Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Grandpa Roshi (Ven. Shaku Soyen) returned to San Francisco in 1906. On his first trip to the Columbia Exposition in Chicago in 1893, to speak at the World Congress of Faiths, he had met a Mrs. Russell of this city. She had invited him to return and he came and stopped with her at her home on the Great Highway. This was then a part from the city, in a sort of village called “Oceanside.” It has long since disappeared and her home too. “Tait’s at the Beach” came along later, and then other developments. It is impossible to make a pilgrimage to the first Zen shrine in America.
Grandpa Roshi brought two of his sons: Daisetz and Nyogen. To Daisetz he said: “You are my skin, my flesh, my bones.” To Nyogen he said, “You are my marrow, my heart.” The he returned to Japan. From Daisetz we get Zen Philosophy not to be confused with what is called Zennism. From Nyogen we have the Dharma Transmission, no relation to Zennism.
Great grandpa Roshi lies buried in a grotto at Kamakura. Grandpa Roshi had two daughters. One of them, L. Adams Beck, has described this grotto in her The Garden of Vision. The other, Beatrice Lane, married her brother-in-dharma, Daisetz. She wrote, she collaborated and she left the world. Her husband became famous.
Three ladies have had the Dharma-Transmission in this line: L. Adams Beck, Beatrice Lane and Ruth Fuller Sasaki. This has nothing to do with Zennism.
Rev. M. T. Kirby had been a Roman Catholic Monk. He did not obtain enlightenment. He went to Japan and studied under Grandpa Roshi. He became enlightened and received the name of Sagaku Shaku.
He Kwang met Kirby the first month of 1920. There were no laws by Zennists about the behavior of Zen monks. Sagaku Shaku told the story of his enlightenment. He told it plainly, openly and like a child—or a scientist.
Sagaku Shaku gave instructions in Pali Scriptures and in Zen meditation. He told about the historical Buddha. He did not see any Buddhism apart from Buddha. He did not see any Buddha apart from Buddhism. There were no rules in those days by scholars and metaphysicians. Only that which was connected with Buddha Sakya Muni was Buddhism; but Buddhism was connected with both Lord Buddha and Amida, the Infinite Light.
Sagaku Shaku was so successful he was promoted. He went to the Hawaiian Islands and deposited the Dharma with Rev. Hunt. He turned the Upasikas over to his brother-in-dharma, Nyogen Senzaki.
Nyogen Senzaki was a homeless monk. He worked as a menial. He had been a professor. He knew many languages and much literature. He regarded this learning as a jockey regards weights in a race. This was before the days of Zennism.
We had the “Mentorgarden.” It was an open forum. Anybody who had been to Asia could speak. We sat around the fire and listened. We had short meditations. If there was no speaker, we had longer meditations. Everything was informal. Any knowledge was accepted. Only one thing was barred—speculation. Speculation was the one evil. We had many great Buddhists come and go. They all said the same thing: speculation was the one evil. This was before the days of Zennism.
The prophet Mohammed said, “I am an ordinary man like you.” Nyogen always acted as if he were an ordinary man like others. He had greater scholastic learning than most of us and hid it; he had greater wit than most of us and did not hide that.
The Mentorgarden was a place of learning, of entertainment, of camaraderie and of meditations. We meditated according to the teachings of Shaku Soyen.
Shaku Soyen had written: Sermons of the Buddhist Abbot. We did not study it. We did not reverence Shaku Soyen. Nyogen treated him as if he had been his father. Nyogen was an orphan and his early history reminded us of King Arthur. We regarded him as a sort of spiritual King Arthur. His meditative prowess was his sword.
Nyogen did not tell us much about himself or much about Shaku Soyen excepting on rare occasions. He had us become acquainted with his atmosphere.
In 1926 the twenty years probation put on him by Shaku Soyen ended. The first Zendo was opened. No more entertainment, excepting on special holidays. No more discussion excepting on special holidays. We learned to meditate. We jumped from fifteen minute periods to a half an hour to an hour, sometimes two hours. We had theoretical breaks every fifteen minutes.
At first fifteen minutes seemed like an aeon, after a while fifteen minutes seemed like a breath.
We did not waste any time trying postures. We kept the back straight. We learned the Zen breathing. We then went out to battle with our ego.
After a while one of us attained Enlightenment and was named “Zoso.” As soon as this happened we were sure Nyogen had the Dharma-Transmission.
After Nyogen went to Los Angeles this one said to Zoso, “Nyogen is not a homeless monk, Nyogen is a Master, he is more than a Master, he has the Dharma-Transmission. Of course.” We vowed to silence until one of us was left. Zoso is gone, Nyogen is gone and when Nyogen was gone it was discovered, or rather uncovered he was the Dharma-Master of the Age.
