MAIN SUBJECT NO. 36
FROM THE BLUE CLIFF RECORDS
Cho-sha’s “Strolling about Mountains and Waters”
Attention! One day Cho-sha went for a walk. When he returned to the gate, the gate-keeper asked, “Sir, where have you been walking?” Cho-sha said, “I have been strolling about in the hills.” “Where did you go?” asked the gatekeeper. “I have walked through the scent of herbs and wandered by the falling flowers.” said Cho-sha. The gatekeeper said, “Very much like a calm Spring feeling.” Cho-sha said, “It transcends even the cold autumn dew falling on the lotus stems.”
Setcho, the compiler of the Blue Cliff Records, adds the comment, “I am grateful for Cho-sha’s answer.”
Commentary by Reverend Shunryū Suzuki, Master of Zen Center:
“Strolling about mountains and waters” means in Zen the stage where there are no Buddhas or Patriarchs to follow and no evil desires to stop. Not only climbing up a mountain or wandering about waters, but all activities of Cho-sha are free from rational prejudices and emotional restrictions. His mental activity is free from any trace of previous activity. His thinking is always clear without the shadows of good and evil desires.