Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
Getting the Marrow by Doing
When one practices supreme and
perfect enlightenment, the most difficult task is to get a guide
and teacher. That teacher is not in the form of a man or woman
but rather will be a person of great resolve, will be just such
a person. The teacher is not a person from the past nor a person
from the present. More likely it will be a fox spirit who will
be the good friend. This is the face of getting the marrow, your
guide and benefactor. The teacher will not be in the dark about
cause and effect; the teacher may be you or I or someone else.
After you have encountered a
guide and teacher, you should cast off the myriad distractions
and, without losing a moment, devote yourself energetically to
pursuing the way. You should practice, be it by using the mind
or by using no-mind, or by using half-mind.
Therefore you should learn to
practice with the same sense of urgency that would drive you
to put out a fire on top of your head or to stand with one leg
raised [in order to pay homage to a buddha]. If you do this,
you will not be assaulted by Mara's legions who will lead you
to commit blasphemy. The ancestor who cut off his arm to get
the marrow does not refer to another; the master who will teach
you the sloughing off of body and mind is already within yourself.1
Getting the marrow and receiving
the dharma always depend upon utmost sincerity and the believing
mind. Sincere faith is not something that comes to you from the
outside, nor is it something that moves to the outside from within
you. It simply signifies prizing the dharma while making light
of yourself. It is to flee the world and regard the way as your
abode. If you think of yourself as being even only slightly more
precious than the dharma, the dharma will not be passed on to
you, nor will you attain it. There is not just one instance of
a person who had the determination to regard the dharma as something
precious. Although you need not turn to the teachings of others,
I shall present just a few examples here.
To prize the dharma is to protect
and preserve the great dharma, whether as a pillar, a lantern,
all buddhas, a little fox, a demon, a man or a woman. If you
have gotten my marrow, you will attend the buddhas for countless
eons, employing your body and mind as a seat for them. Getting
a body and mind is as easily accomplished as the spread of rice
plants, hemp, bamboo, and reeds throughout the world. But to
encounter the dharma is something rare indeed.
Sakyamuni Buddha said,
When you meet a teacher who speaks
of supreme enlightenment, you must not consider the teachers
caste; you must not look to see whether the features of the teachers
face are pleasing; you must not scorn the teachers shortcomings;
you must not think about the teachers behavior. It is precisely
because you venerate and prize the teachers wisdom that
you should let him or her eat food worth hundreds or thousands
ounces of gold every day. You should make offerings by presenting
the teacher with heavenly foods; you should make offerings by
scattering heavenly flowers. You should do obeisance and respectfully
pay homage to the teacher three times daily and not let feelings
of disdain and weariness arise. When you behave in this way [toward
your teacher], the path to enlightenment will surely appear.
By having practiced in this fashion since I first set my mind
[on realizing buddhahood], I have today attained supreme and
Thus you should request [the
teachings] from trees and rocks; you should seek [the teachings]
in the fields and villages. You should put your questions to
a pillar and practice intensively with a wall. A long time ago
the god Taishaku took a little fox as a teacher, to whom he did
obeisance and put questions about the dharma. Taishaku consequently
received the appellation great bodhisattva, which
was a spiritual level that he did not attain simply as a result
of his past karma.
However, those ignoramuses who
do not listen to the teachings of the buddhas say: I am
a senior monk and should not do obeisance before a younger monk
who has acquired the dharma; I am one who has practiced over
a long period of time and should not do obeisance before one
who began his studies late in life but has acquired the dharma;
I have been assigned the title master and should
not do obeisance before one who does not have the title master.
I hold the office of superintendent of the monastery and should
not do obeisance before other monks who have acquired the dharma;
I hold the office of bishop and should not do obeisance before
laymen and laywomen who have acquired the dharma; I have attained
the three wisdom stages or the ten noble stages [on the bodhisattva
path] and should not do obeisance before a nun even though she
has acquired the dharma. I belong to the imperial lineage and
should not do obeisance before those who are ministers of state
or members of families that have produced prime ministers, even
though they have attained the dharma. Ignoramuses such
as these neither see nor listen to the buddha dharma because
they have left the land of their father to wander in vain along
the roads of another land.
