Treasury of the Eye of
the True Dharma
Mountains and Waters Sutra
These mountains and waters of
the present are the expression of the old buddhas. Each, abiding
in its own dharma state, fulfills exhaustive virtues. Because
they are the circumstances "prior to the kalpa of emptiness",
they are this life of the present; because they are the self
"before the germination of any subtle sign", they are
liberated in their actual occurrence. Since the virtues of the
mountain are high and broad, the spiritual power to ride the
clouds is always mastered from the mountains, and the marvelous
ability to follow the wind is inevitably liberated from the mountains.
* * * * *
Preceptor Kai of Mt. Dayang addressed
the assembly, saying, "The blue mountains are constantly
walking. The stone woman gives birth to a child in the night."1
The mountains lack none of their
proper virtues; hence, they are constantly at rest and constantly
walking. We must devote ourselves to a detailed study of this
virtue of walking. Since the walking of the mountains should
be like that of people, one ought not doubt that the mountains
walk simply because they may not appear to stride like humans.
This saying of the buddha and
ancestor [Daokai] has pointed out walking; it has got what is
fundamental, and we should thoroughly investigate this address
on "constant walking". It is constant because it is
walking. Although the walking of the blue mountains is faster
than "swift as the wind", those in the mountains do
not sense this, do not know it. To be "in the mountains"
is "a flower opening within the world".2 Those outside the mountains
do not sense this, do not know it. Those without eyes to see
the mountains, do not sense, do not know, do not see, do not
hear the reason for this. To doubt the walking of the mountains
means that one does not yet know one's own walking. It is not
that one does not walk but that one does not yet know, has not
made clear, this walking. Those who would know their own walking
must also know the walking of the blue mountains.
The blue mountains are not sentient;
they are not insentient. We ourselves are not sentient; we are
not insentient. We can have no doubts about these blue mountains
walking. We do not know what measure of dharma realms would be
necessary to clarify the blue mountains. We should do a clear
accounting of the blue mountains' walking and our own walking,
including an accounting of both "stepping back and back
stepping".3 We should do an accounting
of the fact that, since the very time "before any subtle
sign", since "the other side of the King of Emptiness",
walking by stepping forward and back has never stopped for a
If walking had ever rested, the
buddhas and ancestors would never have appeared; if walking were
limited, the buddha dharma would never have reached us today.
Stepping forward has never ceased; stepping back has never ceased.
Stepping forward does not oppose stepping back, nor does stepping
back oppose stepping forward. This virtue is called "the
mountain flowing, the flowing mountain".
The blue mountains devote themselves
to the investigation of walking; the East Mountain studies "moving
over the water". Hence, this study is the mountains' own
study. The mountains, without altering their own body and mind,
with their own mountain countenance, have always been circling
back to study [themselves].
Do not slander mountains by saying
that the blue mountains cannot walk, nor the East Mountain move
over the water. It is because of the baseness of the common person's
point of view that we doubt the phrase "the blue mountains
walk"; because of the crudeness of our limited experience,
we are surprised by the words "flowing mountain". Without
having fully penetrated even the term "flowing water",
we just remain sunk in our limited perception.
Thus, the accumulated virtues
[of the mountain] brought up here represent its very "name
and form", its "vital artery". There is a mountain
walk and a mountain flow. There is a time when the mountains
give birth to a mountain child. The mountains become the buddhas
and ancestors, and it is for this reason that the buddhas and
ancestors have thus appeared.
Even when we have the eyes [to
see mountains as] the appearance of grass and trees, earth and
stone, fences and walls, this is nothing to doubt, nothing to
be moved by: it is not the complete appearance [of the mountains].
