Namu Myoho Renge Kyo Is the Buddha Mind (1)

In the Tang period of Chine there lived the Zen Master Dorin Choka. The Zen Master traveled about China and he arrived at Mt. Shinto, north of the West Lake in Hangchow. He was attracted to his wonderful peace and stayed. There was a large pine tree whose foliage was thick like a canopy. And since the branch beneath it had a good place to sit, the Zen Master climbed the tree and lived there like nesting bird. Thant is why the people at the time called him Zen Master Bird Nest.

At that time the poet Hakurakuten arrived to take up his position as governor of Hangchow. When he was enjoying a visit to West Lake, he heard the rumor about Zen Master Bird Nest and he immediately went to Mt. Shinbo to call on the Zen Master, who was living in a thick growth of pine tree like a nesting bird, and he asked: “Please tell me in a word about what kind of teaching is Buddhism.”

In response, from the top of the tree, Zen Master Bird Nest answered: “Do not engage in the various evil deeds and carry out all that is good.”

“Doesn’t even a three-year-old know this?” When Hakurakuten said this, in return, the Zen Master answered: “Although this is something a three-year-old knows, even an old man of eighty years cannot carry this out.”

 

Hakurakuten, who was accomplished in learning and virtue, bowed his head to the teaching of the Zen Master. And from that time on he established a closer relationship with the Zen Master. And from that time on he established a closer relationship with the Zen Master. Later, Hakurakuten became devoted to Buddhism and he made his residence into a temple and called it Kozanji. “Do not engage in the various evil deeds and carry out all that is all good” – this teaching that Zen Master Bird Nest conveyed to Hakurakuten is the first two lines of the Shichibutsu-Tsukai-Ge or the Verse of Commandment of the Seven Buddhas. “Purify your own mind” and “This is the teaching of all the Buddhas” are the next two lines. These four lines are the great source of all the teachings of Buddhism.

 

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