The One Taste of Truth The One Taste of Truth zen and the art of drinking tea William Scott Wilson Shambhala · boston & london · 2012 Frontispiece: “Kissako”(“Have some tea.”) by Steven Go Weiss. Used by permission. Shambhala Publications, Inc. Horticultural Hall 300 Massachusetts Avenue Boston, Massachusetts 02115 www.shambhala.com © 2012 by William Scott Wilson All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 first edition Printed in the United States of America o This edition is printed on acid-free paper that meets the American National Standards Institute Z39.48 Standard. This book is printed on [[TK]]% postconsumer recycled paper. For more information please visit us at www.shambhala.com. [[TK]] Distributed in the United States by Random House, Inc., and in Canada by Random House of Canada Ltd Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Wilson, William Scott, 1944– The one taste of truth: Zen and the art of drinking tea / William Scott Wilson. —First edition. pages cm Includes translations from Japanese. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN 978-1-61180-026-5 (pbk.: alk. paper) 1. Zen meditations. 2. Zen poetry, Japanese—History and criticism. 3. Japanese tea ceremony— Religious aspects—Zen Buddhism. I. Title. BQ9289.5.W55 2012 294.3’4435—dc23 2012025189 To my Emily wife, It is worth the expense of youthful days and costly hours, if you learn only some words of an ancient language, which are raised out of the trivialities of the street, to be perpetual suggestions and provocations. It is not in vain that the farmer remembers and repeats the few Latin words which he has heard. Men sometimes speak as if the study of the classics would at length make way for more modern and practical studies; but the adventurous student will always study classics, in whatever language they may be written and however ancient they may be. For what are the classics but the noblest recorded thoughts of man? Henry David Thoreau CoNTeNTS preface xiii introduction xix 1. Fundamentals 1 2. No-Mind and Nondualism 23 3. Work Hard/Do Your own Work 35 4. Living everyday Life 47 5. Look Beneath Your Feet 59 6. Comparisons Are odious 71 7. The Same Difference 81 8. Nature As It Is 93 9. Nature Speaking Loud and Clear 103 10. No Delusions 111 1 1. Life without Artifice 12. No obstructions 119 133 13. Living Life to the Fullest 14. Simplicity 157 15. The Totality of Life 167 149 notes 173 bibliography 187 Among the implements of Tea, there is nothing as important as the scroll. For both the guest and the host, it is the scroll that has them grasp the Way of one Mind and absorb themselves in Tea. A scroll of calligraphy in India ink is the best. one holds the words of such calligraphic works in deep respect, and appreciates the essential virtue of the calligraphers, the men of the Way, and the Buddhist patriarchs. . . . A scroll on which the words of the Buddha or the patriarchs go well with the calligrapher’s art is the best. Nanporoku, Book 1:19 PReFACe It was late August, and the heat of the summer lingered in southwestern Japan. Still, some of the autumn grasses had begun to appear, and the flowers of fall were in full bloom. Hosokawa Tadaoki, now into his eighth decade of life, observed the skies over Kumamoto and found promise of cooler weather to come. Tadaoki had been the third daimyo of the Hosokawa clan; he was a revered general with an acute political sense, and was renowned for his ability as a lacquerware artist and chanoyu practitioner. This morning he had invited two guests, a young Zen priest and a famous swordsman who was also an artist and sculptor, for tea at his small thatched tea hut on the castle grounds. Tadaoki had swept the garden stepping-stones himself the evening before, and now noticed that a few leaves and pine needles had fallen onto them overnight, adding to the charm of the pleasant, natural atmosphere. The two guests arrived together and entered through the low door of the hut, this being more difficult for the swordsman, who was taller than most Japanese and, even now in his fifties and somewhat ailing, muscular and broad shouldered. The interior of the hut was nearly bare. There was an iron teakettle on the hearth, the few tea implements and a tea bowl, and, in the alcove, an unglazed pot filled with lavender gypsy roses and a hanging scroll. Tadaoki, or Sansai, as he was now called, served the thick, bitter tea in the black-glazed tea bowl. Chanoyu etiquette was loosely followed, but the conversation was light and sometimes humorous. The swordsman, who had spent much of his life traveling the countryside, noted that he had not yet heard the singing of the matsumushi, a noisy late-summer cricket. With some prompting, he xiii chanted a poem from an ancient anthology, about becoming lost in the autumn fields, and taking lodging where the matsumushi cried.1 The Zen priest then amused them with an anecdote: he and the swordsman had been meditating on a large boulder on the outskirts of town when a snake slithered across the priest’s lap, but hesitated and went around his companion. Despite the social distance between host and guests, in the atmosphere of the tea hut, distinctions seemed not to exist. From time to time, the men’s eyes wandered to the alcove and fell upon the hanging scroll. This was a mounted piece of calligraphy by the eccentric Zen priest Ikkyu, who had passed away over a hundred and fifty years before Tadaoki’s time. The Chinese characters read, “Do not do anything evil, do all that is good,” an abbreviated quote from the Verses of Precepts of the Seven Buddhas, attributed to the Buddha’s disciple Ananda. The rest of the quote was, “Purify your thoughts; this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.” These words illuminated their ideas and conversation, and this unique company seemed to be drinking tea with the patriarchs, Ananda and Ikkyu. ー 2 The ceremonial drinking of tea and Zen Buddhism have shared a close relationship since the T’ang dynasty (618–907) in China, and from the early Kamakura period (1185–1249) in Japan. It can be said that true Chinese Ch’an (Zen) began with the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng (638–713), just prior to the writing of the Classic on Tea (Ch’a Ching, 茶 経 ) by the eighth-century scholar-official xiv preface Lu Yu. Tea drinking soon became popular among Zen monks, in part because of tea’s stimulant properties, and in part due to the simplicity, mindfulness, and aesthetic beauty of the ceremonial gatherings that developed around it. Tea in China preceded the T’ang dynasty, and, according to Zen tradition, was brought from India by the first Zen patriarch, Bodhidharma (470–543), or grew from his eyelids when he cut them off and threw them to the ground after falling asleep during meditation. Going even further back is the Taoist tradition that Kuan Yin, the keeper of the Han Pass, offered Lao Tzu a cup of tea before requesting that he write the Tao Te Ching in the fifth century b.c.e. Tea is said to have been brought to Japan around the year 814 by Kukai, who was returning from his studies of Shingon Buddhism in China. True ceremonial tea drinking began with eisai (1141–1215), who came back from China with the precepts of Zen Buddhism, tea seeds and possibly bushes, and the customs and uses of tea he had learned in Chinese Zen temples. eisai enthusiastically advocated drinking tea and wrote a short treatise, Drinking Tea and Maintaining Health (Kissa yojoki, 喫茶養生記), which popularized tea drinking all the more. The Way of Tea (Sado, 茶道) was further developed during the early fifteenth century by a Zen adherent, Murata Juko, as an activity for aristocrats, warriors, and even the common people. It was Juko who is credited with coining the phrase “Zen and tea are of one taste” (禅茶一味). While tea is used to ward off sleepiness during Zen meditation, chanoyu (茶の湯), what is called in english the Tea Ceremony, incorporates the mindfulness, quiet, and simplicity required for Zen study and meditation. Perhaps most important to both is the awareness that each and every moment is unique, and is to be valued and savored. Thus, adherents of preface xv Zen and adherents of Tea traveled similar, often intersecting Ways. It is important to note that both disciplines were studied not just by specialists, but by members of the warrior class, aristocrats, townspeople, and farmers alike. over the centuries that Zen and the formal drinking of tea evolved in both China and Japan, a canon of literature developed in the form of poems, phrases, fragments of Zen stories, or simply Chinese characters that connoted concepts, states of mind, or religio-philosophical points. Displayed on hanging scrolls in the alcoves of Zen temples or the tea room, single characters to entire poems of fifty characters provided points of contemplation that would encourage the appropriate atmosphere for the drinking of tea or silent meditation. Key phrases from these sources are as embedded in the cultures of China, Korea, and Japan as the King James Version of the Bible is in Western cultures. They are at the heart of Asian life, and are encountered in the martial arts dojo, the traditional Japanese restaurant, the alcove of a family living room, and elsewhere. Collected and translated here are over one hundred of these phrases—called ichigyomono (一行物) in Japanese—that are among the most commonly displayed of the thousand or more still in everyday use. Many of these ichigyomono are fragments of longer pieces, but knowledgeable Japanese will read them and recognize the allusions, much as a Westerner will read the words “The Lord is my shepherd” and know what follows. The elliptical nature of these fragments is essential to the nature of Zen and much of oriental culture. Indeed, it is what Zen sometimes calls “playing the stringless lute.” The secret lies in knowing how to balance form with emptiness and, above all, in knowing when one has “said” enough.3 xvi preface The idea is not to overwhelm the reader of these ichigyomono with explanation and analysis, but to allow the mind room for “free and easy wandering” among the ideas and emotions that the words on the scrolls suggest. Nevertheless, because most of us in the West are unfamiliar with the texts and/or the concepts from which these phrases arose, I have attempted to provide sources or contexts for as many of them as possible. In this way I hope to have provided a brief compendium of what Sen no Rikyu called the most sig-nificant implement of Tea, the scroll. ー I wish to thank my former editor, Barry Lancet, for his guidance and patience, and for sharing his aesthetic taste in matters of Tea; my editors at Shambhala Publications, Beth Frankl and John Golebiewski, for their dedication and patience; Masako Kubota of Florida International University, Veljko Dujin of the Morikami Museum, and my friend Ichikawa Takashi, for their professional advice and resource material; my friends Tom Levidiotis, Kate Barnes, Jim Brems, Gary Haskins, Jack Whisler, John Siscoe, Justin Newman, and Daniel Medvedov, for their constant encouragement and support; my wife, emily, for her invaluable suggestions concerning the manuscript; and my late professors Richard N. McKinnon and Hiraga Noburu, by whose kindness my cup ranneth over more often than I understood. Any and all mistakes are my own. xvii William Scott Wilson preface INTRoDUCTIoN The Vimalakirti-nirdesa Sutra is one of the most famous of the Mahayana Buddhist sutras, and is especially respected by the Zen sect. In this sutra, the protagonist, a wealthy townsman by the name of Vimalakirti, is apparently ill, and is resting in a small room furnished with only a single narrow bed. As the story unfolds, eight thousand bodhisattvas, five hundred sravakas, Indra, Brahma, and hundreds of thousands of Heavenly Beings all decide that they will call on Vimalakirti to see how he is getting along. Miraculously, each and every one of them are comfortably accommodated into the man’s small room, and are able to hear the enlightened words to come. The traditional venue for the service of chanoyu, or what we call the Tea Ceremony, has