Rinzai 145

Followers of the Way, my Dharma has been passed down as orthodox. It spread though Mayoku Osho, Tanka Osho, Doitsu Osho, Rozan Osho and Sekikyo Osho throughout the world as a single strand, but no one believes it, and everyone reviles it. Doitsu Osho’s teaching was pure and not coarse. None of his three hundred or five hundred students could make out his meaning. Rozan Osho’s teaching was true, and he was so good at displaying it that his students couldn’t help but be at their wits’ end before his action of revealing and concealing.


In this part Rinzai says that his teaching is orthodox having been transmitted through the narrated outstanding masters and that their teaching was great.

‘No one believes it, and everyone reviles it’ means that in those days just like today, most Buddhists, including monastics, were involved in worshiping and praying to the Buddha for blessings rather than pursuing enlightenment.

‘Doitsu Osho’s teaching was pure and not coarse. None of his three hundred or five hundred students could make out his meaning’ means that Doitsu Osho’s teaching was so refined and sophisticated that his students couldn’t understand his meaning through their knowledge. Let me introduce an example that shows how refined his teaching was. Once a monastic asked him, “What is the true-Self?” He answered, “Everyday mind.” This is how one of the most well-known phrases ‘everyday mind is the Buddha’ came into being. This may seem very simple to understand but you should know that you are still only groping around the surface of this saying unless you are enlightened, because it is beyond intellectual understanding.

Rozan Osho was also so adept in teaching; revealing and concealing the true-Self that his students couldn’t grasp it through their knowledge. For example, once harvesting vegetables in a vegetable garden, he drew a circle around a plant and said to his students who were working with him, “No one should touch this” and left the garden for a while. No one dared to touch it. When he returned and found the plant remained untouched, he scolded the students, “There is no one in this party who is wise.” How wonderful it is! If you understand what the master meant, you can be said to be enlightened.

Considering that teachers should do their best to make their students understand their teaching as easily and quickly as possible, the fact that both masters were so skilled in using expedients that their students had difficulty grasping their meaning may sound paradoxical, but this implies that their teaching methods were excellent since it means that they presented their students with various questions and references that their students couldn’t grasp through their knowledge, in order to prevent them from clinging to mere intellectual understanding.

Student: “How can you reveal the true-Self?”

Master: “I produce it from my pocket.”

Student: “How can you conceal it?”

Master: “I put it into my pocket.”

©Boo Ahm

All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway

#zen #meditation #zenmeditation #enlightened #enlightenment #zenfools #photography

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