Zoso and this one did not take our disciplines from “Zennists.” Our speech was speech, our silence silence.
Nyogen was of the Rinzai School and used harsh methods. Rev. Gido Ishida was of the Soto School and used soft methods. We did not learn anything about the differences of schools; we only studied the methods toward enlightenment. Ishida seemed all heart, Nyogen seemed little heart but this is our illusion.
One tells a story for the record. All the lovers of Dharma used to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday, Buddha’s Enlightenment and Buddha’s Parinirvana. We regarded them as historical realities and as spiritual realities.
There was a lady living in this region then named Elsie Norwood. She had known this person since childhood. She was clairvoyant. She could “see” and she told what she saw and this one wrote what he regarded as a poem. He gave this to Master Ishida:
Thus have I heard:
In Deer Park* they celebrated Parinirvana Day.
Hosts of Bodhisattvas gathered from afar,
Koties of Bodhisattvas from the Pure Land of the West,
Bodhisattvas of the dim and distant past,
Bodhisattvas known and unknown to men today—
And in their midst the Tathagata,
Unmoved, serene, compassionate.
Thus have I witnessed:
In Deer Park we celebrated Parinirvana Day:
With the multitude of Bodhisattvas came Catholic priests,
Around the Catholic priests were Jewish rabbis,
Sufi Dervishes, Hindu Gurus,
Teachers and preachers from every race,
Holy men, sages, sramanas and prophets—
The cosmic parliament of religious leaders,
Countless as the sands, yet all enlightened—
And in their midst the Tathagata,
Unmoved, serene, compassionate.
Thus I have beholden:
In Deer Park I celebrated Parinirvana Day:
Radiant in light, and light upon light;
With that diamond glorious to behold,
That diamond most brilliant shining in his forehead,
Magnificent, incomprehensible, the sun of suns.
Unmoved, serene, compassionate,
In their midst sat the Tathagata.
“Thus have I heard,
Thus have I witnessed,
Thus have I beholden,
Salutation to the Perfect One, the Wholly Enlightened One, the Most Supreme Buddha!”
*This took place in Fairfax, Marin County California, that part called Deer Park.
This formulation of an experience was the first of many efforts in life. When Reverend Gido Ishida came he demonstrated the Tea Ceremony. Then one showed him the above. He gave this person a private Tea Ceremony. It was like a communion. It was a communion. It was a communion in the sense that those who have or have been “given” the Dharma find the One Mind.
The teacher (sensei) did not have to explain anything. He accepted.
This was the first of many experiences in the life of a person born in the West. He meets a teacher, perhaps on common ground. The teacher accepts. Then generations pass. The pupils of the pupils of that teacher reject. Whether they teach that the ego is real or unreal, they reject. Their “teacher” is always a special case. Then the children of the Enlightened keep the word in more darkness than the children of the dark. Nyogen used to say, “There is no such person as Nyogen Senzaki.” Now we have the “Zennists” there are persons, there are people and there are differences.
If Gido Ishida offered, “The Taste of Honey” soon the Pot of Honey came and transformed Nyogen Senzaki. This man, both exceedingly fair and exceedingly stern was transformed in a moment and never returned to his Fudo pattern.
Master Tai Hsu could change an atmosphere and an audience. He did not have to preach Joy, he did not have to say a single word about “Enlightenment.” He took all the weight of the Zendo.
Master Tai Hsu behaved like some of us thought a Master should behave. We always went away lightened and happy. Meditation became a joy, not a chore.
Not long after Master Tai Hsu departed, Roshi Furukawa came from Engaku-ji Temple in Kamakura. Too late. You cannot bring Fudo back after Samantabhadra has taken over.
It is folly to think in dualistic terms. Roshi appeared as Fudo in the San Francisco Zendo. Years later when myself as Kicchi Okuda and my appearance as He Kwang came to the temple in Kamakura, we were turned away by the attendant—one is always turned away. Roshi was very aged, Roshi was in retirement, Roshi would see nobody. We sent him our cares.
We could hear footsteps running rapidly down the hill. Roshi welcomed us with joy, and the light-heartedness of a child. We were not Master and pupils, we were not even sangha-members, we were boys on a picnic.
The first meeting with Roshi Furukawa was to experience the hard sternness of the traditional Rinzai monk. The last meeting was to experience: “Unless you be as little children, yours is not the kingdom of heaven.” Let it remain that way.
Dr. Trebitsch-Lincoln came, thundering fire and brimstone. He was a dualistic Buddhist, even a dualistic Zen. He had changed his faith many times but not his fire, not his prowess. He finally went to Omei Chan in Szechuan in Central China. He continued to thunder fire and brimstone. The celebrated Boake Carter prophesied and the world applauded. The uncelebrated Dr. Trebitsch-Lincoln, known as “Dr. Hud” prophesied the opposite, and the world sneered. The World War II came; Boake Carter had been wrong on every point and committed suicide. Dr. Ruh had been right on every point and was quickly forgotten.
