Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
"[These monks] have already
eliminated all the impurities and are further without the mental
afflictions. They have gained benefits for themselves and have
eliminated all fetters [tying them] to existence; their minds
have been set free."<1>
These are the great arhats, the
ultimate fruition of those who study [the way of] the buddhas.
[Their state] is called "the fourth fruition." There
are buddha arhats.<2>
"The impurities" [in
this passage] refers to broken ladles missing their handles.
Although they have been used for a long time, that they are "already
eliminated" means that the whole body of the ladle leaps
out. "They have gained benefits for themselves" means
that they go in and out of the tops of their heads. "Eliminated
all fetters [tying them] to existence" means that nothing
has ever been concealed anywhere in the realms of the ten directions.
The state in which "their minds have been set free,"
you should strive to understand as "in a high place, it
is high and level; in a low place, it is low and level."
For this reason, there are walls, tiles, and pebbles. "Free"
means that their minds are manifestations of their full and unfettered
capacity to function. "Are further without the mental afflictions"
refers to mental afflictions that have not yet arisen; it means
that mental afflictions are prevented by mental afflictions.<3>
The arhat's paranormal powers,
wisdom, meditation, preaching of the dharma, guidance, emitting
of light, and such, cannot be on the same level as those discussed
by the non-Buddhists and Mara. Discussion of seeing a hundred
buddha worlds, and the like, must never be equated with the views
of the common person. This is the principle that "just when
you think the foreigner's beard is red, there is a red-bearded
foreigner. Entering nirvana is for the arhat the action of entering
his or her own fist. For this reason, it is called "the
wondrous mind of nirvana"; it is "not a place to which
one escapes." The arhat who enters his or her own nostrils
is considered a true arhat; there has never been an arhat who
has not gone in and out of his or her own nostrils.<4>
Long ago it was said, "We
today, being true arhats, cause all to hear the voice emanating
from the Buddha."<5>
The real import of this "cause
all to hear" is to cause each and every phenomenon [to be]
the voice emanating from the Buddha. How could this be speaking
only of buddhas and disciples? "To cause all" means
to cause all those with discernment and knowledge, with skin
and flesh, with bones and marrow to hear. "Those with discernment
and knowledge" refers to the country and land, grass and
trees, fences and walls, tiles, and pebbles. Shaking and falling,
flourishing and declining, being born and passing away, going
and coming are all "hearing." The reason behind this
"cause all to hear the voice emanating from the Buddha"
is not simply the practice and study of the whole world as the
Shakyamuni Buddha said, "If
my disciples call themselves arhats or pratyekabuddhas but have
not heard and do not understand that all buddha-tathagatas teach
and nurture only bodhisattvas, then they are not disciples of
the Buddha, not arhats, not pratyekabuddhas.<6>
The words of the Buddha, "teach
and nurture only bodhisattvas," mean "I and the buddhas
of the ten directions comprehend this matter well"; they
mean "only a buddha and a buddha can thoroughly understand
the true characteristics of phenomena"; they mean anuttara
samyak sambodhi. Therefore, the "calling themselves"
of the bodhisattvas and buddhas must be the same as [Shakyamuni
Buddha's disciples] "calling themselves arhats or pratyekabuddhas."
How so? Their calling themselves is their hearing and understanding
"that all buddha-tathagatas teach and nurture only bodhisattvas."<7>
Long ago it was said, "In
a sutra for shravakas, the arhat [stage] is termed 'buddha stage.'"<8>
These words have been verified
in the pronouncements of the Buddha; they are not simply a doctrine
coming from the bosom of a scholiast; they have the universal
norm in the pronouncements of the Buddha. You should practice
and learn the truth that [the stage of] an arhat is called the
stage of a buddha; you should practice and learn the truth that
the stage of a buddha is called [the stage of] an arhat.Å@Apart
from arhatship there is not even the slightest scintilla of an
extra dharma. How much less will there be samyak sambodhi!
