Chán, Zen And Yi Jin Jing | (3/30/2021 — “Ask Us Anything – LIVE” With Denny K Miu)

For this month’s regular open-audience, open-discussion “Ask Us Anything” — continuing discussions about meditation and related topics — Denny and I reprise Zen, dig into Chán and primarily present Yi Jin Jing in light of its importance for linking body and mind. Show notes are as follows:

(From Denny with the bulk of his notes from the slides):

  • For me, the most important question is why Bodhidharma bothered with Yi Jin Jing?  It’s the same question I asked, why Master Jiru bothered with the Five Contemplation of Breath exercise.
  • The answer must have something to do with the historical fact that both the historical Buddha and Bodhidharma were yogi’s.

Text from the slides:

1. Chán, Zen and Yi Jin Jing

2. ● Siddhattha Gotama (563 ~ 483 BCE) ● King Ashoka (268 ~ 232 BCE) ● Theravada (3rd Century BCE) ● Pre-Mahayana (1st to 4th Century CE) ● Mahayana (4th to 5th Century CE)

3. Some Important Milestones ● White Horse Temple (白馬寺 – Luoyang, Henan) ○ Emperor Ming of Han Dynasty 漢明帝 (58 ~ 75 CE) ○ Sutra of Forty-two Chapters (Kāśyapa Mātaṇga & Dharmaratna) ● Faxian 法顯 (337 ~ 422 CE) ○ In search of Vinaya-pitaka 律藏 ○ Returned through Celon (Sri Lanka) & brought back Dīrgha Āgama 《長阿含經》 and Saṃyukta Āgama 《雜阿含經》 ● Xuanzang 玄奘 (602 – 664 CE) ○ Founder of 法相宗 or 唯識宗 (Yogācāra, Practice of Yoga) ● Bodhidharma 菩提達磨 – 1st patriarch of Chán ○ Emperor Wu of Liang 梁武帝 (464–549 CE) ● Huineng 六祖惠能 (638 ~ 713 CE) – 6th patriarch of Chán

4. 身是菩提樹,心如明鏡台。 時時勤拂拭,莫使染塵埃。 The body is like the bodhi tree, The mind reflects like a mirror. Must constantly wipe and polish, Not allowing dust to settle. 菩提本無樹,明鏡亦非台。 本來無一物,何處惹塵埃。 Bodhi is not a tree, The mirror is not a platform. We have not a thing, How we collect dust?

5. History of Japanese Buddhism ● Buddhism was brought to Japan through Korea in 500 CE ● Kukai 空海 (774-835 CE) founded Shingon 真言宗 (Mantra School) ● Saicho 最澄 (767-822 CE) founded Tendai 天台宗 (or 法華宗 Lotus Sutra) ● Eisai Zenji (栄西禅師, 1141 ~ 1215) brought Linji (Rinzai) 臨濟宗 to Japan ● Dōgen Zenji (道元禅師, 1200 ~ 1253) brought Caodong (Sōtō) 曹洞宗 ● 臨濟将軍、曹洞土民 (“Rinzai for the Shōgun, Sōtō for the peasants”) ● Shikantaza (只管打坐) – Only Sitting ● Silent Illumination (默照)

Mahākāśyapa on right via

6. Gautama Buddha 释迦牟尼佛 Mahākāśyapa 摩訶迦葉 Ven Daoxin 道信禪師 4th Patriarch of Chán Ven Huineng 六祖惠能 6th Patriarch of Chán Master Jiru Bodhidhamma 菩提達摩 1st Patriarch of Chán Ven Ming Chi 敏智法師 48th Abbot of Tin Ling Temple (天寧寺 ) Ven Fǎróng 法融禪師 Founder of Tin Ling Temple (天寧寺) 594 ~ 657 CE 1909 ~ 1996 CE 580 ~ 651 CE 638 ~ 713 CE Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 Founder of Sōtō Zen Suzuki Roshi 鈴木老師 Founder of SF Zen Center 1200 ~ 1253 CE 1904 ~ 1971 CE ??? ~ 535 CE 600 BCE

7. After arriving China, why did Bodhidharma secluded himself in a cave for nine years and emerged with no teaching except Yi Jin Jing?

