Buddhist Meditations
Zen: A Reply to Hu Shih
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
04/07/2011 14:16 (GMT+7)
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One of my first impressions after reading Dr. Hu Shih's learned and instructive paper on Zen Buddhism in China is that he may know a great deal about history but nothing about the actor behind it. History is a kind of public property accessible to everybody who is at liberty to handle it according to his judgment. To this extent history is something objective, and its materials or facts, though these are quite an indefinite element in the make-up of history, are like scientific objects ready to be examined by the students.

One of my first impressions after reading Dr. Hu Shih's learned and instructive paper on Zen Buddhism in China is that he may know a great deal about history but nothing about the actor behind it. History is a kind of public property accessible to everybody who is at liberty to handle it according to his judgment. To this extent history is something objective, and its materials or facts, though these are quite an indefinite element in the make-up of history, are like scientific objects ready to be examined by the students. They are not, of course, subject to planned experiments. On the other hand, the actor or the creator or the man who is behind history eludes the historian's objective handling. What constitutes his individuality or subjectivity cannot be made the object of historical investigation, because it refuses to manifest itself objectively. It can be appreciated only by himself. He is a unique existence which can never be duplicated, and this uniqueness in its metaphysical sense, or in its deepest sense, I would say, can be intuited only by the man himself. It is not the historian's business to peer into it. In fact, however much he may try, he will always be frustrated in his attempt. Hu Shih fails to understand this.

A further impression is that vis-a-vis Zen, there are at least two types of mentality: the one which can understand Zen and, therefore, has the right to say something about' it, and another which is utterly unable to grasp what Zen is. The difference between the two types is one of quality and is beyond the possibility of mutual reconciliation; By this I mean that, from the point of view of the second type, Zen belongs in a realm altogether transcending this type of mind and, therefore, is not a worthwhile subject on which to waste much time. Men of the first type know very well where this second type is entrenched, because they were there themselves prior to their attainment to Zen.

The first impression that I get from Hu Shih's paper is that history relates Zen to a general thought-movement in the development of Chinese Buddhism in its contact with Taoism and Confucianism and especially with the Chinese way of handling life. The second impression reflects my conviction that Hu Shih, who represents the second type of mentality, is not properly qualified and equipped to discuss Zen as Zen apart from its various historical settings.

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Zen must be understood from the inside, not from the outside. One must first attain what I call praj~naa-intuition and then proceed to the study of all its objectified expressions. To try to get into Zen by collecting the so-called historical materials and to come to a conclusion which will definitely characterize Zen as Zen, Zen in itself, or Zen as each of us lives it in his innermost being, is not the right approach.

Hu Shih, as a historian, knows Zen in its historical setting, but not Zen in itself. It is likely that he does not recognize that Zen has its own life independent of history. After he has exhausted Zen in its historical setting, he is not at all aware of the fact that Zen is still fully alive, demanding Hu Shih's attention and, if possible, his "unhistorical" treatment. For instance, he kills Fu Ta-shih together with his "gaathaa" which, however, remains quite eloquent even to this day. It is a pity that he is still haunted by the ghost of his victim, for his "bridge" is flowing as ever before, and, with all his historical insight, Hu Shih finds himself drowning while walking over it. Does this sound "anti-historical"?

Hu Shih seems to be very much upset by my statement that Zen is irrational and beyond our intellectual comprehension, and he tries to show that Zen can be understood easily when it is placed in its historical setting. He thinks that when Zen is so placed, it is found that the Zen movement in the history of Chinese Buddhism was "only a part of a larger movement which may be correctly characterized as internal reformation or revolution in Buddhism." [1] Let me see if he is right.

My contention is twofold: (1) Zen is not explainable by mere intellectual analysis. As long as the intellect is concerned with words and ideas, it can never reach Zen. (2) Even when Zen is treated historically, Hu Shih's way of setting it in a historical frame is not correct, because he fails to understand what Zen is. I must strongly insist that Zen must first be comprehended as it is in it self and then it is that one can proceed to the study of its historical objectifications as Hu Shih does.

I will now briefly set my views down, discussing the second point first.

Hu Shih does not seem to understand the real significance of "sudden awakening or enlightenment" in its historical setting. He makes a great deal of Tao-sheng's allusion to this term and thinks here is the beginning of Zen thought. But as far as "sudden enlightenment" is concerned, this is the very essence of Buddhist teaching, and all the schools of Buddhism, Hiinayaana and

1. See Hu Shih, "Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism in China: Its History and Method," in this issue, p. 12.