Even when there appears an occasion in which [the mountains]
are seen as the splendor of the seven treasures, this is still
not the real refuge. Even when they appear to us as the realm
of the practice of the way of the buddhas, this is not necessarily
something to be desired. Even when we attain the crowning appearance
of the vision of [the mountains as] the inconceivable virtues
of the buddhas, their reality is more than this. Each of these
appearances is the particular objective and subjective result
[of past karma]; they are not the karma of the way of the buddhas
and ancestors but narrow, one-sided views.4 "Turning the object
and turning the mind" is criticized by the Great Sage; "explaining
the mind and explaining the nature" is not affirmed by the
buddhas and ancestors; "seeing the mind and seeing the nature"
is the business of non-Buddhists. "Sticking to words and
sticking to phrases" are not the words of liberation. There
are [words] that are free from such realms: they are "the
blue mountains constantly walking" and "the East Mountain
moving over the water". We should give them detailed investigation.
"The stone woman gives birth
to a child in the night." This means that the time when
"a stone woman gives birth to a child" is "the
night". There are male stones, female stones, and stones
neither male nor female. They repair heaven, and they repair
earth. There are stones of heaven, and there are stones of earth.
Though this said in the secular world, it is rarely understood.
We should understand the reason behind this "giving birth
to a child". At the time of birth, are parent and child
transformed together? We should not only study that birth is
realized in the child becoming the parent; we should also study
and fully understand that the practice and verification of birth
is realized when the parent becomes the child.5
The Great Master Yunmen Kuangzhen
has said, "The East Mountain moves over the water".6
The import of this expression
is that all mountains are the East Mountain, and all these East
Mountains are "moving over the water". Therefore, Mount
Sumeru and the other nine mountains are all appearing, are all
practicing and verifying [the buddha dharma]. This is called
"the East Mountain". But how could Yunmen himself be
liberated from the "skin, flesh, bones, and marrow"
of the East Mountain and its life of practice and verification?
At the present time in the land
of the great Song there is a certain bunch of illiterates who
have formed such a crowd that they cannot be overcome by the
few real [students]. They maintain that sayings such as this
"East Mountain moving over the water" or Nanquan's
"sickle" are incomprehensible talk. Their idea is that
any saying that is involved with thought is not a Zen saying
of the buddhas and ancestors; it is incomprehensible sayings
that are the sayings of the buddhas and ancestors. Consequently,
[they hold that] Huangbo's "stick" and Linji's "roar",
because they are difficult to comprehend and cannot be grasped
by thought, represent the great awakening preceding the time
"before the germination of any subtle sign". The "tangle-cutting
phrases" often used as devices by earlier worthies are [they
Those who talk in this way have
never met a true teacher and lack the eye of study; they are
worthless little fools. There have been many such "sons
of Måra" and "gang of six" shavepates in
the land of Song for the last two or three hundred years.8
This is truly regrettable, for it represents the decline of the
great way of the buddhas and ancestors. Their understanding is
inferior to that of the Hinayana shravakas, more foolish than
that even of non-Buddhists. They are not layman; they are not
monks. They are not humans; they are not gods. They are dumber
than beasts that study the way of the buddha. What you shavelings
call "incomprehensible sayings" is incomprehensible
only to you, not to the buddhas and ancestors. Simply because
you yourself do not comprehend [the sayings] is no reason for
you not to study the path comprehended by the buddhas and ancestors.
Even granted that [Zen teachings] were in the end incomprehensible,
this comprehension of yours would also be wrong. Such types are
common throughout all quarters of the state of Song; I have seen
them with my own eyes. They are to be pitied. They do not know
that thought is words; they do not know that words are liberated
from thought. When I was in the Song, I made fun of them, but
they never had an explanation, never a word to say for themselves
-- just this false notion of theirs about "incomprehensibility".
Who could have taught you this? Though you have no natural teacher,
you are natural little non-Buddhists.9
We should realize that this [teaching
of] "the East Mountain moving over the water" is the
very "bones and marrow" of the buddhas and ancestors.
All the waters are appearing at the foot of the East Mountain,
and therefore the mountains mount the clouds and stride through
the heavens. The mountains are the peaks of the waters, and in
both ascending and descending their walk is "over the water".