Thus has been the history of the world. Christ comes and defies the scribes and pharisees. After his death, the scribes and pharisees take over and hang out a sign, “Galilean, thou hast conquered.” But the Galilian has not conquered, the scribes and pharisees control, but only on the surface. They never get below the surface.
Trebitsch-Lincoln-Ruh was the Jeremiah of his age.
Professor Perham Nahl used to come occasionally to Mentorgarden. He had been an art teacher at the University of California where one had studied drawing with him. A friendship had been established.
Professor Nahl went to Japan to study and returned a convert to Zen Buddhism. He introduced the principle of immediacy. He practiced the One Mind. He illustrated the teaching both in his own work and by introducing both Chinese and Japanese instructors. He became responsible for bringing Professor Obata to Berkeley. The doors were opened.
When the doors were opened there was a great increase of interest in the Orient. There was a man who had a fine garden in Santa Barbara, not far from the ocean. Its name was Oriental Garden and became famous as such.
Once the Japanese Ambassador was visiting Los Angeles. He heard about the garden and went to Santa Barbara to see it—with its streams and bridges and garden construction. He seemed very happy about it and the owner beamed. “What do you think about it?”
“Wonderful, wonderful, we have nothing like this in Japan.”
(One always recalls this incident when subjects like Zennism and Oriental philosophy and what passes for Taoism here are introduced. “Wonderful, wonderful, they have nothing like it in Japan.”)
Professor Nahl introduced the real and hidden values in the Zero and in the Infinite. One still remembers them.
In 1915 Professor Cassius Keyser, of the Mathematics Department of Columbia University came to Berkeley to lecture on Fourth Dimentional and Non-Euclidean Geometries and on Hyperspace. He introduced us into what he later called, “The Pastures of Wonder.”
The more one studied Keyser, the more one learned about Zero and Infinity and Hyperspace and non-Euclidean Geometry and Psychology and everything else. Among his pupils was the late Count Alfred Korzybski.
One could discuss the Zero and the Infinity and Transpace of Keyser with Professor Nahl and the relation of these projections with actual Satori and Samadhi experiences. There were no social bars, there were no institutional bars.
Some mathematicians threw out their own George Cantor for presuming the Infinite might be real. We had no ecclesiastics then to throw out social peasants who found the Infinite to be real.
Long before Einstein became too popular, or notorious, we learned about the Relative in Buddhism and in the Dharma as a whole from the Prof. Tscherbatski. Later one came upon Bertrand (Lord) Russell and his consideration of the Infinite and Cantor. It never occurred to him that the theoretical Mathematics might have counterparts in the psyche of man. He has never disclaimed Buddhism.
Years later one gave a public lecture on “Infinity and Space in Mathematics, Art and Spiritual Awakening.” An elderly lady arose, “Where did you learn this?” It was Miss Katherine Ball, long time art teacher in San Francisco and specialist in Korean and Buddhist Art.
“I have taught thousands of people and I think three understood me. You are one of them.”
One learned much about Oriental Art from her. This was one form of Dharma-Transmission.
Shagaku Shaku left Hawaii for Japan. He gave an introduction to Dr. Kenneth Saunders who wrote books and lectured on Buddhist Art. The subject has never been exhausted. One became friend to the Chinese Chingwah Lee and the Japanese Shibata San (owner of “Daibutsu” in Chinatown); later owner of a small shoppe on Fillmore St., San Francisco.
Kenneth Saunders became responsible for studies in Oriental Art and in Oriental Literature. American-Zennism and some schools of the Dharma discontinence the scriptures. One studied many then, and later more.
Hierarchal Zen stands out as the greatest contribution from Uncle Nyogen. He told us the stories of Mahakasyapa and Ananda. Now Ananda was the cousin and friend of Lord Buddha but never received the enlightenment during Tathagata’s span of life. When he tried to get the “secret” from Mahakasyapa, the latter turned on him and cried, “Ananda!” and then he was enlightened.
Tathagata Sakya Muni never presented any “Buddhism.” He came to restore Arya Dharma. All he discussed was “Arya Dharma.” For our purposed it is not different from Sanatana Dharma which Aldous Huxley has loosely interpreted as “Perennial Philosophy.” It also inspired Nietsche and other great servants of the West.
We were taught that if we became enlightened we could write sutras ourselves. But nobody expects others to accept that! Yet Sagaku Shaku introduced us into “The Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch.” This poor beggar chap was not very welcome among the elite. The story of the transmission of Dharma, Robe and Bowl has become an idyll. But let any beggar monk come into our respectable places and the whole thing would be repeated.
