Question

"Well, the ones who love so much to quote the words of Kodo Sawaki in their kusen, why don't they have the idea to imitate sometimes his acts? Himself, he precisely received the shiho of the successor of his master, old time fellow-student. Despite the fact that in his youth there was a relationship of competition, he did it with humility, as he was from the lineage of this master, and not from another one, of which he wanted to be the successor. Here is the example of an authentic monk."
Such was not the attitude of Master Deshimaru who preferred to receive the transmission from a master of the Sotoshu, instead of receiving it from an old time fellow-student of Master Kodo Sawaki, who gave however his succession to several people before dying. Could you enlighten me on this point?

Thank you








Answer from Master Kosen

To study the transmission is very important, Master Dogen Zenji was saying. That is why I will make the effort to answer you.
First of all, Shiho and transmission are two different things although not separated. In zen we consider that the subjective must reflect itself or must be certified by the objective. So, the transmission must be certified by the Shiho according to our tradition.
The shiho is a ceremony, an rite of initiation, which contains in itself also a part of subjective transmission, from the master to the disciple.
The transmission, itself, is an objective act, from the master to his disciple. He transmits to him, literally, if he thinks he merits it, a cold and luminous energy called the marrow of zen. This energy transmits itself as water from one bottle to another one. However, this phenomenon, being known only by the master and his disciple, cannot be considered as objective in the eyes of the other persons. It is then necessary that this transmission be certified by the Shiho, a document which is given during the ceremony I talked you about before.
It is quite obvious that the transmission is important before anything else, but if it is authentic, it must reveal itself in an objective manner for all, at the correct time.
The one who received the true transmission from his master, does not need the shiho and in numerous cases, the one who received a Shiho, did not received necessarily the marrow of a true master. It has to be noted that sometimes both, transmission and shiho, are done at the same time. Lets come now to your specific question, namely, to the historical explanation of things.
Let us understand that the history of the transmission from master to master from Buddha has been for each successor a specific story and that it would be stupid to believe that the story will repeat itself several times, or at each time, with the same way.
But the point out of which we can get a lesson and go forward in the understanding of this theme, is in understanding that the history itself of the transmission is the true expression of the mind itself and of the cosmic truth itself.
It is always a message and a teaching for the practitioners of the three times, who have the eyes and the hart open and who are not tempted to lie, to themselves and to the others, from the worry of the appearance and of the worldly success.
Master Kodo Sawaki gave, I believe, five shiho but gave only three transmissions: "the chair" to a nun who cut her finger to obtain the permission to follow him, although she was before the disciple of another master and although Kodo was refusing her as disciple. She was the first one of the disciples, in the knowledge and sawing of the Kesas.
To a monk, who was thrown out of the sangha from wrong accusations of the secretary of Kodo, who was at that time "Nishiyama kocho". This monk lived the rest of his life as a hermit, in a small hut where he was only practicing zazen. My master liked him and had a lot of respect for him. He paid him a visit each time he went to Japan. He received "the chair". He was the first one in the zazen practice. And then, Deshimaru received "the marrow of zen", just before the death of his master. He was the incarnation of a great bodhisattva and of an innate dimension, superior to all the others and Kodo Sawaki knew it from always.
Given the personality of Deshimaru, he never worried to certify his transmission by a shiho and a shiho from whom?
He obviously needed no one else to do what he had to do and certainly not Narita Roshi, who, although having received the teaching of Kodo Sawaki during numerous years, was really the disciple of his own father, who asked Kodo Sawaki if, by friendship for him, he would give him the favor to give in his name the shiho to his son. It also has to be noted that, except the disciples he borrowed from my Master, wrongly or rightly, Narita Roshi never had any disciple, nor any sangha.
For what concerns the shiho of Master Deshimaru: few years before his death, he however accepted to make objective his transmission, in receiving the shiho. But the shiho of whom? Quite simply from the highest authority of the Japanese zen at the time, the equivalent of the pope, the zenji of Eihei-ji, Hiamada Rerin. Here is the story that "I", the heir of Master Deshimaru, I tell it.
You could easily notice that the ones who did not received the true transmission of their master are unable to express anything coherent and clear concerning this subject, only propagating confusion around them and ending even up by letting their own master be insulted.














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