Are You Willing To Enter The Fray?

Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori Roshi
True Dharma Eye, Case 38
Xuefeng’s “Turning the Dharma Wheel”

Featured in Mountain Record 31.1, Fall 2012
Click here to order this discourse on MP3

John Daido Loori Roshi (1931-2009) was the abbot of Zen Mountain
Monastery and founder of the Mountains and Rivers Order. Daido Roshi was a lineage holder in the Rinzai and Soto schools of Zen. He originally gave this discourse in 2001.

Main Case

Zen master Yicun of Mount Xuefeng pointed with his finger at a furnace and said to Xuansha, “All buddhas in the three worlds are in here, turning the great dharma wheel.”

Xuansha said, “The king’s regulations are rather strict.”

Xuefeng said, “How so?”

Xuansha said, “Stealing is not permitted.”


These ancient buddhas had a family style—their words clearly show their abilities. Rolling out and rolling in, both sides are exposed. Right off, we should understand that the place of wisdom and compassion is where all the buddhas in the three worlds turn the great dharma wheel in the fire. So why did Xuefeng feel it necessary to point it out? Xuansha let out the other side of the matter, saying, “Stealing is not permitted.” What is the stealing? What is Xuansha’s meaning?

Capping Verse

Xuefeng is clearly a thief who steals in broad daylight,
but Xuansha steals the thief’s horse and pursues him.
It finally just comes down to two monastics playing with mud balls.
After all, sweet is just sweet, bitter is just bitter.