Jiufeng Daoqian
Jap., Kyuho Doken
Mt. Jiufeng (9 Peaks Mt.)     Dao Sincere
born:  c. 850
died:  c. 920

place:  China
Chan master:  Shishuang Qingzhu (J. Sekiso
Chan disciples: ...
There are a number of different Chan masters
named Jiufeng, it being the name of a mountain
area and monastery in Jiangxi Province, China.
Jiufeng Daoqian was originally from Fuzhou.
Book of Serenity, Case 96

Live Zen, ch. 14
          oshobob  The Living Workshop                                        
                                                       Zen Masters
Kyushu said, “Our late teacher said, ‘You should
be completely finished up, emptied away; one
nen, one eon; you should be like cold ashes
and the dead tree, like the incense burner on
the deserted shrine, like the frozen lake, like a
piece of glazed silk.’ Tell me, what does this

The head monk said, “It means the realm of one
color.” (That is, great enlightenment.)

Kyuho said, “You do not understand our
teacher’s meaning.”

The head monk ordered someone to fetch a
packet of incense and said, “If I cannot pass
away while this incense is burning, your words
will be proved true.” He threw the incense into
the burner. A cloud of white smoke rose, and
while it still hung in the air, the monk passed
away sitting up straight.

Kyuho, stroking the dead monk’s back, said,
“You could pass away sitting up straight, but you
could never dream of our late teacher’s

This is going to be very hard. He has proved
that he can empty himself – so much so that he
can die out of his own will. As the incense burns
and the smoke cloud moves away, he will be
gone. Still Kyuho said, “You have not
understood the meaning of beating the drum.”

Why is he so hard about the poor fellow who has
even died, emptied himself completely? He is
hard because he is saying, “You have tried self-
will by moving away your consciousness from
the body like the smoke of the incense; you
have made a great effort of the will, and in fact
your will is your ego. You can do this, but you
have not understood the meaning of beating the
drum. You have emptied yourself, but you are
there; you have proved yourself, but you are

                                                Live Zen, ch. 14