Hakuin, fully Hakuin Akaku

Hakuin, fully Hakuin Akaku
1686
1769

Japanese Zen Buddhist, Revived the Rinzai School

Author Quotes

A soldier came to Hakuin and asked "Is there really a paradise and a hell?"
"Who are you?" inquired Hakuin.

"I am a samurai," the warrior replied.

"You, a samurai!" exclaimed Hakuin. "What kind of ruler would have you as his guard? Your face looks like that of a beggar!"

The soldier became so angry that he began to draw his sword, but Hakuin continued. "So you have a sword! Your weapon is probably as dull as your head!"

As the soldier drew his sword Hakuin remarked "Here open the gates of hell!"

At these words, the samurai, perceiving the discipline of the master, sheathed his sword and bowed.

"Here open the gates of paradise," said Hakuin.

Yeah, we can attain supreme wisdom and enlightment while sitting at home, sipping tea, studying our favourite books, but will that great wisdom last until next morning?

Boundless and free is the sky of Samadhi! / Bright the full moon of wisdom! / Truly, is anything missing now? / Nirvana is right here, before our eyes, / This very place is the Lotus Land, / This very body, the Buddha.

You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?

Even if you are a monk, if your practice of the Way is not intense, if your aspiration is not pure, how are you any different from a layman? Again, even if you are a layman, if your aspiration is intense and your conduct wise, why is this any different from being a monk?

From the sea of effortlessness, let your great uncaused compassion shine forth.

I encourage all you superior seekers in the secret depths to devote yourselves to penetrating and clarifying the self, as earnestly as you would put out a fire on the top of your head.

Not knowing how near the Truth is, People seek It far away, -- what a pity! They are like one who, in the midst of water, Cries imploringly for a drink of water, Or like the son of a rich man Who wanders away among the poor. ... Those who testify to the truth of the nature of the Self, Have found it by reflecting within themselves, And have gone beyond the realm of mere ideas. For them opens the gate of the oneness of cause and effect; And straight runs the path of non-duality ... Abiding with the Undivided amidst the divided, Whether going or returning, they remain forever unmoved. Holding fast to, and remembering, That which is beyond thought, In their every act, they hear the voice of the Truth. How limitless the sky of unbounded freedom! How pure the perfect moonlight of Wisdom! At that moment, what do they lack? As the eternally quiescent Truth reveals Itself to them, This very earth is the lotus-land of Purity, And this body -is the body of the Buddha.

Not knowing how near the truth is, we seek it far away.

Once a person is able to achieve true singlemindedness in his practice and smash apart the old nest... into which he has settled... Wisdom immediately appears... and the all-discerning Fivefold Eye opens wide.

Should you desire great tranquility, prepare to sweat white beads.

There is another interesting notion is Hakuin s comment: he says satori can disappear, that it may not last forever. This is not what Buddha taught. I am going to compile a page of quotes from classics about the problem of losing enlightment. The general opinion was that it is not real enlightment/wisdom/Tao that can be lost.

Those who practice only in silence/tranquility, cannot establish their [internal] freedom when entering into activity. When they engage into worldy activities, their usual satori (enlightment) will eventually disappear without any trace."

Those who testify to the truth of the nature of the Self, Have found it by reflecting within themselves.

Underlying great doubt there is great satori, where there is thorough questioning there will be thoroughgoing experience of awakening.

We should practice wisdom during our daily work, during interacting with annoying people, performing tiresome duties, looking after parents or sick relatives, ... if someone neglects these duties, but excels in his study of Zen, he is vastly off the mark.

What is that which asks such a question? Is it your mind? Is it your original nature? Is it some kind of spirit or demon? Is it inside you? Outside you? Is it somewhere intermediate? Is it blue, yellow, red, or white?

What is this true meditation? It is to make everything: coughing, swallowing, waving the arms, motion, stillness, words, action, the evil and the good, prosperity and shame, gain and loss, right and wrong, into one single koan.

It is essential that you neither despise nor grasp for either the realm of activity or that of quietude, and that you continue your practice assiduously. Frequently you may feel that you are getting nowhere with practice in the midst of activity, whereas the quietistic approach brings unexpected results. Yet rest assured that those who use the quietistic approach can never hope to enter into meditation in the midst of activity.

Author Picture
First Name
Hakuin, fully Hakuin Akaku
Birth Date
1686
Death Date
1769
Bio

Japanese Zen Buddhist, Revived the Rinzai School