Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Book 57

Extensive Study


The great way of the buddhas and ancestors is study and penetration of the ultimate limit; it is to “go without a string at your feet”; it is “clouds arose underfoot.”  Nevertheless, though this is so, it is “a flower opens and the world arises”; it is “I always care for this.” Therefore, “the sweet melon is sweet through to its stem”; “the bitter gourd is bitter to its root”; the sweet sweetness is sweet through to the stem.”  This is how it has been studied.1

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   The great master Zongyi of Mt. Xuansha was once addressed by Xuefeng, who said, “Bei Toutuo, why don’t you go off on extensive study?”
   The master said, “Dharma didn’t come to the Eastern Land; the Second Ancestor didn’t go to the Western Heavens.”
   Xuefeng deeply approved this.2


   The principle of extensive studying is the study of a flip; it is “don’t do even the noble truths”; it is “what stages are there?”3

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   When the Chan master Dahui of Nanyue first visited [Huineng,] the Old Buddha of Caoqi, the Old Buddha said, “What is it that comes like this?”
    He extensively studied this “ball of mud” for eight years from start to finish.  In the end, he announced to the Old Buddha “the one move” of his extensive study, saying, “I’ve understood what the reverend preceptor put to me when I first came:  ‘What is it that comes like this?’”
    Thereupon the Old Buddha of Caoqi said, “How do you understand it?”
    At this point, Dahui said, “To say it’s like anything wouldn’t hit it.”
    This is the realization of extensive consultation, the realization of eight years.
    The Old Buddha of Caoqi said, “Then is it contingent on practice and verification?”
    Dahui said, “It’s not without practice and verification, but it’s not defiled by them.”
    Caoqi said, “You’re also like this, I’m also like this, and all the ancestors of the Western Heavens are also like this.”
    Thereafter, he spent eight years more in extensive study.  True from head to tail, all told it was fifteen autumns of extensive study.4


         “Coming like this” is extensive study.  “To say it’s like anything wouldn’t hit it”:  to open the hall and see the buddhas and ancestors is the extensive study of “also like this.”  Ever since he “entered the picture” and looked, he has extensively studied transforming the body “sixty-five hundred thousands of ten thousands of hundred millions” times.  He does not take casually “entering a grove” and “leaving a grove” as extensive study; he takes seeing the entire eye as extensive study, being able to penetrate it as extensive study.  Seeing through the thickness of the skin of the face — this is extensive study.5


         The meaning of the extensive study spoken of by Xuefeng naturally does not recommend his leaving the peak, does not recommend his going north and coming south:  it helps him in the extensive study of “Dharma didn’t come to the Eastern Land; the Second Ancestor didn’t go to the Western Heavens” spoken of by Xuansha.  The “Dharma didn’t come to the Eastern Land” spoken of by Xuansha is not some confused words about coming or not coming:  it is the principle that “the great earth lacks an inch of land.”  “Dharma” here is the “point of the vital artery.”  Even if the entire land of the Eastern Land were suddenly completely to gush up and attend upon him, this would not be transforming the body, nor would be it be “flipping the body in the flow of words.”  Since he “didn’t come to the Eastern Land,” he meets the Eastern Land face to face.  Though the Eastern Land encounters buddha faces and ancestor faces, this is not “coming to the Eastern Land”:  it is “taking hold of the buddhas and ancestors but missing their nose.”6


         In general, the “land” is not east or west; east and west have nothing to do with the “land.”  “The Second Ancestor didn’t go to the Western Heavens” [means that,] in extensively studying the Western Heavens, “he didn’t go to the Western Heavens.”  If the Second Ancestor went to the Western Heavens, one arm would fall off.  Now, why did the Second Ancestor not go to the Western Heavens?  Because he jumped into the eye of Blue Eyes, he “didn’t go to the Western Heavens.”  If he had not jumped into the eye of Blue Eyes, he would definitely have gone to the Western Heavens.  He made plucking out Dharma’s eye his extensive study.  Going to the Western Heavens or coming to the Eastern Land is not extensive study.  Going to Tiantai or Nanyue is not extensive study; we do not take going to Wutai or the heavens as extensive study.  If we have not passed through and beyond the four seas and five lakes, it is not extensive study.  Coming and going to the four seas and five lakes does not make the four seas and five lakes study extensively:  it makes the road slippery; it makes the footing slippery; hence, it makes [one] miss extensive study.7


        In general, because he makes mastery of “all the worlds in the ten directions are the true human body” his extensive study, he has the investigation of “Dharma didn’t come to the Eastern Land; the Second Ancestor didn’t go to the Western Heavens.”  Extensive study is “the bigness of a stone is big, the smallness of a stone is small”; it is, without moving the stones, to make them a big study, a small study.  To see the hundreds of thousands of ten thousands in the hundreds of thousands of ten thousands is not yet extensive study; the turning of the body hundreds of thousands of ten thousand times within the flow of half a word is extensive study. For example, “Dadi just struck the ground” is extensive study.  Once striking the ground, once striking the sky, once striking the four quarters and eight sides is not extensive study.  Juzhi studying with Tianlong and getting one finger is extensive study; Juzhi just holding up one finger is extensive study.8

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Xuansha addressed the assembly, saying, “Old Master Śākya and I studied together.”
At that time, a monk came forward and asked, “I don’t understand.  With whom did you study?”
The master said, “The Xie’s third boy on a fishing boat.”9


   The study of Old Master Śākya that is right from head to tail is itself studying together with Old Master Śākya.  The study of Old Man Xuansha that is right from head to tail is itself studying together with Old Man Xuansha; hence, Old Master Śākya and Old Man Xuansha study together.  Old Master Śākya and Old Man Xuansha exhaustively investigating whether their study is sufficient or insufficient is the principle of extensive study.  Because Old Master Śākya studies together with Old Man Xuansha, he is an old buddha; because Old Man Xuansha studies together with Old Master Śākya, he is the progeny.  This principle, we should extensively study in detail.


