Archive for April, 1964

April 1964

Wednesday, April 1st, 1964





With an Introduction and Commentary by Reverend Suzuki,

Master of Zen Center

April 1964

Introduction by Reverend Suzuki:

Jo-shu (Personal name: Sramanera) of this subject was a native of Northern China. When he was ordained (at quite a young age), he visited Nan-sen with his master. “Do you know the name of this monastery?” asked Nan-sen, who had been taking a nap in his room. The boy said, “Sacred Elephant Monastery.” “Then did you see a sacred elephant? asked Nan-sen. The boy replied, “I did not see any sacred elephants, but I saw a reclining bodhisattva.”  Nan-sen raised himself up and said, “Have you your own master now?” “yes, I have, said the boy. “Who is he?” asked Nan-sen. To this the boy Sramanera made a formal obeisance which should be given only to his own master, saying, “Spring cold is still here. Please take good care of yourself.” Nan-sen called up Ino-osho (who took care of the monastery) and gave him a seat.

One day Nan-sen allowed Jo-shu to meet him in his room. Jo-shu asked Nan-sen, “What is the true Way?” “Ordinary mind is the true Way,” said Nan-sen. “Is it something to be attained or not to be attained?” asked Jo-shu. “To try to attain it is to avert from it.” said Nan-sen. “When you do not try to attain it, how do you know the true Way? asked Jo-shu. To this question, Nan-sen’s answer was very polite. “The true way is not a matter to be known or not to be known. To know is to have a limited idea of it, and not to know is just psychological unawareness. If you want to achieve the absolute, where there is no doubt, you should be clear enough and vast enough to be like empty space.” Hereby Jo-shu acquired full understanding of the true way of Zen. (more…)