Apart from anuttara samyak sambodhi, there is furthermore
not even the slightest scintilla of an extra dharma. How much
less will there be the four stages of progress and the four stages
of fruition! At the very moment when the dharmas are borne by
the arhat, these dharmas are not in fact eight ounces nor are
they half a catty. "They are not the mind; they are not
the buddha, they are not things"; even the eye of a buddha
does not glimpse them. You should not argue about before or after
80,000 kalpas. You should think hard about and master the power
to gouge out the eyes. If there is an extra dharma, the entirety
of the dharmas is extra.<9>
Shakyamuni Buddha said, "All
these bhikshus and bhikshunis claim that they have already attained
arhatship, that this is their final body, that they are in supreme
nirvana, and so they did not aspire to and seek anuttara samyak
sambodhi. You should know that all in this cohort are arrogant
people. Why is this so? It could not be the case that there are
bhikshus who have truly attained arhatship but do not believe
This is to say that, when one
believes in anuttara samyak sambodhi, it is proof that
one is an arhat. Resolutely to believe in this teaching is to
entrust this teaching; it is to transmit intact this teaching;
it is to practice and verify this teaching. "To have truly
attained arhatship" does not mean that "this is their
final body, that they are in supreme nirvana," because they
aspire to and seek anuttara samyak sambodhi. Seeking anuttara
samyak sambodhi is "toying with the eyes"; it is
"wall face" sitting; it is facing a wall and opening
one's eyes. Although vast as the cosmos, it is "spirits
appearing and demons disappearing"; although spanning all
time, it is "mutual exchange and a meeting of minds."
To be like this is called "aspiring to and seeking anuttara
samyak sambodhi." For this reason, one aspires to and
seeks arhatship; seeking arhatship is "having enough gruel
and having enough rice."<11>
The Chan Master Jiashan Yuanwu
(1063-1135) said, "The ancients, after attaining the essence,
headed deep into the mountains to stay in bramble huts or caves.
For ten or twenty years, they ate rice boiled in a tripod with
broken legs; they totally forgot about worldly matters, having
permanently taking leave of the realm of defilements. Nowadays,
we dare not hope for such as this; instead, we conceal our names
and obscure our traces, maintain our original lot, and become
old monks with bones like toothpicks, thereby naturally matching
what we have verified and experiencing in accordance with our
own capacities. We eliminate past karma and melt our longstanding
habits. And if we still have some remaining energy, we push ourselves
to reach out to others and establish a prajna connection with
them, while polishing our heels to maturity. This is just like
plucking one or a half [flower] from wild weeds. Together, we
understand existence; together, we escape from birth and death,
increasingly benefiting the future, and thereby repaying the
buddhas and ancestors for their profound kindness. If from frost
and dew the fruit inevitably ripens, we push ourselves to go
forth into the world and, according with our relationships, reveal
and entrust [the buddha dharma] to humans and devas, in the end
not harboring the desire to seek anything. How much less do we
undertake deeds [leading to] ceaseless suffering because we have
become dependent upon aristocrats, serve as fawning chaplains
to prominent laymen, and in our activities cheat common people,
deceive holy ones, covet profits, and scheme to achieve fame.
Even if we do not have the opportunity [to find able disciples],
if we only live our lives like this, without the effects of deeds,
is this a true arhat who has escaped from defilements?<12>
Since this is so, a genuine monk
of our time is a true arhat who has escaped from defilements.
If you wish to know what arhats are like, you should know that
they are like this. Do not be misled by the words of the Indian
scholiasts and their ilk. The Chinese Chan Master Yuanwu is a
buddha and ancestor who is a legitimate heir to the correct transmission.
Chan Master Dazhi of Mt. Baizhang
in Hongzhou said, "Eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind
do not covet and are not defiled by any phenomena, existent or
non-existent; this is what is called 'holding to the four-line
verse'; it is also called 'the fourth stage of fruition.'"<13>
The eye, ear, nose, tongue, body,
and mind in the present transcend self and other; correct from
head to tail, they are beyond our ability to comprehend thoroughly.
For this reason, one's whole body, as it is, "does not covet
and is not defiled." It does not covet and is not defiled
by the whole of "any phenomena, existent or non-existent."
The wholeness, just as it is, of "holding to the four-line
verse," is called "does not covet and is not defiled";
it is also called "the fourth stage of fruition." The
fourth stage of fruition is the arhat.
Since this is the case, the eye,
ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind that now appear are none other
than the arhat. From root to branch, he will surely, as a matter
of course, be emancipated. "At last reaching the sturdy
barrier" is "holding to the four-line verse";
it is "the fourth stage of fruition." The entire body,
from the top of the head to the soles of the feet, is manifested,
without a hair left out. In the end, what is to be said but the
When the arhat is in the state
of a commoner, all dharmas obstruct him. When the arhat is in
the state of a noble, all dharmas set him free. You should know
that the arhat and all phenomena are intermixed with each other.
Once he has realized arhatship, he is obstructed by arhatship.
Therefore, he is an "old fist" before the King of Emptiness.<15>
Treasury of the Eye
of the True Dharma
Presented to the assembly at the Kannon Dori Kosho Horinji in
Uji District in Yoshu,
fifteenth day of the fifth month, summer of the mizunoe tora
[year], third year of the Ninji [era] (June 14, 1242).
Copied by Ejo on
the sixteenth day of the sixth month, first year of the Kenji
[era] (July 15, 1275).