often been compared to Vimalakirti’s small room. often only about ten feet square, it can take the form of a special room in a house or restaurant, or of a detached hut best situated in a garden consisting of a cluster of trees, a path of irregular stepping-stones, and perhaps a moss-covered granite lantern. The path itself—and by extension, the entire garden—is called the roji ( 露地), or the “dewy ground,” but an alternative reading for the first character, “dew,” is “to manifest,” for it is on this path that we should exhibit the simplicity and poverty of spirit necessary to enter the true nature of the place. once we have entered through a low door, perhaps the most remarkable thing about the tea room itself is that there is almost nothing inside. There are, of course, a charcoal hearth set into the straw-mat floor, a cast-iron kettle of boiling water over the hearth, a clay tea bowl for the tea, and a very few other implements—a small canister containing the tea, a thin bamboo xx scoop, a dipper to transfer the boiling water to the tea bowl, and an extra clay pot for water to rinse the tea bowl. elemental materials— water, fire, earth, and wood—for the elemental practice of drinking tea. There is one place in this otherwise bare room, however, that captures our attention. This is the tokonoma, an alcove extending slightly out from a wall, which is said to have developed from a similar structure for altars, religious paintings, or flower arrangements in Buddhist temples of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. It is in the tea room tokonoma, with its subtle, indirect light, that the calligraphic scrolls containing the words of the patriarchs are displayed, setting the mood for our visit. Tea The fundamental nature of tea is unpretentiousness. Lu Yu According to ancient Chinese tradition, one pleasant afternoon in 2737 b.c.e., Shen Nung,1 the Divine Agriculturalist, sat down under a tree to rest. He had already invented agriculture and acupuncture; but his bullish nature, reflected in the two small horns that grew from his head, kept him working hard, and he was now diligently at work on a book of medical cures2 that would eventually include 365 substances, from plants, animals, and minerals. As he sat resting before a boiling pot of water, some dried leaves wafted up from twigs stoking the fire and landed in the pot. The water turned to a pleasant amber color, and Shen Nung, who preferred to test everything on himself, took a sip. Finding the slightly bitter drink to introduction xxi be both invigorating and refreshing, he meditatively finished off what he had drawn from the pot. This was the first cup of tea. Shen Nung was the inventor of Chinese medicine, and was interested in tea’s curative powers as well as its virtue as a restorative drink; and after some experimentation—again, with himself as guinea pig—he prescribed it as a remedy for dull eyesight, headaches, and fatigue. This was not the end of such experimentation, however, and today, tea is recommended for maladies of almost every sort: Alzheimer’s disease, hangover, typhoid, herpes zoster, arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, scurvy, psoriasis, enterocolitis, high cholesterol, obesity, constipation, and radiation sickness, to name just a few.3 Mao Tse-tung is said to have brushed his teeth with it, but with less than satisfactory results. It was, however, Shen Nung’s first impression—that a cup of tea invigorates the body and sharpens the mind—that has remained its fundamental claim to fame throughout the millennia. The small tree from which these leaves came was the Camellia sinensis, commonly called the tea tree, an evergreen that usually grows ten to twelve feet tall;4 has pleasantly dark green, slightly serrated leaves; and blooms in the late fall with single white flowers containing bright yellow stamens.5 Shen Nung traveled widely in his search for medicinal plants, and at the time of this happy discovery was presumably in southwest China, somewhere near the presentday borders with northeast India, northern Burma, and Tibet. This is a mountainous area almost subtropical in clime; it is humid, without long periods of below- freezing temperatures, and has wondrously diverse plant life. The people who first lived there were a mix of Tibetan, Burmese, and hill tribes. The Chinese called this place of mists and strange mountain peaks Yunnan, or South of the Clouds. It is, introduction xxii as far as anyone can tell, the place where Camellia sinensis first evolved. With the worldwide popularity of tea, however, Camellia sinensis is now cultivated in over forty countries, including mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Iran, and Argentina. There are now two main varieties: the long-leaved Assamese Camellia sinensis assamica, and the short-leaved Chinese Camellia sinensis sinensis. It is the latter with which we are concerned. The drink, as discovered by Shen Nung, is invigorating, refreshing, and seems to sharpen the mind. And as Lu Yu, the author of the Ch’a Ching, stated, there is nothing pretentious about it. Significantly, he added: 茶之蔵否存於口訣 The decision of whether tea is good or not resides in the mouth. Zen Live securely, unmoved even by the scriptures and teachings. Bodhidharma Around the middle of the fourth century b.c.e., a man known to us as Shakyamuni Buddha walked the dusty roads of northern India, explaining his experience of enlightenment, and how others might attain it. owing to the deeply personal nature of his experience, at first he hesitated to talk about it at all; but requested by Brahma, the god of creation, to save mankind from its suffering, he relented, and spent some fifty or sixty years trying to explain how one might practice a lifestyle that would lead to nirvana. His teaching was based on morality, compassion, and deep meditation; one was to live introduction xxiii simply, and to eschew speculative thought based on human constructs. The Buddha stressed that nirvana means the cessation of all attachment, anger, and ignorance—and therefore of all suffering—and depends on one’s individual effort and freedom to acknowledge what one intuitively knows to be true. This he expressed quite clearly when speaking to the Kalamas: Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of texts, by logic, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance after pondering it, by the seeming competence of the speaker, or because you think, “The ascetic is our teacher.” But when you know for yourselves, “These things are wholesome; these things are blameless; these things are praised by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to welfare and happiness,” then you should engage in them.6 Nevertheless, due to, perhaps, the weakness of human nature, and the great number of disciples the Buddha gained during his lifetime, rules for conduct in society, personal morality, the way that the community of monks was to be regulated, and the various punishments for breaking these rules were eventually established to keep some sense of order and security. Indeed, by the time of the First Council, called by the disciple Mahakashyapa shortly after the Buddha’s death, there were found to be 227 rules for monks and 311 for nuns. At the Second Council, convened about one hundred years after the Buddha’s death, the main disagreements and causes for splits among the community of monks and nuns were disputes concerning such rules of conduct, termed the vinaya in Sanskrit. The same disagreements continued at the Third Council, held around 250 b.c.e., and by this time, there were different vinayas for the xxiv introduction various sects, which had been splintering the sangha, or community of disciples, for over a century. Complicating the matter, and leading to further splits in the sangha, was the gradual growth of a literature termed the abhidharma, which discussed questions of philosophy, metaphysics, and psychology. Buddhist scholars no doubt approached these problems with the sincere desire to clarify the Buddha’s words and to lead the monks and nuns to a better understanding of the nature of their quest, but their efforts led to the very dependence on words and mental constructs that the Buddha had warned against. ー Such was the situation in India in the year 67 c.e., when emperor Ming Ti of faraway China had an astonishing dream of a golden man of great holiness. When the matter of this dream was brought up in court, one of the emperor’s counselors informed him that, centuries before, there had been a holy man born in India whose body was said to have had the luster of gold. Ming Ti did not hesitate to send an envoy to India who was to look into the matter, and who eventually returned with a great number of sutras. This is according to tradition. More prosaically, Buddhism likely entered China from central Asia with merchants traveling along the Silk Road, and records indicate that Buddhist clergy were alive and well in the Chinese capital of Ch’ang-an in the middle of the first century c.e., and that, as the new religion took hold, the Buddha was conflated with Taoist gods Lao Tzu and the Yellow emperor and worshipped under the name of introduction xxv Huang-lao Fou’t’u. But it did not take long for the new faith to become established on its own, and by the year 300 c.e., there were some 180 Buddhist monasteries in northern China housing over thirty-seven hundred clergy.7 Meanwhile, Indian traders were bringing Buddhism to China’s southeast coast, from where it established itself along the lower Yangtze River valley. Although central China was overrun in 311 c.e. by Hunnish tribes from the border steppes, and the country was now divided into northern and southern empires, Buddhism continued to flourish among both the “barbarians” and the Han Chinese. Translators and missionaries continued to enter China from the Silk Road, and more and more of the sutras, vinaya, and abhidharma were made accessible to the population, albeit with various degrees of compromise in vocabulary and emphasis in texts, due to the great differences in the Chinese language on the one hand, and Sanskrit and Pali on the other. Nevertheless, the course had been set in India long ago, and Buddhism in China was just as divided in sects, rules, and interpretation and exegesis as it had been in the land of its nativity. Moreover, by the fifth century, the number of temples and monks of these diverse sects had exploded: some eight thousand temples and 126,000 monks, if the censuses are to be believed.8 When the Indian monk Bodhidharma got off the ship in Nan-hai in 520 c.e.9 to become the First Patriarch of Zen in China, he set about to turn the current practices of Buddhism upside down. Brushing aside the subtle philosophy of the abhidharma and the hundreds of rules in the vinaya, he stated that he did “not speak about precepts, purifying devotional exercises or austerities.” These, he said, were nothing but makeshift methods. As for doctrines, philosophies, and wisdom, he asked, “What good are the teachings? The Ultimate Reason cuts off words. The teachings are words and phrases, but the xxvi introduction Way is fundamentally without words.” Wisdom itself was to be tossed overboard, as it was nothing but “foolishness.” The reason he had come to China, he declared, was simply to transmit the Sudden enlightenment of the Great Vehicle of Buddhism: 即心是佛 This very mind is the Buddha. And, using a term that had been a lodestar of philosophical discussion in China since the days of Lao Tzu and Confucius, he equated the mind with one’s fundamental nature (性). If you would see this fundamental nature, he wrote, “Don’t read sutras or recite the Buddha’s name. You’ll gain nothing from broad learning and much knowledge. . . . explanations and doctrines are just markers for the mind. What’s the use in straining your eyes with them once you’ve understood your mind?” As for religious rituals and public ceremonies, he said, “The Buddha is your own mind, so don’t confuse [the direction of] your worship.” Bodhidharma did his best to clean house. By the time of his arrival in China, the Buddhist