Hekiganroku, Case 4: Tokusan Carrying His Bundle

Teisho presented by Arno Hess on 20/10/2021 at the fourth day of the 2022 Pathway Zen Sesshin at Bodhi Chan Meditation Centre, Springwood, QLD, Australia.


The blue sky, the bright sun: There is no pointing out the east and marking the west.
Right time, karmic occasion – give the medicine according to the disease.
Just tell me, is it better to “let go,” or to “hold fast”?
I will give you an example, look!


Tokusan arrived at Isan. Carrying his bundle under his arm, he stepped into the preaching hall
and walked across it from east to west and from west to east. Looking around he said, “Nothing,
nothing!” Then he went out. (Setchô comments, “Seen through.”)

But when he got to the monastery gate, Tokusan said, “Still, I should not be so hasty.” So, he
dressed formally and re-entered the hall to meet Isan. As Isan sat at his place, Tokusan held up his
sitting cloth and said, “Master!” Isan was about to take up his whisk, when Tokusan suddenly shouted,
“Kaatsu!” Then he flourished his sleeves and went out. (Setchô comments, “Seen through.”)

Turning his back on the preaching hall, Tokusan put on his straw sandals, and left. In the
evening Isan asked the head monk, “Where is the new-comer who arrived here a while ago?” The head
monk answered, “At that time he turned his back on the preaching hall, put on his straw sandals, and
went away.” Isan said, “One day that fellow will go up to the top of a lonely peak, build a grass hut, and
scold the buddhas and abuse the patriarchs.” (Setchô comments, “Piling frost on top of snow.”)


Seeing through once, seeing through twice; piling frost on top of snow.
How dangerous it was!
The “general of the flying cavalry” entered the enemy camp;
How many could come back safe and sound?
One dashes by, but the other does not let him pass:
On a solitary mountaintop he sits in the weeds.Totsu!

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