Shugen Sensei

Amidst the Red Dust

Dharma Discourse by
Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei
Book of Serenity, Case 4
The World Honored One Points to the Ground

Featured in Mountain Record 31.2, Winter 2012-2013
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Konrad Ryushin Marchaj, Sensei is the abbot and director of operations of Zen Mountain Monastery.


As soon as a single mote of dust arises, the whole earth is contained therein; with a single horse and a single lance, the land’s extended. Who is this person who can be master in any place and meet the source in everything?

Main Case

As the World Honored One was walking with the congregation, he pointed to the ground with his finger and said, “This spot is good to build a sanctuary.”

Indra, Emperor of the gods, took a blade of grass, stuck it in the ground, and said, “The sanctuary is built.”

The World Honored One smiled.


The boundless spring on the hundred plants;
Picking up what comes to hand, he uses it knowingly.
The sixteen-foot-tall golden body, a collection of virtuous qualities
Casually leads him by the hand into the red dust;
Able to be master in the dusts,
From outside creation, a guest shows up.
Everywhere life is sufficient in its way—
No matter if one is not as clever as others.