Talk:Blue Cliff Record

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Translations[edit]

I assume that 《頌古百則》 is the Chinese rendering for Xuedou's Po-tse sung-ku (I don't know the Pinyin for that), and that the translation of that is 100 Verses on Old Cases. But I could be wrong, as I don't really read Chinese and I'm inferring by comparing this article to note 14 of Zen Dust. --munge 25 September 2004

《頌古百則》 is song ku bai ze (my pinyin is terrible, don't bet on it). So it matches with the Wale-Gales Po Tse Sung Ku except for the word ordering. From my Chinese reading, I learned that Xuedou selected 100 out of the 1700 koans in the Ching-Te book. (I am not saying there were only 1700 koans, but the Ching-Te contained 1700 of them.) Yuanwu then based his own book on Xuedou's selection. Yuanwu made an extra copy for Dahui as soon as the book was done, but Dahui burnt the copy because he disagreed koans should be explained and interpreted. --Kowloonese 09:47, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Where did the order of the Wade-Giles phrase "Po-tse sung-ku" come from? The correct order would be Sung-ku Po-tse. I think the correct Pinyin is Song gu bai ze Gregory Wonderwheel (talk) 22:59, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Kowloonese, I am very grateful for your contributions. I hope you will continue to add good stuff and fix problems in this article, koan, etc. Also, I strongly support using native text and also Pinyin, as you say on your user:Kowloonese page.
Now, on Dahui's destruction of the Biyan Lu, there can be some difference of opinion because the story is not told in Song-era documents. "According to traditional accounts, which are only first mentioned in a Yuan-era edition of his goroku text, Ta-hui destroyed the xylographs of the text so that it could not be distributed in China for nearly two hundred years." from p145-6 of Dogen and the Koan Tradition by Steven Heine. (Xylograph means engraved wood printing block.) On page 357 of Zen Dust, the story about making the Biyan Lu unavailable for 200 years is reported as a fact, not a legend. In Swampland Flowers, Cleary says only that Dahui "stopped circulation" of Yuanwu's work. But it seems impossible. I don't see how Dahui could stop circulation of his teacher's work while his teacher was alive. Heine goes on to say "The Ta-Hui legend is no doubt at least greatly exaggerated." I think the legend does not explain how the Biyan Lu reached Japan around Dogen's time. So maybe, like your source says, he just destroyed one copy. But we will never know. But also, I believe there are Song-dynasty editions of Dahui's writings that omit the story completely. According to Heine, the legend "does have a mythical significance in indicating his...emphasis on direct, personal experience of reality." Again, similar to what you say.
According to Andy Ferguson in Zen's Chinese Heritage It was Yuanwu's students who appended Yuanwu's "spoken commentaries to an earlier manuscript known as the Odes on the Hundred Cases, a collection of koans and added verses by Xuedou Chongzian." (p. 425) Ferguson adds "To some it represented the highest standard of Zen literature. To others it represented a subversion of Zen's tradition of pointing directly at mind and shunning the study of written words as a vehicle for liberation. Foguo's [Yuanwu's popular name] famous Dharma heir, Dahui Zonggao, was so alarmed by the success of his teacher's book that he attempted to destroy as many copies as possible. However, the book's circulation was for better or worse, beyond Dahui's ability to stop it." (p. 425)Gregory Wonderwheel (talk) 23:00, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
As for the idea about 1700 koans, according to Zen Dust page 153, "The round figure 1700 was arrived at in early days by attributing one koan to each of the 1701 Zen masters whose names appear...in the Chinge-te ch'uan-teng lu....but as a matter of fact actual biographies are given for only about 960 masters. The remaining 700-odd masters are mentioned by name only" in the Jingde record. There is additional information on page 352, if you can find a copy. (I want to buy a used copy. If anyone has one, leave a message on my Talk page.) Some teachers still teach the legend of 1700 koans but I hope you don't mind if I took it out of the article. Chan works to destroy delusion.
About the number 1700. Well it is not a problem with Chan/Zen people to say "1700 koans" and know that number is just a metaphor meaning "a lot." The Chinese frequently use numbers like that, such as the number 10,000 to mean "myriad" (or way more than 10,000) or referring to the many mountains as "the 1,000 mountains" or when referring to the rampant variety of spring flowers in a meadow they say "the 100 flowers." No one in Zen/Chan circles who knows about koans ever believes the number 1700 is supposed to be taken literally. Gregory Wonderwheel (talk) 22:59, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Finally, page 362 of Zen Dust points out that of the 100 old cases of Hsueh-tou, 82 were from the Jingde Chuandeng Lu . The other 18 are from the life of Yunmen Wenyan, and are taken from the Yunmen Kwang Lu. I plan to make some change to the article to include this. --munge 4 October 2004
Thanks for the clarification. I have no doubt that your source is more accurate because I am no Zen follower myself. I gathered my info from various Chinese webpages and most of them didn't even quote the source. So they could just be legends or even misinformation. --Kowloonese 16:53, 5 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Yunmen in the Blue Cliff Record[edit]

Urs App lists only 17 cases in the Blue Cliff Record on pp243-245 of my copy of Master Yunmen. But there seems to be a typo on p245, and in any event case #22, Yunmen's turtle-nosed snake is missing from the table. So that makes 18.

If you go to page http://www.guoxue.com/fxyj/dic/zrhy/texts.htm and do an Edit>Find Yunmen, it shows the title of Yunmen's biography as 雲門匡眞禪師廣録, or Yunmen Kuangzhen Chanshi Guanglu, which I translate as Extensive Record of Chan Master Yunmen Kuangzhen. Click on the link and scroll up one entry and it should be clear that Yunmen Kuangzhen is the same person as Yunmen Wenyan, his "popular name".

Anyhow, it's somewhat remarkable for a koan collection to include as many as 18 cases that mention the same person. ---user:munge 27 November 2004