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Mahaayaana, Yogaacaara and Maadhyamika, even, in my opinion, the Pure Land sect, owe their origin to Buddha's enlightenment-experience, which he had under the Bodhi tree by the River Naira~njanaa so many centuries ago. Buddha's enlightenment was no other than a "sudden enlightenment." Among the Suutras in which this experience is emphasized, I may mention the Vimalakiirti 維摩經 the La^nkaavataara 楞伽經, and the Suutra of Perfect Enlightenment 圓覺經. Though the last-mentioned is a disputed Suutra, it is one of the most important works on Zen.

In the history of Zen, Yenoo (Hui-neng or Wei-lang in Chinese) comes foremost, and it may be better in more than one sense to consider him the first patriarch of Zen in China. His message was really revolutionary. Though he is described as an illiterate son of a farmer, living in the Lingnan district far away from the center of T'ang culture and civilization, he was a great pioneer spirit and opened up a new field in the study of Buddhism, upsetting all the traditions which preceded him. His message was: dhyaana and praj~naa are one; where dhyaana is, there is praj~naa, and where praj~naa is, there is dhyaana; they are not to be separated one from the other. Before Hui-neng the two were regarded as separate; otherwise, their identity was not clearly affirmed, which resulted in the practice of more or less emphasizing dhyaana at the expense of praj~naa. Buddha's all-important enlightenment-experience came to be interpreted statically and not dynamically, and the doctrine of `suunyataa (emptiness), which is really the cornerstone of Buddhist thought-structure, became a dead thing. Hui-neng revived the enlightenment-experience.

According to The Records of the La^nkaa Teachers and Disciples 楞伽師資記 , Tao-hsin 道信 (Doshin) , popularly known as the fourth patriarch of Zen in China, seems to have been a great master of Zen, and under his successor, Hung-jen 弘忍 ( Gunin ), the fifth patriarch, there were ten or eleven great masters, one of whom was Hui-neng 慧能 (Yenoo). Tao-hsin and Hung-jen, however, did not make the distinction and the identity of dhyaana and praj~naa quite clear. Perhaps there were yet no impelling circumstances to do so. But under Hung-jen this changed, for among the rivals of Hui-neng there was Shen-hsiu (Jinshu), who was an outstanding figure almost overshadowing Hui-neng. Shen-hsiu was a contrast to Hui-neng in every way -- in learning, monkish training, and personality. Hui-neng stayed in the south, while Shen-hsiu went to the capital under imperial patronage. It was natural that Shen-hsiu and his teaching were more esteemed. Hui-neng, however, did not make any special effort to compete with Shen-hsiu, doing his own preaching in his own way in the remote provincial towns. It was due to Shen-hui, one of the youngest disciples of Hui-neng, that the differences

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between Hui-neng's school and Shen-hsiu's were brought to the surface and the great struggle started for ascendance and supremacy, as described so well by Hu Shih.

Shen-hui's emphasis, however, on the doctrine of sudden enlightenment does not exactly reflect the true spirit of Hui-neng. It is rather a side-issue from the doctrine of the identity of dhyaana and praj~naa. According to my "historical understanding," the identity-doctrine comes first and when this is grasped sudden enlightenment naturally follows. Shen-hui probably had to emphasize sudden enlightenment because of strong opposition from Shen-hsiu's followers. Shen-hui's position is better understood from Tsung-mi's comment on Shen-hui in which Tsung-mi characterizes Shen-hui's teaching as "The one character chih 知 is the gateway to all secrets." Here chih means praj~naa-intuition and not "knowledge" in its ordinary sense. When chih is rendered -- as it is by Hu Shih -- as "knowledge," all is lost, not only Shen-hui and Hui-neng but also Zen itself. Chih here is the key-term which unlocks all the secrets of Zen. I will return to this later.

That dhyaana is no other than praj~naa was Hui-neng's intuition, which was really revolutionary in the history of Buddhist thought in China. Chih-i was a great Buddhist philosopher, and Fa-tsang was a still greater one. The latter marks the climax of Buddhist thought as it developed in China. Fa-tsang's systematization of ideas expounded in the Buddhist suutra-group known as the Ga.n.davyuuha or Avata^msaka 華嚴 (Kegon in Japanese and Hua-yen in Chinese) is one of the wonderful intellectual achievements performed by the Chinese mind and is of the highest importance to the history of world thought. Hui-neng's accomplishment in the way of Zen intuition equals, indeed, in its cultural value that of Chih-i 智顗 and Fa-tsang 法藏, both of whom are minds of the highest order, not only in China, but in the whole world.

