THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF ZEN MASTER DAITO

HIS teacher gave him as a text for meditation an answer made by an ancient Chinese teacher named the Master of the Cloud-gate.        This was a single word meaning a frontier-gate or mountain-pass. He told him “Throw your whole spirit into the word ‘Pass’. You should have no other occupation ; it must become your whole life.” From that time he entered wholely into Zen, receiving a hard training from his teacher, who was abbot of a large monastery.

It was as if he had swallowed a burning iron ball ;he tried to bring it. up but could not do so. There was nothing else except the mountain pass ; for nearly three years he was going deeper and deeper into it.

After this his teacher went to Kamakura to become head of the famous Kenchoji monastery, and he followed to serve on his teacher. One day came the traditional experience of ” letting go “. All the worlds became one Sound ; heaven and earth were split open ; suddenly he went through the pass.

Sweat coursed down his body : he danced and cried : ” How long was the path the same and unbroken ! ”

The teacher saluted him and said : ” Last night I dreamt that the Master of the Cloud-gate had come again.

To-day you have gone through the pass. You are truly a reincarnation.”

Daito wrote the following poem on his enlightenment

If once you can go through the Cloud-pass,

Then South, North, East, West,-you can go freely in any direction.

Resting at night, travelling by day,-all subject or object forgotten.

Wherever you plant your foot, there is purity and coolness.

Go through the Cloud pass and there is no more the old road.

The sky is blue and the sun bright,-the mountains are your home.

The wheel of the world turning and changing,-hard for men to attain truth !

But he who moves through it with folded hands, is noble-a golden dragon indeed.

T.P.L.

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