A long time ago, under the Tang
dynasty, the great master Zhaozhou Zhenji, having set his mind
[upon the dharma], undertook a journey by foot [in search of
a teacher]. He declared on this occasion, If I meet someone
superior, even if only seven years old, I shall ask [the person
about the dharma]. If, I meet someone inferior, even though a
hundred years of age, I shall give instruction to the person.3
When asking a seven-year old
about the dharma, even an old man should do obeisance. This shows
a determination rare and great; it is the mindset of an old buddha.
When a nun who has attained the way and attained the dharma has
appeared in the world, if a monk in search of the dharma, engaging
in practice and study, should join her community, do obeisance,
and ask her about the dharma, it is a wonderful achievement,
like a thirsty person finding water.
The Chan master Zhixian in the
country of China was a venerable monk under Linji. Once, when
Linji happened to see the master coming, he grabbed hold of him,
whereupon the master said, I understand.
Linji released him, saying, Well,
Ill spare you a blow.
From this time, Zhixian became
Zhixian subsequently left Linji
and went to the nun Moshan, who asked him, Where did you
just come from?Zhixian replied, From the entrance
to the road.
Moshan said, Why didnt
you come here after blocking it?
Zhixian had no words. He immediately
did obeisance and saluted her as a disciple acknowledges a teacher.
Zhixian in return put a question
to Moshan, What is Moshan?
Moshan responded, Its peak
cannot be seen.
Zhixian said, What sort
of person dwells in the mountain?
Moshan said, Not with forms
such as a man or a woman.
The master said, Then why
dont you change yourself?
Moshan replied, Im
not a fox spirit; why would I want to change?
Zhixian did obeisance.
Zhixian consequently set his
mind [on achieving awakening] and for three full years served
as the supervisor of a [monastery] vegetable patch. Later, when
he assumed the position of a teacher, he said to the assembly,
I got half a ladle at Papa Linjis place, and I got
half a ladle at Mama Moshans place, which together made
a full ladle. Since that time, after having fully digested this,
Ive been satisfied to the full.4 Hearing these words and
reflecting fondly on the footprints of these great teachers,
we see that Moshan was Gaoan Dayus outstanding disciple,
who possessed the power transmitted through the veins [of a lineage
of teachers] to become the mama of Zhixian. Linji,
the dharma heir of the Chan master Huangbo Yun, possessed the
power transmitted through strenuous effort to become the papa
Papa means father, and mama
means mother. That the Chan master Zhixian did obeisance
to, and sought the dharma from, the Moshan nun Liaoran is a splendid
realization of his determination [to become awakened]; it is
an act of integrity that should become familiar to those who
began their studies late. This is what should be called attacking
the barriers and breaking the knots.
The nun Miaoxin was a disciple
of Yangshan. When Yangshan was looking to choose a director of
the monasterys office for secular affairs, he asked around
among the retired senior and junior officers, Which person
would be suitable to appoint?
After an exchange of questions
and answers, Yangshan at last said, Although [Miao] Xin,
the kid from the Huai [river region], is a woman,
she has the determination of a person of great resolve. She is
truly the one qualified to serve as the director of the office
for secular affairs.
All in the assembly agreed.
When, in the end, Miaoxin was
appointed director of the office for secular affairs, the dragons
and elephants among Yangshans disciples had no misgivings.
Although this was not an important office, she was careful [in
performing her duties] as befitting one who had been chosen [for
After [Miaoxin] had taken up
her position and was residing in the office for secular affairs,
seventeen monks from Shu banded together to go in search of a
teacher to ask about the way. Thinking that they would climb
Yangshan, at sunset they took lodgings in the office for secular
affairs. During the evening lecture, while they were resting,
someone brought up the story of Caoqi Gaozus words on the
wind and the flag. But what each of the seventeen monks had to
say was wide of the mark. At that time, Miaoxin, who was on the
other side of the wall, heard the monks and said, How lamentable,
you seventeen blind donkeys! How many straw sandals have you
wasted [in your futile search for the dharma]? The buddha dharma
has not yet appeared even in your dreams!