What, then, is the identity-doctrine of Hui-neng? How did it contribute to the later development of the various schools of Zen Buddhism? To answer these is more than I can manage in this paper. [2] Let me just refer to Shen-hui. While Shen-hui was engaged in discussion with Ch'eng, the Zen master, on the subject of identity, Shen-hui remarked to Wang Wei 王維 , who was the host, "When I am thus talking with you I am the identity of dhyaana and praj~naa." [3] This gives the doctrine in a nutshell, or it may be better to say that Shen-hui himself stands here as the practical demonstrator of it. From this identity naturally follows Ma-tsu's famous dictum, "My everyday thought is the Tao" (heijoo-shin kore michi; in Chinese, p'ing ch'ang hsin shih tao 平常

2. I have treated these problems in the third volume of my "History of Zen Thought." The book is in Japanese and is still in MS.
3. Suzuki's edition of Shen-Hui Sayings [or Discourses], pp. 31-32.

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心是道). This is explained by him thus: "Everyday thought means to be doing nothing special; it means to be free from right and wrong, to be free from taking and giving up, to be free from nihilism as well as externalism, to be neither a saintly nor an ordinary man, neither a wise man nor a bodhisattva. My going-about, standing, sitting, or lying-down; my meeting situations as they rise; my dealing with things as they come and go -- all this is the Tao." [4]

To give a few more examples of the identity-doctrine as it developed later:

A monk asked Kei-shin of Choosha 長沙景岑 (Changsha Ching-ts'en), who was a disciple of Nansen Fugwan 南泉普願 (Nanch'uan Pu-yuan, died 834), "What is meant by 'everyday thought'?" Kei-shin answered, "If you want to sleep, sleep; if you want to sit, sit." The monk said, "I do not understand." Kei-shin answered, "When hot, we try to get cool; when cold, we turn toward a fire."

A monk asked Kei-shin, "According to Nansen, the cat and the ox have a better knowledge of it than all the Buddhas of the past, the present, and the future. How is it that all the Buddhas do not know it?"
Kei-shin answered, "They knew a little better before they entered the Deer Park."
The monk: "How is it that the cat and the ox have a knowledge of it?"
Kei-shin: "You cannot suspect them."[5]

This mondoo 問答 will be understood better when I try later to distinguish two kinds of knowledge, relative and transcendental. Hu Shih may think this is a "crazy" kind of Zen methodology to make the monk realize the truth by himself in a most straightforward way.

In one sense, this way of looking at life may be judged to be a kind of naturalism, even of animalistic libertinism. But we must remember that man is human, and the animal is animal. There must be a distinction between human naturalism and animal naturalism. We ask questions and wait and decide and act, but animals do not ask questions, they just act. This is where they have one advantage over us and, yet, this is where they are animals. Human naturalism is not quite the same as animal naturalism. We are hungry. Sometimes we decide not to eat; sometimes we even decide to starve to death, and here is human naturalism, too. It may be called unnaturalism.

There is, however, through all these naturalistic affirmations or unnaturalistic negations, something that is in every one of us which leads to what I call a transcendental "yes" attitude or frame of mind. This can be seen in the Zen master when he asserts, "Just so," or "So it is," or "You are right," or "Thus things go," or "Such is the way," etc. In the Chinese the assertion runs: shih mo 是麼, or chih mo 只麼, or ju shih 如是, or ju tz'u 如此, or chih che

4. Tao Yuan 道原, Ching Te Ch'uan Teng Lu 景德傳燈錄 (The Record of the Transmission of the Lamp), fasc. 28.
5. Ibid., fasc. 10.

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shih 只遮是. These do not exhaust all the statements a Zen master makes in the expression of his "yes" frame of mind or in his acceptance of the Buddhist doctrine of suchness or thusness (tathataa) or of emptiness (`suunyataa).

Strictly speaking, there cannot be a philosophy of suchness, because suchness defies a clear-cut definition as an idea. When it is presented as an idea, it is lost; it turns into a shadow, and any philosophy built on it will be a castle on the sand. Suchness or chih che shih is something one has to experience in oneself. Therefore, we might say that it is only by those who have this experience that any provisional system of thought can be produced on the basis of it. In many cases such minds prefer silence to verbalism or what we may call symbolism to intellectualization. They do not like to risk any form of misunderstanding, for they know that the finger is quite liable to be taken for the moon. The Zen master, generally speaking, despises those who indulge in word- or idea-mongering, and in this respect Hu Shih and myself are great sinners, murderers of Buddhas and patriarchs; we both are destined for hell.

