Tozan's Verses on the Five Ranks of Zen, with Hakuin-Zenji's Notes
Sho-chu-hen. The Apparent Within the Real:
In the third watch of the night
Before the moon appears,
No wonder when we meet
There is no recognition!
Still cherished in my heart
Is the beauty of earlier days.
[Hakuin notes:] The rank of "The Apparent within the Real" denotes the rank of the Absolute, the rank in which one experiences the Great Death, shouts "KA!" sees Tao, and enters into the Principle. When the true practitioner, filled with power from his secret study, meritorious achievements, and hidden practices, suddenly bursts through into this rank, " the empty sky vanishes and the iron mountain crumbles." "Above, there is not a tile to cover his head; below, there is not an inch of ground for him to stand on." The delusive passions are non-existent, enlightenment is non-existent, Samsara is non-existent, Nirvana is non-existent. This is the state of total empty solidity, without sound and without odor, like a bottomless clear pool. It is as if every fleck of cloud had been wiped from the vast sky.
Too often the disciple, considering that his attainment of this rank is the end of the Great Matter and his discernment of the Buddha-way complete, clings to it to the death and will not let go of it. Such as this is called it "stagnant water Zen"; such a man is called "an evil spirit who keeps watch over the corpse in the coffin." Even though he remains absorbed in this state for thirty or forty years, he will never get out of the cave of the self-complacency and inferior fruits of pratyeka-buddhahood. Therefore it is said: "He whose activity does not leave this rank sinks into the poisonous sea." He is the man whom Buddha called " the fool who gets his realization in the rank of the Real."
Therefore, though as long as he remains in this hiding place of quietude, passivity and vacantness, inside and outside are transparent and his understanding perfectly clear, the moment the bright insight [he has thus far gained through his practice] comes into contact with differentiation's defiling conditions of turmoil and confusion, agitation and vexation, love and hate, he will find himself utterly helpless before them, and all the miseries of existence will press in upon him. It was in order to save him from this serious illness that the rank of " The Real within the Apparent " was established as an expedient.
Hen-chu-sho. The Real within the Apparent:
A sleepy-eyed grandam
Encounters herself in an old mirror.
Clearly she sees a face,
But it doesn't resemble her at all.
Too bad, with a muddled head,
She tries to recognize her reflection!
[Hakuin notes:] If the disciple had remained in the rank of "The Apparent within the Real," his judgment would always have been vacillating and his view prejudiced. Therefore, the bodhisattva of superior capacity invariably leads his daily life in the realm of the [six] dusts, the realm of all kinds of ever-changing differentiation. All the myriad phenomena before his eyes -- the old and the young, the honorable and the base, halls and pavilions, verandahs and corridors, plants and trees, mountains and rivers -- he regards as his own original, true, and pure aspect. It is just like looking into a bright mirror and seeing his own face in it. If he continues for a long time to observe everything everywhere with this radiant insight, all appearances of themselves become the jeweled mirror of his own house, and he becomes the jeweled mirror of their houses as well. Eihei has said: "The experiencing of the manifold dharmas through using oneself is delusion; the experiencing of oneself through the coming of the manifold dharmas is satori." This is just what I have been saying. This is the state of "mind and body discarded, discarded mind and body." It is like two mirrors mutually reflecting one another without even the shadow of an image between. Mind and the objects of mind are one and the same; things and oneself are not two. "A white horse enters the reed flowers; snow is piled up in a silver bowl."
This is what is known as the jeweled-mirror Samadhi. This is what the Nirvana Sutra is speaking about when it says: " The Tathagata sees the Buddha-nature with his own eyes." When you have entered this samadhi, " though you push the great white ox, he does not go away"; the Universal Nature Wisdom manifests itself before your very eyes. This is what is meant by the expressions, "There exists only one Vehicle," "the Middle Path," " the True Form," " the Supreme Truth."
But, if the student, having reached this state, were to be satisfied with it, then, as before, he would be living in the deep pit of " fixation in a lesser rank of bodhisattvahood." Why is this so? Because he is neither conversant with the deportment of the bodhisattva, nor does he understand the causal conditions for a Buddha-land. Although he has a clear understanding of the Universal and True Wisdom, he cannot cause to shine forth the Marvelous Wisdom that comprehends the unobstructed interpenetration of the manifold dharmas. The patriarchs, in order to save him from this calamity, have provided the rank of "The Coming from within the Real."
Sho-chu-rai. Coming from within the Real:
Within nothingness there is a path
Leading away from the dusts of the world.
Even if you observe the taboo
On the present emperor's name,
You will surpass that eloquent one of yore
Who silenced every tongue.
[Hakuin notes:] In this rank, the Mahayana bodhisattva does not remain in the state of attainment that he has realized, but from the midst of the sea of effortlessness he lets his great uncaused compassion shine forth. Standing upon the four pure and great Universal Vows, he lashes forward the Dharma-wheel of "seeking Bodhi above and saving sentient beings below." This is the so-called "coming-from within the going-to, the going-to within the coming-from." Moreover, he must know the moment of [the meeting of] the paired opposites, brightness and darkness. Therefore the rank of " The Arrival at Mutual Integration " has been set up.
Ken-chu-shi. The Arrival at Mutual Integration:
When two blades cross points,
There's no need to withdraw.
The master swordsman
Is like the lotus blooming in the fire.
Such a man has in and of himself
A heaven-soaring spirit.
[Hakuin notes:] In this rank, the bodhisattva of indomitable spirit turns the Dharma-wheel of the non-duality of brightness and darkness. He stands in the midst of the filth of the world, "his head covered with dust and his face streaked with dirt." He moves through the confusion of sound and sensual pleasure, buffeted this way and buffeted that. He is like the fire-blooming lotus, that, on encountering the flames, becomes still brighter in color and purer in fragrance. " He enters the market place with empty hands," yet others receive benefit from him. This is what is called to be on the road, yet not to have left the house; to have left the house, yet not to be on the road." Is he an ordinary man? Is he a sage? The evil ones and the heretics cannot discern him. Even the buddhas and the patriarchs cannot lay their hands upon him. Were anyone to try to indicate his mind, [it would be no more there than] the horns of a rabbit or the hairs of a tortoise that have gone beyond the farthest mountain.
Still, he must not consider this state to be his final resting-place. Therefore it is said, "Such a man has in and of himself a heaven-soaring spirit." What must he do in the end? He must know that there is one more rank, the rank of " Unity Attained."
Ken-chu-to. Unity Attained:
Who dares to equal him
Who falls into neither being nor non-being!
All men want to leave
The current of ordinary life,
But he, after all, comes back
To sit among the coals and ashes.
Master Tozan's verse-comment on the foregoing verse says:
How many times has Tokuun, the idle old gimlet,
Not come down from the Marvelous Peak!
He hires foolish wise men to bring snow,
And he and they together fill up the well.
[Hakuin notes:] The student who wishes to pass through Tozan's rank of " Unity Attained " should first study this final verse. It is of the utmost importance to study and pass through the Five Ranks, to attain penetrating insight into them, and to be totally without fixation or hesitation. But, though your own personal study of the Five Ranks comes to an end, the Buddha-way stretches endlessly and there are no tarrying places on it. The Gates of Dharma are manifold!