e-book A Tiger in the Sand: Selected Writings on Nature

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A student textbook so well written that anyone would benefit from reading it who wanted to know how the natural world fits together and operates in the relentless truth of evolution. The influence of natural selection on behaviour makes for some of the greatest stories imaginable: the struggle of animals to survive, their cooperation and conflict. Non-human nature reads the world in a different way. Meanwhile poets have done as much as scientists to give a kind of voice to non-human life.

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Richard Long , The outside world brought indoors between the covers of a book as only the artist Richard Long can. His records of his walks — lines scratched by his boots into the earth, stone circles raised on mountain sides, text accounts of birds heard and pebbles carried — show him to be a great modernist in dialogue with the timeless raw material of nature. Moby Dick Herman Melville , Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Science and nature books The 10 best To the incomprehensible working which brings this about we give the names Kannon, Seishi, and so on.

The uneasy mind you have while you are in a state of illusion is called the defiled land. When you awaken and your mind is clear and free of defilement, that is called the Pure Land. Hence the Kechimyaku-ron says that "the Nembutsu practiced by Buddhist saints in the past was not directed toward an external Buddha; their Nembutsu practice was oriented solely toward the internal Buddha in their own minds. If you want to discover Buddha, first you must see into your own true nature.

Unless you have seen into your own nature, what good can come from doing Nembutsu or reciting sutras? By seeking outside yourself for a Buddha invested with form, you are proclaiming yourself a foolish man. It is like a person who wants to catch a fish. He must start by looking in the water, because fish live in the water and are not found apart from it. If a person wants to find Buddha he must look into his own mind, because it is there and nowhere else that Buddha exists. Question: "In that case, what can I do to become thoroughly awakened to my own mind? Answer: What is that which asks such a question?

Is it your mind? Is it your original nature? Is it some kind of spirit or demon? Is it inside you? Outside you? Is it somewhere intermediate? Is it blue, yellow, red, or white? This is something you must investigate and clarify for yourself. You must investigate it whether you are standing or sitting, when you are eating your rice or drinking your tea, when you are speaking and when you are silent.

You must keep at it with total, singleminded devotion. And never, whatever you do, look in sutras or in commentaries for an answer, or seek it in the words you hear a teacher speak. When all the effort you can muster has been exhausted, when you have reached a total impasse, and you have become like the cat at the rathole, like the mother hen warming her egg, it will suddenly come to you and you will break free. The phoenix will be through the golden net, the crane will fly clear of the cage. But even if no breakthrough occurs until your dying day and you spend twenty or thirty years in vain without ever seeing into your true nature, I want your solemn pledge that you will never turn for spiritual support to those tales that you hear the down-and-out old men and washed-out old women peddling everywhere today.

If you do, they will stick to your hide, they will cling to your bones, you will never be free of them. And as for your chances with the patriarchs' difficult-to-pass koans, the less said about them the better, because they will then be totally beyond your grasp. Hence a priest of former times said, "A person who commits himself to the practice of Zen must be equipped with three essentials.

A great root of faith. A great ball of doubt. A great tenacity of purpose. Lacking any one of them, he is like a tripod with only two legs. By "great root of faith" is meant the belief that each and every person has an essential self-nature which he can see into; and the belief in a principle by which this self-nature can be fully penetrated. Even though you attain this belief, you cannot break through and penetrate to total awakening unless fundamental doubts arise as you tackle the difficult-to-pass koans. And even if these doubts crystallize so that you yourself become a great ball of doubt, you will still be unable to break it apart unless you constantly engage those koans with great burning tenacity of purpose.

Thus it has been said that it takes three long kalpas for lazy and inattentive sentient beings to attain nirvana, while for the fearless and stout-hearted, Buddhahood comes in a single instant of thought. What you must do is to concentrate all your effort on bringing your fundamental potential into full play.

The practice of Zen is like making a fire by friction. The essential thing as you rub wood against stone is to apply continuous, all-out effort. If you stop when you see the first trace of smoke, you will never get even a flicker of fire, even though you might rub away for three long kalpas.


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Only a few hundred yards from here is a beach. Suppose that someone is bothered because he has never experienced the taste of sea water and decides to sample it for himself. He sets out for the beach but before he has gone a hundred paces he stops and comes back; then he starts out again but this time he returns after he has taken only ten steps.

