Weekend quote – Sozan & Tadamasa (From T. Legget)


July 4, 2014
Yossi Sheriff

1st quote

Tademasa, a senior retainer of Hōjō Takatoki (北条 高時) the regent, had the Buddhist name Anzan (quite mountain). He was a keen Zen follower and for twenty-three years came and went to the meditation hall for layman at Kenchō-ji (建長寺). When the fighting broke out everywhere at 1331, he was wounded in one engagement, but in spite of the pain galloped to Kenchō-ji to see Sozan, the 27th teacher there. A tea ceremony was going on at Kenchō-ji, and the teacher seeing the man in armor come in, quickly put a teacup in front of him and said, ‘How is this?’

The warrior at once crushed it under his foot and said, ‘Heaven and earth broken up altogether’.

The teacher said, When heaven earth are broken up, how is it with you?’

Anzan stood with his hands crossed over his breast. The teacher hit him, and he involuntarily cried out from the pain of his wounds.

The teacher said, ‘Heaven and earth not quite broken up yet.’

The drum sounded from the camp across the mountain, and Tademasa galloped quickly back. The next evening he came again, covered with blood, to sees the teacher. The teacher came out and said again,
‘When heaven and earth are broken up, how is it with you?’

Anzan, supporting himself on his blood stained sword, gave a great Katzu! (special Zen Kiai) and died standing in front of the teacher.

kōan: When heaven and earth are broken up, how is it with you?

From The Warrior Koans: Early Zen in Japan, Translated and edited by Trevor Leggett
2nd quote

Karazu Tengu from Kencho ji

Karazu Tengu from Kenchō-ji