It is very unconvincing that any Eternal God of Justice should stop His revelation at any particular point in time or with any particular people.
The Bible says that the Risen Jesus gave so many instructions that not all the books in the world could contain them. Mohammed said: “Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects and each had an inner and outer meaning.” Human institutions will have none of that. So there is a great gap between “Buddhism” and “Dharma Transmission.” The Christian people do not accept that Jesus gave all those teachings; the Muslims do not accept that Qur’an has so many meanings; and the speculators, taking over the vocabulary, do not relish “Dharma-Transmission.”
Jesus started out with the Beatitudes. The great Brihadaranyka Upanishad explains the importance and immensity of Ananda. People say “The Garden of Eden” and He Kwang says: “the Gan of Bliss.” Why should Gan be translated as “garden” or “paradise?” Why should not the word “Eden” be translated. The Upanishads emphasize the Universal Bliss which is found in all beings from the grade of humankind, or manas up through Infinity. It is “Ananda” which separates mankind from the animals; it is ananda which “unites the children of men with the songs of God.”
He Kwang offers the Ananda story as a Ko-an. So many people write books on Ko-ans who have never been under the ko-an discipline. Uncle Nyogen gave the Ananda-story and the Ananda-ko-an. Now everybody is unhappy. We say “The Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Jesus said, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” When people go on the path of Dharma-Transmission this will be a very valuable ko-an.
In the days when the teachings of Lord Buddha were regarded as the basis of Buddhism we used to say:
May all peoples be peaceful,
May all peoples be blissful,
May all peoples be happy.
So He Kwang invites everybody to the Ananda-ko-an.
Then Uncle Nyogen began his translations from the Japanese and sometimes from the Chinese. In the beginning was the great professor of European philosophy; then the poor servant who just has us practice meditation and spoke in pigeon-English. Finally the Wisdom of the East was offered.
Nyogen’s translations and interpretations were based on his own awakening. Uncle Daisetz’ translations and interpretations were based on his knowledge of languages and his skill in speculation. Prof. Hu Shih does not agree with Uncle Daisetz. There is something to be said on both sides and no sides. He Kwang says: “To interpret science one must have the experience of science; to interpret Dharma one must have the experiences of Dharma.”
Theodore Reich belonged to the San Francisco Zendo and later visited Uncle in Los Angeles. His favorite picture is “Zen monks perform no miracles.” When students of the occult study Occultism and when students or teachers of Parapsychology and phenomena instead of personalities, one can relate incidents. Uncle said, “There is no such person as Nyogen Senzaki.”
Ko-an lovers, is this true or untrue!
After the Zendo was established in Los Angeles twice this person visited it suddenly when he was in trouble. And Uncle was lecturing on the villainy of the personalities who had caused the trouble. No letter had been written him, no intimation of difficulties and twice one walked into a crowded Zendo to listen to a man who had given up lecturing, to hear his enemies castigated.
When we find the possibility of Telepathy being a science or phenomenon of Nature, when we go beyond the Telepathy to the planes of existence posited in the Upanishads and in Theosophy and perhaps in many wisdoms, we shall no doubt find that the One Mind which Grandpa Roshi first presented is true. It will explain many things, even complexities in Anthropology.
The Buddha of what we call “Hinduism” and what we call “Buddhism” does not appear to be the same entity though there is a vague historical connection. This problem was solved by Roshi.
This is a most difficult task. Unless one understands that we have at least Three bodies as Indian Wisdom teaches; unless one comprehends the potentialities of the Three Kaya beyond such limitations, it is impossible to explain Roshi.
The First Institute of America in New York stemmed from him. There is an active movement in Dharma and Dharma-Transmission extending from him, but while we persist in the valleys of individuation we cannot understand a person who broke all the laws of culture and tradition without breaking any of them.
Uncle Nyogen was asked: “Is the Zen monk bound by Causation or is he outside causation.” Uncle taught: “The Zen monk is one with the Law of Causation.” Unless you can understand and appreciate, you cannot grasp that incarnation of the Cat’s Yawn known as Sokei-An Sasaki.
There is a statement in Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Iolanthe” concerning the Duke. When he asks for an evaluation one of his associates says: “Why you are the most ordinary man in existence.” The Duke approves. Mohammed said, “I am an ordinary man like you.” God made the ordinary man in His Image. Sometimes this is manifested.
1930 was like any other year of importance in spiritual history. One came to the Roerich Museum to study the Dharma in art-form. Nicholas Roerich gave us the Dharma-Transmission in painting. It has been done before. Kenneth Saunders had explained the Dharma-Transmission in Sculpture and Architecture. We did not need the verbal-transmission. But Roerich was accepted socially and intellectually. The Dharma-Transmission became frozen in his art, and most of it has been stored away.