He will never know the taste of sea water that way, will he? But if he keeps going straight ahead without turning back, it doesn't even matter if he lives far inland in a landlocked province such as Shinano, Kai, Hida, or Mino, he will still eventually reach the sea. Then, by dipping his finger in the water and tasting it, he will know in an instant what sea water tastes like the world over, because it is of course the same everywhere, in India, China, the great southern sea or the great northern sea.

Those Dharma patricians who explore the secret depths are like this too. They go straight forward, boring into their own minds with unbroken effort, never letting up or retreating. Then the breakthrough suddenly comes, and with that they penetrate their own nature, the natures of others, the nature of sentient beings, the nature of the evil passions and of enlightenment, the nature of the Buddha nature, the god nature, the Bodhisattva nature, the sentient being nature, the non-sentient being nature, the craving ghost nature, the contentious spirit nature, the beast nature - they are all of them seen in a single instant of thought.

The great matter of their religious quest is thus completely and utterly resolved. There is nothing left. They are free of birth and death. What a thrilling moment it is! WITH GREATEST respect and reverence, I encourage all you superior seekers in the secret depths to devote yourselves to penetrating and clarifying the self as earnestly as you would put out a fire on the top of your head. I urge you to keep boring your way through as assiduously as you would seek a lost article of incalculable worth.

I enjoin you to regard the teachings left by the Buddha-patriarchs with the same spirit of hostility you would show toward a person who had murdered both your parents. Anyone who belongs to the school of Zen and does not engage in the doubting and introspection of koan must be considered a deadbeat rascal of the lowest kind, someone who would throw aside his greatest asset. As a teacher of the past said, "At the bottom of great doubt lies great enlightenment From a full measure of doubt comes a full measure of enlightenment. Don't think the commitments and pressing duties of secular life leave you no time to go about forming a ball of doubt.

Don't think your mind is so crowded with confused thoughts you are incapable of devoting yourself singlemindedly to Zen practice. Suppose a man was in a busy market place, pushing his way through the dense crowd, and some gold coins dropped out of his pocket into the dirt. Do you think he would just leave them there forget about them and continue on his way because of where he was?

Do you think someone would leave the gold pieces behind because he was in a crowded place or because the coins were lying in the dirt? Of course not. He would be down there frantically pushing and shoving with tears in his eyes trying to find them. His mind wouldn't rest until he had recovered them. Yet what are a few pieces of gold when set against that priceless jewel found in the headdresses of kings -- the way of inconceivable being that exists within your own mind?

Could a jewel of such worth be attained easily, without effort? There once was a denizen of the Eastern Sea, Redfin Carp by name. He was endowed with an indomitable spirit and unbending integrity, a figure of immense stature among his fellow fish. He was constantly bemoaning the fate of his comrades. They entrust themselves to its boundless silver waves, glide up and down among the swells, sport in the seaweed and kelp.

Yet countless of them are taken by baited hooks and caught in nets. They wind up on a chopping block where they are sliced and cooked to fill the bellies of those in the human world. Their bones are cast away and mingle in the dust and mire. Their heads are thrown to the stray dogs. Some are dried or salted for inland markets, to be exposed in stalls and shopfronts for all to see. Not a single one finishes out his natural span. How sad is the life of a fish! With these sad musings there came a great welling of spirit in Redfin Carp's breast. He pledged a solemn vow.

I shall brave the perilous bolts of fire and lightning. I shall transcend the estate of ordinary fish and achieve a place among the sacred order of dragons, ridding myself forever of the terrible suffering to which my race is heir, expunging every trace of our shame and humiliation. Waiting until the third day of the third month, when the peach blossoms are in flower and the river is full, he made his way to the entrance of the Yu Barrier. Then with a flick of his tail, Redfin Carp swam forth.

You men have never laid eyes on the awesome torrent of water that rolls through the Dragon Gates. It falls all the way from the summits of the far-off Kunlun Range with tremendous force. There are wild, thousand-foot waves that rush down through perpendicular gorges towering on either side, carrying away whole hillsides as they go. Angry thunderbolts beat down on all sides with a deafening roar.

Moaning whirlwinds whip up poisonous mists. Funnels of noisome vapor spit flashing forks of lightning. Even the mountain spirits are stunned into senselessness; the river spirits are limp with fright. Just a drop of this water will shatter the carapace of a giant tortoise break the bones of a giant whale.

