Tozan had a question about whether inanimate objects expound the dharma. Tozan visited Isan, who recommended that he go to see Ungan.
With Ungan, Tozan was first made aware of the truth, and he composed the following gatha to record his experience:
“How wonderful! How wonderful!
The inanimate expounding the dharma –
what an ineffable truth!
If you try to hear it with your ears,
you will never understand it.
Only when you hear it through the eye,
will you really know it.”
Ungan asked him, “are you happy now?”
Tozan answered, “I do not say that I am not happy, but my happiness is like that of someone who has picked up a bright pearl from a heap of garbage.”
For a while after his enlightenment, Tozan continued to travel around China. One day he arrived at Leh T’an and met the head monk, Ch’u. Ch’u greeted Tozan and said:
“Wonderful, wonderful –
The inconceivable realms of Tao and Buddha!”
Tozan responded, “I don’t know about these realms. Who is talking of them?”
Ch’u remained silent, and Tozan shouted, “Speak!”
Ch’u then said, “No need to fight about it. That is the way to miss.”
Tozan replied, “If it has not been mentioned, how can there be fighting and missing?”
Ch’u could make no answer to this.
Tozan then said, “Buddha and Tao – next you will talk of sutras.”
Ch’u replied, “What do the sutras say about this?”
Tozan responded, “When all is understood, words are forgotten.”
Ch’u said, “This is sickness of the mind.”
Tozan said, “Is this sickness slight or severe?”
Ch’u could make no reply to Tozan.
Before the sutras there are a few questions from the sannyasins.
The first question:
Gerta Ital, a former famous German actress, was the first Western woman who was allowed to enter in a Zen monastery in Japan and to work with an enlightened master.
She wrote two books about her path and her experience of enlightenment. When I read these books I had the impression of a very hard and lonely path. Being with you is much more joyful and playful. Would you like to say something about this difference?
The traditional Zen is hard. It takes twenty to thirty years of constant meditation, withdrawing all your energy from everywhere and devoting it only to meditation.
That tradition comes from Gautam Buddha himself. He had to find his enlightenment after twelve years of hard work.
I am changing it completely from the traditional Zen, because I don’t see that the contemporary man can devote twenty or thirty years only to meditation. If Zen remains that hard, it will disappear from the world. It has already disappeared from China, it is disappearing from Japan, and it disappeared from India long ago. It remained in India for only five hundred years after Gautam Buddha. In the sixth century it reached China, remained there for only a few centuries, and moved to Japan. And now it is almost extinct from both China and Japan.