Monastic Zen Life

120 questions a Chinese collection of rules for monastic zen life from the 12th century:

Monastic Zen Question 1 – 20

  • Do you respect Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, or not?
  • Do you look for your master, or not?
  • Have you aroused bodhi-mind, or not?
  • Do you surrender in faith to the Buddha, or not?
  • Have you extinguished your old emotions finally, or not?
  • Are you anchored firmly, without moving, or not?
  • Are you as deep as a canyon, or not?
  • Are you clear about the precepts, or not?
  • Have your body and mind found rest, or not?
  • Do you always love to practice meditation, or not?
  • Are you as clear and pure as the sky, or not?
  • Does your motivation last for ten thousand years, or not?
  • Are you immovable by circumstances, or not?
  • Do you manifest the truth, or not?
  • Are you beyond the description of words, or not?
  • Has your restless mind finally found peace, or not?
  • Do you see your mind, when you watch things around you, or not?
  • Do you realize your own nature, when you hear sounds around you, or not?
  • Do you sit like Bodhidharma, just like a wall, or not?
  • Do you hide your body, just like a dragon hides his claws, or not?

Monastic Zen Question 21 – 40

  • Do you have thousand hands and eyes, or not?
  • Do you see an old buddha in the naked pillar, or not?
  • Is it easy for you to reach the way, or not?
  • Do you sacrifice yourself in practice just like soil piles up in a mountain, or not?
  • Do you meet Bodhidharma when you go astray, or not?
  • Are you completely in your practice, without being disturbed by your neighbours, or not?
  • Do you let rain fall in the north, when clouds pile up in the south, or not?
  • Do you fight like a lion, or not?
  • Does compassion open up like a flower, or not?
  • Do you waste your body, protecting the dharma, or not?
  • Do you use the old teaching to reflect on your mind, or not?
  • Do you use the three views to open the eyes of the gods, or not?
  • Is the state of meditative consciousness (samadhi) like play for you, or not?
  • Do you manifest the universal dharma gate, or not?
  • Have you penetrated the six aspects of phenomena, or not?
  • Have you found out about the ten mysteries, or not?
  • Do you realize how everything is connected as one net of causes and effects, or not?
  • Are you one with the ocean of the virtue of ten Buddha bodies, or not?
  • Do you first trust in the ability to seek wisdom (Manjusri) , or not?
  • Do you then follow compassion (Samantamukha the elevenheaded and thousandarmed Boddhisatva), or not?

Monastic Zen Question 41 – 60

  • Is even the smallest of your actions guided by subtle samadhi, or not?
  • Do you check your words well, or not?
  • Is that what you say, in accord with that what is in your mind, or not?
  • Do you refrain from praising yourself and criticizing the others, or not?
  • Do you step back to give way to the others, or not?
  • Do you realize the virtues of the others, or not?
  • Do you keep silent about the other’s faults, or not?
  • Aren’t you afraid of difficult questions, or not?
  • Do you refrain from talk and laughter, or not?
  • Do you enjoy silence, or not?
  • Don’t you fool the foolish, or do you?
  • Do you rest in the community like a mountain, or not?
  • Do you practice modesty, or not?
  • Do you harmonize with the others, without fighting, or not?
  • Do you find the middle way, when a decision has to be made, or not?
  • Are you happy about well spoken words, or not?
  • Aren’t you angry about true words, or are you?
  • Do you gladly accept your suffering, or not?
  • Can you listen to the bad words of the others, or not?
  • Does your mind always radiate joy, or not?

Monastic Zen Question 61 – 120

  • Don’t you interfere into the affairs of the others, or do you?
  • Does your practice never slack down, or does it?
  • Don’t you help yourself to what belongs to all, or do you?
  • Don’t you use things to serve your own purposes, or do you?
  • Do you keep no savings, or do you?
  • Don’t you collect treasures, or do you
  • Don’t you run after people because of their money, or do you?
  • Do you realize that you will have clothes to wear, even without weaving, or not?
  • Do you realize that you will have enough to eat, even without plowing, or not?
  • Do you realize that you will have peace when you stop fighting, or not?
  • Do you really understand that you are getting enough, or not?
  • Do you eat and drink moderately, or not?
  • Do you never get tired of sacrificing yourself, or do you?
  • Don’t you expect others to sacrifice themselves for you, or do you?
  • Don’t you have any extra robes and bowls, or do you?
  • Do you teach the dharma without expecting any gain, or not?
  • Don’t you want to be respected and loved by the others, or do you?
  • Don’t you wish to have many students, or do you?
  • Don’t you wish to be famous, or do you?
  • Do you keep from socializing with the powerful, or not?
  • Don’t you show off, or do you?
  • Don’t you interfere into politics, or do you?
  • Do you respect the authorities of state, or not?
  • Don’t you tell the fortune, or do you?
  • Don’t you have relations with women, or do you?
  • Don’t you envy those who are better and cleverer than you, or do you?
  • Aren’t you jealous when you see the success of the others, or are you?
  • Don’t you take poverty lightly, or do you?
  • Do you respect the opinion of the others, or not?
  • Don’t you hurt the other’s feelings, or do you?
  • Does your practice mean the salvation of all sentient beings, or not?
  • Do you always think of protecting all living beings, or not?
  • Do you respect the old and love the young, or not?
  • Do you care for the sick, or not?
  • Are you with those who are imprisoned, or not?
  • Do you give food to the hungry and clothes to those who are cold, or not?
  • Do you suffer about the war far away, or not?
  • Don’t you discriminate between the good and the bad, or do you?
  • Do you appreciate what the government does for you, or not?
  • Do you repay the love and care with which your father and mother brought you up, or not?
  • Are you grateful for the education that your teachers gave you, or not?
  • Do you appreciate the donations of the parish, or not?
  • Do you realize how much you owe to the help of your friends, or not?
  • Are you aware how many people are constantly working for you, or not?
  • Are you grateful for the divine help that guards you, or not?
  • Do you realize how much you owe to the protection through police and military, or not?
  • Do you share the misery of those in heaven, or not?
  • Do you suffer the eight sufferings of human beings, or not?
  • Are you hurt in the fight of Asura demons, or not?
  • Do you starve with the hungry ghosts, or not?
  • Do you pity the ignorance of the animals, or not?
  • Do you feel the pain of hell, or not?
  • Do you transcend love and hate equanimously, or not?
  • Do you respect all things, just as if they were buddha, or not?
  • Do you love all things, just as if they were your own father and mother, or not?
  • Does your life consist of nothing but the wish to save suffering beings, or does it?
  • Do you reflect on your practice during the 24 hours of the day, or not?
  • Have you clarified the one great matter of life, or not?
  • Have you found great liberation, or not?
  • Have you realized great nirvana, or not?

 

 

Alsmround is the traditional way for the monastic zen of giving the lay people chance to give.

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