10 – Yunmen’s commitment

A dharma teaching by Yunmen (864-949):

My brothers, if there is one who has attained it, he passes his days in conformity with the ordinary. If you have not yet attained it, you must at any price avoid pretending that you have. You must not waste your time, and you need very much to pay close attention!

The old men definitely had some word-creepers which could be of help. For instance my teacher Xuefeng said: ‘The whole world is nothing but you’. Try to get a firm hold on the meaning of this saying, pondering it from all angles – and after days or years an entrance will open up by itself!

You absolutely must fix your eyeballs directly on this! If you have not yet found any clue but have met an undisguised skillful master who goes after you like a dog that bites a boar, and who doesn’t care about his own life and won’t shy away from going through mud and water for you, and if he has something good for chewing: then blink your eyes and raise your eyebrows, hang your bowl bag high on the wall, and for ten or twenty years exert yourself to the utmost!

You must see for yourself! There is nobody to stand in for you, and time does not wait for anyone; one day you’ll be about to pass away and your gaze will fall on the earth. Big words won’t help you much there, you windbags!

App, Urs (vert.): Master Yunmen; from the record of the Chan Teacher “Gate of the Clouds”.
New York 1994, p. 108-109