But it is not a bad thing to go to hell, if it does some good to somebody. So, let us go on our way and I, for my part, quote the following from The Transmission of the Lamp 傳燈錄 (fasc. 14) under Yakusan Igen 藥山惟儼 (Yaoshan Wei-yen, 751-834), and hope to help readers understand what I mean by the experience of suchness, or the chih che shih frame of mind:

One day Yakusan was found quietly sitting in meditation. Sekito 石頭希遷 (Shih-t'ou, 669-790), seeing this, asked, "What are you doing here?"
Yakusan answered, "I am not doing anything at all."
Sekito said, "In that case you are just sitting idly."
Yakusan: "If I am sitting idly, I am then doing something."
Sekito: "You say you are not doing anything. What is this 'anything' you are not doing?"
Yakusan: "You may get a thousand wise men together and even they cannot tell."
Sekito: then composed a stanza:

Since of old we have been living together without knowing the name;
Hand in hand, as the wheel turns, we thus go. [6]
Since ancient times even wise men of the highest grade failed to know what it is:
How then can ordinary people expect to have a clear understanding of it in a casual way?

Sometime later, Sekito remarked, "Words and actions are of no avail."
To this Yakusan said, "Even when there are no words, no actions, they are of no avail."
Sekito said, "Here is no room even for a pinhead."
Yakusan then said, "Here it is like planting a flower on the rock."
And Sekito expressed his full approval.

6. "Thus" in the original Chinese is chih mo (shimo in Japanese). This term coupled with jen-yun is the essence of this gaathaa, "Jen-yun" 任運, here translated "as the wheel turns" or "as the wind blows," has nothing to do with fatalism. "Jen-yun" frequently goes with "t'eng-t'eng" 騰騰 (sometimes teng-teng). This combination, "jen-yun t'eng-t'eng", is full of significance, but it is very difficult to give the idea in a few English words. In short, it is "Let thy will be done" without the accompaniment of "My God, my God, why haste thou forsaken me?" "T'eng-t'eng" is going around almost jubilantly, at least in a fully relaxed state of mind, with no fear, no anxiety, no anguish. It indicates the state of mind Confucius had when he, with his disciples, visited the spa near River I.

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When Beirei Osho (Mi-ling 米嶺, the teacher) [7] was about to pass away, he left this in part for his disciples: "O my pupils, carefully think of the matter. Ultimately, it is 'just this and nothing more,' chih che shih!"

A monk asked Risan Osho [8] (Li-shan, the teacher), "What is the idea or Daruma 達摩 (tamo) coming from the West?"
Risan answered, "I do not see any 'What'?"
The monk: "Why so?"
Risan said, "Just so and nothing more" (只惟如此 chih wei ju tz'u).

Chih ju tz'u, shih mo, and chih che shih -- all these are the Zen masters' attempts to express what goes beyond words or what cannot be mediated by ideas. When they wish to be more expressive, they say, "It is like planting a flower on the rock," or "A silly old man is filling the well with snow," or "It is like piling vegetables into a bottomless basket." The more they try to express themselves, the more enigmatic they become. They are not doing this with any special pedagogic purpose. They are just trying to give expression to what they have in mind. They are far from being exponents of agnosticism, too. They are just plain Zen masters who have something to say to the rest of their fellow beings.

Whatever historical setting Zen may fit in and in whatever way the historian may deal with it as revolutionary or iconoclastic or anti-traditional, we must remember that this kind of treatment of Zen never does clarify the self-nature (svabhaava or svalak.sa.na) of Zen. The historical handling of Zen cannot go any further than the objective relationships with other so-called historical factors. When this is done, however skillfully and ingeniously, the historian cannot expect to have done with Zen in every possible way. The fact is that Zen is to be grasped from within, if one is really to understand what Zen is in itself. Unfortunately, Hu shih seems to neglect this side of the study of Zen.

This neglect on the part of Hu Shih is shown in his dealing with Tsung-mi's characterization of Shen-hui. Tsung-mi 宗密 (Shuu-mitsu) sums up Shen-hui's teaching as being centered in one Chinese character "chih," which is regarded as "the gateway to all mysteries (or secrets)." Hu Shih translates

7. The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 8, under Beirei.
8. Ibid, under Risan.

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chih 知 as "knowledge" and takes it as best characterizing Shen-hui's intellectualistic approach. [9] This statement most decidedly proves that Hu Shih does not understand Zen as it is in itself, apart from its "historical setting."

Shen-hui's chih does not mean intellectual knowledge, but is rather what I have called "praj~naa-intuition." [10] It may take many pages to explain my position in regard to chih, but I have to do it because it is the central notion constituting Zen. And when one knows what chih is, one knows something of Zen.

