He is regarded as the reviver of the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice. Hakuin was born in in the small village of Hara , [web 1] at the foot of Mount Fuji. His mother was a devout Nichiren Buddhist , and it is likely that her piety was a major influence on his decision to become a Buddhist monk. This deeply impressed the young Hakuin, and he developed a pressing fear of hell , seeking a way to escape it. He eventually came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to become a monk.

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Selected Paintings. PDF: Orategama. Introductory to Lectures on the Records of Old Sokko. The Importance of Kensho. A Talk on the Platform Sutra of Hui-neng. Tunnelling into the Secret Depths. False Teachers and False Zen. Shoju Rojin: Hakuin's teacher. In the Holes of Lotus Threads. We do not know by whom the Jeweled-mirror Samadhi was composed. From Sekito Osho, Yakusan Osho, and Ungan Osho, it was transmitted from master to master and handed down within the secret room.

Never have [its teachings] been willingly disclosed until now. After it had been transmitted to Tozan Osho, he made clear the gradations of the Five Ranks within it, and composed a verse for each rank, in order to bring out the main principle of Buddhism. Surely the Five Ranks is a torch on the midnight road, a ferry boat at the riverside when one has lost one's way! But alas! The Zen gardens of recent times are desolate and barren. No one pays any attention to it. Of themselves they stumble and fall into the mud of heterodox views and cannot get out until death overtakes them.

They never know that the Five Ranks is the ship that carries them across the poisonous sea surrounding the rank o f the Real, the precious wheel that demolishes the impregnable prison-house of the two voids. They do not know the important road of progressive practice; they are not versed in the secret meaning within this teaching.

Therefore they sink into the stagnant water of sravaka-hood or pratyeka-buddhahood. They fall into the black pit of withered sprouts and decayed seeds. Even the hand of Buddha would find it difficult to save them. That into which I was initiated forty years ago in the room of Shoju I shall now dispense as the alms giving of Dharma.

When I find a superior person who is studying the true and profound teaching and has experienced the Great Death, I shall give this secret transmission to him, since it was not designed for men of medium and lesser ability. Take heed and do not treat it lightly! How vast is the expanse of the sea of the doctrine, how manifold are the gates of the teaching! Among these, to be sure, are a number of doctrines and orally transmitted secret teachings, yet never have I seen anything to equal the perversion of the Five Ranks, the carping criticism, the tortuous explanations, the adding of branch to branch, the piling up of entanglement upon entanglement.

The truth is that the teachers who are guilty of this do not know for what principle the Five Ranks was instituted. Hence they confuse and bewilder their students to the point that even a Sariputra or an Ananda would find it difficult to judge correctly.

Or, could it be that our patriarchs delivered themselves of these absurdi ties in order to harass their posterity unnecessarily? For a long time I wondered about this. But, when I came to enter the room of Shoju, the rhinoceros of my previous doubt suddenly fell down dead Do not look with suspicion upon the Five Ranks, saying that it is not the directly transmitted oral teaching of the Tozan line.

You should know that it was only after he had completed his investigation of Tozan's Verses that Shoju gave his acknowledgment to the Five Ranks. After I had entered Shoju's room and received transmission from him, I was quite was satisfied.

But, though I was satisfied, I still regretted that all teachers had not yet clearly explained the meaning of " the reciprocal interpenetration of the Apparent and the Real. Thereupon the rhinoceros of doubt once more raised its head. In the summer of the first year of the Kan'en era , in the midst of my meditation, suddenly the mystery of "the reciprocal interpenetration of the Apparent and the Real " became perfectly clear. It was just like looking at the palm of my own hand.

The rhinoceros of doubt instantly fell down dead, and I could scarcely bear the joy of it. Though I wished to hand it on to others, I was ashamed to squeeze out my old woman's stinking milk and soil the monk's mouths with it.

All of you who wish to plumb this deep source must make the investigation in secret with your entire body. My own toil has extended over these thirty years. Do not take this to be an easy task!

Even if you should happen to break up the family and scatter the household, do not consider this enough. You must vow to pass through seven, or eight, or even nine thickets of brambles. And, when you have passed through the thickets of brambles, still do not consider this to be enough. Vow to investigate the secret teachings of the Five Ranks to the end. For the past eight or nine years or more, I have been trying to incite all of you who boil your daily gruel over the same fire with me to study this great matter thoroughly, but more often than not you have taken it to be the doctrine of another house, and remained indifferent to it.

Only a few among you have attained understanding of it. How deeply this grieves me! Have you never heard: " The Gates of Dharma are manifold; I vow to enter them all? Shoju Rojin has said: "In order to provide a means wher eby students might directly experience the Four Wisdom's, the patriarchs, in their compassion and with their skill in devising expedients, first instituted the Five Ranks. Followers of the Way, even though you may have pursued your studies in the Threefold Learning continuously through many kalpas, if you have not directly experienced the Four Wisdoms, you are not permitted to call yourselves true sons of Buddha.

Followers of the way, if your investigation has been correct and complete, at the moment you smash open the dark cave of the eighth or Alaya consciousness, the precious light of the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom instantly shines forth. But, strange to say, the light of the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom is black like lacquer. This is what is called the rank of " The Apparent within the Real.

But the disciple must not be satisfied here. He himself must enter into intimate acquaintance with the rank of " The Coming from within the Real.

At last he reaches the rank of " Unity Attained," and, after all, comes back to sit among the coals and ashes. Do you know why? Pure gold that has gone through a thousand smeltings does not become ore a second time. My only fear is that a little gain will suffice you. How priceless is the merit gained through the step-by-step practice of the Five Ranks of the Apparent and the Real!

