth and death. Stillness is the province of falling into delusion. When movement and stillness are extinguished, one falls into empty negation. When movement and stillness are both accepted, buddha nature is concealed. With respect to worldly affairs or states of mind, you should be like a cold dead tree. Then you will realize the great function and not forfeit its grace. All forms will be illuminated as if in a mirror. Brightness or obscurity will not confuse you. The bird will fly into emptiness, it will not be apart from empty form. Then in the ten directions there will be no form and in the three worlds there will be no traces.”
The following passages are from The Record of Zen Master Xuansha Shibei.
One day Xuansha entered the hall but remained silent. The monks grew tired of waiting for him to expound the Dharma, and after a time all of them got up to leave the hall. Xuansha called out, “See, they’re all the same! Not a single one with wisdom! You see my two lips here and you cluster around seeking to get meaning out of some words. When I really bring it forth, none of you know it. Look! So hard! So difficult!”
Once Xuansha said, “All of you practitioners of Zen, you’ve traveled here from every quarter on foot, asking me to help you practice Zen and study Tao. You’ve taken this place to be special, and when you get here you ask every sort of question. Since this is what you’ve done, then you should check this place out thoroughly! Haven’t I been completely forthcoming with you? I extinguish what you know. Then what is there left? If nothing is left, then of what use is your knowledge? Since you’ve come here I now ask you, do any of you have the eye of wisdom or not? If so, then let us see it now. Can we see it? If not, then I call you all blind and deaf. Is that it? Are you willing to speak up in this manner? Virtuous Zennists do not willingly submit. Are you authentic monks? The top of your head is exposed to all buddhas in the ten directions. You don’t dare show the slightest error!”
Xuansha gave instruction to the congregation, saying: “The great masters everywhere speak extensively of reaching and benefiting beings. If they encountered three persons with different disabilities, how would they reach them? For a blind person, if they wielded the staff or raised their whisk then the person would not see it. For a deaf person, if they spoke of samadhi, then he would not hear it. For a mute person, if they called on him to speak, he could not do so. So what would they do to reach them? If these types cannot be reached, then the Buddhadharma has no effect.”
Zen master Xuansha said to the monks, “All of you are seeing great peril. You see tigers, knives, and swords threatening your life, and you’re experiencing unlimited terror. What’s it like? It is like the world is painting itself with images from hell, making tigers, knives, and swords, all right there in front of you, and you feel terrified. But if you are now having such experiences then it’s a terror that arises from your own personal illusions, and not something that someone else is creating for you. Do you want to understand these illusions and confused feelings? If so, then know that you have the diamond-eye. If you know this, then you realize that all the things of the world don’t truly exist. So where could tigers, wolves, knives, and swords threaten you? If Shakyamuni had dealt with this like you’re doing he’d never have made it.
“This is why I say to you that the eye of a true practitioner envelops the entire world. It encompasses the whole universe. Not a single strand of hair leaks out. So where would there be a single thing left for you to see or to realize? This transcendence! This miraculous state! Why don’t you investigate it?”
Xuansha said, “It’s as if all of you are sitting on the bottom of a great ocean, completely submerged, and you’re still holding your hand out to people and begging for water. Do you understand? If you want to realize wisdom and bodhisattvahood you can do so if you have great wisdom ability. With great wisdom ability you can do it right now. But if your basic ability is somewhat lacking, then you have to be diligent and press on, day and night forgetting about food and sleep, enduring as if both your parents had died, being in just such anxiety. Give over your entire life, and with the help of other people, truly endeavoring for the truth, you’ll certainly reach enlightenment.”
A monk asked, “Why can’t I speak?”
Xuansha said, “Close your mouth. Now can you speak?”
A monk asked, “What is it? And why is it so hard to realize?”
Xuansha said, “Because it’s too close.” ([Later,] Fayan said, “It couldn’t be closer. Actually it’s the monk himself.”)
A monk said, “I’ve just arrived here and I beg the master to point out a gate whereby I may enter.”
Xuansha said, “Do you hear the sound of the water in Yan Creek?”
The monk said, “I hear it.”
Xuansha said, “That’s the place of your entry.”
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