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It was into this maelstrom that Redfin Carp, his splendid golden-red scales girded to the full, his steely teeth thrumming like drums, made a direct all-out assault. Golden Carp! You might have chosen an ordinary life out in the boundless ocean. It teems with lesser fish. You would not have gone hungry. Then why? What made you embark on this wild and bitter struggle? What was waiting for you up beyond the Barrier? After being seared by cliff-shattering bolts of lightning, after being battered by heaven-scorching blasts of thunderfire, his scaly armor burned from head to tail, his fins singed through, Redfin Carp suddenly died the Great Death, and rose again as a divine dragon -- a supreme lord of the waters.

Now, with the thunder god at his head and the fire god at his rear, flanked right and left by the gods of rain and wind, he moved at will with the clouds clutched in one hand and the mists in the other, bringing new life to the tender shoots withering in long-parched desert lands, keeping the true Dharma safe amid the defilements of the degenerate world. Had he been content to pass his life like a lame turtle or blind tortoise, feeding on winkles and tiny shrimps, not even all the effort Vasuki, Manasvi and the other Dragon Kings might muster on his behalf could have done him any good.

He could never have achieved the great success that he did. What do I mean by "blind tortoise"? One of the current crop of sightless, irresponsible bungler-priests who regard koan as nonessential and the Zen interview sanzen as expedient means on the part of the master.

While even such men are not totally devoid of understanding, they are clearly standing outside the gates, whence they peer fecklessly in, mouthing words like,. It is a sheer and profound stillness, a transparent mass of boundless emptiness. It is here that is found the great treasure inherent in all people. How could anything be lacking? Ah, how plausible it sounds! All too plausible. Unfortunately, the words they speak do not possess even a shred of strength in practical application.

These people are like snails. The moment anything approaches, they draw in their horns and come to a standstill. They are like lame turtles, pulling in their legs, heads, and tails at the slightest contact and hiding inside their shells. How can any spiritual energy emerge from such an attitude? If they happen to receive a sally from an authentic monk, they react like Master Yang's pet crane, who couldn't even move his neck. There's no difference between them and those fish who lie helpless on the chopping block, dying ten thousand deaths in their one life, their fate - whether they are to be sliced and served up raw or carved into fillets and roasted over hot coals - entirely in the hands of others.

And throughout their ordeal they haven't the strength even to cry out. Can people of this kind be true descendents of the great Bodhidharma? They assure you that there is "nothing lacking. Are their minds free of care? Genuine monks who negotiated the Way in the past flung themselves and everything they had into their masters' white-hot forges without a thought for their own lives or well-being.

Once their minds were turned to the Way, they too, like Redfin Carp, gathered all their strength and courage and strove until they broke beyond the Dragon Gates. Thereafter, in whatever situation, under whatever circumstance, they functioned with total self-dependence and perfect, unattached freedom. What intense joy and gratification they must have felt. It is these people you must emulate, not the crane. Not those turtles and snails. What is a "sacred dragon"?

Those authentic patriarchs of the past with a strong and vigorous spirit who committed themselves singlemindedly to the practice of Zen. Ah, you are human beings, aren't you? If you let yourselves be outdone by a fish, you may as well be dead! You often run up against obstructive demons of yet another type, ones who teach their followers:. Birth and death exists, nirvana exists, heaven and hell exist, because the mind gives rise to them. None of them ever arises unless the mind causes them to.

There is thus one and only one thing for you to do: make your minds completely empty. Falling right into step, the students set out to empty their minds. The trouble is, though they try everything they know, emptying this way, emptying that way, working away at it for months, even years, they find it is like trying to sweep mist away by flailing at it with a pole, or trying to halt a river by blocking it with outstretched arms -- they only cause greater confusion.

Suppose a wealthy man mistakenly hired a master thief of the greatest skill and cunning to guard his house and, after seeing his granaries, treasures, and the rest of his fortune dwindle by the day, had several suspicious servants seized, and ordered the thief to interrogate them around the clock until they confessed. The family would be worried sick, the household on the brink of bankruptcy, yet the fortune would go on shrinking as before. All because of the man's original mistake in employing and placing his trust in a thief.

What you must learn from this is that all attempts to empty the mind are in themselves a sure sign that birth-and-death is in progress. In the Shurangama Sutra the Buddha says, "You have continued to undergo transmigration in the cycle of birth and death from the beginningless past right on up to your present existence because you have acknowledged a thief as your son and heir and thus have remained unaware of the fundamental and changeless truth of your own true nature. This passage is explained in a commentary on the Shurangama Sutra :.

