Bright and Clear
Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi
Featured in Mountain Record 24.4, Summer 2006
The Main Case
While sitting, Layman Pangyun asked his daughter Lingzhou, “A teacher of old said, ‘Bright and clear are the one hundred grasses,1 bright and clear is the meaning of the ancestral teaching.’2 How about yourself?”3 Lingzhou said, “How could someone who is mature and great say such a thing?”4 Pangyun said, “How would you say it?”5 Lingzhou said, “Bright and clear are the one hundred grasses, bright and clear is the meaning of the ancestral teaching.”6 Pangyun laughed.7
Samsara is nirvana, nirvana is samsara. There is fundamentally no difference between them. Mountains, rivers, the great earth, and one’s own self—where is the distinction to be found? This being the case, then why is everything divided into two sides? Where dragons and snakes are intermingled, even the sages cannot see into it. When going against and in accord with, vertically and horizontally, even the buddhas cannot speak of it.
The Capping Verse
Ten thousand things are the true dharma.
The ten directions are one reality.
Don't you know?
The dharmakaya is not like anything.
1. Exiting the gate, there is grass all over. Entering the gate, there is grass all over. There is no place where it does not reach.
2. Although it’s so, it’s a shame to have said it.
3. It would seem that he wants to drag her into the pit with him.
4. She will have none of that.
5. He won’t let her go.
6. They know how to switch heads without batting an eye.
7. This is a thief recognizing a thief. Since they are from the same household, they know well the contents of the cupboard.