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Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Book 13

Ocean Seal Samadhi
(Kaiin zanmai)

 

To be the buddhas and ancestors is always the ocean seal samadhi. As they swim in this samadhi, they have a time to teach, a time to verify, a time to practice. Their virtue of walking on the ocean goes to its bottom: they walk on the ocean as "walking the floor of the deepest ocean." To seek to cause the currents of birth and death to return the source is not "what are you thinking?" While previous "passing through the barriers and breaking down the sections" may be the faces of the buddhas and ancestors, they are rivers returning to the source of the ocean seal samadhi.[1]

The Buddha said, "It is just the dharmas that combine to form this body. When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is simply the dharmas ceasing. When these dharmas arise, [the bodhisattva] does not state, 'I arise'; when these dharmas cease, he does not state, 'I cease'." "In prior thought moments and subsequent thought moments, the moments do not relate to each other; in prior dharmas and subsequent dharmas, the dharmas do not oppose each other. This is called the the ocean seal samadhi."[2]

We should work for a while at studying this saying of the Buddha. Attaining the way and entering verification do not necessarily depend on much hearing and many words. Those with the broad learning of much hearing will go on to attain the way through four phrases; those with the universal learning equal to the sands of the Ganges, will eventually verify their entrance through a gâthâ of a single phrase. Much more [is this the case with] the present words, which do not seek original enlightenment on the path ahead and do not pick up initial enlightenment within verification. It may be a virtue of the buddhas and ancestors that they cause the occurrence of original [and initial] enlightenment, but it is not the case that the enlightenments of initial enlightenment, inherent enlightenment, and so on, are taken as the buddhas and ancestors.[3]

The Buddha said, "It is just the dharmas that combine to form this body. When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is simply the dharmas ceasing. When these dharmas arise, [the bodhisattva] does not state, 'I arise'; when these dharmas cease, he does not state, 'I cease'." "In prior thought moments and subsequent thought moments, the moments do not relate to each other; in prior dharmas and subsequent dharmas, the dharmas do not oppose each other. This is called the the ocean seal samadhi."[4]

The moment of the ocean seal samadhi is the moment of "just the dharmas," the saying of "just the dharmas." This time is called "combine to form this body." The single combined mark that has combined to form the dharmas is this body. This does not mean that this body is taken as a single combined mark. The dharmas combine to form it. It says [in short] that this body is [the activity expressed by the phrase] "combine to form this body."

"When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising." This "dharmas arising" never leaves behind arising. Therefore, arising is not awareness, not cognition. This is called "he does not state, 'I arise'." In not stating that "I arise," it does not mean that someone else sees, hears, senses, and knows these dharmas arising or discriminates them in thinking. When there's a further encounter beyond this, one loses the advantage of the encounter.[5]

"Arising" is always "when the moment comes," for time is arising. What is arising? It should be "arisen!" Since this is arising as time, it does not fail to expose the "skin, flesh, bones, and marrow." Because arising is the arising of "combine to form," arising is this body; arising is "I arise"; it is just the dharmas. It is not simply hearing and seeing sounds and forms. It is the dharmas that are "I arise"; it is the "I arise" that is "he does not state." "He does not state" is not not saying anything, for a saying is not a statement. "When they arise" is these dharmas; it is not the twelve times. These dharmas are "when they arise"; they are not the profuse arisings of the three realms.[6]

An old buddha said, "Suddenly, a fire arose." "A fire arose" is expressing the fact that this "arising" is not dependent on anything.[7]

An old buddha said, "When arising and ceasing don't stop, what's it like?"[8]

Thus, "arising and ceasing" "don't stop" as "I arise" as I, "I cease" as I. We should let it be and pursue this saying "don't stop." It cuts off or continues "when arising and ceasing don't stop" as the vital artery of the buddhas and ancestors. "When arising and ceasing don't stop" is "who's arising and ceasing?" "Who's arising and ceasing" is "those who can attain deliverance through this body"; it is "manifesting this body"; it is "preaching the dharma for them." It is "the past mind cannot be got"; it is "you've got my marrow"; it is "you've got my bones." For it is "who's arising and ceasing?"[9]