Instead, you have brought on your own downfall, reduced yourself to endless kalpas of wretchedness and poverty, all because you have been separated from the Dharma treasure. If you really want to empty your mind of birth and death, what you should do is to tackle one of the totally impregnable, hard-to-pass koan. When you suddenly merge with the basic root of life and everything ceases to exist, you will know for the first time the profound meaning contained in Yoka Daishi's words "do not brush illusions away, do not seek the truth of enlightenment. The Zen master Daie said: "At the present time, the evil one's influence is strong and the Dharma is weak.

The great majority of people regard 'reverting to tranquillity and living within it' as the ultimate attainment. He also said: "A race of sham Zennists has appeared in recent years who regard sitting with dropped eyelids and closed mouths letting illusory thoughts spin through their minds to be the attainment of a marvelous state that surpasses human understanding. They consider it to be the realm of primal Buddhahood 'existing prior to the timeless beginning. They believe this to be the most fundamental state it is possible to attain.

Satori is a mere side issue -- 'a twig or branch. These people who ally themselves with the devil are present in great numbers today as well. To them I say, "Never mind for now about what you consider 'non-essentials. What is it like? Is it a solid piece of emptiness that you fix firmly in the ground like a post to fasten mules and horses to?

Maybe it is a deep hole of sheer black silence? It is appalling, whatever it is. It is also a good example of what is called falling into fixed views. It deceives a great many of the foolish and ignorant of the world. It's an ancient dwelling place of evil spirits, an old badger's den, a pitfall that traps people and buries them alive.

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Although you kept treasuring and defending it till the end of time, it would still be just a fragment from an old coin. It also goes by the name of "dark cave of the eighth Alaya consciousness. It was all for the sole purpose of getting themselves free of just such old nests as these. Once a person is able to achieve true singlemindedness in his practice and smash apart the old nest of Alaya consciousness into which he has settled, the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom immediately appears, the other three great Wisdoms start to function, and the all-discerning Fivefold Eye opens wide.

If, on the other hand, he allows himself to be seduced by these latter-day devils into hunkering down inside an old nest and making himself at home there, turning it into a private treasure chamber and spending all his time dusting it, polishing it, sweeping and brushing it clean, what can he hope to achieve? Absolutely nothing. Basically, it is a piece of the eighth consciousness, the same eighth consciousness which enters the womb of a donkey and enters the belly of a horse. So I urgently exhort you to do everything you can, strive with all your strength, to strike down into that dark cave and destroy it.

On that day long ago when the World-Honored One attained his great awakening and clothed himself in the precious celestial robe to expound the true heart of the extensive Flower Garland, he preached for three whole weeks to an audience which listened, without comprehending, as though they were deaf and dumb. Therefore, in order to make salvation accessible to people of mediocre and inferior capacities, he erected a temporary resting place for them to use on the way to ultimate attainment, calling this provisional abode a "phantom dwelling.

They even likened those who attach to it, the adherents of the Two Vehicles those content just to listen to the Buddha's teaching and those satisfied to enjoy their own private realization to "supperating old polecats. Gradually, foster children spawned by adherents of the Two Vehicles multiplied and slowly and imperceptibly spread throughout India and the Western Regions. In time, even China filled with them. There venerable masters like Sekiso, Shinjo, Bukka, and Myoki set their jaws, clenched their teeth and strove valiantly to root them out, but even for them it was like trying to drive off a big wily rat by clapping your hands.

He disappears over here, but he reappears over there, always lurking somewhere, furtively disparaging the true, untransmittable style of the patriarchal teachers. How lamentable! In Japan, during the Jokyu , Katei l , Karyaku , and Kembu eras, twenty-four wise Zen sages entrusted their lives to the perilous whale-backed eastern seas, cast themselves bodily into the tiger's den, in order to transmit the difficult-to-believe methods of our authentic traditions.

They fervently desired to fix the sun of wisdom permanently in the highest branches of the Divine Mulberry; to hang a previous Dharma lamp that would illuminate forever the dark hamlets of the Dragonfly Provinces. How could any of them have foreseen that their transmission would be slandered and maligned by these quietistic psuedo-Zennists and that in less than three hundred years the Zen they had transmitted would be lying in the dust?