8. 磨磚成鏡 Polish Brick to make Mirror 懷讓禪師 Huáiràng (677 ~ 744 CE) 馬祖禪師 Mazu (709 ~ 788 CE)

9. Kama-Loka (The Sense- Desire Realm) Rupa-Loka (The Form Realm) Arupa-Loka (Formless Realm) Saṃsāra

10. “Lazy Zen” (走火 – Lost Fire) “Monkey Zen” (入魔 – Enter Māra)

11. ● Renounced at the age of 29 and spend six years as a wandering yogi ● 1st teacher: Ārāda Kālāma (reached Ākiṃcanyāyatana, 7th stage of Samādhi, state of nothingness, 無所有處定) ● 2nd teacher: Rudraka Rāmaputra (reached Naivasaṃjñānāsaṃjñāyatana, 8th stage, state of neither perception nor non-perception, 非想非非想處定) ● Buddha rediscovered saññā-vedayita-nirodha (滅受想定), one of 112 Chakras ● Achieved 9th stage of Samādhi using Sensation (受) but not Perception (想) ● All of Buddha’s initial followers were yogi (Yuj = Union of Body and Mind) ● Buddha did not reject yoga practice, it was the prerequisite for his teaching Siddhattha Gotama was a Yogi

12. ● Bodhidharma was the 28th patriarch of Indian Chán Meditation school ● Mahākāśyapa was the 1st patriarch, receiving dharma transmission from Buddha thru the Flower Sermon (拈花微笑, “holding flower, knowing smile”) ● The Chán/Zen practice is all about 不立文字 以心傳心 (Do not establish words, use mind to transmit mind) ● In other words, Chán/Zen is not about intellect, it is all about direct experience ● True experience is experience without hiderances ● Practice Yi Jin Jing to maintain a healthy and robust body ● Can’t polish brick for mirror (avoid mental constipation or mental diarrhea) Bodhidharma was also a Yogi

13. Gautama Buddha 释迦牟尼佛 Mahākāśyapa 摩訶迦葉 Ven Daoxin 道信禪師 4th Patriarch of Chán Ven Huineng 六祖惠能 6th Patriarch of Chán Master Jiru 繼如大和尚 Bodhidhamma 菩提達摩 1st Patriarch of Chán Ven Ming Chi 敏智法師 48th Abbot of Tin Ling Temple (天寧寺 ) Ven Fǎróng 法融禪師 Founder of Tin Ling Temple (天寧寺) 594 ~ 657 CE 1909 ~ 1996 CE 580 ~ 651 CE 638 ~ 713 CE Dōgen Zenji 道元禅師 Founder of Sōtō Zen Suzuki Roshi 鈴木老師 Founder of SF Zen Center 1200 ~ 1253 CE 1904 ~ 1971 CE ??? ~ 535 CE 600 BCE

Playlist of Shifu Jiru demonstrating Yi Jin Jing:

(From Josh)

‘The body is the bodhi tree.

The heart-mind is like a mirror.

Moment by moment wipe and polish it,

Not allowing dust to collect.’

When someone read the verse to the illiterate Huineng, the future Sixth Patriarch knew Shenxiu had missed it. Huineng dictated this verse for another to write for him:

‘Bodhi originally has no tree,

The mirror has no stand.

Buddha-nature is always clean and pure;

Where might dust collect?’ . . . Another translation/retelling I like better comes from at least one Arrow River Dharma Talk but unfortunately can’t remember which
  • If kept secret and only practiced by Abbotts in private it could be interesting to know how this started, how Yi Jin Jing was passed down, how and why it was kept secret, and how and why this version of Yi Jin Jing finally opened up to the wider public.
  • My experiences with YJJ: Picking up Grandmaster Sam Chin for attending the meditation (and unbeknownst Yi Jin Jing) portion of an advanced martial arts retreat; Achilles tendon loosening and strengthening quickly after a few times; removing dagger (during the stabbing with dagger step)
  • How exactly did Bodhidharma get or come up with the teaching for Yi Jin Jing? (Plenty of interesting things must happen when meditating in a cave for 9 years)

Bodhidharma stories and teachings:

  • Tea:

‘As with all things concerning Bodhidharma, the genesis of tea was neither simple nor easy but rather a singularly peculiar but characteristically gory event that was in keeping with the high physical price of his ruthless meditation – a cost that the master seemed always to pay with an arm and a leg.  On this occasion, the birth of tea took a more delicate part of his anatomy.  As he sat in deep concentration, Bodhidharma abruptly realized that in an agonizing instant of fatigue, he had closed his eyes and dozed off to sleep.  In anger at his weakness, he savagely tore at his eyes in self disgust, ripping out his eyelids and flinging them to the ground.  As the leaf like lids of flesh lay bloody in the dirt, they sprouted miraculously into tea plants.  Instinctively, Bodhidharma reached over and plucked a few leaves from the bushes to chew and suddenly felt as “one who awakens.”  His mind clear and focused, he resumed his meditation.’


