Om Namah Shivaya

Om Namah Shivaya

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Jan 19, 2012

Remembering Hakuin Zenji - A great Japanese Zen Master

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL : Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769)

Remembering Hakuin Zenji - A great Japanese Zen master who was born on this day today, 19th January around 3 centuries back in 1689. The most famous of all koans, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is attributed to Hakuin. His one of the most profound poetry, "Monkey is reaching" is given here, with a beautiful interpretation by Ivan M. Granger, to celebrate this day ...

Monkey Reaching for The Moon
- by Ohara Koson

The monkey is reaching
For the moon in the water.
Until death overtakes him
He'll never give up.
If he'd let go the branch and
Disappear in the deep pool,
The whole world would shine
With dazzling pureness.
Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769)

(The monkey mind must let go and "disappear into the deep pool" of reality. The monkey's fall represents the insight that the way is not attained through effort but through supreme yielding. When the mind stops grasping at reflections, when it fades into stillness, only then does the whole world shine "with dazzling pureness." In other words, the mind can never grasp enlightenment. When it finally gives up and gets out of the way, then enlightenment is discovered to have already come about)

Photo by Miss Acuarelas

Past, present, future: unattainable,
Past, present, future: unattainable,
Yet clear as the moteless sky.
Late at night the stool's cold as iron,
But the moonlit window smells of plum

(The moon is often a codeword in Buddhist poetry for the individual mind attaining enlightened awareness. And plum, cherry, and other spring blossoms can represent the delicate, natural flowering or awakening of Buddha mind in early spring after the long winter of spiritual practice. So when Hakuin speaks of how "the moonlit window smells of plum," it can be understood as Hakuin poetically telling us how this glimpse of pure insight resulting from a deeply still mind holds the delightful promise of Nirvana)

You no sooner attain the great void
You no sooner attain the great void
Than body and mind are lost together.
Heaven and Hell -- a straw.
The Buddha-realm, Pandemonium -- shambles.
Listen: a nightingale strains her voice, serenading the snow.
Look: a tortoise wearing a sword climbs the lampstand.
Should you desire the great tranquility,
Prepare to sweat white beads.
Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769)

To read more Click here ...

Hakuin Ekaku (January 19, 1686 - January 18, 1768) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He revived the Rinzai school from a moribund period of stagnation, refocusing it on its traditionally rigorous training methods integrating meditation and koan practice. Hakuin's influence was such that all Rinzai Zen masters today trace their lineage through him, and all modern practitioners of Rinzai Zen use practices directly derived from his teachings.

BodhidharmaBy Hakuin
Hakuin's systematization of koan practice brought about a major revolution in Zen teaching. In the system developed by Hakuin and his followers, students are assigned koans by their teacher and then meditate on them. Once they have broken through, they must demonstrate their insight in private interview with the teacher. If the teacher feels the student has indeed attained a satisfactory insight into the koan, then another is assigned. Hakuin's main role in the development of this koan system was most likely the selection and creation of koans to be used. In this he didn't limit himself to the classic koan collections inherited from China; he himself originated one of the best-known koans, "You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?". Hakuin preferred this new koan to the most commonly assigned first koan from the Chinese tradition, the Mu koan. He believed his "Sound of One Hand" to be more effective in generating the great doubt, and remarked that "its superiority to the former methods is like the difference between cloud and mud".

TEXT CURTSEY – Wikipedia
To read more about Hakuin and his teachings, at Wikipedia, Click here...
ॐ नमः शिवाय
Om Namah Shivaya

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