Would have no more life in it than last night's ashes? Nothing could be more deplorable than to be witness to the wasting away of the true Dharma in a degenerate age like this. I am like this too. Preserve it carefully. It's up to them if they want to preserve it. The trouble is they are still as far from the patriarchal groves as earth is from heaven. What are to all appearances acts of kindness on the part of a teacher helping a student are, in fact, doings which will bring about his doom.

For his part, the student nods with satisfaction and, without an inkling of the mortal injury he has incurred, prances and frisks about wagging his tail, sure in the knowledge: "Now I have grasped the secret of Bodhidharma's coming from the West. How are such students to know they haven't made it past any of the patriarchs' Barriers? That the thorny forests of Zen are much much deeper than they can even conceive? What a terrible shame for people of marvelous gifts, unexcelled capacity, who have it in them to become great beams and pillars of the house of Zen, to succumb to these corrupting winds and to spend the rest of their lives in a half-waking, half-drunk state, no different from the dull and witless type of people who never get around to doubting their way through anything!

Is it any wonder that the groves of Zen are so barren of real men? Anyone who attaches to half-truths of this kind believing them to be essential and ultimate will probably not even know that he has fallen into the unfortunate category of "scorched buds and shrivelled seeds. Long ago, when Zen master Nangaku sat in front of Baso's hermitage and began polishing a tile, he did so because of his desire to make Baso grasp his true meaning.

When teachers of the past left phrases behind them, difficult-to-penetrate koan that would strip students' minds of their chronic inclination to attach to things, they did it because they wanted to kick over that comfortable old nesting place in the Alaya consciousness. Hence a master of the past said, "I made the mistake of burrowing into an old jackal hole for over thirty years myself, it's no mystery to me why so many students do the same.

There's no doubt about it, the practice of Zen is a formidable undertaking. In his later years, Zen master Hoen enjoyed strolling the south corridor of his temple on Mount Goso. One day he saw a visiting monk pass by reading a book. He took it from him and, glancing through it, came to a passage which caught his attention:.

Assuming this to be the ultimate Zen has to offer them, they remain unaware that what they consider an unsurpassed realm is, in fact, obstructing them so that true knowing and seeing cannot appear and the radiant light of extraordinary spiritual power jinzu cannot shine free. Hoen closed the book and raised his arms in a gesture of self- reproach. How well he expresses the essentials of the Dharma! He hurried to the quarters of his student Engo, who was serving as head monk, calling out to him, "It's extraordinary!

I've come upon something really and truly extraordinary! Then Dharma father and Dharma son congratulated each other on their good fortune, and acclaimed the author with endless refrains of ecstatic praise.

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When Daie Soko went to study under Zen master Engo for the first time, he had already decided on a course of action. Daie, did you really think Engo wouldn't be able to see through the fundamental matter you secretly treasured? If you had persisted in clinging to it like that, revering it and cherishing it for the rest of your life, the great "Reviler of Heaven" would never have emerged.

Fortunately, however, a poisonous breeze blowing from the south snuffed Daie's life out at its roots, cutting away past and future. When it happened, his teacher Engo said, "What you've accomplished is not easy. But you've merely finished killing yourself.

You're incapable now of coming back to life and raising doubts about the words and phrases of the ancients. You have a serious ailment. You know the saying, 'Release your hold on the edge of the precipice. Die, and then be reborn'? You must believe that there's truth in those words. Later, upon hearing Engo say, "What happens when the tree falls and the wistaria withers? The same thing happens. When Engo tested him with several koans, he passed them easily.

Daie rose to become abbot of the Kinzan monastery, the most important in the land with a thousand resident monks. As he supervised his sterling collection of dragons and elephants he was like a hungry eagle gazing over a covey of rabbits. We should feel honored to have a man of such profound attainment among the teachers of our school. Yet, as we have seen, there are some who consider such attainment unimportant -- "nonessential. Engo said, "After the ancients had once achieved awakening, they went off and lived in thatched huts or caves, boiling wild vegetable roots in broken-legged pots to sustain themselves.

They weren't interested in making names for themselves or in rising to positions of power. Being perfectly free from all ties whatever, they left turning words for their descendents because they wanted to repay their profound debt to the Buddha patriarchs. Nansen told him he had something to do up the mountain and asked him to carry some food to him when the meal-time came.