At that time there was a postulant
who, having heard the disapproving remarks about these monks
by Miaoxin, reported them to the seventeen monks. The seventeen
monks did not resent Miaoxins disapproval. To the contrary,
they were ashamed that their words were inadequate and so, comporting
themselves in the proper fashion, they offered incense, did obeisance,
and respectfully inquired [about the dharma].
Miaoxin then said, Step
As the seventeen monks were walking
toward her, Miaoxin said, Its not the wind moving,
its not the flag moving, its not the mind moving
Instructed in this fashion, all
seventeen monks were awakened. They expressed their gratitude,
establishing the formal relationship of teacher and disciple,
and quickly returned to Western Shu. In the end, they never climbed
Yangshan. Truly this [incident] was not something that could
have been accomplished by even one on the three wisdom stages
or the ten noble stages. It was the practice of the way in of
the unbroken transmission from the buddhas and ancestors.6
And so, today too, when the position
of abbot or head monastic falls vacant, a monastery may invite
a nun who appears to have acquired the dharma to fill the vacancy.
Of what use would it be if a monk of advanced age with many years
of practice were invited if he had not acquired the dharma? Those
who are the leaders of monastic communities should rely on their
However, those [leaders] sunk
into the body and mind of a villager are obstinate, and are frequently
the object of derision by even lay people. How much less are
they deserving of mention in the buddha dharma. And there will
also certainly be some who have decided not to pay homage to
dharma-transmitting teachers who are lay women and nuns. Because
they know nothing and have not studied, they are close to animals
and distant from the buddhas and the ancestors.7
When one makes it ones
goal from the depths of ones being to throw body and mind
fervently [into the practice of the buddha dharma], the buddha
dharma will always have compassion for that person. Even ignorant
men and gods have a turn of mind that responds to sincerity.
How could the true dharma taught by all the buddhas lack the
compassion that rewards [such sincerity]? Even the earth, stones,
sand, and pebbles have a spiritual essence that responds to sincerity.
At the present time, in the Great
Land of Song [China], there are nuns practicing in monasteries.
If one of them has the reputation of having acquired the dharma,
the court will grant an edict appointing her abbot of a nunnery.
She will then immediately go up to the dharma hall in the monastery
[to give a lecture]. From the abbot on down, all the monks will
attend and, standing erect, they will listen to her expound the
dharma. It is the monks who will put the questions. This has
been the rule since ancient times.
Since a person who has attained
the dharma is none other than a true old buddha, you must not
wonder when you meet that person who he or she was in the past.
When that [old buddha] sees you, he or she will treat you as
if [the encounter] is something entirely new and special. And
when you see [the old buddha], you should respond to him or her
immediately on that very day. If a nun has received and holds
the treasury of the eye of the true dharma, the arhats, the pratyeka-buddhas,
and those on the three wisdom stages and ten noble stages [of
the the bodhisattva path] will come, do obeisance, and question
her about the dharma, and the nun will receive such obeisance.
What is so exalted about a man? Space is space; the four elements
are the four elements; the five aggregates are the five aggregates.
For a woman it is the same thing. In acquiring the dharma, all
acquire the dharma equally. All should pay homage to and hold
in esteem one who has acquired the dharma. Do not make an issue
of whether it is a man or a woman. This is the most wondrous
law of the buddha dharma.Å@Furthermore, what is called
a layman in Song Dynasty [China] is a young gentleman
who has not yet left home. Some live in small huts with their
wives; others live alone and remain chaste. Even though we must
say that they are still in the dense forest of defilements, when
one of them attains enlightenment, itinerant monks will gather
to do obeisance and seek instruction, just as they would from
a master who has left home. And so it should be whether it be
a woman or an animal.