When Buddhist philosophers talk so much about suchness or thusness, and when the Zen master raises his eyebrows, or swings his stick, or coughs, or rubs his hands, or utters the "Ho!" cry (喝 kwatz in Japanese), or just says "Yes, yes," or "ju shih," or "We thus go," almost ad infinitum, we must remember that they all point to something in us which may be called pure self-consciousness, or pure experience, or pure awakening, or intuition (rather praj~naa-intuition). This is the very foundation of all our experiences, all our knowledge, and defies being defined, for definition means ideation and objectification. The "something" is the ultimate reality or "subjectum'' or "emptiness" (`suunyataa). And what is most important here is that it is self-conscious, though not at all in the relative sense. This self-consciousness is chih, and Tsung-mi and Shen-hui quite rightly make it the gateway to all Zen secrets.

I should like to have Hu Shih remember that knowledge, as the term is generally used, is the relationship between subject and object. Where there is no such dichotomous distinction, knowledge is impossible. If we have something of noetic quality here, we must not designate that as knowledge, for by doing so we get into a confusion and find ourselves inextricably involved in contradictions. When the self becomes conscious of itself at the end of an ever-receding process of consciousness, this last is what we must call self-consciousness in its deepest sense. This is truly the consciousness of the self, where there is no subject-object separation, but where subject is object and object is subject. If we still find here the bifurcation of subject and object, that will not yet be the limit of consciousness. We have now gone beyond that limit and are conscious of this fact of transcendence. Here can be no trace of selfhood, only unconscious consciousness of no-self, because we are now beyond the realm of the subject-object relationship.

Shen-hui calls this chih, which is no other than praj~naa-intuition, or simply praj~naa in contradistinction to vij~naana, "discriminatory knowledge." Here is the irrationality of Zen beyond the comprehension of human understanding.

9. Refer to Hu Shih, in this issue, p. 15.
10. See my paper on this in Essays in East-West Philosophy: An Attempt at World Philosophical Synthesis, Charles A. Moore, ed. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1951), pp. 17-48.

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Chih is the absolute object of praj~naa and at the same time is praj~naa itself. The Chinese Buddhist philosophers frequently call it, tautologically, pan-ju chih chih-hui 般若之智慧 (hannya no chiye in Japanese), for they want to have chih-hui as it is ordinarily understood, sharply distinguished from praj~naa (pan-ju).

The professional philosopher or historian may reject the existence and reality of chih as we have it here, because he, especially the historian, finds it rather disturbing in his objective and "historical" treatment of Zen. The historian here performs a strange tactic. He summarily puts aside as fabrication or fiction or invention everything that does not conveniently fit into his scheme of historical setting. I would not call this kind of history objective but most strongly colored with subjectivism.

I think I am now ready to present a bit of Zen epistemology. There are two kinds of information we can have of reality: one is knowledge about it and the other is that which comes out of reality itself. Using "knowledge" in its broadest and commonest sense, the first is what I would describe as knowledge and the second as unknowable knowledge.

Knowledge is knowable when it is the relationship between subject and object. Here are the subject as knower, and the object as the known. As long as this dichotomy holds, all knowledge based on it is knowable because it is public property and accessible to everybody. On the contrary, knowledge becomes unknown or unknowable when it is not public but strictly private in the sense that it is not sharable by others. Unknown knowledge is the result of an inner experience; therefore, it is wholly individual and subjective. But the strange thing about this kind of knowledge is that the one who has it is absolutely convinced of its universality in spite of its privacy. He knows that everybody has it, but everybody is not conscious of it.

Knowable knowledge is relative, while unknown knowledge is absolute and transcendental and is not communicative through the medium of ideas. Absolute knowledge is the knowledge the subject has of himself directly without any medium between him and his knowledge. He does not divide himself into factors such as subject and object in order to know himself. We may say that it is a state of inner awareness. And this awareness is singularly contributive to keeping one's mind free of fears and anxieties.

Unknown knowledge is intuitive knowledge. We must remember, however, that praj~naa-intuition is altogether different from perceptual intuitions. In the latter case there is, for instance, the seer and the object he sees, and they are separable and separate, one standing over against the other. They belong to the realm of relativity and discrimination. Praj~naa-intuition goes on where

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there is oneness and sameness. It is also different from ethical intuitions and from mathematical intuitions.

