Gnawing Through Qiánfēng’s Three Illnesses and Two Lights

"... You will see the infinite compassion contained in Qiánfēng’s instructions...."

Gnawing Through Qiánfēng’s Three Illnesses and Two Lights

Dogen Zenji famously said that to study the buddhadharma is to study the self. This post concludes a series of translations and commentaries that dig directly into that point. And the koan that is unpacked below points directly to the "I" consciousness (aka, manas or seventh consciousness) that Dogen was referring to.

The above mentioned series, includes the following:

How Can You Recuperate From An Illness Caused By Medicine?

Messing With Yasutani Roshi: The Verse for Yunmen's Two Illnesses

Messing with Yasutani Roshi Again: Real Happiness and Peace

Messing With Yasutani Roshi Again and Again: Don't Sit Down in the World of Awakening

Below you'll find the pre-koan to "Yunmen's Two Illnesses" and an attached pdf (because it seems to me that it'd be easier to work with it that way) with my commentary on the case where I give some context for this koan being a "difficult to pass through" (nanto) koan and highlight some of the key points for students to clarify.

Hakuin Zenji says about this about this kōan:“I want you noble ones penetrating Zen’s hidden depths to know that these words of instruction Qiánfēng addresses to his monks are very difficult— difficult in the extreme. You should never think otherwise…. Just concentrate yourselves steadily and single mindedly on gnawing your way into Qiánfēng’s words. Suddenly, unexpectedly, your teeth will sink in. Your body will pour with cold sweat. At that instant it will all become clear. You will see the infinite compassion contained in Qiánfēng’s instructions. You will grasp the timeless sublimity of Yúnmén’s response.”

Raising the main case

Qiánfēng presented to the assembly, saying: “The dharma body has three kinds of illnesses and two kinds of light. One-by-one, you must directly pass through them. Further, bear in mind that there is a single opening going beyond.”

Yúnmén came forward and said, “It’s like a person inside a thatched hut - why don’t they know the matter outside the thatched hut?”

Fēng chuckled and then belly laughed. Mén said, “Yet this student of Way is in a place of doubt.”

Fēng said, “Where is your mind going?”

Mén said, “I want the venerable to get it with me.”

Fēng said, “Truly one must be this way to begin sitting in peace.”

Mén said, “Yes! Yes!”