When someone has not yet seen
the truth of the buddha dharma even in a dream, though such a
person might be an old monk 100 years of age, he cannot reach
the level of a lay man or lay woman who has acquired the dharma.
He ought not to be reverenced but should be treated only according
to the rules of etiquette governing the relationship between
a guest and a host. But when someone practices the buddha dharma
and expounds the buddha dharma, though such a person be a girl
seven years of age, that person is a guide and teacher for the
four groups and a compassionate father for all sentient beings.
Such a person may be compared to the daughter of the Dragon King
who attained buddhahood.8 Offerings should be made
and respectful homage paid equal to that accorded to the buddhas
and tathagatas. This is an ancient rule in the buddha dharma.
Those who do not understood this, who have not received the single
transmission, are to be pitied.
Treasury of the Eye
of the True Dharma,
Written at the Kannon Dori Kosho Horinji,
on the day of the Seimei [festival], in the kanoe-ne year of
the Eno [era].
[April 5, 1240 C.E.]
Furthermore, in both olden times
and today in Japan and China, there have been women who held
the rank of emperor. These emperors controlled all the land of
their empires, and the people all became their subjects. They
were venerated not as individuals but for their rank. Also with
nuns, since olden times they have been venerated not as individuals:
they are venerated solely for their having acquired the dharma.
Also, when there is a nun who
has become an arhat, all the merit that accrues from the four
stages of fruition will come to her, and that merit will continue
to follow her. Who among humans or gods surpasses one at the
fourth stage of fruition? Even the gods inhabiting the three
realms do not reach her level. Yet the gods venerate her as one
who has cast aside [worldly concerns]. Even more so is this the
case with those who have received the transmission of the true
dharma of the tathagatas and revealed their noble intention of
becoming bodhisattvas! Who would not venerate them? Not venerating
them is a personal offense. When one does not venerate supreme
enlightenment, one is a fool who slanders the dharma.
Furthermore, in our country there
are daughters of emperors or daughters of ministers of state
who have been appointed empresses in all but name, and there
are empresses who have been given the title cloistered.
Some have shaved their heads, and others have not. However, monk-like
clergymen who court fame and seek advantage hasten to the gates
of these womens homes and bang their heads on the footgear
[hoping to gain favor]. [The behavior of these clergymen] is
more vile than that of an inferior [groveling before] his superior.
And so much more so is this case with those who turn themselves
into menservants and spend their years [catering to noblewomen].
How pathetic it is that, having been born in a small country
that is a peripheral land, they do not realize that this is a
corrupt custom that never existed in India or China but is found
only in our country. By shaving the hair on the top and sides
of their heads for their own selfish reasons, they destroy the
true dharma of the tathagatas, which must be called a profoundly
serious offense. It is to be deplored that they are bound as
menservants to [their female patrons] entirely because they have
forgotten that the world is a dream-like phantom or flowers in
the sky. They behave in this fashion for the sake of a vain world.
Why, then, in order to attain supreme enlightenment, will they
not pay homage to one who has acquired the dharma and hence is
deserving of veneration? This is because their intention to treat
the dharma as important is shallow and their intention to seek
the dharma is not all-embracing. When they covet riches, they
do not think that they should not accept a womans riches.
When they seek the dharma, this attitude should be even stronger.
If it is, the grass, trees, and walls dispense the true dharma;
the myriad things of heaven and earth likewise bestow the dharma.
This is a truth you should certainly understand. When you do
not seek the dharma with such intention, you will not receive
any gain from the dharma water [that washes away defilements]
even though you might encounter a true good friend. You should
ponder and work on this carefully.
Moreover, profoundly ignorant
people today, believing that women are lustful objects, view
them thus and do not correct this way of thinking. Followers
of the Buddha should not behave this way. If you despise women,
believing them to be lustful objects, should not all men likewise
be despised? [If it is a matter of] becoming a cause for [sexual
impurity], men likewise may serve as objects [of sexual attraction],
just as women may be objects. Those who are neither men nor women
likewise may serve as objects; dream-like phantoms and flowers
in sky also may serve as such objects. Sometimes impure acts
have been committed because of an image reflected on the water.