Thus one entered the Zendo of that remarkably ordinary man. When Boddhidharma faced the Emperor of China and told him there was nothing sacred in the entire universe, he might have also said that everything in the entire universe was sacred—for this was the teaching of Avatamsaka (Kegon) transmission.
Roshi was one of the most approachable men ever encountered. Not until one met Swami Rangathananda Maharaj of the Ramakrishna Order years later did one meet someone so approachable, so simple and so utterly profound that words are but the shadows of conveyance.
One heard nine lectures but one had innumerable personal and impersonal sessions.
Each lecture was followed by six questions, this being the upper limit. If you were an intellectual, you received philosophy. But if you had the Dharma-Eye, you saw. One of his lectures was on “Dharma-Eye.” This makes a reality of Samma-Ddhrishti, the first principle of Lord Buddha’s Eightfold Path.
When you received this spiritual Dharshan you received. When you were taken beyond Maya you entered the realm of the Immeasurable.
Once Roshi was asked if he could see into the future. He answered: “It is too terrible.” Dharma-Transmission is not intellectual, it does not stop at Manas. It includes Vijnana and Ananda and Prajna. Intellectuals do not understand Vijnana and Ananda and Prajna.
Indian languages have no terms for “electricity” and “magnetic” and “turbine.” Indians do not object to adopting our terms. English has no equivalent for Vijana and Ananda and Prajna and Samadhi, and so we grasp any words, appropriate or inappropriate and become confused. The end is likely as not psychodelism or trans-mediumship which have no relationship to these things.
Roshi opened these eyes to the whole history of the period 1930–1945 and some of these records were miraculously preserved from a fire which destroyed twenty-five years research and a whole Oriental library. Roshi took one into Prajna without destroying levels between the seemingly finite and the seemingly infinite.
The painting of Parinirvana shows that the artist had the Dharma Transmission. Naraka, Preta, Thirthaga-yoni, Raksha, and Asura are the creatures of Darkness. They were welcomed at the bier. These are Sanskrit words. They have no European equivalents unless we accept that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are thought of in our philosophies. We do not do that. We call what we do not know “unreal.” Roshi explained these terms.
Radio-activity could not be explained in the earlier Physics. Relativity had no place in the earlier Physics. The Quantum idea did not appear in the earlier Physics. The world had accepted the experiences of others.
In the Grand Experience as illustrated by the Cosmic Wheel, all these creatures exist, within or without. The world, especially the Western world has refused to accept here what has not been experienced.
You cannot experience Radio-activity and Relativity and Quantum without the experience of the laboratory without: how does one know what is experienced in the laboratory within if one does not go in?
Sgaku Shaku explained the Four Stages of Meditation by lecturing. Roshi explained the Four Stages of Meditation by Meditation and Dharma-transmission.
We sat comfortably. One is not convinced that special Asanas causally produce Samadhi or Satori. One is not convinced that anything can causally bring Samadhi or Satori.
Uncle Daisetz had given long articles. Roshi brought his presence. “A single day with the Lord is worth a thousand years.”
The painting of Parinirvana shows the Yakshis, Pitris, Gandharvas, greater and lesser devas and the great Gods such as Indra, Brahma, etc. Upanishads teach that these differ in the degrees to which they assimilate and radiate Joy (Ananda).
Creatures mentioned in the Upanishads and other Indian writings, creatures mentioned in the Pali and Sanskrit Suttas and Sutras, mentioned in poetry and song remain outside the domains of philosophy, and even symbolism. What is Buddha? cannot be answered in the terms of maya and manas. What is Buddha is the easiest question in the world to answer.
After Roshi the scriptures became open books. To the world the scriptures are full of mysteries and contradictions or even falsehoods, but after Roshi they became clear channels of light.
The Bodhisattvic Vow and the Great Vow of Samantabhadra are the basis of all Mahayana. The rest is commentary or embellishment.
The creatures mentioned in the literature of the Orient have become imaginary to us. The personalities of brilliant spheres have become real to us. Buddha taught anatta, anicca, dukha.
The trikaya of Nirmanakaya, Sambhogakaya and Dharmakaya are one set of symbols in philosophy and another set of values in awakening.
Uncle Nyogen used to say that Tathagata said: “I see now that all creatures have perfect enlightenment. But they do not know it, I must go and teach it to them.”
Roshi gave the Cat’s Yawn. “Come clothed or unclothed, with a gift or without a gift”—Roshi gave the Cat’s Yawn.
Maya is the measurable, not the unreal. How can a sane mind consider the unreal? What is unreal? What is real?
Since all the scriptures cannot include all the teachings of Jesus, since the Qur’an teaches that if all the pens were one pen and all the seas ink, they could not present the Revelation of Allah, one does not apologize for more details of Roshi.
