Chapter 5: You Must See for Yourself
Successive patriarchs personally transmitted the dharma from master to disciple. Without the personal transmission, not a single patriarch, master or disciple, could be a buddha or a patriarch.
It is just as if we were making innumerable small rivers join a great one, or keeping the light from going out, making countless lights one after another: eventually, they become one. And there is no gap in the function of the transmission between master and disciple.
So successive patriarchs spent their daily life face-to-face with Sakyamuni Buddha and watched by his face. How many days they had passed, I don’t know. We should think calmly and be glad of this. Their eye and face are the Buddha’s because they made bows to the Buddha’s face and transferred his eye into their own, and vice versa.
It is through the transmission that the eye and face had been incessantly transmitted till now.
There is no gap in the transmission between master and disciple, just as one vine coils round another; that is to say, we open our eyes and present them with themselves, they receive themselves. The same can also be said of our face, mind and body.
Unless a disciple sees his master, he cannot be said to be a disciple; unless a master sees his disciple, he cannot be a master.
Both of them have got the transmission and succeeded to the dharma by seeing each other. That is an appearance of the transmission of the patriarchs. Therefore, they could directly touch the buddha’s fine face.
At the time of the transmission, our face will change completely. The skin itself will be a great mirror of the buddhas, which has no flaw inside or out. The great mirror gives the transmission to the great mirror itself. Those who have been correctly given eyes true enough to see Sakyamuni Buddha personally, are more intimate with him than he is with himself. Everyone, regardless of self and others, who sees the correct transmission or the real study of this new transmission of the Tathagata should preserve it carefully.
Maneesha, before I enter into the serious statements of a scholarly Dogen, I would like Avirbhava first to inaugurate.
It is not a bear, as I said yesterday - because around the world I have so many cases against me, accusing me of hurting people’s religious feelings. And the bear is worshipped by men.
It is really a pig. I had to ask Anando to research whether somebody’s heart feelings would be hurt if we inaugurate the Museum of the Ancient Dead Gods with a pig. Avirbhava is going to be the Director General. She is completely ready - with the ears of a pig, and a tail too.
(Avirbhava is dressed in pig ears and a curly tail.)
About pigs: “In the ancient world pigs were considered the embodiment of the ‘Corn Spirit,’ Osiris. He was the great Egyptian god of the underworld and judge of the dead.
In Greece pigs were sacred to Demeter, the goddess of the fruitful soil and agriculture. And today they are considered sacred in New Guinea.
In China the pig is considered a great delicacy and, as in many other countries in the past too, was traditionally served at banquets and feasts, notably marriage ceremonies. While people ate the roasted pork, they could view the stuffed pig in the center of the banquet table. Great care was always taken to choose a pig’s head that had a pleasing face.