"When these dharmas cease, he does not state, 'I cease'." The time when "he does not state, 'I cease'" is precisely when the dharmas cease. "Ceasing" is the ceasing of the dharmas; though it is ceasing, it must be dharmas. Because it is dharmas, it is not the adventitious defilements. Because it is not the adventitious defilements, it is undefiled. Just this undefilement is the buddhas and ancestors. It is called "you're also like this." Who is not "you"? Prior thought moments and subsequent thought moments are all "you." It is called "I'm also like this." Who is not "I"? For prior thought moments and subsequent thought moments are all "I."[10] This "ceasing" is adorned with many "hands and eyes": it is "the unsurpassed great nirvana"; it is "call it death"; it is "take it as annihilation"; it is "treat it as a dwelling place." The "so many arms and eyes" such as these are in any case the virtues of ceasing. The "not stating" at the moment when ceasing is "I" and the "not stating" at the moment when arising is "I" have the same birth of "not stating," but they are not the "not stating" of the same death.[11]

["Ceasing"] is the ceasing of the prior dharmas; it is the ceasing of the subsequent dharmas. It is the prior thought moment of the dharmas; it is the subsequent thought moment of the dharmas. It is the prior and subsequent dharmas that constitute the dharmas; it is the prior and subsequent thought moments that constitute the dharmas. Their "not relating" constitutes the dharmas; their "not opposing" is the dharmas constituted. To make them "not opposed," to make them "not related," is a saying "eight or nine tenths complete." There is a taking up, there is a taking in, that takes as "hands and eyes" the four great [elements] and five aggregates of ceasing; there is an advance, there is an encounter, that takes as its course the four great [elements] and five aggregates of ceasing. At this time, "hands and eyes throughout the body" are not enough; "hands and eyes as the entire body" are not enough. Ceasing is the virtue of the buddhas and ancestors.[12]

That now we have the words, "they are not opposed," that we have the words, "they are not related," means that we should realize that arising is arising in beginning, middle, and end; it is "officially, you can't insert a needle; privately, you could drive a horse and cart and through it." In beginning, middle, and end, [arising] is not related to, is not opposed to, ceasing. Though there is the sudden arising of dharmas where there had previously been ceasing, this is not the arising of ceasing; it is the arising of dharmas. Because it is the arising of dharmas, it is not marked by opposition or relation. Nor are ceasing and ceasing in relation or opposition to each other. Ceasing is ceasing at beginning, middle, and end. This is [a case of] "in meeting, he doesn't bring it out; but if you raise the point, he knows it's there." Though ceasing occurs suddenly where there had previously been arising, this is not the ceasing of arising; it is the ceasing of the dharmas. Because it is the ceasing of the dharmas, it is not opposed or related. Whether it be the "this is" of ceasing or the "this is" of arising, it is just the ocean seal samadhi called "the dharmas." The practice and verification of "this is" is not non-existent; it is just this undefilement called the ocean seal samadhi.[13]

Samadhi is a presence, a saying; it is "the night" when "the hand gropes for the pillow behind." The groping for a pillow of "the hand groping for the pillow behind" in the night like this is not merely "hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas"; it is "in the ocean, I always preached only the Lotus Sutra of the Wondrous Dharma." Because "they don't state, 'I arise'," "I am in the ocean." The former face is the "I always preached" of "the slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow"; and the latter face is the Lotus Sutra of the Wondrous Dharma of "the slightest motion of ten thousand waves, and a single wave follows." Whether we wind up or let out "a line of a thousand feet" or ten thousand feet, what we regret is that it "goes straight down."[14] The former face and latter face here are "I am on the face of the ocean." They are like saying "the former head" and "the latter head." The former head and the latter head are "putting a head on top on your head."[15] It is not that there is a person in the ocean. "I am [in] the ocean" is not "where the worldly dwell"; it is not "what is loved" by the sages. "I am" alone in the ocean. This is the "preaching" of "always only." This "in the ocean" "does not belong to the center"; it does not belong to "inner and outer": it is "remaining forever," "preaching the The Lotus Sutra." Though it is "not in east, west, north or south," it is "I come home with a fully empty boat, laden with moonlight." This true return is "immediately coming back home." Who could call it the conduct of "getting drenched"? It is realized only within the limits of the way of the buddha. We take this as the seal of "sealing water." Going further, we say it is the seal of "sealing sky"; or further, we say it is the seal of "sealing mud." The seal of sealing water is not necessarily the seal of sealing the ocean. Going further beyond this, there should be the seal of sealing the ocean. This is called the "ocean seal," the "water seal," the "mud seal," the "mind seal." Singly transmitting the mind seal, we seal water, seal mud, seal sky.[16]