Before the days of “Zennism” there were multitudes of rules called Vinaya. There is a Pali Vanaya, and a Sanskrit Vinaya, and there are Chinese Vinaya. There are also all sorts of protocols in books on the behaviors of Zen Masters and teachers and these can always be used by the negative persons who wish to reject somebody else because—Of course the real Zen Master is a law unto himself but ….
One day a person asked Roshi if one could smoke and still have enlightenment. This long before Tobacco was honored by being accused of occupying the seat of Iblis. At another time it was Alcohol. Indeed anybody may be accused of occupying the seat of Iblis but the ego-itself which according to real Buddhist teaching is identified with the Evil One.
Roshi said: “That is a good question and it needs consideration. Pardon me.” Then he slowly withdrew a cigarette from a package, very slowly got out a lighter, very slowly took three puffs, put the package and lighter back into his pockets and asked: “Will you please remember that question?”
Ruth Fuller will go to glory if she is not already there by the aid she gave Roshi on all levels, even extending to marriage to protect him.
The saddest day of one’s life occurred in 1945. One was going to New York again, full of anticipation and glow. One was so happy. On the day one arrived Roshi took his last breath.
One appeared at the funeral, in tears. One seldom weeps, many were in tears. One is almost in tears as one writes. This is not a good condition to be in while writing on “Dharma-Transmission.”
Whatever has happened, the “Cat’s Yawn” can still be heard.
The First Institute of Zen in New York can still be visited.
Namo Amida Butsu!
In 1921, Rev. Sagaku Shaku gave a series of talks on the burial of the remains of Lord Buddha Sakya Muni, and also on the recovery of these bones proving scientifically not only the historical existence but the validity of some Scriptures. After long years not only were the eight stupas uncovered but a portion of the ashes were deposited in the very temple years later.
The University of Chicago should be congratulated. After working to get the “Great Books of the West” published it has gone on with Asian Studies to see that the “Great Books of the East” are also studied if not published.
The White Memorial Library in Cleveland still has many tomes which should be studied. Perhaps we shall have a Burdick Memorial some day and find that the Orient has much to give us.
Some of the most magnificent and lofty literature came from India. And some of the most magnificent and lofty literature, whether from India or not, is found in Buddhist works. If there are any volumes which ring of the tone of Tathagata and among these the utterances called Udana, spontaneous cries of the deep part of our nature.
In the Udana it is specifically affirmed that the Universe has two phases, that of ceaseless change and that beyond change. These have been called “Nirvana” and “Samsara,” words incessantly used by those who have not attained.
If one wished to epitomize the teachings of Lord Buddha it would be, first to substitute Sukha for Dukha and then discover the identity of Sukha and Dukha.
Philologically “Sukhavati” means nothing else than “Ruach Hakodesh,” the Holy Spirit. Functionally it means nothing else than “Eden,” the world-of-bliss.
Early in life one was placed under the Four Bodhisattvic Vows and one hopes one has adhered to these Vows.
But to prepare for a single lecture on “Buddhism” (two hours long) one read nothing but Buddhist literature for a whole year, and there also uncovered the Sukhavati literature and the “Vow of Samanthabhadra.”
Krishna condemned the mind and the senses, shankara and manas; Buddhism teaches anatta, the absence of self-reality; the Vendata affirms the realms of Vijnana, Ananda and Prajna above these realms. Zen Philosophy adheres to manas if not ahankara; “Zennism” adheres to ahankara (selfhood) if not manas. Zen gives Prajna, Pure Land Ananda.
Nyogen Senzaki used to say: “Too much Manjusri, not enough Samantabhadra.” The analysts, the intellectuals, the dialecticians, the differentialists, repeat “Too much Manjusri, not enough Samantabhadra”—at the verbal level, the intellectual level, the ego-level.
Nyogen Senzaki’s first lecture was: “Buddha said, upon his being enlightened: “I see now that all sentient beings have enlightenment and perfect wisdom. I must go and instruct them.” This Uncle Nyogen said emanated from Tathagata and all the verbalists, all the intellectuals, all the egocentrics repeated the words and laid down rules for Enlightenment.
There is a Zen story—and how the “Zennists” love it; of a Zen master rubbing two bricks together. On being asked what he was doing he said, “Making a mirror.” “How can you make a mirror by rubbing bricks together?” He answered: “And how can you become enlightened by mere meditation.”
Applause from the Zen Buddhists who return to meditate and meditate and meditate. Applause from the Zen Philosophy who discuss meditation and discuss and discuss. Applause from the Ph-deists who write endless books on the values of what they have never experienced.
Aristotelians have given their systems of Logic. There is a Buddhist system of logic too, which is not based on thing-ness or personality, or on any element or factor which we consider essential for Logic. What have these to do with Life? or Bliss? or Enlightenment?