For a general characterization of praj~naa-intuition we can state something like this: Praj~naa-intuition is not derivative but primitive; not inferential, not rationalistic, nor mediational, but direct, immediate; not analytical but synthetic; not cognitive, but symbolical; not intending but merely expressive; not abstract, but concrete; not processional, not purposive, but factual and ultimate, final and irreducible; not eternally receding, but infinitely inclusive; etc. If we go on like this, there may be many more predicates which could be ascribed to praj~naa-intuition as its characteristics. But there is one quality we must not forget to mention in this connection: the uniqueness of praj~naa intuition consists in its authoritativeness, utterly convincing and contributive to the feeling that "I am the ultimate reality itself," that "I am absolute knower," that "I am free and know no fear of any kind." [11] In one sense praj~naa-intuition may be said to correspond to Spinoza's scientia intuitiva. According to him, this kind of intuition is absolutely certain and infallible and, in contrast to ratio, produces the highest peace and virtue of the mind.

Let us see how these characterizations of praj~naa-intuition, which is no other than the Zen experience, fit the masters' way of handling Zen questions. I will give just a few examples, enough to illustrate my point.

Doogo 道吾 [12] asked Sekito, [13] "What is the ultimate Buddhist teaching?"
Sekito answered, "Unless you have it you cannot tell."
Doogo: "Is there anything further which may give me a clue?"
Sekito: "The vastness of the sky does not hinder the white cloud flying anywhere it likes."

Another time, Doogo asked, "Who has attained the teaching of the Sixth Patriarch?
Sekito: "One who has understood Buddhism has it."
Doogo: "Do you have it?"
Sekito: "No, I do not understand Buddhism."

Superficially, this mondoo ("question and answer") may sound strange; because Sekito is the very one who was under Hui-neng 慧能, the sixth patriarch, when Sekito was still very young, and who later came to understand Zen under one of Hui-neng's principal disciples, Seigen Gyoshi 青原行思. [14] What makes him say, then, that he does not understand Hui-neng's teaching, that is, Zen? In the first mondoo Sekito declares that unless one really understands what Buddhism is one cannot tell what it is. Quite a natural thing.

11. Cf. Dhammapada, 153-154, 179.
12. Tao-wu Yen-chih, 779-835, The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 14, under Sekito.

13. Shih-tou Hsi-ch'ien, 742-755, The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 14.

14. Ch'ing-yuan Hang-ssu, died 740, The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 5.

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What, then, does he mean when he says that he does not know Hui-neng's teaching? His knowledge is evidently his not-knowing. This is "unknown knowledge."

A monk once asked Dai-ten (Ta-tien 大顛), "When the inside men see each other what happens?"
Dai-ten answered, "They are already outside."
Monk: "How about those who are right inside?"
Dai-ten: "They do not ask such questions." [15]

One can readily see that this kind of chih is not knowledge that is transmissible to others, that it is subjective in the sense that it grows within oneself and is exclusively the possession of this particular person. We may call it "inside knowledge." But as soon as we say it is inside, it gets outside and ceases to be itself. You can neither affirm nor negate it. It is above both, but can be either if you choose.

Therefore, Yakusan 藥山惟儼 [16] announced, "I have a word (i chu tzu 一句子 ) of which I have never told anybody."
Doogo said, "You are already giving yourself to it."
Later a monk asked Yakusan, "What is the one word you do not tell anybody?"
Yakusan replied, "It is beyond talking."
Doogo remarked again, "You are already talking."

Yakusan's i chu tzu is no other than chih, "unknown and unknowable" It is the ultimate reality, the Godhead, in which there are no distinctions whatever and to which, therefore, the intellect cannot give any predicate, this or that, good or bad, right or wrong. To talk about it is to negate it. When Yakusan begins to talk about it either negatively or positively, his i chu tzu is no longer present. Doogo is right, therefore, in accusing his master of contradicting himself. But we can also say that Doogo has to share the same accusation he is throwing against the other. As far as human intellect is concerned, we can never escape this contradiction. Yakusan fully realizes this, but he cannot help himself inasmuch as he is also a human individual. The following records we have of him in The Transmission of the Lamp (fasc. 14) show clearly where he stands:

A monk once asked him, "I have yet no clear knowledge of my self and may I ask you to indicate the way to it?"

Yakusan remained silent for a while and then said, "It is not difficult for me to give you a word (i chu) about it. But what is needed of you is to see it instantly as the word is uttered. Then you may have something of it. But when you are given up to reflection

15. The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 14, under Ta-tien.
16. Yaoshan Wei-yen, 754-834, The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 14.

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or intellection (ssu liang 思量 ) to any degree I shall be committing a fault myself and shall be blamed for it. It is better, therefore, to keep one's mouth tightly closed and let no trouble come out that way."

His is an honest confession.

