Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
Book 66

The King of Samadhis Samadhi
Zanmai ō zanmai



Abruptly transcending all realms, to be greatly honored within the quarters of the buddhas and ancestors—this is sitting with legs crossed.  Trampling the heads of the followers of alien ways and the legions of Māra, to be the one here within the halls of the buddhas and ancestors—this is sitting with legs crossed.  Transcending the extreme of the extremes of the buddhas and ancestors is just this one dharma.  Therefore, the buddhas and ancestors engage in it, without any further task.1


            We should realize that there is a vast difference between all realms of sitting and all other realms.  Clarifying this principle, we confirm the aspiration, the practice, the bodhi, and the nirvāṇa of the buddhas and ancestors.  We should investigate:  at the very moment we are sitting, are all realms vertical?  Are they horizontal?  At the very moment we are sitting, what about that sitting?  Is it a flip?  Is it “brisk and lively”?  Is it thinking?  Is it not thinking?  Is it making?  Is it without making?  Are we sitting within sitting?  Are we sitting within body and mind?  Are we sitting having sloughed off “within sitting,” “within body and mind,” and so on?  We should investigate one thousand points, ten thousand points, such as these. “We should do the sitting with legs crossed of the body; we should do the sitting with legs crossed of the mind; we should do the sitting with legs crossed of the body and mind sloughed off.”2


My former master, the old buddha, said,

“Studying Zen is body and mind sloughed off.  You get it only by just sitting; you don’t need to burn incense, make prostrations, recollect the buddha, practice repentence, or look at scripture.”3


            For the last four or five hundred years, clearly my former master is the only one who has plucked out the eye of the buddhas and ancestors, who sits within the eye of the buddhas and ancestors.  There are few of equal stature in the land of Cīnasthāna.  It is rare to have clarified that sitting is the buddha dharma, that the buddha dharma is sitting.  Even if [some] realize sitting as the buddha dharma, they have not understood sitting as sitting — let alone maintained the buddha dharma as the buddha dharma.4


            This being the case, there is the sitting of the mind, which is not the same as the sitting of the body.  There is the sitting of the body, which is not the same as the sitting of the mind.  There is the sitting of the body and mind sloughed off, which is not the same as the sitting of the body and mind sloughed off.  To be like this is the accordance of practice and understanding of the buddhas and ancestors.  We should maintain this thought, idea, and perception; we should investigate this mind, mentation, and consciousness.5


            The Buddha Śākyamuni addressed the great assembly, saying,

When sitting with legs crossed,
Body and mind realizing samādhi,
One’s majesty, the multitudes respect,
Like the sun illumining the world.
Removed, the lethargy clouding the mind,
The body light, without pain or fatigue;
The awareness similarly light and easy,
One sits calmly, like the dragon coiled.
King Māra is startled and fearful
On seeing depicted [one] sitting with legs crossed,
How much more [on seeing] one who realizes the way,
Sitting calmly without stirring.”


            Thus, King Māra is startled and frightened to perceive the depiction of [someone] sitting with legs crossed — how much more [someone] actually sitting with legs crossed; the virtue cannot be fully reckoned.  This being the case, the merit of our ordinary sitting is measureless.7


The Buddha Śākyamuni addressed the great assembly saying,

Therefore, [the Buddha] sits with legs crossed.  Further, the Thus Come One, the World Honored One, instructs his disciples that they should sit like this.  Factions of the outsiders seek the way while always keeping [one] leg raised, or seek the way while always standing, or seek the way with their legs on their shoulders.  Thus, their minds are crazed, sinking in the sea of falsity, and their bodies are ill at ease.  Therefore, the Buddha instructs his disciples to sit with legs crossed, to sit with mind upright.  Why?  Because, when the body is upright, the mind is easily corrected.  When one’s body is sitting upright, the mind will not slacken.  With straightforward mind and correct attention, one fastens thought in front of one.  If the mind wanders, if the body leans, one controls them and brings them back.  Wishing to realize samādhi, wishing to enter samādhi, one collects the multiple wandering thoughts, the multiple distractions.  Training in this way, he realizes and enters the king of samādhis samādhi.8


            Clearly we know that sitting with legs crossed is the king of samādhis samādhi, is realization and entrance.  All the samādhis are the attendants of this king samādhi.  Sitting with legs crossed is upright body, is upright mind, is upright body and mind, is upright buddha and ancestor, is upright practice and realization, is upright head, is upright vital artery.9


            Now crossing the legs of the human skin, flesh, bones, and marrow, one crosses the legs of the king of samādhis samādhi.  The World Honored One always maintains sitting with legs crossed; and to the disciples he correctly transmits sitting with legs crossed; and to the humans and gods he teaches sitting with legs crossed.  The mind seal correctly transmitted by the seven buddhas is this.10


            The Buddha Śākyamuni, sitting with legs crossed under the bodhi tree, passed fifty small kalpas, passed sixty kalpas, passed countless kalpas.  Sitting with legs crossed for twenty-one days, sitting cross-legged for one time — this is turning the wheel of the wondrous dharma; this is the buddha’s proselytizing of a lifetime.  There is nothing lacking.  This is the yellow roll and vermillion roller.  The buddha seeing the buddha is this time.  This is precisely the time when beings attain buddhahood.11


            Upon coming from the west, the First Ancestor, the worthy Bodhidharma, passed nine autumns in seated meditation with legs crossed facing a wall at Shaolin monastery at Shaoshi Peak.  Thereafter, his head and eyes have filled the world of the land of Cīnasthāna till now.  The vital artery of the First Ancestor is just sitting with legs crossed.  Prior to the First Ancestor’s coming from the west, beings in the eastern lands had not known sitting with legs crossed; after the ancestral master came from the west, they knew it.  Therefore, for one life or ten thousand lives, grasping the tail and taking the head, without leaving the “grove,” just sitting with legs crossed day and night, without other business — this is the king of samādhis samādhi.12


Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma
The King of Samadhis Samadhi
Number 66


Presented to the assembly fifteenth day, second month, second year of Kangen (kinoe-tatsu)
at Kippō hermitage, region of Etsu.13