A Life Lived as a Vow

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj Sensei
Blue Cliff Record, Case 49
Sansheng's Golden Fish Who Has Passed Through the Net

Featured in Mountain Record 30.2,  Fall 2011

Konrad Ryushin Marchaj Sensei is the abbot and director of operations of Zen Mountain Monastery. He received dharma transmission from Daido Roshi in 2009.


Piercing, penetrating, one takes the drum and captures the flag. Fortified, entrenched, one inspects the front and oversees the rear.
One who sits on the tiger's head to take the tiger's tail is not yet an adept. Though an ox head disappears and a horse head returns, this too is not yet extraordinary.
But say, how is it when a person who has passed beyond measurements comes? To test I'm citing this old case: look!

Main Case

Sansheng asked Xuefeng, "I wonder, what does the golden fish who has passed through the net use for food?"
Feng said, "When you come out of the net, I'll tell you."
Sheng said, "The teacher of 1,500 people and you don't even know what to say!" Feng said, "My affairs as abbot are many and complicated."


The golden fish who has passed through the net—
Stop saying he tarries in the water.
He shakes the heavens and sweeps the earth,
He flourishes his mane and wags his tail.
When a thousand-foot whale spouts, vast waves fly,
At a single thunderclap, the pure wind gusts.
The pure wind gusts—
Among gods and humans, how many know? How many?