37. Publishing the Sutras
Tetsugen, a devotee of Zen in Japan, decided to publish the sutras,
which at that time were available only in Chinese.
The books were to
be printed with wood block in an edition of seven thousand copies, a
Tetsugen began by traveling and collecting donations for this
purpose. A few sympathizers would give him a hundred pieces of gold,
but most of the time he received only small coins. He thanked each
donor with equal gratitude.
After ten yens Tetsugen had enough money to begin his task. It
happened that it that time the Uji River overflowed. Famine
Tetsugen took the funds he had collected for the book and
spent them to save others from starvation. Then he began again his
work of collecting.
Several years afterwards an epidemic spread over the country.
Tetsugen gave away what he had collected, to help his people.
For a third time he started his work, and after twenty years his
wish was fulfilled. The printing blocks which produced the first
edition of sutras can be seen today in the Obaku monastery in Kyoto.
The Japanese tell their children that Tetsugen made three sets of
sutras, and that the first two invisible sets surpass even the last.
38. Gisho's Work
Gisho was ordained as a nun when she was ten years old. She received
training just as the little boys did. When she reached the age of
sixteen she traveled from one Zen master to another, studying with
She remained three years with Unzan, six years with Gukei, but was
unable to obtain a clear vision. At last she went to me master Inzan.
Inzan showed her no distinction at all on account of her sex. He
scolded her like a thunderstorm. He cuffed her to awaken her inner
Gisho remained with Inzan thirteen years and then she found that
which she was seeking!
In her honor, Inzan wrote a poem:
This nun studied thirteen years under my guidance.
In the evening she considered the deepest koans,
In the morning she was wrapped in other koans.
The Chinese nun Tetsuma surpassed all before her,
And since Mujaku none has been so genuine as this Gisho!
Yet there are many more gates for her to pass through.
She should receive still more blows from my iron fist.
After Gisho was enlightened she went to the province of Banshu,
started her own Zen temple and taught two hundred other nuns until
she passed away one year in the month of August.