clergy had become attached not only to their own particular doctrines and creeds, but to their temples, libraries, and the various accoutrements that now came along with the authority of the priesthood. Bodhidharma reminded them that worshipping or even showing respect for such things—or any appearance or form (相), for that matter— was being taken in by demons. Indeed, he said, “If you are at- tached to appearances, you are no more than a demon yourself.” For Bodhidharma, Buddhism is Zen (禅), and Zen is manifesting (示) the simple (単). It is “to live securely, unmoved even by the scriptures and teachings,” and seeing your own nature. But this can only be done by yourself. In the end, introduction xxvii he said, in a phrase reminiscent of both Lu Yu and the Buddha’s statement to the Kalamas: 如人飲水、冷暖自知 It is like when a person drinks water, He himself knows whether it is hot or cold. Tea and Zen The formal and ritualized drinking of tea as we know it today in the Tea Ceremony, or chanoyu, did not originate within the Zen temple. Rather, it developed gradually from the secular nobility of China and, as the infrastructure and transportation within the country improved and tea became more available, it developed from the general population as well. It was, however, greatly informed by the two native religions/philosophies of China: Taoism and Confucianism. In Taoism, each and every phenomenon of life, no matter how large or small, is equally full of purport and importance. A rat’s liver is as significant as a mountain range, and the drinking of tea as paramount as governing the state. This is because, according to the early Taoist philosophers, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Lieh Tzu, all phenomena have their place on the great flowing grid of the Tao, and each has its own particular virtue, or te, that cannot be replaced by another. Tung Kuo Tzu asked Chuang Tzu, “Where does this thing called the Tao exist?” Chuang Tzu replied, “There’s no place it doesn’t exist.” Tung Kuo Tzu said, “Could you go on a little more about that?” Chuang Tzu said, “It’s in mole crickets and ants.” xxviii introduction Tung Kuo Tzu said, “What! It’s in trifling things like that?” Chuang Tzu continued, “It’s in barnyard grass.” Tung Kuo Tzu exclaimed, “But that’s humbler still!” Chuang Tzu went on, “It’s in wall tiles.” introduction xxix Tung Kuo Tzu said, “Hey! This is getting worse and worse.” Chuang Tzu then stated, “It’s in piss and shit.” Tung Kuo Tzu did not respond. Chuang Tzu, chapter 22 Likewise, every action is unique and of the greatest significance, as long as it is performed with total concentration and nonattachment, and without fabrication. Life, to the Taoist, is a grand excursion of “free and easy wandering,” and the intrinsic value of each moment is fully worthy of our attention. Among the many Ways of developing this attention is the simple act of drinking a bowl of tea. The Confucian scholars, on the other hand, inherited much of the philosophical culture of the Shang dynasty period, whose understanding was that the proper balance of Heaven, earth, and Man is not to be taken for granted. The activities of each affect the others, but it is Man who has the power to correct and influence the natural order of things. This he does with ritual. With proper ritual, harmony can be established between the natural environment and the empire, between the empire and the state, between the state and the city, between the city and the family, and among all the members of the family. Thus, rather than being restrictive, ritual assures harmony, selfrealization, and ultimately, freedom to live well. Not insignificantly, the Confucian scholars also understood ritual, not only as an outward expression of the noumenal and corrective to the phenomenal structures of the world, but also as a Way of walking the same path of betterment established by the sages of old. Confucius himself famously said: 立於禮 one is maintained by ritual. Lun Yu, 8:8 introduction xxx By the time of the T’ang dynasty (618–907), these two sets of values— Taoist and Confucian—had evolved into a single ethic of ritualizing many aspects of Chinese daily life. As mentioned above, this ritualizing activity had begun in the court and among the nobility, and had later been absorbed by other classes of society. In the Zen monasteries, now inhabited by hundreds and even thousands of monks, this ritualization developed into extensive sets of rules that would instruct the society of monks on how to perform every action, from entering the various halls of the monasteries, to eating meals, to bathing, and even to using toilet facilities. Among these activities was the drinking of tea. Whether in imitation of the secular world, or as a form of entertainment for the nobles who were their sponsors, or just to celebrate certain national or local holidays, the ritualized serving of tea eventually became one of the most important social events within the Zen monasteries. This would become one of the best examples of the mixing of Indian spirituality and Chinese everyday practicality, but the rules for this activity, laid out in detail in the Sung dynasty (960–1279) Ch’an yuan ch’ing kuei ( 禅苑清規), or Purity Rules for the Zen Monastery,10 were extensive and precise. Tea, Art, and Health Art is what reveals to us the state of perfection.11 Kukai No one knows when tea actually arrived in Japan. Certainly, the people who began to migrate to the Japanese archipelago through the Korean peninsula in the third century b.c.e. had been exposed to Chinese culture, and just as certainly, Chinese culture would become more and more introduction xxxi important to the Japanese as the centuries progressed. But it is not recorded if they knew about or drank tea during the time when the country was being established. Possibly, if they were aware of the plant or the drink that could be made from it, they simply ignored it; for one of the early Chinese chronicles concerning Japan tells us only that they were a happy people, fond of liquor. By the sixth century c.e., however, the Japanese were becoming extremely interested in Chinese culture, and how they might acquire and apply it to their own country. And along with Confucianism, Buddhism, poetry, architecture, city planning, and a host of other imports came tea. Tea was, indeed, closely associated with Chinese poetry and the atmosphere that encouraged creativity in the written arts. The drinking of tea at leisure, it was felt, put one into an ethereal world beyond everyday reality, one appropriate to the nobility and Buddhist monks and scholars; and by 729, we find that the emperor Shomu served tea to one hundred priests on the second day of a ceremonial reading of the Mahaprajnaparamita Sutra. Tea was not now just something to drink. Tea was culture, and close to religion. The person who seems to have truly established tea in Japan, however, was Kukai, the Buddhist priest who went to study Shingon Buddhism in China in 804. Kukai was a man of remarkable, and even astonishing, abilities. of extraordinary intellect, he was a religious theorist, writer, calligrapher, artist, poet, engineer, and, apparently, a very quick study. After only two years of religious training in the Chinese capital of Ch’ang-an, where he no doubt sipped tea both ceremonially and into the late hours of the night as he pored over his esoteric books, he was pronounced his teacher’s successor and sent back to Japan to promulgate the faith. introduction When Kukai returned to Japan in 806, along with a great many sutras, commentaries, statues, mandalas, and other Buddhist implements, he xxxii brought tea and possibly tea seeds. This drink he recommended for its many qualities to the emperor Saga, who was apparently quite taken by the beverage. In a poem to Kukai, reflecting both the elegance of tea drinking and his sorrow at the monk’s return to his mountain temple, Saga wrote: Long years have passed; yours in the Way, mine in worldly life. I am fortunate to speak with you this autumn, Drinking fragrant tea until late. Painful though the parting may be, I bow to you as I see you off to the distant clouds.12 It was Kukai’s faith and his aesthetic application of that faith, however, that would have a deep and lasting effect on Japanese culture in general, and on what would develop as chanoyu, or the Tea Ceremony, some eight centuries later. It is a major tenet of Shingon Buddhism that the great cosmic Buddha, Mahavairocana, is not apart from worldly phenomena, but rather is immanent in all things and beings, transient as they may be. The Dainichi-kyo, one of the most important sutras of this sect, states that “all things, just as they are, dwell in Truth,”13 and a commentary on the sutra informs us that “wherever the Buddha appears cannot be elsewhere than in this place.”14 Thus, although we are not aware of it, Mahavairocana not only reveals himself through the sense objects, emotions, and thoughts of the phenomenal world, but actually preaches the Dharma or Truth through them. Kukai took this a step further. In understanding that art is both form and the quintessential expression of form, he introduction xxxiii explained that each creation of art is itself a Buddha manifesting the Way. In other words, art and religion are of one nature. “Suchness transcends forms,” he said, “but without depending on forms, it cannot be realized.”15 And: Thus the secrets of the sutras and commentaries can be depicted in art, and the essential truths of the esoteric teaching are all set forth therein. . . . Art is what reveals to us the state of perfection [my italics].16 It must be added that for Kukai, art is not limited to painting, but also includes sculpture, both poetry and prose, “gestures and acts,” and the very implements used in cultural and religious activities. This concept, accepted intuitively and enthusiastically by the Japanese, would have a far-reaching effect on arts as disparate as calligraphy, Noh drama, Tea Ceremony, and even swordsmanship. For if meditation and the entrance to enlightenment can be based on the use of tangible objects and formalized actions, these objects and actions themselves, however secularized, are not only expressions of the Buddha, but, within the proper frame of mind, the very embodiments of transcendent Reality. Art is thus religion, and religion, art; and the very smallest gesture of the hand in performing that art becomes a mudra unifying the individual with the universe. The Heian period culture, of which Kukai was a part, was learning the aesthetic value of drinking a bowl of tea. At the same time, it was learning that the rituals and objects involved, and even the tea itself, could be of a transcendent religious significance. In this way, the essence of Kukai’s most famous phrase, 即身成仏 Becoming a Buddha in this very existence xxxiv introduction could be attained through an activity both ordinary and artistic, both spiritually purifying and mundane. ー Almost four hundred years after Kukai traveled to China, another monk, eisai (1141–1215), made the same perilous journey, again in the name of religion. eisai had been deeply troubled by the state of Buddhism in Japan: violent armed clashes continually broke out between the various sects, and sometimes within factions of the sects themselves. The monks had gone so far as to enlist the support of warrior groups and different aristocrats, and the situation in Kyoto was, if not totally chaotic, extremely unsettling. eisai felt that Buddhism had become a matter of form, and that the priests ignored the precepts and only vied with one another for prestige and power. eisai’s first trip to China was in 1168. There he studied esoteric doctrines, and returned to Japan the same year, hoping to resuscitate Buddhism with his newly gained knowledge. By 1187, with the collapse of the government and still more intersectarian violence, he understood that his first efforts had failed, and that he would need to make a more prolonged trip, hoping this time to visit both China and India. Although he was unable to make the journey to India, he remained in China until 