1
Rhatsu Exhortation
(
The Fifth Night)
[Hakuin Zenjiís instruction late in his life]
O
n the Æ fth night, the Master addressed
his monks, saying, ìIn this monastery
the longest mind-concentrating practice
1
is 120 days. Middle-length is 90 days. And
the shortest is 80 days. During them, our
steady determination is to clarify THIS
great Matter.
Therefore no one in the whole
assembly goes
outside the gateóto say
nothing of indulging in small talk. Zazen
practice with koans under a Zen master
requires only one thing: a daring spirit.
ìI doubt that youíve all failed to hear that
recently there was a man they called Heishir
in Ibara. He carved a stone image of Fud
My to enshrine it by a waterfall deep
in the mountains of Yoshiwara.
2
While he
watched the sudden Ø owing over and fall-
ing of the
water of the falls
, some water
bubble gems
3
were being danced on the wa-
ter below as bubbles at Æ rst, and then there
were those that sometimes Ø oated along
as bubbles for about
4
a foot and then disap-
pearedówhile others went
5
two or three
feet and then disappearedóand in about
6
four or six yards all of them were gone
.
Because of suffering from his own past karma,
he then perceived that everyone living the imper-
manence of this world is like those bubbles. That
pressed him so much to struggle to somehow settle
back down that it was completely unbearable.
1 Training period:
kessei
.
2 As the temple guardian of Heishirís natural
shrine: the falls and their surroundings.
3 Bubbles a
s perfect and transparent as gems.
4 About 30 cm.
5 About N or Ω of a meter.
6 About 4 or 5 meters.
ìHe unexpectedly heard someone reading
aloud from
The Dharma Sayings of Master
Takusui
: ëFor a daring sentient being, awaken-
ing to the Buddha that you are may happen in
a moment. For lazy sentient beings attaining
irvana may take three immeasurable kal-
pas.í That inspired such great determination
and zeal in him that he locked himself into
the bathhouse alone. Getting his back up
7
and
pulling himself together, both Æ sts clenched,
both eyes staring, he sat there in sincere and
direct zazen. He was Æ nally ableóin the
Dharma battle with delusions and frightful
hallucinations Ø ying up in swarming confu-
sion like waspsóable to cut his life root,
going deep into the samadhi beyond form.
Hearing the chirping and clucking coming
from the surrounding sparrow nests and
chicken coops at dawn
8
, he then found no
way to Æ nd his own whole body. All he felt
was that both of his eyes had gotten away
from him on their own
9
and were lying on
the ground. He suddenly
felt his nails cut-
ting into his clenched Æ sts.
Then his eyes
were back in the right place and
he recov-
ered enough to get up on his hands and
knees and stand up. This
went on for three
nights running, sitting and standing
in just
the same way.
7
Determined to do something about (his)
suffering.
8 Having sat there all through the night.
9 Somehow, of their own volition.


2
ìMaking it to the morning of the fourth
day and washing his face, he looked at the
trees in the garden. His impression of them
was different from that on ordinary days:
they appeared intensely singular
1
. So he
went and asked a priest nearby. The priest
couldnít understand it at all. He therefore
decided to go and see Kokurin (Hakuin
himself) about it. He went up Satta
2
Peak
carried in a palanquin
3
. At the summit he
saw the panoramic view of Tago no Ura
4
for the Æ rst time. Thatís when he clearly
realized
that what he had experienced in
the bathhouse
was: the grasses, the trees
and his own native groundóbecoming what
theyíd always been:
Buddha. At last he met
Kokurin (me: Hakuin) and bravely
entered my
forge repeatedlyóso several levels
of questions
and answers were transmitted
5
.
ow he was only an ordinary man. Heíd
never known anything of studying Zen and
learning the Way. evertheless, in just three
days and nights he proved THIS matter
6
.
With nothing but his daring spirit, he him-
self fought his delusions and won out over
them all. Why donít you, all of you, decide
for the zeal and determination of courage?î
1 Together, but clear in detail, too.
2 The name Satta may may mean ìproviding
solid ground underneath for (beings)î.
3
A small car on poles instead of wheels, carried on
the shoulders of bearers: pl¥un-kwin.
4 On Suruga Bay, not far west of Hara (where
Hakuinís temple is), so he was almost there!
5 Meaning, Heishir passed koans at several lev-
els of Hakuinís koan classiÆ cation system!
6 He got it for sure through his own experienceó
certain of what the Buddha realized.