St. Paul said there was neither slave nor free, nor Jew nor Barbarian nor Greek, in Christ Jesus. Kegon teaches that everything is a manifestation of the Ultimate Light. Pure Land teachings apply this to human beings. Modern science applies it to everything. What is spiritual democracy?
All Vinayas either respect their deficiencies or admit that one cannot get free from Causation by Causation. How can Causation bring anything but more Causation? If one can obtain Nirvana by Causation, what is Nirvana? What is Causation?
From the very beginning, by all the Buddhas in time and beyond time (and equally by all Masters, Teachers, Prophets), the principle of Grace can be affirmed. The unfettered, untrammeled, unconditioned can touch and do penetrate the trammeled, the conditioned. This is the Udana, this is the Pure Land.
If Udana is time, if Causation and Deliverance are different, then all Vanayas are limited. If the Grace is true then all people (belonging to all sentient beings) have the essence of deliverance. Then why the clergy? Why the temples? Why Institutions?
Some religions have been criticized for lack of humanism. Shinran Shonin remains honored because he has humanized the Dharma.
Jesus Christ has said that “Scribes and Pharisees” cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, i.e. Sukhavati, i.e. Pure Land. This is to say that commentators and dualistic analysts have no part in pure religion. Whereupon dualists and commentators who control the channels of communication have taken over each religion and veiled devotees from spiritual realization.
Neither Uncle Daisetz with his philosophers, nor the multiple “Zennists” with their analyses have established realms of Joy. Vijnana and Ananda and Prajna remain outside the lives of the intellectuals but Ananda and Prajna remain inside the lives of the common man, and the uncommon.
Grace and Compassion are for all. Egocentrics are amazed how far the teachings of Shiran Shonin are from the teachings of Gautama Siddhartha. This inch of difference has been over-emphasized and the miles of difference between themselves and salvation are never mentioned, or hardly ever.
The names of the Americans Richard Robinson and Phillip Eidmann will remain then the names of celebrated personalities born in the old world, will have been forgotten.
When one arrived in Japan he was regaled by the Honganji people with Tea Ceremony and Ichibana and Noh Dramas. Within the Father’s House are many mansions and analytic purity has nothing to do with life.
There is a purity of Mantra Yoga and by the Mantric method people have risen out of their egoes. And there is something else called “Mantra Yoga” which increases egocentricity. The difference is not between tariki, other power, and jiriki, self-power; the difference is between Samantabhadra, Compassion; and Manjusri, Wisdom.
The principal theme of Lord Buddha was the ending of suffering. The principal theme of Shinran Shonin was the ending of suffering. What is the principal theme of your kind of Buddhism, my friend? What is the principal theme of preachers of Dharma?
In Korea, and in Viet Nam, they do not make any difference between this tariki, and this jiriki. Poor peasants of Viet Nam who accept the Pure Land and not our cultured versions of Dharma! Poor suffering peasants of Viet Nam who cry for Compassion, for Mercy, for Deliverance!
Lord Buddha gave many Upayas, or means of salvation and deliverance. The author and the lecturer tell us about Upaya. The author and lecturer don’t show us examples of their theories.
Lord Buddha gave at the lowest level, so to speak, five moral principles of Pancha Sila. Pancha Sila opened the doors, but the wonders of the palace are only observed through the experiences of man himself. Our systems of justice permit everybody who knows to testify. Shinran Shonin declared that everybody who knows could testify.
The conclusion of the Dhammapada, especially the teachings on the Brahmin, came to absolute fulfillment by the monkless monk who returned to society and announced that Nirvanna and Samsara are identical. In the “Gospel of St. Thomas” Jesus declared: “The Father is an activity and a rest.”
The Western people, and particularly the Americans, are eager to introduce their technologies to all parts of the world; but the Western people, and particularly the Americans, are not so anxious to accept the technologies of the Orient or to adopt their words. Yet the followers of Dr. Glenn Frank and others have been humble enough (without feigning “humility”) to adopt some Sanskrit terms. Jesus Christ did not speak Latin or Greek or English.
There are areas and arenas of heart which require vocabulary just as areas and arenas of mind (by which one means manas) and areas and arenas of the physical of life.
Physics, Biology and Psychology are the basic sciences of the West, and all other sciences seem to be related to one or more of them in some way. But there are also sciences which apply to aspects of the universe or of life and one may say these belong to Heart. Heart-sciences do not conflict with other sciences but need their own terms, drawn from heart-experiences.
Phra Sumangalo, or Rev. Robert Clifton as he was once called came to San Francisco in 1928. There was that wonderful instant recognition by each and so it remained until he left the world in 1963. Buddha taught anatta, anicca, dukha. My friends, we cannot efface them from the universe, we can even efface the universe itself, but not the Pillars.