1191, when he returned once again to Japan, this time with two acquisitions he felt would help save the nation: Zen and tea. In China, eisai had found that the Zen (Chinese, Ch’an) sect was the only viable form of Buddhism taken seriously there, and that, indeed, it seemed to play a strong and supportive role in Sung dynasty culture. He studied the precepts and meditational style of the sect enthusiastically, reading through the introduction xxxv Ch’an yuan ch’ing kuei, drinking tea both at temple ceremonies and on his own, and looking into the medicinal effects of the beverage. Upon his return to Japan, eisai eventually made his way to Kamakura and introduced both Zen and tea to the new warrior government. Back in Kyoto, he shared the tea seeds he had brought back with him with a number of priests, one of whom, Myoe, established the country’s first tea garden at the Shingon Kozanji Temple. eisai was strongly convinced that a rigorous adherence to the precepts and meditation of Zen would strengthen Japan’s moral and spiritual condition, and that drinking tea would ameliorate the people’s health. To that effect, he wrote two treatises: the Kozen gokoku-ron, or The Promotion of Zen and the Protection of the Nation, explaining the benefits of establishing this new sect; and the Kissa yojoki, Drinking Tea and Maintaining Health. The latter short book, written entirely in classical Chinese, is for the most part a practical explanation of why tea drinking promotes health. His approach is a mixture of Confucian philosophy, traditional Chinese medicine, and Shingon symbolism, but his main emphasis is this: the heart is the primary organ of the body, and tea is the heart’s medicine. everyone should drink tea for a more healthy life. eisai was taken seriously, and within a matter of decades Zen would become a major religious and cultural force in Japan, while tea drinking would become ubiquitous. And although he did not write about the tea ceremonies he would have joined in China, and likely shared with his colleagues back home, as it is eisai who is credited as popularizing tea in Japan, it is worth including a short excerpt from the Kissa yojoki here. Tea is the medicine for nourishing the health of the saints, and has the wondrous ability of extending the years of your life. Growing in the mountains and valleys, it contains the very spirit of the earth. People who pick [and drink] this herb will be longlived. . . . xxxvi introduction Long ago, men [were as healthy as] heavenly beings, but nowadays they have gradually become sickly and weak, as though their internal organs were rotting away. This being so, acupuncture and moxa only damage them, and hot springs have no effect. . . . It is wise to maintain your life and to protect the years given to you by Heaven; and the wellspring of maintaining your life is in nourishing your health. The technique of maintaining your health is in keeping the internal organs tranquil. Now among the internal organs, the heart is king, and the wondrous technique of building a strong heart is in drinking tea. on the other hand, if the heart is weak, the other internal organs will all be infirm. Now when you drink tea, your heart will be strong, and you will have no illnesses at all. And you should know this: when the heart is infirm, your complexion will be poor, and the inevitable will be on its way. . . . only in China do they drink a lot of tea, and therefore the people have no heart disease and are long-lived. In our country, many people are thin and sickly, and this is because they don’t drink tea. When your spirits are low, you should drink tea without fail. This will regulate your heart and rid you of myriad illnesses. When the heart is well, though the other organs be ill, you will experience little pain. eisai is said to have cured the regent Hojo Sanetomo’s bad cold with bowls of tea. This was noted by others in the warrior government, and eventually in the population at large, and tea soon became the national drink. The various ways of drinking it would be determined in the decades and centuries ahead. Zen and Tea A year before he passed away, eisai was visited by a young monk, also looking for the correct path to Buddhism, and dis- satisfied with current introduction xxxvii conditions on Mount Hiei and other monastic communities. In 1223, this monk, Dogen (1200–1253), followed eisai’s example and sailed to China. When he returned four years later, he brought back a new sect of Zen—Soto in contrast to eisai’s Rinzai—and, it would seem, his own copy of the above-mentioned Ch’an yuan ch’ing kuei. A stickler for precepts, rules of order, and detailed discipline, Dogen relied heavily on sections of the Ch’an yuan ch’ing kuei, incorporating them into his own writings, the Eihei shingi and the Shobogenzo. As tea would have been a regular part of monastic life at Dogen’s temple northwest of the capital of Kamakura, it can be imagined that the formal and ritualized serving of the beverage there would have been just as regulated—if not more, due to his convert’s zeal—as in the Zen temples in China. There are few indications in Dogen’s writings or personal history that he had a lighthearted or humorous side,17 and, indeed, he is often described as being fiercely “independent and intransigent.”18 Thus, in all likelihood, tea drinking with Dogen—as in other temples—was a very solemn affair. But with time, these practices were taken up by society at large—at first among the warrior class, later among the merchants and even farmers—and while the rituals of the ceremonies might be followed closely, such solemnity would soon get quite short shrift. ー Zen Buddhism and the warrior-class government emerged nearly concomitantly in Japan, and the warriors took up Zen with some enthusiasm. Although a study of the sutras is a part xxxviii introduction of Zen, it eschews scholasticism as a way to enlightenment, relies heavily on the immediacy and uniqueness of the moment, and encourages an intuition informed by meditation. Zen also defines enlightenment as the “great matter of life and death,” and this was a vocabulary and concept with which the warrior class could clearly identify. With Zen came the drinking of tea and its dignified and appealing rituals. Warriors, however, were not monks, and within a hundred years, this parvenu class of men had added gambling, contests to determine the quality of the tea, and inordinate luxuriousness to the venues of their ceremonies, making them occasions for entertainment rather than solemn rituals. According to the records of the times, leopard skins covered the chairs and benches, rare objects from both China and Japan filled the rooms, and expensive prizes were awarded to the winners of the taste competitions. Moreover, tea cultivation had spread around the country from the late thirteenth century, making tea—and all of its social features—available to everyone from warrior to farmer. only the wretchedly poor were referred to as mizunomi, or “water-drinkers.” eventually, then, such “entertainment” was not contained within the warrior class, but spread to the Buddhist and Shinto priests, the aristocrats, and the newly emerging wealthy merchants. By the fifteenth century, these events had gotten so out of hand that tea contests and parties were officially but ineffectually prohibited. It is at this point that the “Tea Ceremony” begins to emerge. Interestingly, the transformation toward the modern Tea Ceremony would come from within the warrior class itself, albeit from its highest echelons. The shoguns and the most aristocratic of the warlords were not without aesthetic ambitions, but were aware enough to understand that they would need assistants introduction xxxix of substantial abilities in the selection, care, and display of the Chinese artworks with which they wished to impress their colleagues. Such assistants, who specialized in art and good taste, were called doboshu (同友衆), or “companions.” They may or may not have been Buddhist monks, but they did shave their heads, and took names ending in -ami, suggesting connections with Amida Buddha. Noami (1397–1471) was a doboshu under the patronage of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, a man not only concerned with the administration of the state but also addicted to tea. It was this Noami who developed the practice of using a smaller room in the style of a Zen monastery reading room where Yoshimasa’s art treasures might be tastefully displayed as his guests drank tea according to a slightly altered monastic ritual. originally, Chinese scroll paintings, most often of Buddhist themes, were displayed on the walls, but eventually the tokonoma, or alcove, was developed so that just one scroll might be hung, accompanied by an incense censer or a vase containing an artistic arrangement of flowers. This interesting venue, soon to be imitated by other warrior tea enthusiasts, set a new paradigm: it at once avoided the crass contest-type tea affairs that had become so common, and at the same time afforded the ostentation of expensive tea wares and other art pieces on a much more focused scale. Added to this was the hint of the austerity and cultural values of the Zen temple. In the end, however, it was a relatively obscure Zen priest who would take the final step. Murata Juko (1423–1502), originally from the ancient capital of Nara, set the new standard for the Tea Ceremony by building himself a small thatched hut for his own meditative tea drinking. Troubled by his own slack attitude toward his priestly superiors and the fact that meditation simply put him to sleep, Juko had spoken to a doctor to introduction xl see what could be done for him. The doctor, apparently quite familiar with eisai’s Kissa yojoki, prescribed tea. Inspired by the Chinese poets’ accounts of mountain hermitages, and perhaps by Tao Yuan-ming’s lines: I built a hut right in the city, But there is no noise of horses and carts. You ask me how this can be so, But when the mind is far away, the land follows of itself. Juko then cut miscanthus and constructed his own hut (his father had been both a priest and a master carpenter). on a suggestion from his fellow Zen student and teacher Ikkyu, he then hung a scroll of calligraphy in the alcove of this hut, so that its words might lead him to enlightenment. To be sure, he used rare and artistic Chinese tea implements and utensils, but considered that ostentation and attachment in general, and of such goods in particular, were impediments to the simplicity and mental calm that Zen study required. To Juko, the proper drinking of tea would be no different than sitting in meditation, and after some time he concluded that “Zen and Tea have the same taste” ( 禅 茶 一 味 ). This concept informs chanoyu to this very day, and, beginning with Juko, this tea/meditation would be guided by the scroll in the alcove. If his hut was cramped, he did not mind. For, just as when the Buddha’s disciple Shariputra was confronted with the question of where all the bodhisattvas and sravakas would sit in Vimilakirti’s small room, he responded, “We came here to hear the Dharma, not because we wanted a place to sit.” Juko somehow found room in the simple and unpretentious hut for the study of Zen/Tea as well. other men would further develop the aesthetics of this ideal, and would write more emphatically on the singularity of tea xli introduction and Zen, but it was Juko who moved us into the tranquility and unobtrusiveness of the grass hut, and sat us down with the scroll, in the company of the patriarchs. In chanoyu, this is where we still are today. The Patriarchs one holds the words of such calligraphic works in deep respect, and appreciates the essential virtue of the calligrapher, the men of the Way, and the Buddhist patriarchs. Sen no Rikyu The practice that Juko began in the late fifteenth century in Japan had already been established in China some four to five hundred years before, as Zen monks there would hang calligraphic works by their teachers, or their teachers’ teachers, in their rooms or elsewhere in their monasteries. These works, often direct personal quotes or lines