Torei Enji (Jap.)
born:  1721
died:  1792   71 years

place:  Japan
Zen master:  Hakuin
Zen disciples:  Gasan Jito, ...

Detailed Study of the Fundamental Principles of
the Five Chan Houses

The Language of Existence, ch. 5
Chin., Dongling Yuanci
East Mountain Peak    Circle Love
    oshobob  The Living Workshop                                        
                                                    Zen Masters
Torei said:

“If you want to be free from this world of suffering,
first you must contemplate impermanence.

Those who are born must inevitably die. Even the
young are not exempt; even the strong are in
danger. Even a long life does not last more than
eighty years or so. If you don't annihilate the
nature of afflictions somehow, and arrive on the
path of liberation, even if you ascend to the rank
of sovereign of a nation, great minister, deity,
spirit, or wizard, it is still evanescent as lightning
and morning dew, lasting only for a while.

“When conditions meet, everything surely seems
to exist; but when the conditions disintegrate –
emptiness. This body is gained through the
relationship of father and mother, and comes from
their conditions. Solidity becomes skin, flesh,
ligament, and bone; fluidity becomes spittle, tears,
pus, and blood; heat becomes warmth and
flexibility; air becomes breath and movement.
When these four conditions suddenly are
exhausted, the body gets cold and the breath
stops – there is nothing called "me." At that time
this body is really not our own; it is only a
temporary inn. How can we be so greedily
attached to this temporary inn that we ignore

“Contemplating these four transcendences –
impermanence, suffering, emptiness, selflessness
– seeking the way of enlightenment is called, "the
teaching of four realities for disciples." This is the
essential gateway to beginning entry into the way
for all enlightened ones.”

When all the conditions collapse, Torei is saying,
nothing remains. This word `nothing' has very
strange connotations. When a buddha says
"nothing" he means no-thing, and when a scholar
says "nothing" he simply means emptiness. When
a buddha says "nothing" he says there is no-thing
anymore: pure space, utter silence...

We all speak the same language. The master has
also to use the same language but he gives new
meanings to words, new fragrances to words, new
poetry to words. They go dancing into your heart,
the same ordinary words, with such extraordinary
radiance, penetration. But one has to be a knower

                  The Language of Existence, ch. 5