The i chu tzu is an inner experience and defies expression in words, for words are mere symbols and cannot be the thing in itself. But as words are such a convenient medium, one we have invented for mutual communication, we are apt to take them for realities. Money represents a good which is of real value, but we are so used to money that we manipulate it as if it were the value itself. Words are like money. The Zen masters know that, hence their persistent and often violent opposition to words and then to the intellect which deals exclusively in words. This is the reason they appeal to the stick, the hossu (fu-tzu 拂子 ), the "Ho!" and to various forms of gesture. Even these are far from being the ultimate itself; the masters have faced a very difficult task in trying to convey what they have within themselves. Strictly speaking, however, there is no conveying at all. It is the awakening of the same experience in others by means of words, gestures, and anything the master finds suitable at the moment. There are no prescribed methods; there is no methodology already set down in formulas.

To get further acquainted with the nature of chih, or praj~naa-intuition, let me quote more from The Transmission of the Lamp, which is the mine of the mondo and other Zen materials necessary for understanding Zen as far as such records are concerned.

A monk came to Doogo Yenchi (Tao-wu Yen-chih, 779-835) and asked, "How is it that the Bodhisattva of No-miracles leaves no traceable footsteps?"

"Leaving no footsteps" has a technical meaning in Zen. This is what is expected of a highly trained Zen master. We ordinary people leave all kinds of footmarks by which our inner life can be detected and assessed. And this inner life is always found to be tainted with selfishness and motives arising from it and also with intellectual calculations designed for their execution. To leave no traces thus means to be above creaturely mindedness in Christian terms. It is, metaphysically speaking, to transcend both affirmation and negation, to be moving in the realm of oneness and sameness, and, therefore, to be leading a life of purposelessness (anaabhogacaarya) or of unattainability (anupalabdha). This is one of the most important notions in the philosophy of Zen. To trace the tracelessness of the Zen master's life is to have an "unknown knowledge" of the ultimate reality. Now let us see what answer was given by Doogo Yenchi (Tao-wu Yen-chih 道吾圓智 ). It was simply this:

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"One who goes with him knows it." ("Him" means the "Bodhisattva of No-miracles.")
The monk asked, "Do you know, O master?"
Doogo said, "I do not know."
The monk wanted to know the reason for his ignorance. "Why do you not, master?"
The master gave up the case. "You do not understand what I mean."

Now Doogo is no agnostic. He knows everything. He knows the monk through and through. His no-knowledge (pu-chih) is not to be "approached intellectually." It is of the same category as his pu shih when he answered Gohoo's (Wu-feng) question: "Do you know Yakusan, the old master?" Gohoo wanted to know the reason, asking, "Why do you not know him?" Doogo said, "I do not, I do not." His answer was quite emphatic, as we see from his repetition of negation. This is a most flagrant repudiation of the "historical" fact, because Doogo was one of the chief disciples of Yakusan. This was well known among his contemporaries. Therefore, Gohoo's asking was not at all an ordinary question which called for information regarding human relationship. Doogo knew this full well, hence his "I do not know" (pu shih pu shih 不識不識 ).

If I go on like this there will really be no ending. Let me hope that one more illustration will sufficiently clarify my position in regard to the meaning of the term "chih" as was used by Shen-hui and Tsung-mi and by Zen people generally.

Ungan Donjoo (Yun-yen T'an-sh'eng, died 841 ), disciple of Yakusan and the teacher of Tozan Ryokai, [17] once made this remark to the congregation: "There is a man for whom there is nothing he cannot answer if he is asked."
Tozan questioned, "How large is his library?"
The master said, "Not a book in his house."
Tozan: "How could he be so learned?"
The master: "Not a wink he sleeps day and night."
Tozan: "May I ask him some special question?"
The master: "His answer will be no answer." [18]

When the gist of these Zen mondoo is replaced more or less by modern phraseology, we may have something like the following:

We generally reason: "A" is "A" because "A" is "A"; or "A" is "A," therefore, "A" is "A." Zen agrees or accepts this way of reasoning, but Zen has its own way which is ordinarily not at all acceptable. Zen would say: "A" is "A" because "A" is not "A"; or "A" is not "A," therefore, "A" is "A."

17. Tung-shan Liang-chieh 洞山良價 , 809-869. See Ueda's Daijeten 上田一大字典, 205. The founder of the Zen school partly bearing his name.
18. The Transmission of the Lamp, fasc. 14, under Ungan Donjoo (Yun-yen T'an-sh'eng).

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Our thinking on the worldly level is: Everything has its cause; nothing is without its cause; the causation works on and in all things. But Zen will agree with some Christians when they declare that God created the world out of nothing, or that God willed and the world came into existence, or that "To say that God created the world yesterday or to-morrow would be foolishness for God created the world and everything in it in the one present Now." [19]

Mathematics has this: 0=0, l=l, l+l=2, and so on. Zen has these too, but it has no objection to the following either: 0=l, 0=2, 1+1=3, etc. Why? Because zero is infinity and infinity is zero. Is this not irrational and beyond our comprehension?