from the Zen classics, functioned as meditative points of departure for the monks as they either sat in zazen or performed their daily chores on the monastery grounds. The scroll Juko received from Ikkyu, a piece of calligraphy by the Chinese Zen master Yuan-wu (1063–1135), was composed of a number of lines and thus was rather broad in width. Such scrolls— often certificates of enlightenment or letters in classical Chinese— were in vogue until around the seventeenth century, when singleline phrases (ichigyomono, 一行物) from the Zen classics were deemed more direct and apropos. These ichigyomono—literally, “one-liners”—were both easier to read and more accessible to understand; and very quickly, the content expanded from Zen xlii literature, to familiar Confucian and Taoist works, and the classical Chinese poets.19 As mentioned earlier, introduction today the term ichigyomono includes scrolls containing anywhere from a single Chinese character to entire poems. They are found not only in tea rooms, but in restaurants, private homes, dojos, and the calendars sold for the coming year. They are, in effect, the daily bread of a highly literary society. Thus, we may now sit and drink tea with men as diverse as the Buddha, Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Confucius, Mencius, Tao Yuanming, Lin-chi, Yun-men, Wu-men, Po Chü-i, Su Tung-p’o, Hanshan, and Chao Chou, and at the same time make room for the patriarchs who brought us the very concepts that would be the cornerstones of the ceremony: Bodhidharma, Kukai, Tsung-tse (compiler of the Ch’an Yuan Ch’ing Kuei), eisai, Dogen, Noami, and Murata Juko. Seated as the guest of honor might be old Shen Nung himself. ー Finally, the most famous of all the tea masters, Sen no Rikyu, invited us to “appreciate the essential virtue of the calligrapher” as well as the meaning of the words he brushed. The connection between calligraphy and Zen had begun in earnest during the Sung dynasty, and perhaps came to full fruition with the poet Huang T’ing-chien (1045–1105). Although a conservative Confucian scholar, Huang earnestly studied Zen under a master, and was astonished to see how his calligraphy had changed after his xliii experience of “awakening.” Now his brush seemed to move with spontaneity and freedom, and he was able to give total expression to his innermost being. Like Juko, Huang was a great admirer of the poet Tao Yuan-ming, and compared the latter’s poetry to “the music of a stringless zither,”20 a Zen expression that might have been applied to his own work. introduction It was soon understood through Huang’s calligraphy and the calligraphic work of Chinese Zen monks who followed him that this form of art could be applied as a meditation in itself. Japanese monks studying in China, including eisai and Dogen, not only brought back scrolls of calligraphic works for their own temples, but also began to practice the art, which eventually would establish itself as shodo (書道), or the Way of the Brush. The task of Zen, the task of Tea, is to be entirely in the moment. Dogen, in his Chiji shingi, reminds us that when we are cooking or washing the dishes, we are not to be bothered with thoughts of what we will do next, worried about the value of our stocks and bonds, or even envisioning the Buddhist saints. We are to be single-mindedly engaged in what we are doing at this very moment. In the Way of swordsmanship, the feet, hands, body, mind, and sword must all be manifested in a single stroke. 流露無碍 No obstacle to expression.21 Likewise with calligraphy. If the brush, ink, and paper are contained in the single task at hand, and all consciousness of rules and techniques abandoned, then the rhythm of the brushstroke will reflect the rhythm of the mind. xliv each movement of the brush, then, bears testimony, not so much to the calligrapher’s skill or technique, but to his interior composition and the depth of his understanding. Does the phrase chosen reflect the enlightenment of its author? Does the execution of the brushwork indicate a similar state of mind in the calligrapher? A common phrase in Japan and China has it that 心正即筆 When the mind is correct, the brush will be also. introduction But, we may ask ourselves, what of our own understanding and ability to see? Juko would have said that it’s right in front of you. Take a look. And have a cup of tea. xlv introduction xlvi The One Taste of Truth chapter 1 Fundamentals 1 En, or enso This is the circle signifying the freedom, impartiality, and equality of the Buddha, in which nothing is lacking. It is the symbol of absolute or true reality, and therefore of enlightenment. The enso is a popular subject in Zen painting, and perhaps, more than in the calligraphic art itself, is said to demonstrate the painter’s state of mind. It is usually executed with a single brushstroke, with the end of the brushstroke often trailing to meet the beginning. In this way, the enso indicates that the world is at once both perfect and imperfect (absolute and relative), or perfectly imperfect: it is the slightly misshapen tea bowl from which we drink tea, said to be the flavor of Zen. There is an interesting anecdote concerning an enso in the Piyenlu, the twelfth-century collection of Zen koans: Nan-ch’uan, Kuei Tsung, and Ma Ku were traveling together to offer ceremonial salutations to the National Teacher Chung.1 When they reached the halfway point, Nan-ch’uan drew an enso on the ground and said, “If you can say [a word of Zen], we’ll keep going.” Kuei Tsung sat down in the middle of the enso. . . . Nan-ch’uan said, “If that’s it, we aren’t going any farther.” Kuei Tsung said, “Where is this man’s mind going?” [是什麻心行]. Piyenlu, case 69 1 Like Kuei Tsung, we may wonder what’s going on here, but it would seem that the man of Zen is neither totally within the enso nor outside of it. Some commentators have speculated that the enso has its origin in the full moon,2 often a Buddhist symbol of enlightenment. But however one wishes to interpret the enso, it is considered to be an absolute test of the balance and spontaneity of the painter’s mind (or Mind), and the best or most interesting are often displayed not only in tea rooms and Zen temples, but in martial arts dojos as well. Indeed, the great swordsman and painter Miyamoto Musashi said in essence that the stroke of the sword and the stroke of the brush are the same: that with each stroke, the mind of the practitioner could be observed with certainty. This is reflected in the Chinese dictum 心正即筆正 When the mind is correct, the brush will be also. The same can be said for the ladling of the water, the movement of the whisk, and the taste of the tea. Although the enso almost always appears by itself, it is sometimes accompanied by other Chinese characters, as in: ○是れ食ふて茶飲め eat this, and have a cup of tea. 2 the one taste of truth 2 無 Mu “emptiness” This is no doubt the best-known Chinese character in Zen literature and calligraphy. Variously translated as “emptiness,” “the Void,” “Nonexistence,” or “the origin of All Things,” it is etymologically related to the character for “dance,” the archaic form depicting a man or woman adorned ornamentally going through dance-like movements. Could this indicate the empty, receptive mental state reached by dancing shamans or shamanesses? or could it simply represent, as the folk etymology holds, a forest burned to nothingness? In the third or fourth century, Lao Tzu, the old man who is said to have established Taoism as a philosophy, had this to say: Thirty spoke make the nave of a wheel, Yet it is the nonbeing [at the center of the wheel] that is the wheel’s utility. It is the kneaded clay that fashions a pot, Yet it is the nonexistence [inside the pot] that is the pot’s utility. It is the chiseling out of windows and a door that make a room, Yet it is the nonexistence [in the door and windows] that is the room’s utility. Therefore, it is by existence that we set the stage, But by nonexistence that we have utility. Tao Te Ching, chapter 11 fundamentals 3 Mu has become known to students of Zen, and so to adherents of Tea and practitioners of the martial arts, through a koan in the Wumenkuan. The case goes as follows: A monk asked Chao Chou, “Does a dog have [有] the Buddhanature or not [無]?” Chao Chou said, “Mu.” Wumenkuan, case 13 This koan has bedeviled Zen monks and students ever since the thirteenth century, when Wu-men, the monk who compiled the Wumenkuan, made it the first of the barriers Zen aspirants would have to solve (and this after beating his own head against a pillar while in his seventies as he tried to grasp it himself). It is interesting to us because, although mu in this case has most often been translated as “No,” or “It has not,” the meaning of the character is “Nonexistence,” which is the state of mind (無心, Mushin, or NoMind) Buddhists are encouraged to attain.4 Wu-men went on to further explain the character in his commentary for the same case: Clear out the knowledge and evil learning you’ve gotten up to now, and after some time, [your mind] will become quite ripe of itself. Your internal and external worlds will become one, and, in this way, you will be like a mute who has had a dream—you alone will be privy to your own self-knowledge. Quite suddenly, [your whole self] will take off, and you will astound Heaven and shake the earth. It will be like grabbing away the great sword of the general Kuan Yu:5 when you meet the Buddha, you kill the Buddha; when you meet the ancestor,6 you kill the ancestor. Standing at the precipice of life and death, you will gain the Great Freedom; and, although [living through] the Six Ways7 and the Four Births,8 you will be in a state 4 the one taste of truth of easy and playful samadhi. So, just how do you put yourself into this shape? Use every last bit of your ordinary energy, and become one with this mu. If you do not quit in the interim, it will be like happily igniting a single candle of the Dharma. This is followed by a verse: The dog, the Buddha-nature. The complete carry-along, the straight command. If you involve yourself with existence [有] and Nonexistence [ 無 ] even for a second, You are attending your own funeral. Also, consider this story: When the warrior Hosokawa Shigeyuki [1434–1511] retired as daimyo of Sanuki Province, he became a Zen priest. When osen Kaisan [1429–93], a scholar-monk, visited Shigeyuki, the aging warrior told the monk that he wished to show him a landscape that he himself had painted on a recent trip to Kumano and other scenic spots on the Kii Peninsula. When the scroll was opened, there was nothing but a blank sheet of paper. The monk, struck by the emptiness of the painting, offered these words of praise: Your brush is as tall as Mount Sumeru, Black ink large enough to exhaust the great earth; The white paper as vast as the void that swallows up all illusions. A number of words and phrases used in Tea scrolls are centered on the concept of mu, all with varying nuances; at present, we may consider one more. fundamentals 5 無 3 Mujaku 着 “Nonattachment” This is to be detached not only from the passions and material objects of the world, but also from your own opinions, concepts, and ideals. Whatever preconceived ideas you may have and cherish will only become blinders and get in the way when pure reality is right before your eyes. To be truly without attachment, you must throw both your mental and spiritual baggage overboard, and experience the world just as it is. Illustrating this is the famous story of the Zen master and the professor: A rather self-important university professor visited the Zen master Nan-in,9 ostensibly to ask about Zen, but in truth to show off what he already knew about the subject. As was customary, tea was served. Nan-in poured tea into the professor’s cup, but when the cup was filled, continued pouring. When the astonished professor asked him to stop, protesting that the cup was already full, Nan-in said, “Your mind, too, is already full of your own ideas. I cannot tell you about Zen until you have become like an empty cup.” The same truth applies to both Tea and the martial arts. In the Zencharoku, we