Sometimes impure acts have been committed because of the sun
in the heavens. Gods may serve as objects [of sexual attraction]
and demons may serve as such objects. It is impossible to count
the number of causes [that might stimulate sexual lust]. Although
there are said to be 84,000 objects [in the cosmos], are we to
abandon all of these? Are we not to look at any of these?
In the Vinaya it is said, With
a man it is two places; with a woman it is three places. [Violation
of these places constitutes] equally an unpardonable offense
Since this is the case, if you
despise people in the belief that they have become objects of
sexual lust, then men and women will all have to despise one
another, such that there will be no opportunity for anyone to
cross [to the other shore]. The implications of this truth should
be examined carefully.
Furthermore, some non-Buddhists
do not take wives, but even though they have no wives, they are
still non-Buddhists, harboring false views because they have
not entered the buddha dharma. Even among the disciples of the
buddha, there are husbands and wives within the two groups that
comprise the laity. But since they are disciples of the Buddha,
there are no others among humans or the gods in the heavens who
can stand shoulder to shoulder with them.
Furthermore, in the country of
Tang [China] there are ignorant monks who make a vow saying:
For a long time, from life to life and generation to generation,
I will not look at a woman. On which teachings is this
based? Is it based on the teachings of the buddhas? Is it based
on the teachings of the non-Buddhists? Is it based on the teachings
of Mara? What offenses are women guilty of? What virtues are
men endowed with? As for evil persons, these are found among
men. As for good persons, these are found among women. The desire
to hear the dharma and the search for emancipation certainly
do not depend upon whether you are a man or a woman. When delusions
have not yet been severed, whether it be a man or a woman, those
delusions remain unsevered. When delusions are severed and one
experiences the truth, no distinction exists as to whether it
is a man or woman. Furthermore, if you vow never to look at a
woman, must you then abandon women when you chant, Beings
are boundless, I vow to free them.?10 If you abandon them, you
are not a bodhisattva. Would you call this the compassion
of the buddhas? Since [monks who vow not to look at a woman]
are profoundly intoxicated by the wine of the sravaka, these
are words of madness induced by drunkenness. Humans and gods
ought not believe [such talk].
Furthermore, if you despise people
because they have committed offenses in the past, then you should
also despise bodhisattvas. If you despise people because they
will likely commit offenses in the future, then you should also
despise all bodhisattvas who have set their mind [on realizing
Buddhahood]. If you despise people in this way, you will be forsaking
everyone. How then will the buddha dharma be realized? Such words
[as I vow never to look at a woman] are the crazy
talk of ignoramuses who do not understand the buddha dharma.
How sad! According to your vow, would Sakyamuni and all the bodhisattvas
in the world be guilty of offense? Or would their mind [set on]
enlightenment be shallower than yours? You should reflect on
this quietly. Since this vow did not exist at the time of the
ancestors who received transmission of the dharma and the bodhisattvas
who were contemporaneous with the Buddha, you must think hard
about whether it is something to be learned in the teaching of
the Buddha. If you were to act in accordance with your vow, not
only would you not be saving women, but when women who had acquired
the dharma go forth in the world to preach the dharma for the
benefit of humans and gods, would it not be the case that you
could not to come to listen to them? If you do not come and listen
to them, then you are not a bodhisattva; you are a non-Buddhist.