The tips of the mountains' feet walk across the waters, setting
them dancing. Therefore, their walking is "seven high and
eight across" and their "practice and verification
are not non-existent".10
* * * * *
Water is neither strong nor weak,
neither wet nor dry, neither moving nor still, neither cold nor
hot, neither being nor nonbeing, neither delusion nor enlightenment.
Frozen, it harder than diamond; who could break it? Melted, it
is softer than milk; who could break it?
This being the case, we cannot
doubt the many virtues realized [by water]. We should study the
occasion when the water of the ten directions is seen in the
ten directions. This is not a study only of the time when humans
or gods see water: there is a study of water seeing water. Water
practices and verifies water; hence, there is a study of water
telling of water. We must bring to realization the road on which
the self encounters the self; we must move back and forth along,
and spring off from, the vital path on which the other studies
and fully comprehends the other.
In general, then, the way of
seeing mountains and waters differs according to the type of
being [that sees them]. In seeing water, there are beings who
see it as a jeweled necklace. This does not mean, however, that
they see a jeweled necklace as water. How, then, do we see what
they consider water? Their jeweled necklace is what we see as
water. Some see water as miraculous flowers, though it does not
follow that they use flowers as water. Hungry ghosts see water
as raging flames or as pus and blood. Dragons and fish see it
as a palace or a tower, or as the seven treasures or the mani
gem. [Others] see it as woods and walls, or as the dharma nature
of immaculate liberation, or as the true human body, or as the
physical form and mental nature. Humans see these as water. And
these [different ways of seeing] are the conditions under which
[water] is killed or given life.11
Given that what different types
of beings see is different, we should have some doubts about
this. Is it that there are various ways of seeing one object?
Or is it that we have mistaken various images for one object?
At the peak of our concentrated effort on this, we should concentrate
still more. Therefore, our practice and verification, our pursuit
of the way, must also be not merely of one or two kinds, and
the ultimate realm must also have a thousand types and ten thousand
If we reflect further on the
real import of this [question], although we say there is water
of the various types, it would seem there is no original water,
no water of various types. Nevertheless, the various waters in
accordance with the types [of beings] do not depend on the mind,
do not depend on the body [of these beings]; they do not arise
from [different types of] karma; they are not dependent on self;
they are not dependent on other. They are liberated dependent
on water. Therefore, water is not [the water of] earth, water,
fire, wind, space or consciousness; it is not blue, yellow, red,
white or black; it is not form, sound, smell, taste, touch or
idea. Nevertheless, the waters of earth, water, fire, wind, space,
and the rest have been spontaneously appearing [as such].
This being the case, it becomes
difficult to explain by what and of what the present land and
palace are made. To say that they rest on the wheel of space
and the wheel of wind is true neither for oneself nor for others;
it is just speculating on the basis of the suppositions of an
inferior view and is said only out of fear that, without such
a resting place, they could not abide.12
The Buddha has said, "All
things are ultimately liberated; they have no abode."13
We should realize that, although
they are liberated, without any bonds, all things are abiding
in [their own particular] state. However, when humans look at
water, they have the one way that sees it only as flowing without
rest. This "flow" takes many forms, of which the human
view is but one. [Water] flows over the earth; it flows across
the sky; it flows up; it flows down. [Water] flows around bends
and into deep abysses. It mounts up to form clouds; it descends
to form pools.
The Wen Tzu says, "The tao
of water, ascending to heaven, becomes rain and dew, descending
to earth, becomes rivers and streams."14
Such is said even in the secular
world; it would be shameful indeed if those who call themselves
descendants of the buddhas and ancestors were more stupid than
the secular. [This passage] says that, although the way of water
is unknown to water, water actually functions [as water]; although
the way of water is not unknown to water, water actually functions
"Ascending to heaven, it
becomes rain and dew." We should realize that water climbs
to the very highest heavens in the highest quarters and becomes
rain and dew. Rain and dew is of various kinds, in accordance
with the various worlds. To say that there are places to which
water does not reach is the teaching of the Hinayana shravaka
or the false teaching of the non-Buddhist. Water extends into
flames; it extends into thought, reasoning and discrimination;
it extends into awareness and the buddha nature.
