Teachers and students of today

From The Record of Rinzai, as translated by Irmgard Schloegl:

'There are old bald-heads (I heard "shaved pates", derogatory term for teachers of zen, today there are many teachers of zen who can not even manage to keep their heads shaved.) who cannot tell true from false. They see gods and devils; they point to the east or indicate the west; they fancy lanterns or pillars, fine weather or are fond of rain; and so they carry on and on. One day they will have to face Yama (Judge of the Dead) to repay their debts and swallow red-hot iron balls, for men and women misled by the antics of such wild fox sprites, get entangled in their fables.
The Blind old fools are laughable! The day is sure to come when they will have to pay back the cost of their keep.

Followers of the Way, it is most important that you come to see clearly. Then you can go your way and confront the world, without letting yourselves be deceived by those delusive fox sprites. Nothing is more precious than to be a man who has nothing further to seek. Just do not give rise to any fancies, and be your ordinary selves.

The trouble is, you look to the outside, and, pursuing it hotly, you doubt whether you have hands and feet. Do not be deceived. If you only think of seeking Buddha, Buddha becomes a mere name. And the very one who runs to seek Buddha, do you know him? All the Buddhas and patriarchs in the Three Worlds and the ten directions have appeared only for the purpose of seeking the Dharma. And today's diligent Followers of the Way are also seeking the Dharma. Only when one has got it is there an end to it. As long as one has not got it, one transmigrates through the Five Paths.

(NOTE: the stuff in blue is not in the translation, but added as I remembered it from a Dharma discourse)

Nowadays a lot of emphasis is being given to the fact that teachers are only human, and make mistakes. And how those great ancestors don't make mistakes because they are dead now and had their foibles edited out. It is a wonder people who say things like this can grow eyebrows or beards at all. They have completely forgotten their humility.

How many true students of the way are on this ball of dirt? 

How many teachers and students would just prefer to get lost in petty drama’s and intellectual pursuits and speculation?

Old Master Rinzai’s admonishment is pertinent today as it was 1200 some years ago. What he says is alive. 



Lauren said...

Great post, Jordan. The caution is appreciated, but to tell the truth, my favorite part is the "kaaaaaaa." I wonder if it can be translated.

Completely corrupt and lost from the way,

SlowZen said...

Thanks Lauren, I think Kaaaaaa can be translated as Kaah! or Katsu!

Better get back then...

Thanks for looking!