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The Blue-Cliff Record

Prajna-Leap Asks About Buddha


    A monk named Prajna-Leap asked Dharma-Eye: “I wonder if the master would explain what Buddha is?”

    “You are yourself Prajna-Leap,” answered Dharma-Eye.



In river country, spring wind still, a mountain partridge deep

among wildflowers cries out. Three-Cascade Gorge: it’s there


amid towering waves that fish are transformed into dragons,

but dullards just keep dipping out buckets of pondwater night.

Placid-Land Stolen Emptiness

Placid-Land asked a monk: “Where in all this wordless Absence-tissue have you just come from?”

    “KHO-AAA!” shouted the monk.

    “One shout. Okay, I’ll accept one shout.”


    “Three or four shouts like that, and then what?”

    The monk fell silent.

    Land struck him a blow, and said: “You oaf! Your head’s full of stolen emptiness!”



Two or three KHO-AAA! shouts to reveal you

fathom the loom of origins all transformation?


If that’s what they call riding the tiger’s head,

they’re oafs, both of them, reckless and blind.


Who reckless and blind?

I come carrying all beneath heaven. I hold it out for you. Take a look!


Purport Dark-Enigma’s Great Ch’i-Weave
Insight of Buddhadharma




    Head-monk Samadhi-Still asked Purport Dark-Enigma: “What is the Buddhadharma’s great ch’i-weave insight?”

    Dark-Enigma leapt from his meditation seat, grabbed hold of Samadhi-Still and gave him a single slap, then pushed him away.

    Samadhi-Still froze and just stood there.

    “Head-monk Samadhi-Still,” called out another monk, “Why don’t you bow?”

    Samadhi-Still thereupon bowed reverently, and suddenly had a great awakening.



Yellow-Bitteroot taught Purport the decisive slice exhausting

each loom-of-origins moment. Who needs carefree ease then?


Opening a way through, the Yellow River god raised his hand

and simply split ten million Flourish Mountain ridges asunder.

Reliance Mountain Roars with Glorious Laughter




When he was a monk traveling, Three-Sage Mountain visited Reliance Mountain who asked: “What is your name?”

    “Reliance Mountain,” replied Three-Sage.

    “Aren’t I Reliance Mountain?!” exclaimed Reliance.

    “Then my name must be Three-Sage Mountain!”

    At this, Reliance roared with glorious laughter.



Gathering themselves and scattering away, source-ancestral

itself, they rode a tiger at origins. It demands utter realization,


but that laughter ends. Who knows where they went, caught

here in this wind opening grief through a thousand ages lost.

Cloud-Gate Gruel-Cake




A monk asked Cloud-Gate Mountain: “What is small-talk that surpasses buddhas and transcends patriarchs?”

    “Gruel-cake,” replied Cloud-Gate.



Small-talk that surpasses: there’s no end of Ch’an pilgrims asking

questions. It’s a fault-line gaping wide open. Can’t you see? Look!


Cloud-Gate stuffs it full of gruel-cake, and they’re still not settled.

Even today: all beneath heaven reveres the fairytales teachers tell.

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