A geometrical circle has a circumference and just one center, and no more or less. But Zen admits the existence of a circle that has no circumference nor center and, therefore, has an infinite number of centers. As this circle has no center and, therefore, a center everywhere, every radius from such a center is of equal length, that is, all are equally infinitely long. According to the Zen point of view, the universe is a circle without a circumference, and every one of us is the center of the universe. To put it more concretely: I am the center, I am the universe, I am the creator. I raise the hand and lo! there is space, there is time, there is causation. Every logical law and every metaphysical principle rush in to confirm the reality of my hand.

According to Hu Shih, here is Fu Tai-shih (497-569) of the Liang Dynasty a historical non-existent, a fabricated figure out of some fertile Chinese Buddhist or Zen imagination. This phantom bodhisattva (tai-shih) has a gaathaa recorded in The Transmission of the Lamp on the spade which he has and has not in his hands and on the bridge which flows underneath Hu Shih's historically firm-set feet. In spite of Hu Shih's ingenious manipulation of the pen or brush, I see Fu the Bodhisattva working on his farm with a spade which must be fictitious, because the holder himself is fictitious. Is it not really wonderful and irrational that Fu the Bodhisattva, ghostly looking to Hu Shih's keen historical sight, does not vanish even when thickly enveloped in the heavy fogs over New York these winter mornings?

History deals with time and Zen does too, but with this difference: While history knows nothing of timelessness, perhaps disposing of it as "fabrication," Zen takes time along with timelessness, that is to say, time in timelessness and timelessness in time. Zen lives in this contradiction. I say, "Zen

19. Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation. Raymond Bernard Blakney (New York and London: Harper & Brothers, 1941), p. 214.

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lives." History shuns anything living, for the living does not like to be grouped with the past, with the dead. And then he is altogether too much alive for the historian, who is used to digging up old, decayed things from the grave. It is different with Zen. Zen makes the dead live once more and talk their life anew. To be exact, there is no resurrection in Zen, because there is no birth, no death; we all live in timelessness. Chih means to become aware of this grand fact, which, however, does not seem to concern the historians.

Science teaches us abstraction, generalization, and specialization. This has warped our view of human beings to the extent that we put aside the living concrete and for it substitute something dead, universal, abstract, and, for that reason, the existentially non-being. Economists have the "economic man," and politicians the "political man," and historians perhaps the "historical man." These are all abstractions and fabrications. Zen has nothing to do with the dead, with abstractions, logic, and the past. I wonder if Hu Shih agrees with me in this statement?

By this time, I hope my meaning is clear when I say that Zen is not exhausted by being cozily placed in a historical corner, for Zen is far more than history. History may tell much about Zen in its relation to other things or events, but it is all about Zen and not Zen in itself as every one of us lives it. Zen is, in a way, iconoclastic, revolutionary, as Hu Shih justly remarks, but we must insist that Zen is not that alone; indeed, Zen still stands outside the frame.

For instance, what is it that makes Zen iconoclastic and revolutionary? Why does Zen apparently like to indulge in the use of abusive terms, often highly sacrilegious, and also to resort to unconventionalities, or to "the most profane language," even when they do not seem absolutely necessary? We cannot say that Zen followers wanted to be merely destructive and to go against everything that had been traditionally established. To state that Zen is revolutionary is not enough; we must probe into the reason that makes Zen act as it does. What is it, then, that incited Zen to be iconoclastic, revolutionary, unconventional, "profane," and, I say, irrational? Zen is not merely a negativistic movement. There is something very positive and affirmative about it. To find this, I have to be a kind of historian myself, I am afraid.

Zen is really a great revolutionary movement in the world history of thought. It originated in China and, in my opinion, could not arise anywhere else. China has many things she can well be proud of. This I mean not in the sense, of cultural nationalism but on the world level of the develop-

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ment of human consciousness. Until about the time of Hui-neng (died 713) Buddhism was still highly colored with the Indian tint of abstract thinking. The Chinese achievements along this line were remarkable indeed, and I think such Buddhist philosophers as Chih-i and Fa-tsang are some of the greatest thinkers of the world. They were Chinese products, no doubt, but we may say that their way of thinking was stimulated by their Indian predecessors and that they were the direct descendants of A`svagho.sa, Naagaarjuna, and Asa^nga, and others. But it was in Zen that the Chinese mind completely asserted itself, in a sense, in opposition to the Indian mind.