"Descending to earth, it
becomes rivers and streams." We should realize that, when
water descends to earth, it becomes rivers and streams, and that
the essence of rivers and streams becomes sages. The foolish
common folk think that water is always in rivers, streams, and
seas, but this is not so: [water] makes rivers and seas within
water. Therefore, water is in places that are not rivers and
seas; it is just that, when water descends to earth, it works
as rivers and seas.
Moreover, we should not study
that, when water has become rivers and seas, there is then no
world and no buddha land [within water]: incalculable buddha
lands are realized even within a single drop of water. Consequently,
it is not that water exists within the buddha land, nor that
the buddha land exists within water: the existence of water has
nothing whatever to do with the three times or the dharma realm.
Nevertheless, though it is like this, it is the koan of the actualization
Wherever the buddhas and ancestors
are, water is always there; wherever water is, there the buddhas
and ancestors always appear. Therefore, the buddhas and ancestors
have always taken up water as their own body and mind, their
In this way, then, [the idea]
that water does not climb up is to be found neither in Buddhist
nor non-Buddhists writings. The way of water penetrates everywhere,
above and below, vertically and horizontally. Still, in the sutras
it is said that fire and wind go up, while earth and water go
down. But this "up and down" bears some study - the
study of the up and down of the way of the buddha. [In the way
of the buddha,] where earth and water go is considered "down";
but "down" here does not mean some place to which earth
and water go. Where fire and wind go is "up". While
the dharma realm has no necessary connection with up and down
or the four directions, simply on the basis of the function of
the four, five or six elements, we provisionally set up a dharma
realm with directions. It is not that the "heaven of non-conception"
is above and the "avici hell" is below: avici is the
entire dharma realm; the heaven of non-conception is the entire
Nevertheless, when dragons and
fish see water as a palace, just as when humans see palaces,
they do not view it as flowing. And, if some onlooker were to
explain to them that their palace was flowing water, they would
surely be just as amazed as we are now to hear it said that mountains
flow. Still, there would undoubtedly be some [dragons and fish]
who would accept such an explanation of the railings, stairs
and columns of palaces and pavilions. We should calmly consider,
over and over, the reason for this. If our study is not liberated
from these confines, we have not freed ourselves from the body
and mind of the commoner, we have not fully comprehended the
land of the buddhas and ancestors, we have not fully comprehended
the land of the commoner, we have not fully comprehended the
palace of the commoner.
Although humans have deeply understood
what is in seas and rivers as water, just what kind of thing
dragons, fish, and other beings understand and use as water we
do not yet know. Do not foolishly assume that all kinds of beings
must use as water what we understand as water.
When those who study Buddhism
seek to learn about water, they should not stick to [the water
of] humans; they should go on to study the water of the way of
the buddhas. We should study how we see the water used by the
buddhas and ancestors; we should study whether within the rooms
of the buddhas and ancestors there is or is not water.
* * * * *
From the distant past to the
distant present, mountains have been the dwelling place of the
great sages. Wise men and sages have all made the mountains their
own chambers, their own body and mind. And through these wise
men and sages the mountains have appeared. However many great
sages and wise men we suppose have assembled in the mountains,
ever since they entered the mountains no one has met a single
one of them. There is only the expression of the mountain way
of life; not a single trace of their having entered remains.
The "crown and eyes" [of the mountains] are completely
different when we are in the world gazing off at the mountains
and when we are in the mountains meeting the mountains. Our concept
of not-flowing and our understanding of not-flowing should not
be the same as the dragon's understanding. Humans and gods reside
in their own worlds, and other beings may have their doubts [about
this], or, then again, they may not.
Therefore, without giving way
to our surprise and doubt, we should study the words "mountains
flow" with the buddhas and ancestors. Taking up one [view],
there is flowing; taking up another, there is not-flowing. At
one turn, there is flowing; at another, not-flowing. If our study
is not like this, it is not "the true dharma wheel of the
Thus Come One".
