Ryushin Sensei

The Single Thread

Dharma Discourse by Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei
Blue Cliff Record, Case 90
Chih Men’s Body of Wisdom

Featured in Mountain Record 31.1, Fall 2012
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Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei is the abbot and director of operations of Zen Mountain Monastery.


Even the thousand sages have not transmitted the single phrase before sound. The single thread right before us is perpetually unbroken. Purified and naked, free and unbound, hair dishevelled and ears alert—tell me, what about it? To test, I cite this to see.

Main Case

A monk asked Chih Men, “What is the body of wisdom?”

Chih Men said, “An oyster swallowing the bright moon.”

The monk asked, “What is the function of wisdom?” Chih Men said, “A rabbit getting pregnant.”


One piece of empty solidity, beyond saying and feeling;
From this humans and gods see Subhuti.
The oyster swallowing, the mysterious rabbit—deep, deep meaning:
Having been given to Ch’an people, it makes them fight and struggle.