There is nothing permanent, people have learned to accept that it is impossible to invent a perpetual-motion-machine. But in the realms of mind and speculative philosophies all sorts of perpetual-motion-machines have been proposed, only to flit away. Houses of clouds do not persist either in the physical or mental realm; beyond neither houses or clouds are possible.
The history of Phra Sumangalo has been recorded for the Encyclopedia of Buddhism and also through his friend, disciple and colleague, Rev. Richard Robinson of Wisconsin. His experiences have been ignored by those in power and authority in society but those in power and authority in culture think otherwise.
Efforts of the world of heart are always misunderstood by the self-centered. It is possible for the self-centered to start their own movements, to announce any teaching as “Buddhism” they wish. Lord Buddha did not invent “Buddhism,” he revived the Arya Dharma, the wisdom of the ages.
Sixteen were the transmissions of Lord Buddha through historical characters (if you follow the Theravadin traditions; through Bodhisattvas if you follow the Mahayana). Some of the Bodhisattvas were also historical as Nagarjuna and Vasubhandu.
In the world of heart it is possible to establish relations of harmony or relations of unity. In the field of harmony there is no one necessarily superior to the other. When two worms copulate they are both male and female; when two hearts copulate there is no male, no female, no superior, no inferior.
In our historical career Sumangalo and He Kwang each taught the other, each learned from the other and together they cooperated, working together.
Sects and schools are the operations of the manas and shankara, whose limitations are sent forth in the Bhagavad Gita. What Lord Krishna denounced as being effete, Lord Buddha did not even refer to. What he presented as “Arya Dharma” which also means “Noble Path.”
A scientist, seeking a certain goal, may try many methods. Robert, while he was still Robert, tried many methods but never changed his goal.
O ye followers of Aristotle and Mani, “Samma Dhrishti” never meant “right views” and can never mean “right views.” In the grand totality there are no rooms for such ideas. There are no rooms for ideas. Buddhism without Pracja (panna) is worse than nonsense; it is even diabolical at times.
Phra Sumangalo taught by the heart without discarding the book. Now we have types of “Buddhism” that discard both heart and book. Belonging to one school (in our sense) he taught at temples of others’ schools. He never departed from the teachings about Buddha and if he did not achieve the full heart-view of Buddha he never neglected the Perfect One, the Fully Enlightened One, the Most Supreme Buddha.
Robert took the Theravadin vows and the Mahayana Vows and the Vajrayana vows, and if he failed to achieve all of them, who are they that judge that have taken none of the vows? How can those who have never visited a physical place know about that place? How can those who have never visited a heart place know about that place?
In America where anybody can establish a movement and call it a “Buddhist Movement,” Robert may remain unknown or be considered a blotch. The work of the Theosophist, Colonel Olcott, to bring the Buddhists of various schools together was continued and continued more by Phra Sumangalo than anybody else. In his last days clad as a Theravadin monk, with a Theravadin name, he administered to the Chinese Mahayana devotees.
The history of Robert in America, in Japan and in travels has been mentioned in the Encyclopedia of Buddhism and will be mentioned more in another work. But the tragedy of the world which judges and prejudges is found in the battlefields of Viet Nam. Phra Sumangalo died of a broken heart trying to prevent hostilities. Christ said, “Blessed are the peace-makers.” Said, well said.
Robert took on the role of Samantabhadra and this one of Manjusri, Robert took on the role of Avalokitesvara and this one of Fudo. Then Uncle Nyogen lifted this sinning-saint.
The ignorant of all faiths attack the materially-minded. Uncle Nyogen taught that those without “sin” could accumulate all the wealth of the world without harm to anybody.
Robert tried the way of honesty, of open-mindedness, of factual presentation, of moral rectitude to no end. The world was too much for him. Although also trained in Soto Zen he confessed he did not reach the Goal. It was this confession of short-comings which endeared the man even more than his good works.
When Robert was at Sojiji near Yokohama he reported that the chances of a peasant for Enlightenment over a cultured man, in particular over a Ph.D., were 15 to 1. Our anti-Christs who deny and defy that little children will get into the kingdom of heaven before the rest of us are always horrified by such corroboration.
Champion is he in every school of inner discipline who can unlearn, who can unburden himself. When those who call themselves “Buddhists” will do this, that separative faith will be saved. When those who do not call themselves “Buddhists” will do that, the Dharma will be transmitted even though in an untraditional manner.
The tender-hearted have to receive the blows from all the world. Phra Sumangalo left his blessings to the poor, half-learned peasants of Viet Nam who we have been ignoring, all too long. The hypocrisy of perfumed words only adds to the criminality of unwise acts.