   We should clarify and study the meaning of “the Xie’s third boy on a fishing boat.”  This is the concentrated effort at extensive study of the moment when Old Master Śākya and Old Man Xuansha study together at the same time.  They study together as Old Man Xuansha is there studying with “the Xie’s third boy on a fishing boat”; they study together as the Xie’s third boy is there studying with the baldhead on Mt. Xuansha.  We should have ourselves concentrate, have others concentrate, on studying together and not studying together.  Old Man Xuansha and Old Master Śākya study together, study extensively.  We should study extensively, study together, the principle of “with whom” the Xie’s third boy and “I” studied.  So long as the principle of extensive study is not immediately present to us, our study of ourselves is not possible, our study of ourselves is insufficient; our study of the other is not possible, our study of the other is insufficient; study of the person is not possible, study of the self is not possible; study of the fist is not possible, study of the eye is not possible; fishing for oneself and raising oneself is not possible, raising [oneself] before fishing is not possible.10


   When extensive study has been fully exhausted, it is extensive study sloughed off.  “When the ocean dries up, you cannot see the bottom”; “when a person dies, he does not leave his mind behind.”  “When the ocean dries up” means the entire ocean is entirely dried up.   Nevertheless, when the ocean is entirely dried up, “you cannot see the bottom.”  “Not leaving” and entirely leaving are both the person’s mind.  When the person dies, the mind is not left behind.  Since he has taken up death, the mind is not left behind.  Therefore, we know that the entire person is mind, the entire mind is the person.  This is the study of the front and back of such a single side.11

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   My former master, the Old Buddha of Tiantong, on one occasion when old acquaintances among the elders from all quarters assembled and requested a lecture, ascended the hall and said,

The great way has no gate,
It springs forth from the crown in all quarters;
Empty space ends the road,
It comes into the nostril of Qingliang.
Meeting like this,
Seeds of Gautama’s traitors,
Embryos of Linji’s misfortune.
The great house topples over, dancing in the spring wind;
Startled, the falling apricot blossoms fly in crimson chaos.12


    This lecture is from the time when my former master, the Old Buddha, was abbot of Qingliang monastery, in the district of Jiankang, to which the elders from all quarters had come.  That these were “old acquaintances” means they had once been guest and host or been neighboring seats.  While from all quarters, they were thus his old friends; how could they not have been many?  It was a time when they had assembled and requested a lecture.  Elders “completely lacking a saying” were not his friends, were not numbered among those who made the request. Though themselves great worthies, they attended him and requested it.13


   In general, the extensive study of my former master was not something fulfilled by those from all quarters.  In the last two or three hundred years in the land of the great Song, there have been no old buddhas like my former master.


   “The great way without a gate” is “four or five thousand lanes of flowers and willows, twenty or thirty thousand pavilions of flutes and zithers.”  Still, when the whole body springs forth, without using anything else, it springs from “the crown,” it enters into “the nostril”; and both of these are study.  One who has not sprung forth from the crown, has not turned the body in the nostril, is not a person of study, is not a man of extensive study.  We should just study with Xuansha the point of extensive study.14

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   The Fourth Ancestor spending nine years in study with the Third Ancestor is extensive study.  The Chan Master Yuan of Nanquan staying at Chiyang for some thirty years without ever leaving the mountain is extensive study.  Yunyan, Daowu, and others, concentrating and studying during forty years at Yueshan is extensive study. The study of the Second Ancestor at Songshan was eight years; he exhausted the extensive study of skin, flesh, bones, and marrow.15


   Extensive study is simply just sitting and sloughing off body and mind.  The present going that goes there and coming that comes here, as though there were no interval between them, is extensive study with the whole body, is the whole body of the great way.  “Walking on Vairocana’s head” is “the samādhi without feeling.”  Definitely getting such is the “walk of Vairocana.”  To penetrate the extensive study that springs forth is the bottle gourd springing forth from the bottle gourd; for long, the crown of the bottle gourd has been made the seat of the way where the buddha is selected.  His life is like a thread.  The bottle gourd extensively studies the bottle gourd.  We have merely “set up a single blade of grass”and taken it as extensive study.16


Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Extensive Study


Presented to the assembly on the twenty-seventh day, the eleventh month, first year of Kangen, mizunoto-u;
at a thatched hut below Yamashibu, in the region of Etsu.17


Copied the twenty-seventh day, in the month of , the same [cyclical year of] mizunoto-u;
in the attendant’s residence of the same hermitage.