Fayan's pilgrimage and the cultivation of an open mind Barry Magid June 4th 2016

Pilgrimage is intersting. It's at once an open ended exploration, and at the other taken up with the goal of pursuing or attaining something. In the case of Fayan, he attains enlightenment, at a monastery he found himself at because of a snow storm, it wasn't even on his pilgrimage route. When asked why he's on pilgrimage, he responds, "I don't know." The master approves of this. Why? Not knowing itself is the state that pilgrimage cultivates. Not just open to new experience, but simply open. It's not that by being open you're going to get new exciting and deep experiences, but being open is the mind you're after. If you realize that, your pilgrimage is complete.

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Zen's Chinese Heritage

Fayan was born in 885, died in 958. At the age of Seven he entered a monastery. He was well educated and erudite as a young man studying the Confucian classics. He received ordination at the age of twenty and then proceeded to another town where he studied under a Vinaya master. Still later he studied Zen and went on pilgrimages.


Fayan and his friends on pilgrimage were sidetracked by a snow storm and forced to stay at Dizang monastery. The master there asked him, "Where are you going?"
And Fayan replied, "On an ongoing pilgrimage."
"Why do you go on pilgrimage?"
Fayan replied, "I don't know."
The master said, "Not knowing is most intimate."
And at these words, Fayan experienced enlightenment.


The snow was gone and the three monks bade farewell and started to depart. The master Dizang accompanied them to the gate and asked, "I've heard you say several times the three realms are only Mind, and the myriad dharmas are only consciousness." Dizang then pointed to a rock laying on the ground by the gate and said, "So, do you say that this rock is inside or outside of Mind?"
Fayan said, "Inside."
Dizang said, "How can a pilgrim carry such a rock on his mind while on pilgrimage?"
Dumbfounded, Fayan couldn't answer. He put his luggage down at Dizang's feet and asked him to clarify the truth. And each day for the next month Fayan spoke about the Way with Dizang and demonstrated his understanding. Dizang would always say, "The Buddhadharma isn't like that."
Finally Fayan said, "I've run out of words and ideas."
And Dizang said, "If you want to talk about Buddhadharma, everything embodies it."
And at these words, Fayan experienced enlightenment.

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