read: 6 the one taste of truth originally, the Way of Tea was not in selecting the good utensils from the bad, nor in styles and forms of its preparation. It is simply that when you handle tea utensils, you practice the enlightening of your true nature, and enter the realm of samadhi. The practice of seeking your self-nature through Tea is nothing other than sweeping away all your various thoughts, and concentrating the mind one-pointedly. In the same vein, Miyamoto Musashi constantly told his students not to be attached to certain weapons, the length of the sword, or one technique over another. He illustrated this point when he was attacked one day while whittling a bow; having nothing else at hand, he picked up one of the sticks he was carving and defeated the intruder with ease. 4 遊 Yu. “enjoy yourself.” Yu literally means “to play,” “to enjoy oneself in a leisurely fashion,” or “to go on a journey.” This term is inherited from Taoism and suggests that free and easy wandering is the way we should experience the world. The Kannon-kyo, the twenty-fifth chapter of the Lotus Sutra, states: 此の娑婆世界に遊ぶ Go through this world of illusion in free and easy wandering. There is also this from the Chuang Tzu: fundamentals 7 Lieh Tzu was good at going blithely about while riding on the wind, but after fifteen days would return to earth. He did not [have to be] particularly diligent in the search for good fortune, and though he was able to avoid walking on the ground, he had to depend on something. If he had only straightaway mounted Heaven and earth, ridden the changes of the six ch’i, and so wandered carefree in the limitless, what would he have had to depend on then? This is the attitude we must take in our hearts even in the midst of the rules and rites of drinking tea and practicing Zen. Indeed, the rules and rites themselves are said to allow us this freedom. Such free and easy wandering, it would seem, allows the student of Zen, the practitioner of Tea, the calligrapher, or the martial artist to work in a state such that he can “have manifestations everywhere while still remaining [himself].”10 And it is this concept of yu that allows us to see past the false impression of stuffiness: recall that a yujin (遊人) is a man given to wine, gambling, and women, and yugei sammai (遊芸三味) is indulging in drinking and gambling—often associated with both Tea and Zen. 5 Mu, “Dream.” yume. The archaic form of this Chinese character indicated the dark, or the dark of night, or the illusions that come in the dark. In the thirdcentury b.c.e. philosophical work Hsun Tzu, it meant “empty knowledge.” 8 the one taste of truth In the world of Tea and Zen, yume means “illusion,” or the “illusory nature of both the relative and the absolute worlds.” This is how we find it in the Chuang Tzu: A long time ago, Chuang Chou had a dream in which he was a butterfly, happily fluttering about, pleased with himself, and following his own whims. He did not know that he was Chuang Chou. All of a sudden, he woke up and was quite manifestly Chuang Chou. [Then] he didn’t know if he was Chuang Chou dreaming he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming he was Chuang Chou. Indeed, there is some distinction between Chuang Chou and the butterfly: it is called the Transmutation of Things. This same instability between illusion and reality is expressed in another story in the same book; its first sentence is also found on tea room scrolls: 夢飲酒者旦哭泣、夢哭泣旦田猟 He who drinks wine in his dream wakes to shed tears; but he who laments in his dream awakes to hunt in the fields. When someone is having a dream, he is not aware that it is a dream; but waking, he knows that it is a dream. While in a dream, you may try to divine what the dream means; but it is only after you awake that you know that it was a dream. The Sanskrit root of the word Buddha means “to wake up.” This is the goal of both Zen and Tea. This is emphasized in the Zencharoku, which states, “[In this way], preparing tea reflects perfectly the intent of Zen, and has become a Way of enlightening people of their fundamental selves.” fundamentals 9 Yume also brings to mind the poem ending the thirty-second chapter of the Diamond Sutra—again, found on scrolls in both tea rooms and Zen temples: 一切有為法、如夢幻泡 影如露亦如雷、応作如 是観 All fabricated dharmas are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, or shadows. They are like the dew, and again like lightning, and should be meditated upon as such. The haiku poet Basho also wrote a number of poems centered around the concept of the dream and illusion of this world. Two of the most famous are the following: 10 the one taste of truth 蛸壷やはかなき夢を夏の月 octopus jars: transient dreams summer moon. under a 夏草やつわものどもが夢の跡 Summer grasses: all that remains of warriors’ dreams. Finally, it remains to mention Takuan Soho, a Zen monk, calligrapher, painter, poet, gardener, and tea master. Takuan was adviser and instructor to both the shogun and the emperor, the sword master Yagyu Munenori, and, as legend has it, friend and teacher to the swordsman and artist Miyamoto Musashi. Takuan was unaffected by his fame and popularity, and at the approach of death he instructed his disciples, “Bury my body in the mountain behind the temple, cover it with dirt, and go home. Read no sutras, hold no ceremony. Receive no gifts from either monk or laity. Let the monks wear their robes, eat their meals, and carry on as on normal days.” Asked for a final poem as he lay dying, he wrote the Chinese character for “dream” (夢), threw away the brush, and passed away. 6 Ho, hanatsu. “Let it 放go.” Hanatsu means “to let go,” “release,” or “set free.” From the subjective point of view, it means unclenching your hands. on fundamentals 11 scrolls, it often appears as a single character; but it appears just as often in a phrase from the Hsinhsinming, a treatise written by Sengtsan, the third Zen patriarch, toward the end of the sixth century c.e.: 放之自然 Release this, and everything will be of-itself-so.11 The passage containing this phrase gives a fuller sense of its meaning: The heart of the Way is vast with great margin; It is neither difficult nor easy. Small views [bring] fox-like doubts;12 Now rushing, now holding back. With attachment we lose [a sense of] scale, Inevitably entering a twisted road.13 Release this, and everything will be of-itself-so. In the heart of things, there is no coming or going; Trust your [true] character, and join with the Way: Wandering playfully, cutting off all care. Let it go, and it will be naturally what it is. Let go of your illusions and preconceived ideas, and everything will be natural of itself. It is the preconceived idea—any mental attachment as to what something is or isn’t, what it should or shouldn’t be—that will make the Tea Ceremony stiff, become a barrier to the practice of Zen, and mean defeat to the martial artist. With no baggage crowding our minds, we see clearly, the barrier between subject and object breaks down, and everything is of-itself-so (自然). Let it go: the grasping 12 the one taste of truth hand (or mind) can receive nothing; the teapot already full of stale tea can receive nothing new or fresh. This concept was addressed by both the Zen priest Takuan and his student and friend the sword master Yagyu Munenori. Takuan, in his Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom, declared: If my mind is treated like a tied-up cat, it will not be free and will probably not be able to function as it should. If the cat is well trained, the string is untied, and it is allowed to go wherever it pleases. Then, even if the two are together, the cat will not seize the sparrow. Acting along these lines is the meaning of “engendering the mind with no place for it to abide.” Letting go of my mind and ignoring it like the cat, though it may go where it pleases—this will be using the mind in the way of not having it stop. If we put this in terms of your own martial art, the mind is not detained by the hand that brandishes the sword. In The Life-Giving Sword, Yagyu Munenori wrote: The priest Chung-feng said, “Maintain the mind that releases the mind.” This saying has two levels of meaning. The practice of the first is as follows: if you “release” the mind, do not allow it to become fixated when it reaches its destination, but unfailingly make it return. If you strike once with your sword, do not let your mind stop at that strike, but bring your mind back securely to yourself. The deeper meaning is: in releasing the mind, you let it go where it wishes. “Releasing the mind” means letting it go and not letting it stop anywhere. “Maintain the mind that releases the mind” means exactly that, for if the mind is released and always brought back as if fundamentals 13 in a net, it will not be free. The mind that releases the mind is one that is let go and does not stop. If you maintain such a released mind, your movements will be free. 7 Moku “Silence” 黙 Silence, both verbal and mental. The absolute world of the mind from which attachment and confusion have been extracted. The absence of opinion. one day during the end of the sixth century b.c.e., the Buddha Shakyamuni, the Awakened one, was about to preach to the congregation of monks, nuns, bodhisattvas, laypeople, kinnaras, garudas, and an assortment of other beings. Instead of speaking, however, the Buddha, in silence, held up a flower before the wouldbe listeners. No one in the assembly understood what the Buddha meant except for his disciple Mahakashyapa, who, in silence, simply smiled. This is said to be the first transmission of the lamp, the first “transmitting of mind through mind” ( 以心伝心), and it is the beginning of Zen. Not long thereafter, the old man who is considered to be the father of Taoism and the great-grandfather of Zen began his classic, the Tao Te Ching, with this cautionary statement: The Way that can be intelligently described is not the unchanging Way. The name that can be said out loud is not the unchanging name. Without opening your mouth to define things, you stand at the beginning of the universe. 14 the one taste of truth Make definitions, and you are the measure of all creation. Back in the world of Zen, in the eighth chapter of the Vimalakirtinirdesa Sutra, a number of bodhisattvas had given their views of emptiness. Manjusri, the bodhisattva associated with wisdom, said to the layman Vimalakirti, “We have all given you our theories [on the nature of nondualism]; will you now say something on the Dharma Gate to Nonduality?” At this, Vimalakirti was silent and said nothing. Then Manjusri said, “Splendid! Splendid! Son of good family! This will surely bring the bodhisattvas into Nonduality! And this without sentences or phrases, without words, and without a movement of the mind.” Vimalakirti’s response is described as 一黙如雷 Ichimoku rai no gotoshi A silence like thunder. The message is clear: one cannot trust words for getting at the deepest truth; man-made constructs are confining and liable to miss the point. The Zen masters will often point out that “you are wrong as soon as you open your mouth,” and insist that you must understand reality as you would “hot” or “cold”— by sticking your hand into the fire or the tub of ice water.14 The most profound moments of Tea and the martial arts are also said to be transmitted in the same way. It is interesting that the archaic Chinese character fundamentals 15 for “silence” depicted a dog biting soundlessly, as if barking would detract from the bite. Confucius also advocated “being silent and knowing distinctly” (黙 而識之),15 and the concept of silence features in the I Ching and the Doctrine of the Mean as well. But nowhere does the distrust of words and theories loom as in Taoism and Zen. In Heaven’s Way, as in the tea room, What is of-itself Uses silence to mature things, Uses peace to make them quiet, Sees them off and greets them. Lieh Tzu, chapter 6 8 Nyo, gotoshi “Like, thus, such as” The official etymologies explain this kanji as “a woman [女] doing as she is told [口],” but given the matriarchal character of early societies in China and Japan and the fact that many shamans have, indeed, been shamanesses, the character may more likely have meant something like “as the woman says.” However that may be, in Buddhism, 如 means the Absolute Reality, reality as it is and not as we might wish it to be, and indicates our acceptance of that reality. When one of the early Chinese Zen masters was asked what he could say as proof of his enlightenment, he simply responded, “Nuns are naturally women.” This is the gist of the poem: 春色無高下花枝 自短長 16 the one taste of truth In the scenery of spring, there is no high or low; The flowering branches are, of themselves, some short some long. 