‘Daruma made the pledge of 7 years of meditation. dHe vowed not to sleep in these 7 years. Despite this vow, he fell asleep one night. When he woke up the next morning, he was so angered by his failure, that he cut off his eyelids and threw them to the ground. As soon as the eyelids touched the soil,  immediately there grew roots which soon developed into a large bush. When Daruma saw this wonder, he prepared himself a drink out of the leaves. People came  from all around to see him and many followed the monk and prepared a drink from the leaves. The knowledge of the drink’s refreshing and invigorating effect was spread everywhere. The delicious taste and scent were reason enough to see this drink as “divine”. Until today the Japanese language uses the same character for eyelid and tea 茶’
  • Cutting off arm:

Gateless Gate, Case 41

Bodhidharma sat facing the wall.

The Second Patriarch stood in the snow.

He cut off his arm and presented it to Bodhidharma, crying, “My mind has no peace as yet! I beg you, master, please pacify my mind!”

“Bring your mind here and I will pacify it for you,” replied Bodhidharma.

“I have searched for my mind, and I cannot take hold of it,” said the Second Patriarch.

“Now your mind is pacified,” said Bodhidharma.
  • Polishing stone:

‘What intrigues me the most about Yi Jin Jing and the main reason that I am writing this three-part series is the fictional story about Bodhidharma first visiting the Shaolin temple and joining the monks for their meditation retreat.  

Inside the chamber, he noticed the monks were all sitting quietly and after a few hours, he asked them what they were doing.  They said they were there to practice towards enlightenment.  Then Bodhidharma quietly picked up a rock and started to rub it back and forth across the top of the table.  

The monks were intrigued and asked him what he was doing.  He said he was polishing a mirror out of the rock.  The monks laughed and said how anyone could make a mirror out of rubbing a rock.  

Bodhidharma replied how anyone could gain enlightenment but just sitting.  Then he left and secluded himself in the cave for nine years.’

From Denny’s article on the “Origin of Yi Jin Jing”
  • Death, empty grave and one sandal:

‘As far as Bodhidharma’s death, there are accounts that he died in 528 or 534 A.D. near the Lo river or in an area in North China. These accounts, however, all suggest that three years after Bodhidharma’s death, a traveler, or an official, in Central Asia, spotted someone resembling him, carrying a staff and one sandal, headed toward India. After the incident was reported, the supposed burial place of Bodhidharma was checked; the tomb was empty except for a single sandal.

The Japanese, however, have a different ending for Bodhidharma. According to this version, Bodhidharma journeyed to Japan on, once more, a reed or rush leaf across the sea in 613 A.D. Along a road, the story goes, the prince Shotoku Taishi encountered Bodhidharma who was reincarnated as a beggar. After giving him food, drink and clothing, the prince returned the next day only to find that he had died. Today, in Oji, Japan, there are stones marking the spots where the prince and Bodhidharma are said to have met.’
  • Loss of arms and legs:

Another important aspect of Bodhidharma’s meditation explains the form he is presented in today. Because Bodhidharma remained motionless for such an extensive period, he eventually lost his arms and legs as they withered away. Nevertheless, Bodhidharma was still able to remain upright. Especially for Zen followers who believe that one’s personal energy resides right below the navel, Bodhidharma’s achievement has been attributed to his discovery of inner strength.
  • Famous anecdote of exchange with Emperor Wu: 

[Bodhidharma] stayed at the Hualin Temple where he preached for three years and during this period also offered teachings at the Guangxie Temple, which is located a few miles from the Hualin Temple.

The Anthology of the Patriarchal Hall narrates a conversation that took place between Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu of Liang dynasty who was a fervent patron of Buddhism. Excerpts of the conversation are placed below:

Emperor Wu: “How much karmic merit have I earned for ordaining Buddhist monks, building monasteries, having sutras copied, and commissioning Buddha images?

Bodhidharma: “None. Good deeds done with worldly intent bring good karma, but no merit.”

Emperor Wu: “So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?”

Bodhidharma: “There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness.” 

Emperor Wu: “Then, who is standing before me?”

Bodhidharma: “I know not, Your Majesty.”

By asking whether his actions were good, Emperor Wu was searching for compliments and affirmation from Bodhidharma. With Bodhidharma’s response enraging Emperor Wu, the former was asked to leave his palace and never to return. Bodhidharma simply smiled and left.

Audio only version — Chán, Zen and Yi Jin Jing | (3/30/2021 — “Ask Us Anything – LIVE” with Denny K Miu)

Master of Zen – Bodhidharma (Da Mo Zu Shi) – Buddist Film

Currently, for a chance to experience, practice, and receive Yi Jin Jing instructions from Denny, join in free on Saturdays at 10am Central Time:

Join “Ask Us Anything LIVE” next month, April 27, 2021 at noon Central Time via:

YouTube [custom link redirecting to YouTube Live:]

Facebook [custom link redirecting to Facebook Live:]

Published by josh dippold

3 thoughts on “Chán, Zen And Yi Jin Jing | (3/30/2021 — “Ask Us Anything – LIVE” With Denny K Miu)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: