Yoshizen's Blog

Direct TRANSMISSION — a tiny Thought

A piece of cloth here has been with me in the past 37 years since I was given this from the Eihei-ji temple.

I have washed it may be 10 times or so —– and when ever I did, its color faded farther, so that I became

even more reluctant to wash.

I wrote about this in my old post [Life’s Domain] saying that it could be an intended teaching of

“Nothing stays the same,  nothing is Permanent”. —– ? ? ?    Was such big issue here ?

It’s just an old cotton cloth isn’t it, and it is nothing strange the color dye is fading.   ( Dye will be dissolved

and washed away by the water, and it degraded by the UV light as well)

—– Isn’t it thinking too much ?    Isn’t it a pointless delusion —– or the Truth ?


To explain and prove a fact in the life = “Nothing stays the same” may need to have lot more than a word, yet

just a piece of cloth shows its truth far clearer.   This is what a Direct Transmission is.

—– Then, how about  “Should I wash more often” or,  in order to preserve its original state, I shouldn’t

have used it in the dairy life, let alone washing.

But, what’s the original state mean ?   Is that the color on the cloth and the name of the temple printed on ?

—– isn’t this, just a sentimental reminiscence ?   Clinging the past ?

There may not be such a value in its original state.   It may only be in the mind.

So, without having such THINKING,  just wash it = “Having no useless thinking and just do it”

might be more like the Mushin of Zen Buddhism. = and when the cloth become completely

white, it would be the enlightenment —– WHAT a beautiful metaphor ! ! !

Though, no such things could happen.

In reality, if you keep washing cotton cloth 30, 50 years, the cotton fiber would be disintegrated.

And, when we wash, intending to make the color disappear, ironically, color never disappear.

It is just like our DNA,  it would never disappear.

—– Does it mean, no white cloth, neither see the Enlightenment ?


It was a good exercise of thinking = this is a practice of what

Lord Buddha said “ Think it by yourself”.  🙂

Just a small piece of cloth teach us all about the Buddhism.   This is very “Direct Transmission”.

—– strangely, some people having an illusion “There would be a mythical communication of the

Cosmic Wisdom (Panya Paramita) which suddenly come into the mind and enlighten the person” is what

the Direct Transmission meant. —– Ha ha ha, Don’t make me laugh.  😀

It is a worst delusion than a pretty picture of a spin-doctor’s medicine bottle.

If such magic could ever existed in this world, one of the highest enlightened man like

Dalai Lama could have received such wisdom, and the trouble of the Tibet could be solved long ago.

Though, there is no magic solution or escape,  hence this is the Samsara,

as Lord Buddha said.  —– We only able to become aware of the Truth by the observation with the clear eyes.

And the Truth is not our wishful thinking but the reality = face of the Dharma.

Direct Transmission is a trigger to make us to actually see it = it is not a mythical magic.

In the famous [Flower Summon], the flower was the trigger to realize “What the Dharma is”=

Dharma is not in the special place, but even in a mere small flower = that’s why even small

flower can broom beautifully.

So, why not us. = This is what the Enlightenment is.


Tiny Comment — How Master Kogetsu got angry

If this is the first time for you to stumble this blog, you might be puzzled

as this blog is the most not Zen like place.

In here, there is no pretentious word game or glorious myth were told.   Especially,

if you have a romanticized idea of Zen as something intellectually hi-class culture,

you will be disappointed.  Zen is not an exclusive special culture nor peculiar practice.

Even so-called Enlightenment, Nirvana is NOT the hard to come-by

awkward commodity.  It is right there sitting next to you.

You just not see it because you believe, it must be the other side of the river, long way

beyond the Pathway, hence looking somewhere wrong place.

Far from it, it is nothing afar.   In this blog, I’m showing how Zen and Enlightenment is

ubiquitous and in fact, right inside of you.

It was not my opinion but simply this is what

Lord Buddha told, therefore what the Zen is.

Zen can be walking, can be cutting a lemon. In deed,

being yourself is the Zen and Enlightenment.

I show it to your eyes,  what I’m doing here.


When I faced Master Kogetsu in the Eiheiji Temple and told him that I was a

photographer, what he uttered was “What a hell, why a photographer kind of person

wondering the Zen Temple.  This is exactly the indication of that you couldn’t settle

and be diligent in your own life” “As you are a photographer, do the best photography

and become the best photographer. It is where your life is”. — In return I replied to

him “Wait a moment, why photographer can’t search the truth.   Have look, even

Lord Buddha himself did forsake the life of Royal prince and became a seeker.  Why not me ?”

“What? —– What a preposterous word you got, comparing yourself to

Lord Buddha is unforgivable”  (though, he didn’t hit me with a stick which was in his side.  :-))


Master Kogetsu was one of the highest Soto Zen priest ( wearing brown ), who was the

head of the Suzuka-dera Temple and visiting, serving fellow of the Eiheiji Temple.

(In fact, leaving the dairy chore to deal with dead man for the hand of young monks and

have a break, come to chat together with another priests in the Eiheiji Temple  🙂 )

Naturally he knew the Zen Buddhism back to back.   Hence, what he meant was, as he said,

the Enlightenment to a photographer is to live totally as a photographer.

There is no fancy myth or abstract enigma there.

As the Life itself is total already, 

Zen wouldn’t make it any more complicated,  simply Life is the Life.

To see as it is and to live as it is,  Just Do It which is due, is the Enlightenment.


Just like a lotus flower, being as the flower is the Dharma,

a photographer being as the photographer is the Dharma.

Being with Dharma mean, when the time comes it is the Nirvana.

(Photographer being as a photographer needs no pretence or thinking =

being in Mushin = his camera, his technique, his eyes and the subject,

all become one = Ichijo —– what the one needs more.

(in this instance, forget pretty model—– What model ?    😀 )

This was the way, how Sword Master perfected his skill, how Sword Smith

created his unbreakable sword —– even a Tea Master perfected his tea making.  

It was the Zen.  

Zen is not in the sitting posture, but in the every day’s life,  moment to moment.


When the historical Great Zen Masters got their Enlightenment all of them uttered

“It’s a Dog shit”

Yes, it is as ubiquitous as a dog shit, as the Master has been with himself all through his life.

No fancy or enigmatic mumbo-jumbo has been discovered.  The life as it is —– It is there.

(In other words, to invent or cling any fancy story is nothing short of a delusion).

My blog here is talking about this [Zen in action] —– action in everyday life.


Starting point of Yoshizen

It was the last moment as I was leaving the temple, when Master Kogetsu stopped me at the gate and asked me,

“I’ve been wondering since I saw you on the first day. Who the devil this guy ?

Have a tea and talk before you go”

While receiving his tea I told him who I am.

Finding my father’s name in the Soto Temples Directory and heard that I was a veteran mountain climber,

he understood why he felt me as if I were a seasoned monk.

It was the time soon after the collapse of the 70th students’ uprise (lots of ex-activist left Japan then) and

my Degree was in Sociology, I had enough ammunition to ask him about the viability of the Buddhism

in the aspect of the society and human existence.

His answer was what I wrote before, still I promised him I’ll see him again.

I’m afraid it must be too late to report him back, still I feel my duty to tell his tombstone what I found.

——Since, without encountering Master Kogetsu, Yoshizen couldn’t exist today and I believe it was

the destined Karma.

And me to encounter a new friend who directed me to Zen blog site, and me to start blogging was

also a pre-destined Karma which meant me, the time is ripe.


PS :  To follow-up this, you may read a post “Tiny Comment” which would explain the point best.


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