Thursday, December 30, 2010

Don't mess with Nun Shido

During the Rohatsu retreat of 1304 at the Enkakuji Monastery Master Chokei gave his formal approval (inka) as a teacher to the nun Shido, the founder of Tokeiji and widow of the Shogun Hojo Tokimune.

The Abbott of the Temple did not approve of the inka being granted. He asked her a question to test her:

"In our line, one who receives the inka gives a discourse on the Rinzairoku classic. Can the nun teacher really brandish the staff of the Dharma in the Dharma-seat?"

She faced him and drew out the ten-inch tanto (carried by all women of the samurai class) and held it up: "A Zen teacher of the line of the patriarch indeed should go up on the high seat and speak about the book. But I am a woman of the warrior line and I should only declare our teaching when really face to face with a drawn sword. What book should I need?'

The head monk said, 'Before father and mother were born, with what then will you declare our teaching?'

The nun closed her eyes for some time. Then she said, 'Do you understand?'

The head monk said, 'A wine-gourd has been tipped right up in Peach-tree Valley; Drunken eyes see ten miles of flowers.'

This story is the same as the one about Yamaoka Tesshu  explaining the Rinzairoku in his dojo 

To be continued...

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