Shoitsu said to Chimoku:
Since the buddhas and patriarchs, there have been three general levels of dealing with people. On the uppermost level there are no further techniques, no meaning of principle; verbal understanding is impossible. If you take it up directly at this, then there is no difference from “The cypress in the garden,” “Three pounds of hemp,” “Swallow the water of the West River in one gulp.”
On the second level, it is just a matter of bringing out a question, going along to break through; this is like Rinzai questioning Obaku and getting hit sixty times.
On the third level we enter the mud and water, setting down footnotes, blinding people’s eyes, destroying the lineage of the Buddha.
But a true, patch-robed one must search out and investigate the living word, not go for the dead word. Eminent Chimoku, you are pure and true. If you can attain realization at the living word, you can be teacher of buddhas and patriarchs. Not begrudging my family way, I have shown you three levels of device.
Anando, what Shoitsu is saying to Chimoku is of tremendous importance for you to understand, for everyone who is on the way. Shoitsu said:
Since the buddhas and patriarchs, there have been three general levels of dealing with people. On the uppermost level there are no further techniques, no meaning of principle; verbal understanding is impossible.
That’s the best and the most perfect way – a simple transmission from the master to the disciple; nobody knows about it, nobody sees it. It is simply energy moving from one fire to another possibility of fire, and making the hidden, possible fire in the disciple awakened.
This first principle is really the only important principle, but it needs tremendous trust on the part of the disciple – an opening of the whole heart, coming as close to the master as possible so his flame can reach your heart and can start another flame within you, can awaken you to your buddhahood.
Shoitsu is right that in this category, the uppermost category, there are no further techniques. It is not a question of technique, it is a question of love, of trust. Trust is not a technique, love is not a technique. It is not something that you use, that you do, it is something that happens to you. Suddenly you see the master and your heart starts dancing and rejoicing, knowing that you have found. There is no doubt in it, no question in it; it is just like falling in love. You can define trust as rising in love because falling in love is going down – it is biological. Rising in love is going upwards – it is your spiritual principle.
No meaning of principle, no teaching; verbal understanding is impossible. The phenomenon is so great – the transmission of the lamp from heart to heart, from being to being – that no word is big enough to contain it or even to indicate towards it. Nothing is said but something tremendously important happens; it is spontaneous.