When the monk didn't appear, Nansen returned and found the cooking vessels smashed and the monk asleep; thereupon he stretched out and took a nap himself. When he awoke, the monk was gone. In later years, Nansen said, "Back when I was living by myself in a small hut I had a visit from a splendid monk. I've never seen him since. According to Tokiwa, Mannan's verse comment may allude to an encounter he had with a laywoman who was studying with Daie while Mannan was head monk at Daie's temple. Daie allowed the woman to stay in the abbot's quarters, despite Mannan's objections, on the grounds that she was "no ordinary woman.

He indicated the latter, but when he entered her room he found her lying on her back, completely naked. Mannan was unable to reply. Most people arrange their altars with lamps and incense holders; they set out offerings of tea, flowers and sweets; they prostrate themselves over and over, perform various other practices around the clock; they even inflict burns on their fingers, arms, and bodies. But none of that repays even a tenth of the debt they owe the Buddhas. How, then, is it possible for a single couplet from an old poem that cuts away entanglements and complications to immediately repay that debt -- and repay it in full?

This question is by no means an idle or trivial one. Daie was the Dragon Gate of his age, a towering shade tree who provided shelter to over students. Do you suppose a man of his stature would utter such words frivolously? In the past, Haryo had his Three Turning Words.

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I just want each of you to take these three turning words and work on them. What is the Way? A clear-eyed man falls into a well. What is the Blown Hair Sword? Each branch on the coral holds up the moon. A monk asked Haryo, "What is the school of Devadatta? Now do you really think that a Zen patriarch like Ummon would be espousing "non-essentials" just because he preferred them over offerings of flowers, sweets and rare foods? If any of you are operating under such an assumption, you'd better give up Zen. Devote your life to scholarship and become a great exegete.

The gate or teaching of satori was established as a way of making this fact known to people. Don't you know the ancient's words, 'If the source is not deep, the stream is not long; if the wisdom is not real, the discernment is not far-reaching'? If the Buddha Dharma was a teaching that had been created or fabricated as you say, how could it possibly have survived to the present day? Chosha Keijin sent a monk to the priest Tojin Nyoe, who belonged to the same lineage as his teacher Nansen. The monk asked him "What was it like after you saw Nansen?

The monk returned to Chosha and reported Nyoe's response. Chosha set forth his own understanding in a verse:. He must advance one more step beyond the tip And reveal his whole body in the ten directions. When Nansen was about to die, the head monk asked him where he would be a hundred years hence. Chosha was still silent.

Shu returned to Sansho and told him about his meeting with Chosha. Now both Rinzai and Chosha are beyond question genuine dragons of the Buddha ocean. They are the celestial phoenix and auspicious unicorn that frequent the gardens of the patriarchs. There is no one comparable to them. Having far transcended all forms and appearances, they move slowly or move quickly in response to changing conditions like huge masses of blazing fire, like iron stakes burning at white heat.

Neither gods nor demons can perceive their traces; neither devils nor non-Buddhists can discern their activity. Who could conceive their limits? Who could ascertain their differences? Yet when Sansho, who was himself a direct Dharma heir of Rinzai, heard what Chosha had said, he praised him as being superior to his own teacher!

A Tiger in the Sand: Selected Writings on Nature by Mark Cocker

Can words be so awesomely difficult? You must understand, however, that within what is to you a mass of entangling verbal complications is contained a small but wonderful element which is able to work miracles. When Zen master Sekiso passed away and the brotherhood asked the head monk to succeed him as abbot, Zen master Kyuho, who had previously served as the master's attendant, came and addressed them. He posed a question to the head monk, "The master often told us to 'cease all activity,' to 'do nothing whatever,' to 'become so cold and lifeless the spirits of the dead will come sighing around you,' to 'become a bolt of fine white silk,' to 'become the dead ashes in a censer left forgotten in an ancient graveyard,' to 'become so that the present instant is ten thousand years.

If you show that you grasp them, you are the next abbot. If you show that you do not, you aren't the man for the job. If I am still living, it will mean I did not. Kyuho lit a stick of incense. Before it had burned down the head monk had ceased breathing. Kyuho patted the dead man on the back, and said, "Others have died while seated; some have died while standing. But you have just succeeded in proving that you could not have even seen the master's meaning in your dreams. Often those who approach the end of their lives having devoted themselves singlemindedly to the practice of the Way will regard the solitude of their final hours, sitting in the light of a solitary lamp, as the last great and difficult barrier of their religious quest, and as the smoke from the incense burns down they will move quietly and calmly into death, without having made an authentic Zen utterance of any kind.