By this practice you not only attain the Four Wisdoms, but you personally prove that the Three Bodies also are wholly embraced within your own body. Have you not read in the Daijo shogongyo ron: "When the eight consciousnesses are inverted, the Four Wisdoms are produced; when the Four Wisdoms are bound together, the Three Bodies are perfected?

He also said: "The pure Dharmakaya is your nature; the perfect Sambhogakaya is your wisdom; the myriad Nirmanakayas are your activities.

The Apparent within the Real: In the third watch of the night Before the moon appears, No wonder when we meet There is no recognition! Still cherished in my heart Is the beauty of earlier days. When the true practitioner, filled with power from his secret study, meritorious achievements, and hidden practices, suddenly bursts through into this rank, " the empty sky vanishes and the iron mountain crumbles. This is the state of total empty solidity, without sound and without odor, like a bottomless clear pool.

It is as if every fleck of cloud had been wiped from the vast sky. Too often the disciple, considering that his attainment of this rank is the end of the Great Matter and his discernment of the Buddha-way complete, clings to it to the death and will not let go of it. Such as this is called it stagnant water " Zen; such a man is called " an evil spirit who keeps watch over the corpse in the coffin.

Therefore it is said: "He whose activity does not leave this rank sinks into the poisonous sea. Therefore, though as long as he remains in this hiding place of quietude, passivity and vacantness, inside and outside are transparent and his understanding perfectly clear, the moment the bright insight [he has thus far gained through his practice] comes into contact with differentiation's defiling conditions of turmoil and confusion, agitation and vexation, love and hate, he will find himself utterly helpless before them, and all the miseries of existence will press in upon him.

It was in order to save him from this serious illness that the rank of " The Real within the Apparent " was established as an expedient. The Real within the Apparent: A sleepy-eyed grandam Encounters herself in an old mirror. Clearly she sees a face, But it doesn't resemble her at all. Too bad, with a muddled head, She tries to recognize her reflection! If the disciple had remained in the rank of "The Apparent within the Real," his judgment would always have been vacillating and his view prejudiced.

Therefore, the bodhisattva of superior capacity invariably leads his daily life in the realm of the [six] dusts, the realm of all kinds of ever-changing differentiation. All the myriad phenomena before his eyes-the old and the young, the honorable and the base, halls and pavilions, verandahs and corridors, plants and trees, mountains and rivers-he regards as his own original, true, and pure aspect.

It is just like looking into a bright mirror and seeing his own face in it. If he continues for a long time to observe everything everywhere with this radiant insight, all appearances of themselves become the jeweled mirror of his own house, and he becomes the jeweled mirror of their houses as well. Eihei has said: "The experiencing of the manifold dharmas through using oneself is delusion; the experiencing of oneself through the coming of the manifold dharmas is satori.

This is the state of " mind and body discarded, discarded mind and body. Mind and the objects of mind are one and the same; things and oneself are not two.

This is what is known as the jeweled-mirror Samadhi. This is what the Nirvana Sutra is speaking about when i t says: " The Tathagata sees the Buddha-nature with his own eyes. But, if the student, having reached this state, were to be satisfied with it, then, as before, he would be living in the deep pit of " fixation in a lesser rank of bodhisattvahood. Because he is neither conversant with the deportment of the bodhisattva, nor does he understand the causal conditions for a Buddha-land.

Although he has a clear understanding of the Universal and True Wisdom, he cannot cause to shine forth the Marvelous Wisdom that comprehends the unobstructed interpenetration of the manifold dharmas. The patriarchs, in order to save him from this calamity, have provided the rank of "The Coming from within the Real. The Coming from within the Real: Within nothingness there is a path Leading away from the dusts of the world.

Even if you observe the taboo On the present emperor's name, You will surpass that eloquent one of yore Who silenced every tongue. In this rank, the Mahayana bodhisattva does not remain in the state of attainment that he has realized, but from the midst of the sea of effortlessness he lets his great uncaused compassion shine forth. Standing upon the four pure and great Universal Vows, he lashes forward the Dharma-wheel of " seeking Bodhi above and saving sentient beings below.


Hakuin Ekaku

Selected Paintings. PDF: Orategama. Introductory to Lectures on the Records of Old Sokko. The Importance of Kensho.


Hakuin Ekaku: A Reader's Guide

He is regarded as the reviver of the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice. Hakuin was born in in the small village of Hara, at the foot of Mount Fuji. His mother was a devout Nichiren Buddhist, and it is likely that her piety was a major influence on his decision to become a Buddhist monk. This deeply impressed the young Hakuin, and he developed a pressing fear of hell, seeking a way to escape it. He eventually came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to become a monk. While at Daisho-ji, he read the Lotus Sutra, considered by the Nichiren sect to be the king of all Buddhist sutras, and found it disappointing, saying "it consisted of nothing more than simple tales about cause and effect". At the age of nineteen, he came across in his studies the story of the Chinese Ch'an master Yantou Quanhuo, who had been brutally murdered by bandits.


Hakuin Ekaku. Bodhidharma Japanese: Daruma , the Indian monk credited with spreading Chan Zen Buddhist teachings to China in the sixth century, was a favorite subject of the Japanese artist Hakuin Ekaku. A highly influential Zen priest of the Rinzai sect, Hakuin was also a prolific painter whose striking and sometimes humorous pictures played an important role in his teaching. Dozens of half-length portraits of the Indian patriarch can be dated to the last few decades of Hakuin's life. Like many of Hakuin's Bodhidharma portraits, in this work the few brushstrokes in dark ink that describe the figure's robe contrast with the lighter tone of ink used for his scruffy face and chest.

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