Chinso Shosu Comes to Visit Shifuku
Chinso came to see Shifuku. Shifuku drew a circle in the air.
Chinso said, “I have no object in coming here. Why do you bother to draw a circle?”
Shifuku closed the door of his room.
Perfect the circle, pure the sound,
Bright and abundant the encircling jade,
Loaded on horses and mules.
Loaded on board the iron boats,
Given to those who know
The peace and freedom of land and sea.
He put down the tackle to fish the turtle.
Setcho comments here:
“Monks throughout the world can’t jump out of it.”
I know you will have me hit or pinched if I’ve got it wrong, but it seems to me that in the same situation as Shifuku you might have drawn a spiral instead.
The second question:
I recall hearing you say recently that dialogue between an enlightened and an unenlightened person is not possible, and between two enlightened people, not necessary. Zen seems to be an existential dialogue – the ultimate form of communication, whether those on either end of the exchange are enlightened or not.
Would you comment?
The third question:
Some Zen anecdotes are about interchanges between two masters, two enlightened beings. I have heard that this was called doing Dharma Battle.
What was the point of those exchanges, or were they just for the joy of the game?
And the last question:
It seems that the very spirit of Zen is pervading these evenings with you – through your words, your gestures, your silences, and our response of silence or laughter, let-go or Yaa-Hoo!
When communication is total, it feels as if the communicators disappear. Thus when communication really happens there is no one left to communicate!
Could you please comment?
Maneesha, the dialogue between two enlightened persons is just playfulness. It does not matter whether they sit silently together or speak. In that space, words or no words are equivalent.