The Zen Koan as a Means of Attaining Enlightenment by Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

By Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

This magic field of wonderpills: Suzuki's recognized essay on koan research. This booklet tells how sages make monkeys out of disciples, then set the monkeys unfastened. How? you will discover in case you (read) via this average paintings at the paintings of liberating nothingness into the void

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A wandering outcast maltreated everywhere not only by others but by himself finds that he is the possessor of all the wealth and power that is ever attainable in this world by a mortal being—if this does not give him a high feeling of self-glorification, what could? ' Another Zen master, evidently alluding to the Avatam-saka, declares: 'O monks, lo and behold! a most auspicious light is shining with the utmost brilliancy all over the great chiliocosm, simultaneously revealing all the countries, all the oceans, all the Sumerus, all the suns and moons, all the heavens, all the lands—each of which number as many as hundreds of thousands of kotis.

On Tung-shan's interview with Mên, Tai-hui comments: How simple-hearted Tung-shan was! ' This remark all of a sudden opened Tung-shan's eye, and yet he had nothing to communicate, nothing to reason about. ' 3. Yen, the national teacher of Ku-shan, when he was still a student monk, studied for many years under Hsüeh-fêng. ' Yen was roused as if from a deep slumber and at once comprehended what it all meant. He simply lifted his arms and swung them to and fro. ' 'No meaning whatever, sir,' came quickly from the disciple.

As they oppose satori, they are inevitably also against the koan exercise. Early in the twelfth century this anti-satori and anti-koan movement in China grew quite strong among Zen followers of the time, and the following is a letter written by Tai-hui1 to his disciple Lii Chi-i,2 warning him against those who deny the noetic experience of satori or self-realization: 'Lately there is an evil tendency growing up among certain followers of Zen who regard disease as cure. As they never had a satori in their lives, they consider it as a sort of superstructure, a means of enticement, as something altogether secondary in Zen, which belongs to its periphery and not to its centre.

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