Empty Cloud

“In 1934 on the second day of the eighth moon, Master Xu-yun arrived from Gu-shan and, followed by the district officials, literati and people, proceeded to Cao-xi. it happened to be the day when people in the district were celebrating the anniversary of the Sixth Patriarch’s birthday and about ten thousand of them were converging on the monastery to offer incense.

On his arrival at the Cao-xi Gate, the Master pointed his staff at it and chanted:

A dream has now come true at Cao-xi
From far away the poor man has returned.
Let us no more think of what is and what is not,
Even to call it a bright mirror is still wrong.
Since the midnight transmission of robe and bowl at Huang Mei
Imposingly the light for centuries has shone.
Who of the House descendants will carry on the line
So that the Lamps succeed each other to reveal Spiritual Majesty?

At the gate of the Bao-lin Monastery, the Master pointed his staff at the gate and chanted:

Here clearly is the road to Cao-xi.
Wide open is the Gate of Precious Wood
Where students of the Sect from Ten quarters
Come and go on their long journeyings.
When this place of Transcendental Bliss is reached,
The Pure Void is free from dust.
The Dharma realm has no centre nor circumference,
This One Door holds the wonder of all schools.”

Dharma Discourse of Master Xu Yun (Empty Cloud) given at the Jade Buddha Monastery, Shanghai, in 1953:

“About this method of self-cultivation, it can be said that it is both easy and difficult. It is easy because it is really easy and it is difficult because it is really difficult.

It is easy because you are only required to lay down every thought, to have a firm faith in it (the method) and to develop a lasting mind. All this will ensure your success.

It is difficult because you are afraid of enduring hardship and because of your desire to be at ease. You should know all worldly occupations also require study and training before success can be achieved. How much more so when we want to learn wisdom from the sages in order to become Buddhas and Patriarchs. Can we reach our goal if we act carelessly?”

(From Empty Cloud — The Autobiography of the Chinese Zen Master Xu Yun, translated by Charles Luk, published by Element Books, 1988)