Transmission of the Lamp

11. Funayasha

Whilst Funayasha stood in gasshá before Barishiba, the latter asked, “Where do you come from?” Funayasha answered, “My mind travels nowhere.” Barishiba then asked, “Where do you reside?” Funayasha replied, “My mind resides nowhere.” Barishiba asked, “Then things are not settled for you?” Funayasha said, “It is just as it was for all the Buddhas.” Barishiba said, “You are not ‘all the Buddhas’, moreover it is a mistake to refer to anyone as ‘all the Buddhas’.” Hearing this statement, Funayasha trained diligently with it for three weeks until he recognized for himself the DHARMA NATURE OF THE UNBORN; he then announced to Barishiba, “It is a mistake to regard anyone as ‘all the Buddhas’ and to regard you as a ‘Sainted One’.” Barishiba approved of this and Transmitted the True Teaching to him.

Funayasha (S. Punyayasas, ‘He of Virtuous Renown’) was of the Gautama clan in the country of the City of Flowers (i.e., Patna); his father was Háshin (S. Ratnakaya, ‘He Whose Body Is a Treasure’). Barishiba, upon his arrival in Patna, sat down beneath a tree to rest and, pointing his right hand at the ground, said, “When this earth takes on a golden hue, a Saintly One will come and join us.” No sooner had he finished speaking than the ground changed to a golden colour and, at that very moment, Funayasha, the son of a wealthy man, stood in gasshá before Barishiba and what is related in this story occurred whereupon Barishiba said in verse,

“This earth has changed to a golden hue
That we might recognize the coming of a Holy One
Who will doubtless sit beneath the Bodhi Tree of Wisdom Where enlightenment will flower as he realizes PERFECTION.”

Funayasha replied in verse,
“The Master sits on gold-tinted ground,
Always preaching the authentic TRUTH.
May He turn His light to illumine me
And help me enter samadhi.”

Barishiba, aware of Funayasha’s motives, guided him in his leaving home to become a monk and gave him the full Precepts.

In this story Funayasha was, from the first, a ‘Holy One’ which is why he said, “My mind travels nowhere, my mind resides nowhere just as with all the Buddhas.” This is, however, still a dualistic view for he understood the situation as ‘My mind is like this and all the Buddhas are likewise so’. This is what prompted Barishiba ‘to drive off the ox from the plowman and snatch away the food from the ravenous man’, that is, to separate him from what he deemed most precious. Since even people who have had a genuine realization are still unable to help themselves, how much less can they depend on ‘all the Buddhas’! This is why Barishiba said, “You are not ‘all the Buddhas’.” This is not something that you can know through acquired knowledge and reasoning or discern by the absence of some characteristic or other; it is not something that you can comprehend even if you had the wisdom of all the Buddhas, nor is it something that your own intellect can fathom. This is why, after hearing Barishiba’s statement, Funayasha sat in training and practised walking meditation for three weeks without letting the matter rest. The day finally came when all conditions ripened and he awoke; beyond question he forgot about ‘my mind’ and was freed from attachment to ‘all the Buddhas’; this is what is called ‘recognizing for yourself the DHARMA NATURE OF THE UNBORN’. He had finally penetrated to THIS PRINCIPLE and, in order to express his realizing of that unbounded state which is ‘without anyone inside or outside’, he said, “It is a mistake to regard anyone as ‘all the Buddhas’ and to regard you as a ‘Sainted One’.”

The Way of the Ancestors and Masters is not something that can really be reached by reasoning or discerned with the discriminative mind, hence, do not consider that ‘Dharma-Body’ or ‘Dharma Nature’ or ‘the myriad phenomena are nothing but the One Mind’ adequately express IT; do not speak of IT as ‘unchanging’, do not hold in your mind that IT is ‘immaculacy’ to say nothing of conceiving of IT as ‘emptiness’ or working out
in your head that IT is ‘the Supreme Principle’. When the holy and wise ones of all our Buddhist traditions, upon fully arriving at this state, reverted to the naı ̈ve mind that they had as a child and once again let loose the light of clarity upon the foundation of their minds, they directly passed onto the entry road and quickly smashed to bits their own personal views. You can grasp this through today’s story. Because Funayasha was already a ‘Holy One’, the ground changed upon his arrival; the unseen force of his virtue had the power to create a stir in things. Even so, he still trained for three weeks before he reached this awakened state. Therefore good monks like you must clearly discern IT and not describe the essential point of our tradition as reliance on middling virtues, small insights or personal opinions and feelings. If you are extremely careful you will realize IT for the first time.

Again, this morning, I gratefully offer my humble words in the hope that you may comprehend what is happening in this story. Do the community wish to hear them?

My ORIGINAL NATURE is not the Buddha nor is IT you,
And all my comings and goings abide therein.

(from The DENKOROKU: The Record of the Transmission of the Light by Zen Master Keizan Jokin. Translated by Reverend Hubert Nearman, Shasta Abbey Press, 2001.)