60 Jurist 63 (2000)
Codes of Monastic Conduct in the Chinese and Japanese Zen Traditions

handle is hein.journals/juristcu60 and id is 65 raw text is: THE JURIST 60 (2000) 63-84

CODES OF MONASTIC CONDUCT IN THE CHINESE
AND JAPANESE ZEN TRADITIONS
CHARLES B. JONES*
Introduction
Let's begin with a story:
The Master [Lin-chi I-hsuan (d. 866)] was out working with the
other monks hoeing the fields when he saw Huang-po [his own mas-
ter] coming. Using his grub hoe for a staff, he stood leaning on it.
Huang-po said, This fellow's tired, eh?
The Master said, I haven't even lifted up my hoe; why should I
be tired?
Huang-po struck him a blow. The master grabbed hold of
Huang-po's stick and gave it a shove, knocking him over.
Huang-po called to the wei-no, Wei-no, help me up!
The wei-no came forward to help him. Reverend, he said,
why do you put up with such rudeness from this raving idiot?
As soon as Huang-po got to his feet, he struck the wei-no a blow.
The Master, hoeing the ground, said, Other places they cremate
them, but at our place we bury them all alive!'
Here, if you like, is a study in miniature of the image that most west-
erners have of Zen Buddhism: irreverent, paradoxical, difficult, but hav-
ing an air of freedom and even brashness. It depicts monks tilling the
earth for their livelihood in direct violation of traditional Indian Buddhist
monastic rules. The dialogue is informal, even crude vernacular. It is a
picture deriving from traditional Zen literature and mediated to western
* Department of Religion and Religious Education, School of Religious Studies, The
Catholic University of America.
1 Burton Watson, trans. The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi (Boston: Shambhala,
1993) 109-110. A wei-no is a Buddhist temple official in charge of keeping the monks in
order in the worship hall.

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