* * * *

Once, a monk asked the great master Yuanzheng of Caoshan, "In the received teachings, there is a saying, 'The great ocean does not house a dead body.' What's the 'ocean'?"
The master said, "It contains the ten thousand beings."
The monk said, "Then why doesn't it house a dead body?"
The master said, "Someone whose breath has stopped doesn't belong."
The monk said, "If it contains the ten thousand beings, why is it that someone whose breath has stopped doesn't belong?"
The master said, "It's not the merit of the ten thousand things to stop breathing."[17]

This Caoshan was a [dharma] brother of Yunju. Dongshan's essential message is right on the mark here. This "in the received teachings, there is a saying" refers to the correct teachings of the buddhas and ancestors; it is not the teachings of the commoners and sages; it is not the lesser teaching of the subsidiary buddha dharma.[18]

"The great ocean does not house a dead body." The "great ocean" here is not an inner ocean or outer ocean, not the eight oceans. These are not what the student is asking about. He not only recognizes what is not the ocean as the ocean; he recognizes what is the ocean as the ocean. Even if we insist that they are oceans, they cannot be called the "great ocean." The great ocean is not necessarily a deep abyss of the water of the eight virtues. The great ocean is not necessarily a ninefold abyss of salt water or the like. The dharmas combine to form it. Could the great ocean necessarily be nothing but deep water? Therefore, his question about the "great ocean" is speaking of the great ocean because the great ocean is as yet unknown to humans and gods. The person who would hear this [question] will try to shake his grasp of "ocean."[19] In saying "it does not house a dead body," "not housing" is "when the bright one comes, I hit the bright one; when the dark one comes, I hit the dark one." "A dead body" is "dead ashes"; it is "how many springs has it met without changing its core?" A dead body is a thing people have never seen. Therefore, they do not know it.[20]

The master's saying "it contains the ten thousand beings" is speaking of the ocean. What he is saying about the main point is not that some single thing contains the ten thousand beings: "containing" is the ten thousand beings. He does not mean that the great ocean contains the ten thousand beings. Saying "it contains the ten thousand beings" means it is just the great ocean. Although we do not know what they are, for now we call them "the ten thousand beings." Even our encountering of the faces of the buddhas and the faces of the ancestors are for now confused with the ten thousand beings. When they contain, even mountains are not only "standing on the highest mountain peak"; even water is not only "walking on the deepest ocean floor." Taking in is like this; letting go is like this. We say "the ocean of the buddha nature," or we say "the ocean of Vairocana's store"; these are simply the ten thousand beings. Though we may not see the face of the ocean, there are no doubts about the conduct of swimming. For example, in speaking of "Duofu's one grove of bamboo," while "one or two stalks are bent" and "three or four stalks are slanted" are conduct that causes the loss of the ten thousand beings, why does he not say "a thousand are bent, ten thousand are bent"? Why does he not say, "a thousand groves, ten thousand groves"? We should not forget the reason why the bamboo of one grove are like this. Caoshan's saying, "it contains the ten thousand beings," is still the ten thousand beings.[21]

The monk said, "Why is it that someone whose breath has stopped doesn't belong?" Although this has the face of a mistaken question, it is "what are you thinking?" When it is "I've always had my doubts about this guy," it is just an encounter with "this guy I've always had my doubts about." "Where is it?" [is the question in] "why is it that someone whose breath has stopped doesn't belong?" or "why doesn't it house a dead body?" Here, [it is put,] "If it contains the ten thousand beings, why is it that someone whose breath has stopped doesn't belong?" We should realize that containing is not "belonging"; containing is not "housing." Although the ten thousand beings be dead bodies, "not housing" them means "it will only take ten thousand years"; "not belonging" means "this old monk makes one move."[22]

Caoshan said, "It's not the merit of the ten thousand things to stop breathing." This means that, whether the ten thousand beings have stopped breathing, or whether they have not stopped breathing, they don't belong. A dead body may be a dead body, but where there is conduct that studies together with the ten thousand beings, it should contain it, should be the containing of it. The prior state and subsequent state of the the ten thousand beings have their merit: they have not stopped breathing. This is "a blind person leading a crowd of the blind." The principle of a blind person leading a crowd of the blind is furthermore a blind person leading a blind person, or a crowd of the blind leading a crowd of the blind. When it is a crowd of the blind leading a crowd of the blind, it is "containing the ten thousand beings" itself containing "containing the ten thousand beings." Further, in however many great ways there may be, where they are not the ten thousand beings, they will not manifest their concentrated effort. This is the ocean seal samadhi.

Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Ocean Seal Samadhi
Book 13
Composed at Kannon Dôri Kôshô Hôrinji
Twentieth day of early summer [fourth month], third year of Ninji (mizunoe-tora) [1242]