An old buddha has said, "If
you wish to avoid the karma of avici hell, do not slander the
true dharma wheel of the Thus Come One."15
These words should be engraved
on skin, flesh, bones and marrow, engraved on interior and exterior
of body and mind, engraved on emptiness and on form; they are
engraved on trees and rocks, engraved on fields and villages.
Although we say that mountains
belong to the country, actually they belong to those who love
them. When the mountains love their owners, the wise and virtuous
inevitably enter the mountains. And when sages and wise men live
in the mountains, because the mountains belong to them, trees
and rocks flourish and abound, and the birds and beasts take
on a supernatural excellence. This is because the sages and wise
men have covered them with their virtue. We should realize that
the mountains actually take delight in wise men, actually take
delight in sages.
Throughout the ages, we have
excellent examples of emperors who have gone to the mountains
to pay homage to wise men and seek instruction from great sages.
At such times [the emperors] respected [the sages] as teachers
and honored them without standing on worldly forms. For the imperial
authority has no authority over the mountain sage, and [the emperors]
knew that the mountains are beyond the mundane world. In ancient
times we have [the cases of] Kongtong and the Hua Guard: when
the Yellow Emperor made his visit, he went on his knees, prostrated
himself, and begged instruction.16 Again, the Buddha Ûåkyamuni
left his royal father's palace and went into the mountains; yet
his royal father felt no resentment toward the mountains nor
distrust of those in the mountains who instructed the prince.
[The prince's] twelve years of cultivating the way were largely
spent in the mountains, and it was in the mountains that the
Dharma King's auspicious event occurred. Truly, even a "wheel-turning
king" does not wield authority over the mountains.
We should understand that the
mountains are not within the limits of the human realm or the
limits of the heavens above. They are not to be viewed with the
calculations of human thought. If only we did not compare them
with flowing in the human realm, who would have any doubts about
such things as the mountains' flowing or not flowing?
Again, since ancient times, wise
men and sages have also lived by the water. When they live by
the water they hook fish. Or they hook people, or they hook the
way. These are all "water styles" of old. And going
further, there must be hooking the self, hooking the hook, being
hooked by the hook, and being hooked by the way.
Long ago, when the Preceptor
Decheng suddenly left Yueshan and went to live on the river,
he got the sage of Huating River.17 Is this not hooking a fish.
Is it not hooking a person? Is it not hooking water? Is it not
hooking himself? That the person got to see Decheng is [because
he was] Decheng; Decheng's accepting the person is his meeting
It is not the case simply that
there is water in the world; within the world of water there
is a world. And this is true not only within water: within clouds
as well there is world of sentient beings; within wind there
is world of sentient beings; within fire there is world of sentient
beings; within earth there is world of sentient beings. Within
the dharma realm there is a world of sentient beings; within
a single blade of grass there is world of sentient beings; within
a single staff there is a world of sentient beings. And wherever
there is a world of sentient beings, there, inevitably, is the
world of buddhas and ancestors. The reason this so, we should
study very carefully.
In this way, water is the palace
of the "true dragon"; it is not flowing away.18
If we regard it only as flowing, the word "flowing"
is an insult to water: it is like imposing "not flowing".
Water is nothing but water's "real form just as it is".
Water is the virtue of water; it is not flowing. In the thorough
study of the flowing or the not-flowing of a single [drop of]
water, the entirety of the ten thousand things is instantly realized.
Among mountains as well, there are mountains hidden in jewels;
there are mountains hidden in marshes, mountains hidden in the
sky; there are mountains hidden in mountains. There is a study
of mountains hidden in hiddenness.
An old buddha has said, "Mountains
are mountains and waters are waters."19
These words do not say that mountains
are mountains; they say that mountains are mountains. Therefore,
we should thoroughly study these mountains. When we thoroughly
study the mountains, this is the mountain training. Such mountains
and waters themselves become wise men and sages.
Treasury of the Eye
of the True Dharma
The Mountains and Waters Sutra
Presented to the assembly
eighteenth day, tenth month, first year of Ninji (1240),
at Kannon Dôri Kôshô Hôrinji.