如 9 Nyo’i. 意 “As you wish.” This is literally “as [you] will,” or “according to [your] desire.” This is the enlightened person, for whom everything that happens is according to his desire—which is to say that his desires do not run counter to the reality of the way things are. He “wants” the flowers to be red and the grass green. Thus, when discussing wabi—a taste for the simple and quiet—the writer of the Zencharoku states: You should understand wabi as that when you are not well-off, you have no thoughts about being so; though you are in want, no thoughts arise of lacking anything, and when things don’t go well, you do not have any feelings about their being that way. Therefore, if you feel that you are not well-off when such is the case, or lament that you are in want when you do not have enough, or grumble that things are not going well when this is so, you are not a man of wabi tea; you are truly indigent at heart. In the tea room, the arrangements may be imperfect, but they are perfectly so. fundamentals 17 Related to this is the 如意球, the wish-fulfilling gem (Sanskrit, cintamani), the fabulous gem often carried by Bodhisattva Jizo, which can respond to every wish. But, again, this symbolizes the enlightened state of mind in which one wishes reality to be just as it is. originally, 如意 meant the short sword the bodhisattva Manjusri wielded to cut through ignorance. Thus would one’s wishes be in accord with Reality. 10 然 Zen, nen “Completely so” on its own, 然 connotes a condition of doing something with such totality or such completeness that nothing remains. In other words, in doing something with 然, the action is executed with the entire person, whether pouring tea, sitting in meditation, or performing a martial arts technique. originally, the Chinese character meant “to burn” or “a flame burning.” As a suffix, it is found in character compounds important to many of the Japanese arts. 寂 然 , jakunen, for example, means “peaceful and quiet,” mentally and spiritually. In the Noh drama, 然 is the quality necessary for playing the essence of the person, god, or demon being portrayed. The actor does not aim for realism. Zeami, the father of Noh, wrote that “no matter what kind of character [you are portraying], you must first learn to become the thing itself.” You must take on the “true intent” of that character. To do this, you would need the quality of 然. This quality of 然 can also be immediately understood by witnessing the recitation of the Shinto prayers called norito, in 18 the one taste of truth which the supplicant almost becomes the words (many of which are not comprehensible) that leave his mouth. If the supplicant himself is consumed by the norito, the gods may have no other choice than to act in his behalf. Perhaps the most interesting character compound using 然 is 自然, often translated as “nature” or “spontaneity,” but sometimes termed the “of-itself [自] so [然]” in english works on Zen and Taoism. The writer Stephen Mitchell has termed this the “self-immolating”— again with the idea of an entity being so completely itself that there is nothing left for anything that is not itself. As such, the term for “nature,” 自然, reveals one fundamental difference between eastern religions, in which the world is self-generating, and the Western Semitic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in which the world is created by an outside force (i.e., God). The term 自然, never far from the simple character 然, is found in early Taoist literature, a few examples of which should suffice to give a feeling for its intent. He who acts on something, breaks it. He who fetters something, loses it. For this reason, the sage Does not fabricate, and thus does not break; Does not fetter, and thus does not lose. . . . In this way, he assists the Ten Thousand Things to be ofthemselves-so [自然]. But is not eager to concoct anything himself. Tao Te Ching, chapter 64 The Way gives them life. Their essential virtue gives them sustenance. fundamentals 19 Color and shape give them form. energy gives them completion. Therefore, the Ten Thousand Things Respect the Way and treasure their own virtue. Respecting the Way and treasuring their virtue: No one commands them to do this; It is always just of-itself-so [自然]. Tao Te Ching, chapter 51 The ancients lived abstractedly in the midst of chaos, along with the rest of the world, but were able to do so at ease and without greed. At that time, yin and yang were harmonious and peaceful, the gods and the demons created no trouble, the four seasons kept the correct pace, the Ten Thousand Things received no harm, and all beings reached their appropriate ages. Men had knowledge, but no occasion to use it. This was called Complete Unity [with the Tao]. At that time, they fabricated nothing, and their life was always one of spontaneity [自然].16 Chuang Tzu, chapter 16 When I asked again, the man without a name said, “Let your mind play along in simplicity [淡], let your ch’i mix with the vast and broad, follow along with the spontaneity [自然] of things, and do not get involved with self-importance. [If you will do these things], all under Heaven will be governed. 20 the one taste of truth 一 期 一 Chuang Tzu, chapter 7 会 Ichigo ichi’e 11 “each meeting a once-in-a-lifetime event” This phrase is included among the fundamental concepts presented by ichigyomono because it is the guiding life not only of Tea but of Zen Buddhism and the martial arts as well. Ichigo refers to a person’s life, from birth to death—something never to be repeated—while ichi’e is a coming together or an assembly of people. The world is transient, and it is natural that whomever you meet, you will part from. every meeting is special and unique, and will never happen again in the same way. Thus, you should put your entire body and spirit into the encounter, whether it be in the tea room, a chance meeting in the street, in martial conflict, fundamentals 21 or in your own solitary thought. The message extends to everyday behavior: one should pay attention to things and events as though none will ever be repeated. Let happiness as well as sorrow be complete, and experienced with attention and nonattachment. Master Matsubara Daido wrote: Ichigo ichi’e is not something just concerned with others; it is a careful and meticulous mental stance you have toward everything, everything in existence. If you embrace this concept of ichigo ichi’e in your heart, you should independently have more responsibility and circumspection in your way of speaking, in your way of thinking, and even in your personal behavior. According to your understanding of ichigo ichi’e, you should become a deeper person altogether. Zen no hon The following story is often used to illustrate this all-important concept. Dogen was on Mount Tientung in China, studying Zen, when one day he encountered an old monk who was working as tenzo [chief cook]. It was midsummer, and the sun was beating down hard. The tenzo was working vigorously, drying out some shiitake mushrooms. Dogen said, “This is awfully hard work, isn’t it? Why don’t you have a younger man do it?” The tenzo replied, “If another person does it, I won’t be able to do it myself.” “That’s so, but it’s so hot right now. Wouldn’t it be better to do it on a more pleasant day?” “And when would such a pleasant day be? Answer me that. Will there ever be another time like this one, right now?” Dogen could say nothing, and the tenzo worked on, sweating in silence. 22 the one taste of truth chapter 2 No-Mind / Nondualism 無 心 12 “N o-Mind” Mushin Usually translated as “No-Mind,” this character combination might be approached as meaning the open mind without judgment or preconceived notions, without definitions or attachments; the mind that perceives reality as a mirror would reflect it. Paradoxically, NoMind cannot be grasped by any of the senses, and yet it may be manifested through them. According to the Zen masters, No-Mind perceives the world directly, and without an agenda. In his letter to the sword master Yagyu Munenori, the priest Takuan defined No- 24 Mind as “the mind that does not remain in one place . . . but rather wanders about the entire body and extends throughout the entire self.” Interestingly, No-Mind is defined as “natural” or “spontaneous” ( 自 然 ) in classical Chinese, and as “innocent, without greed or twisted thoughts” in colloquial Japanese. Thus, the definitions are fluid, but do not flow far from one another. No-Mind can perhaps be best understood through the writings of the Taoists, the ancestors of Zen. Consider the following: Kuan Yin said happily, “I f nothing resides within you, The form of things will not be blatant. When you move, be like water; When at peace, be like a mirror. In reacting, be like an echo.” Therefore, the Way is a law unto things. Things diverge from the Way; the Way does not diverge from things. The man who is well in accord with the Way does not use his ears, does not use his eyes, does not use his strength, and does not use his mind. If you want to be in accord with the Way, do not seek after it by means of sight, hearing, form, or knowledge. None of these will hit the mark. If you look for it in front, it will suddenly be behind. Use it, and it will fill all the six directions. Abandon it, and you won’t know where it is. It is not something that mind can set at a distance; nor is it something that mindlessness can bring near. It will only be attained when you receive it in silence, and let its character be complete. Understand without passion, be able without fabricating. This is true understanding and true ability. Put forth No-Knowledge, and how no-mind / nondualism 25 will you be capable of passion? Put forth No-Ability, and how will you be capable of fabrication? Lieh Tzu Although Lieh Tzu plays with 無心, using it here in the sense of “mindlessness,” the message is clear: the Way is neither to be attained through intellectual exercises nor grasped through the senses. It will only come about through the mind that is open, fluid, and completely free of intentional “doing.” The Hsin lun provides us with this footnote: The fish has no fear of the net, but shrinks from the cormorant. The enemy does not begrudge the famed sword of Wu, hates the man [who wields it]. The net [is possessed of] No-Mind, but the bird is the one with passion. The sword itself is without emotion; it is the man who has the mind. but And Chuang Tzu, in discussing the man of the Way, describes the peacefully sleeping Nieh Ch’ueh: Form like a desiccated corpse, Mind like dead ashes. He makes Truth his real understanding; He himself does not hold on to rhyme or reason. Dim and dark twicefold: With such No-Mind, there is no being deceived by others. Who can this man be? 26 the one taste of truth Finally, Liu K’un adds this encouraging note: Heaven and earth [are possessed of] No-Mind; The Ten Thousand Things are similarly imbued. 