When we look at the great country
of Song [China] today, [we see that] there are some monks who
appear to have practiced over a long period of time while floating
about in the sea of birth and death, vainly counting the grains
of sand by the sea. [On the other hand] there are those who,
though they are women, have gone to ask friends [about the dharma],
and who, after having made strenuous efforts to pursue the way,
are guides and teachers of humans and gods. There is [for example]
the old woman who did not sell the pastry [to the master Deshan]
but [instead] threw it away. How sad it is that although [Deshan]
was a male monk, he had spent his time in vain, counting the
grains of sand by the seashore without getting so much as a glimpse
of the buddha dharma even in his dreams.11
When you see an object, you must
learn to understand it clearly. If you learn to see it as something
only to fear and flee from, you are following the teaching and
practice of the Hinayana sravaka. If you try to flee the east
and hide in the west, the west too is not without objects. Even
though you might think that you have made good your escape, if
you do not understand clearly, there are objects in distant places
and objects in places close at hand. Running away from them is
not the path to liberation. The further away the objects, the
greater the attachment to them will become.
Furthermore, there is something
laughable here in Japan: places called restricted realms
or training halls for the practice of Mahayana that
do not allow nuns or lay women to enter. This evil custom has
been handed down over a long time, and no one has ever questioned
it. Scholars of things past have not investigated it, and men
of great accomplishment have given it no thought. It is said
to be something established by transformed deities, or declared
to be something bequeathed to us by our predecessors. That no
has gone on to question this makes you laugh till you bust your
gut. What is meant by a transformed deity? Is it
a wise man or a sagely man, a god or a demon, someone on the
ten noble stages or someone on the three wisdom stages, someone
with virtual enlightenment or with wondrous enlightenment? Furthermore,
if we should not change our old ways, should we then also not
cast off our wandering through birth and death?
In addition, the great teacher
Sakyamuni is one who has attained supreme and perfect enlightenment:
all that he should understand he has understood; all that he
should do, he has done: all that from which he should be liberated,
he has been liberated from. Who today comes close to him? Yet,
within the assembly of the Buddha during his lifetime there were,
in all, four groups: monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. There
was the group of eight; there was the group of thirty-seven;
and there was the group of 84,000.12 Together they formed the
realm of the Buddha that newly constituted the assembly of the
Buddha. In what assembly were there no nuns, no women, no group
of eight? We ought not seek to create a restricted realm superior
to and purer than that of the assembly of the Buddha when the
Tathagata was living in this world, for it would a realm of Mara.
The conventions of a buddha assembly do not vary, whether in
our realm or in other quarters, or among the 1,000 buddhas in
the three time-periods [of past, present, and future]. We should
realize that, if the rule varies, it is not a buddha assembly.
What is called the fourth
stage of fruition [i.e., the rank of arhat] is the ultimate
level. In neither Mahayana nor Hinayana is the merit of the ultimate
level distinguished. Yet there are many examples of nuns who
realized the fourth stage. Be it within the three realms or the
buddha lands of the ten directions, is there any realm which
they do not reach? Who could obstruct their acitvity?
Furthermore, wondrous enlightenment
is the supreme level. Since women have attained buddhahood, what
dharmas have they not exhaustively mastered?13 Who would think to obstruct
them and prevent them from proceeding? Since they are already
endowed with merit pervading and illuminating the ten directions,
what could it mean to speak of boundaries [to exclude them]?
Furthermore, would you obstruct
a goddess and prevent her from proceeding? Would you obstruct
a female deity and prevent her from proceeding? Both the goddesses
and the female deities, having not yet severed their delusions,
are still sentient beings subject to rebirth. When they commit
offenses, they commit offenses; when they are without offenses,
they are without offenses. Similarly with human females and animal
females: when they commit offenses, they commit offenses; when
they are without offenses, they are without offenses. Who would
block the path of the gods or the path of the deities? Since
they take part in the assemblies of the buddhas of the three
periods, they have practiced and learned at the dwelling places
of buddhas. If these were different from the dwelling places
of the buddhas and the assemblies of the buddhas, who would believe
that they are in accord with the buddha dharma? [Restricted realms
that bar women] are the ultimate stupidity that deceives and
confuses people in the world. [People who defend them] are even
more stupid than the little fox who tries to prevent humans from
violating his lair.