It is them Kyuho is patting on the back when he says, "You haven't grasped your late master's meaning. Once Zen master Ungo of Koshu had an attendant take a pair of trousers to a monk who was living by himself in a grass hut. The monk refused the trousers, saying he already had the pair that he was born with. When Ungo was informed of the monk's reply, he sent the attendant back to ask the question, "What did you wear prior to your birth?

Later, the monk died, and when his body was cremated, relics were found among his ashes. When these were brought to Ungo, he said "I'd much rather have had one phrase from him in response to that question I asked when he was living than ten bushels of relics from a dead man. It is said that the relics found among the ashes of virtuous priests are produced as a natural result of meditation and wisdom they attained in their previous lives.

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Whenever a relic is discovered after a cremation even if it is only the size of a millet grain or mustard seed, there is a great rush of people, men and women, young and old, priests and laymen, crowding around to marvel at it and worship it with expressions of deep veneration. But doesn't Ungo say that ten bushels of such relics would not be worth a single phrase uttered while the monk was alive? What is this "one phrase" that it could it be more esteemed than genuine Buddhist relics which everyone venerates so deeply?

This is a question that baffled me for a long time. After the priest Hoan had retired to the Shifuku-in, he received an invitation to come to the monastery at Kinzan from the abbot Moan Genso, who appointed him to the post of senior priest. One of the monks at the monastery, Ho Joza, was a man of penetrating insight. He would always be there when the abbot or senior priest was receiving students and could invariably get the best of an opponent by seizing the slightest opening and turning his thrusts aside with a sudden and swift attack.

One day, as Hoan was teaching students, Ho Joza came into the room. Hoan was speaking and was midway through a passage he was quoting from the Hozo-ron , "amid heaven and earth, in all the universe, there is here. Hoan suddenly slapped him and drove him out of the room. Actually, Ho had planned to interject a comment the moment Hoan had finished the quotation, and Hoan had anticipated him. Considering that a tiger population cannot be maintained in the absence of the most abundant ungulate species, the avoidance of sika deer by tigers is puzzling Our RAI results for prey selection by tigers and leopards correspond to those facts obtained in Russia 3 , 20 , 24 , However, the biomass result showed a higher use of roe deer by the leopards, though the biomass proportion of sika deer was relatively higher in the winter.

In addition, due to the along-border distribution of sika deer, a portion of leopard scats collected in the region where sika deer is absent, that may bias the of prey selection estimation of the leopards 6 , In this study, the body weight of prey species was an important factor in estimating the food habits and prey selections of the predators. Average body weight was used to estimate the biomass contribution of prey in the diet of the Amur tiger and the leopard 20 , 24 , which may result in a higher estimation of wild boar, because of the difficulties in identification of the sex and age of the prey species from scat analysis.

Based on kill data, Miller, et al. The prey density of prey species calculation through relative abundance would influence the estimation of prey selection by the tigers and the leopards. The estimation of prey density is affected by the speed, group size and age structure of the prey species. Therefore, we employed a Random Encounter Model, which considered moving speed and group size as parameters in the estimation. The accurate measures of average speed, however, is still a challenge.

We used the daily average moving distance instead, which may result in some bias in density estimation. Our results strongly suggests that the body size of the prey species is an important factor in prey preference analysis for the tigers and the leopards. The diets differences between the felids indicate that resource partition enhance their coexistence. Beijing Normal University conducted this study in collaboration with the local administrations.

Scats survey was carried out using non-invasive technology without direct contact with animals. Reference hair samples of prey species were obtained from the zoos or the confiscated illegal wildlife products. Our treatment of faecal samples followed Bassi, et al. We conducted our study in the eastern section of Jilin Province and the adjacent southeastern Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China 6 , 9 Fig. The area was gridded in to grids of 3.

The cameras were checked monthly to download videos and replace batteries. Consecutive videos of the same species within 0. Study area and locations of camera trapping sites in Northeast China. The major sympatric carnivores or omnivores in this area are Amur tiger, Amur leopard, Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus , brown bear Ursus arctos and Eurasian lynx Lynx lynx. The potential prey species for the tigers and the leopards include wild boar, sika deer, roe deer, musk deer Moschus moschiferus , red fox Vulpes vulpes , badger, raccoon dog, Siberian weasel Mustela sibirica , sable Martes zibellina , yellow-throated marten Martes flavigula , leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis euptihurua , hedgehog Erinaceus amurensis , hare Lepus mandshuricus , European otter Lutra lutra and domestic animal species cattle, dog, goat, horse and cat.