然廓 Kakunen musho 無聖“A vast emptiness and nothing holy” 13 emperor Wu of Liang asked Bodhidharma, “What is the first principle of this holy Way?” Bodhidharma said, “A vast emptiness, and nothing holy.” The emperor said, “Who is this before me now?” Bodhidharma said, “I don’t know.” The emperor could make no sense of this. Bodhidharma then crossed the Yangtze, and went on to the kingdom of Wei. The emperor later raised this matter with Chih Kung, and questioned him about it. Chih Kung said, “Does my lord have any idea of who this person is?” The emperor said, “I do not.” no-mind / nondualism 27 Chih Kung said, “He is the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara,1 who transmits the Buddha’s Mind Seal.” The emperor felt regret, and thought of sending off a messenger to invite the man back. Chih Kung said, “My lord, even if you sent a messenger to bring him back, even if everyone in the kingdom went along, he would not turn around and come back.” Piyenlu, case 1 Bodhidharma’s response to emperor Wu is considered to express the very essence of Zen. His answer may reflect Bodhidharma’s visual experience on his long five-year sea journey from India with its broad, cloudless sky—a territory of both existence and nonexistence. The words “nothing holy” remind us that there is nothing demonstrably religious in Zen. There are no choirs of angels, no saints to pray to, no ecstasy of spirit. Zen is our everyday ordinary life—whether we are tying a shoe, notching an arrow, or drinking a cup of tea. We may recall that the Chinese character for Zen is 禅, which, broken down to its basic elements, is 示 (“to manifest”) and 単 (“simplicity”). With no prospects in the palace, Bodhidharma then crossed the Yangtze River on a reed, and settled in at the Shaolin Temple, where he presumably had better luck teaching the monks kung fu. 28 the one taste of truth 不 不 思 思 14 Fu shi zen, fu shi aku. 善 悪 do not think ‘evil.’” “Do not think ‘good’; The Sixth Patriarch2 was being chased from one place to another by the head monk Ming, who pursued him as far as Ta Yu Peak. The Patriarch saw Ming coming, tossed the robe and the begging bowl 3 on a rock, and said, “This robe represents the faith. Should we be fighting over them with brute force? I entrust them to you. Take them and go.” Ming then tried to pick them up, but they were as immovable as a mountain. Hesitating and trembling, he said, “I came searching for the Dharma, not the robe. I humbly ask you to open up, and to instruct this wandering monk.” no-mind / nondualism 29 The Patriarch said, “Do not think ‘good’; do not think ‘evil.’ At just this moment, what is the original Face4 of the head monk, Ming?” Ming, at that point, had a great awakening, and sweat poured over his entire body. Through tears he made obeisance and asked, “Beyond the secret words and secret meanings you have graciously imparted to me, is there yet some deeper meaning?” The Patriarch said, “What I have explained to you just now is not a secret at all. If you have shed light on your own [original] Face, the ‘secret,’ on the contrary, belongs to you.” Ming said, “Though I followed along with the rest of the monks when I was at Huang-mei,5 in fact, I had not reflected on my own [original] Face. Now I have received the favor of your initiatory instruction and it is like someone drinking water, himself knowing whether it is cool or warm. You are now this wandering monk’s teacher.” The Patriarch said, “If you are so inclined, both you and I will consider [the Patriarch at] Huang-mei to be our teacher. Retain and defend his Dharma well.” Wumenkuan, case 23 Good, evil; existent, nonexistent; the right tea utensil, the wrong one—once one engages in dualistic thinking, the unadulterated vision of reality is hopelessly lost. In the Hsinhsinming, it says: Have no use for seeking the Truth; Simply desist from having opinions. Do not reside in “exoteric” and “esoteric”; Watch yourself, and don’t chase them around. If there is the thinnest hint of “right” and “wrong,” The mind is 30 the one taste of truth lost in a tangled web of ambiguity. The Two6 depend upon the one; But again, do not cling to the one. If nothing arises in the mind, All the Ten Thousand Things are without blame. No blame, no phenomena; Nothing arises; nothing in the mind. And in the Zencharoku, the author quotes the Tao Te Ching in regard to the “truly good”: everybody understands the beautiful to be “beautiful,” But this only creates the concept of “ugly”; everybody understands the good to be “good,” But this only creates the concept of “bad.” no-mind / nondualism 31 水 雲 似 如 無 無 15 mizu ni nite muso Kumo no gotoku mushin; 想 心 No- Thought like the water” “No-Mind like the clouds; Water and clouds, clouds and water: two symbols prevalent in early Taoist writings, inherited by Zen literature. Clouds seem to come and go as they please, while the water of rushing streams continues 32 the one taste of truth on regardless of the impediments in its path. Both represent the freedom of constant movement, transparent, refreshing, and as pure as the Void. Zen Buddhist monks were given the name Unsui (雲水, clouds and water) as they wandered the country in ascetic practices and training. Like water and clouds, they took little with them on their travels, other than a begging bowl and a small sewing kit to mend their already patchwork robes. Traveling light, they were admonished never to stay two nights in one place, to make transience their lodging place, and to renounce attachment. This is rule number one in Rules for Pilgrimages, attributed to the haiku poet Basho: 一宿再宿すべからず. 暖めざる筵を思べし You should not stay in one lodging twice. Think on having a mat that has not yet been warmed. In the Sung shih, we find: 作文如行雲流水, 始無定質. “Writing should [be done] like floating clouds and flowing water; from the very beginning there should be nothing hard or fixed.” Thus, the qualities of these natural elements were never lost on the Chinese poets. Tu Hsun-ho, for example, wrote: 株坐雲遊出世塵 Sitting on a stump, I wander as freely as a cloud and leave the world’s dust. And in the poetry of Feng-kan7 we find: 一身如雲水、悠悠任去来 no-mind / nondualism 33 A body like clouds and water, I leisurely entrust myself to its comings and goings. In the eighth verse of the Tao Te Ching, the old man commented: The greatest good is like water. Water’s virtue is that it benefits all creatures, but is eager to contend with none. It resides in places most men hate; Thus, it is close to the Way. In his inimitable way, Chuang Tzu gives us one of the best illustrations of acting naturally, whether in the meditation hall, the tea room, the dojo, or anywhere else: Confucius was sightseeing in Lu-liang. There was a place where the water plummeted thirty fathoms, then flowed and bubbled and splashed along for another forty li, so that neither fish nor water creatures could swim there. He noticed a man swimming in just that spot, and so thought the man was suffering some pain and wanted to die. He ordered his disciples to line up along the current and to rescue the man. But after a few hundred paces, the man got out on his own and walked leisurely along the embankment, letting his hair fall where it might and singing a song as he went. Confucius followed along after him and said, “I took you for a demon, but now I realize you are a man. I would like to ask if you have some Way of treading the water.” The man said, “No, I have no Way at all. I start with my beginnings, grow with my character, and complete things with my destiny. I enter along with the whirlpools, and come out where it’s calm; I follow the Way of the water, and do not consider myself. For 34 the one taste of truth this reason, I’m able to tread along.” Confucius said, “What do you mean when you say, ‘I start with my beginnings, grow with my character, and complete things with my destiny?’” The man said, “I was born on the land and felt repose on the land, this was my beginning. I grew up in the water and felt repose in the water. This is my character. Not knowing why, I naturally do what I do. This is my destiny.” elsewhere, Chuang Tzu has Vital Principle lecturing General Cloud as though on the nature of clouds themselves: I wander floating about, not knowing what I seek. My senses having left me, I have no idea where I’m going. I’m busy with just wandering free and easy, and so looking at the formlessness of things. What should I know about anything? Thus, the tea room, the dojo, the meditation hall, should be as free and easy, and as lacking in self-consciousness, as the clouds and water. When self-consciousness enters in, and NoMind becomes something one strives for, the gulf between the action and the actor opens wide and deep. entering the world of the Buddhas, You may fall into the world of demons; no-mind / nondualism 35 The world of the Buddhas enters right into 無 心 帰 the world of 大 demons. Mushin nareba daido ni ki su. 16 “Having No-Mind, 36 the one taste of truth 道 you return to the Great Way.” If you conduct your affairs with a clear mind free of desire and attachment, this will be the mind of enlightenment, and your Way will not be contrary to the Great Way. Discussing the super- ficial Teaman’s preoccupation with just the right kind of room and utensils, Jakuan Sotaku writes in the Zencharoku: Tea utensils in Zen tea are neither articles of beauty, things of variety, family treasures, nor antiques. They are considered to be utensils having an awakened mind of purity, free from twisted thoughts and greed. Handling this pure and unadulterated mind as a utensil is Tea with the workings of Zen. . . . The utensil of the mind of purity is not something made by human fabrication. It is a utensil [created by] the spontaneity of Heaven and earth. It is endowed with the same principle as nature’s myriad forms and all phenomena of the universe. It is like the moon that shines with both clarity and the Tao. It is important to note that the third character in this phrase, 帰, originally meant something more like “to follow” than “to return,” but not as one might follow a path or a master. etymologically, the Chinese character is connected with the bride who would follow her new husband to his home. Understood in this way, the character implies entering a union, and the no-mind / nondualism 37 一 phrase suggests a deeper and more spiritual return. 味 眞 “The one taste of Truth” 17 Ichi mi shin 38 the one taste of truth our natures are different, but the taste of tea is the same. This “one taste” is the Truth that knows no differences; it is the Buddha’s teaching of the Dharma, the Absolute. It is 唯 一 無 二 only one, not two. The Lotus Sutra says: Though they are born in different places, the same rain nurtures them all. Thus, the grasses and trees are all of differing standing, but we can say that the Buddha’s teaching has one Aspect and one Truth. This “one Aspect and one Truth” (一相一味) means the Universal Mind and the Buddha’s teaching, the former symbolized by the earth, the latter symbolized by the rain that nurtures it. In the same sutra, we find this phrase, which also appears as a common ichigyomono: 一味雨 Ichimi no ame “Rain with a single taste.” The rain falls impartially and equally on all things, bringing its lifegiving quality to every sentient and nonsentient being. In the same way, the singular truth of the Dharma is universal and omnipresent, available for the enlightenment of all. no-mind / nondualism 39 chapter 3 Work Hard and Do Your Own Work 終 日 18 Shuubi kankan 乾 乾 “Creatively active the entire day” Without creative activity, the world could not exist. From Chien, the first hexagram in the I Ching: “The Gentleman is creatively active the entire day; at night, he examines his own conduct with fear and trembling. His life may be precarious, but he will meet with no disasters.” In The Ten Wings Commentary of the I Ching, we find: 40 What does this [the above phrase] mean? The Master said, “one advances in virtue,1 and corrects the faults in his own work. Loyalty and good faith result from advancing in virtue. Correcting one’s words and establishing their sincerity result from residing within one’s own work. Reaching this point, one arrives at understanding. This is also called a dawning. Knowing how to come to the end of things, one comes to the end of them. This is also living on the proper path. For this reason [the Gentleman] is not proud when in a high position, nor depressed when in a low one. Thus, he is creatively active. According to the moment, he examines his own conduct with fear and trembling; and though he may be in danger, he will meet with no disasters.” This was reflected later—with some humor—by Confucius in the Lun Yu. Tsai Yu was taking a nap. The Master said, “You cannot carve rotten wood, or trowel lacque…

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