Furthermore, the categories of
the disciples of the Buddha, whether they are bodhisattvas or
whether they are sravaka, are monk, nun, layman, and laywoman,
as already mentioned. These categories are known in the heavens
and the human world, and their names have reverberated through
the ages. The second category of disciples of the Buddha [the
nuns] are superior even to Wheel-Turning Sage Kings and to Shakudaikanin,
and there is no place it cannot reach.14 It goes without saying
that it is superior to the ssovereign and ministers of state
of a small country [like Japan] that is a peripheral land. When
we look at the training halls today that forbid entry to nuns,
we see that men who work in the rice paddies, people who toil
in the fields, farmers, and old woodcutters enter freely in disorderly
fashion not to mention the sovereign, ministers of state,
high officials, and prime ministers. Who of these could not enter
the training halls? If the men who work in the rice paddies,
and the others were to debate with the nuns about learning and
practicing the dharma or were to debate about reaching the various
stages [leading to buddhahood], who, in the end, would have the
superior understanding and who the inferior? Whether they were
to debate from a secular standpoint or whether they were to debate
from the standpoint of the buddha dharma, the men who work in
the rice paddies and the people who toil in the fields would
never be able to reach a nuns level of attainment. In our
extreme confusion, our small country was the first to bequeath
to later generations this tradition [of excluding women from
monasteries]. How sad that the eldest daughters of the compassionate
father of the three realms, the Buddha, having come to our small
country, discovered that there were places that obstructed them
and did not let them enter.
Furthermore, the sort of fellows
who live in those places called restricted realms
have no fear of the ten evil deeds and in fact violate each of
the ten major precepts.15 Did they simply create
a realm within which to commit offenses, and do they disdain
those people who do not commit offenses? Worse still are the
heinous offenses, which are regarded as the most serious. The
fellows living in the places within a restricted realm
have surely committed these heinous offenses.16 One should destroy Mara
realms such as these; one should learn the teachings of the Buddha
and enter the realm of the Buddha. This is how one repays ones
debt of gratitude to the Buddha. You predecessors who have behaved
in this fashion! Have you understood the meaning of restricted
realm. Whose dharma did you inherit? Whose seal of recognition
did you receive?
Everything within the vast realms
created by buddhas, whether buddhas and sentient beings or the
immense earth and space, is free from the bonds of defilement
and illusion and returns to its source in the wondrous dharma
of the buddhas. Therefore, sentient beings who even once set
foot in this realm receive the buddha merit just as they are.
They are endowed with a kind of merit that does not misapprehend
and distort; they are endowed with a kind of merit that has gained
for them purity. When we restrict one direction, then the entire
dharma-realm is restricted; when we restrict one level [of the
ordination precints], then the entire dharma realm is restricted.
There are realms restricted by water; there are restricted realms
restricted by the mind; there are restricted realms restricted
by space. There is always a lineage or transmission through which
these are known.
What is more, when the ritual
of fixing the boundaries of restricted realms is
performed, after the ambrosia is sprinkled, there is a refuge
ceremony and so on until, following the purification of the realm,
there is the chanting of the verse: This realm permeates
the dharma realm, unconditioned and purified.
Have [you] predecessors and old
men who now always [prattle about] what you call restricted
realms understood the meaning of this verse or not? I do
not think you understand that the all-permeating dharma realm
is restricted within the restricted realm. Intoxicated by the
wine of the sravaka, you think your little realm is the vast
realm. May you speedily awaken from your longstanding confusion
and intoxication, so that you will not continue to misapprehend
and distort the all-permeating realm that is the vast realm of
the buddhas. And may all sentient beings receive the benefits
of the transforming power of the buddhas, so that they might
be delivered to the other shore and embraced by these buddhas.
Let us do obeisance and respectfully reverence their merit. Who
would not say that this is acquiring the marrow of the way?
Treasury of the Eye
of the True Dharma
Getting the Marrow by Doing Obeisance
Written at Koshoji
on the day before the winter solstice in the kanoe-ne year, first
year of the Ninji [era].
[December 1240 C.E.]