Shugen Sensei

Traveling by Day

Dharma Discourse by
Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei
True Dharma Eye, Case 113
Baofu's Blocking of the Eyes, Ears, and Mind

Featured in Mountain Record 32.1, Fall 2013

Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei is the abbot of the Zen Center of New York City: Fire Lotus Temple and the Head of the Mountains and Rivers Order.


Main Case

Dizang asked a monastic from Baofu Monastery, “How does your master teach the Buddhadharma?”

The monastic said, “Once Master Baofu Congzhan told the assembly, ‘I cover your eyes to let you see what is not seen. I cover your ears to let you hear what is not heard. I restrain your mind to let you give up thinking.’”

Dizang said to the monastic, “Let me ask you, when I don’t cover your eyes, what do you see? When I don’t cover your ears, what do you hear? When I don’t restrain your mind, what do you discern?”

Upon hearing these words the monastic had realization.

Commentary

Baofu covers the monastic’s eyes, ears, and mind in order to reveal that which cannot be seen, heard, or perceived. What is revealed that cannot be seen, heard, or perceived? Dizang asks, when eyes, ear, and mind are not covered, what is perceived?

One pushes down; the other lifts up. One stands on the summit of the great mountain and raises waves that encompass heaven and earth. The other descends to the depths of the great ocean and raises mud and sand. Do these two adepts speak of the same thing, or is what they point to different? Is Baofu’s covering the same as or different from Dizang’s not covering?

Haven’t you heard? “If you intend to make a living on the road, you will have to travel by day, not by night.” How do you travel by day?

Verse

If they have an eye, I cover it up;
If they don’t have an eye, I uncover it.
The jet black darkness emits light—incredible!
The whole universe is illuminated.