From January to December , scats of tigers and leopards were collected by field staff along the vehicular and logging roads, and ridges where the felids commonly deposit scats 14 , 20 , Identification of tiger and leopard scats was based on size, morphology, signs such as ground tracks or scrapes in the wild 14 , The samples that failed in DNA amplification were excluded.

Due to extreme differences in weather and availability of prey in our study area, we were partitioned observations into two seasons: summer from May to October and winter when snow often covered the ground from November to April. The two seasons coincided with availability of some prey species e. Thus, food habits and prey selections were analysed annually and seasonally. The tiger and leopard scats were first washed under running tape water until the undigested remains hair, bone, teeth and hooves were separated from other faecal materials.

Hair features colour, length, thickness and medullary configuration constitute the most important information for identifying prey consumed 14 , 34 , We chose 10 hairs from the remains to examine under a microscope by comparing with references obtained from the study area and a standard prey hair manual 14 , 15 , 20 , We scored the scats as one for a single prey species identified.

If two or more prey species were identified in a scat, it would be scored as a proportion of one e. We used the correction factor derived by Ackerman, et al. The proportion of biomass contribution was estimated as following 42 2 :. We only estimated prey preference for the three species most commonly found in scats wild boar, sika deer, roe deer in this study due to insufficient sample in smaller prey species. The proportions of available ungulate biomass and RAI were used to calculate the prey selection of the tigers and the leopards.

The Random Encounter Model assumes modelled species being a closed population, three months per period August to October for summer and November to January for winter were selected for the model to estimate the seasonal density of animals 3 :. We sincerely thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable critiques and suggestions. Xiaodan Zhao, Mr. Boyu Han, Ms. Yiheng Zhao, Ms. Lin Juan for their help with the camera trap survey and analysis. This study was supported by the grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China , , , , and and the National Scientific and Technical Foundation Project of China FY Overall project coordination: J.

Analysis and writing: H. All authors read and approved the manuscript. Electronic supplementary material. Supplementary information accompanies this paper at Publisher's note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Sci Rep. Published online May 2. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Limin Feng, Email: nc. Corresponding author. Received Jul 6; Accepted Apr This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract We analyzed the scats of Amur tigers and Amur leopards, and examined their annual and seasonal food habits in Northeast China to comprehend their coexistence.

Introduction Both Amur tiger Panthera tigris altaica and Amur leopard Panthera pardus orientalis are endangered felids on the list of IUCN and the subspecies of both genera distributing in the northernmost of the ranges of the species. Results After excluding the scats composed of grass, sands, and unidentifiable objects, we had a total of valid tiger scats 80 in summer, in winter and 22 no detailed time records , and 52 leopard scats 23 in summer, 25 in winter and 4 no detailed time records collected from January to December Table 1 The annual and seasonal relative abundance index RAI and biomass and biomass densities proportion for wild boar, sika deer and roe deer in NE China.

Open in a separate window. Amur tiger Amur leopard n. Discussion Seasonal diets of Amur tigers and Amur leopards Our dietary analysis revealed wild boar, sika deer and roe deer as the primary prey consumed by the tigers and the leopards with some seasonal variations. Prey selection Accurate estimation of prey density is of great importance 30 in studying prey selection. Study area We conducted our study in the eastern section of Jilin Province and the adjacent southeastern Heilongjiang Province, Northeast China 6 , 9 Fig. Figure 1. Field methods From January to December , scats of tigers and leopards were collected by field staff along the vehicular and logging roads, and ridges where the felids commonly deposit scats 14 , 20 , Scat analysis Due to extreme differences in weather and availability of prey in our study area, we were partitioned observations into two seasons: summer from May to October and winter when snow often covered the ground from November to April.

Electronic supplementary material Table S1 18K, docx. Acknowledgements We sincerely thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable critiques and suggestions. Author Contributions Overall project coordination: J. Notes Competing Interests The authors declare no competing interests. Footnotes Electronic supplementary material Supplementary information accompanies this paper at References 1.