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Pai Chang Huai Hai

Pai Chang Hui Hai (720-814)

Considered the originator of the system of decorum that has served as a model for formal Zen training up to the present day.


Pai Chang (also known as Po-Chang, Baizhang, and in Japanese, Hyakujo) is one of the most colorful and influential Zen Masters.




“In reading about and studying the teachings, you should turn all words right around and apply them to yourself.” "A day of no work is a day of no food."


Works and References


Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening Pai Chang's Temple Rules








Pai Chang's Enlightenment

One day Huai hai accompanied (his teacher) Mazu on a walk. A flock of wild geese flew past them. Master Ma said, “What's that?” Huaihai said, “Wild geese.” The master said, “Where'd they go?” Huaihai said, “They flew away.” The master then grabbed Huaihui's nose and twisted.” Huaihai cried out, “Ouch!” The master said, “Do you still say they flew away?” Huaihai had a deep realization.


The next day Master Ma entered the hall to address the community. When the monks had all assembled, Huaihai went forward and rolled up the bowing mat in front of the teacher's seat. The master then got down from the seat and returned to his room. Huaihai followed after him. The master turned to him and asked, “Why did you roll up the mat before I'd said a word?”

Huaihai said, “Yesterday you hurt my nose.”

The master said, “Where in your mind are you keeping yesterday's matter?”

Huaihai said, “Today my nose doesn't hurt anymore.”

The master said, “You understand today's matter very well.”


Work and Laughter One day Master Baizhang was out working in the fields with his community. When the drum sounded ending the work period and announcing the noon meal, a monk held up his hoe and began to laugh. Then he went back to the monastery. The master said, “Wonderful. This is the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion entering the gate of essential wisdom.”

Later that day the master summoned the monk and asked him why he had laughed out in the field. The monk said, “I was hungry. As soon as I heard the drum, I knew it was time for the noon meal.” The master laughed.

Once Yun Yen asked Pai Chang, "Every day there's hard work to do. Who do you do it for?" Pai Chang said, "There is someone who requires it." Yun Yen said, "Why not have him do it himself?" Pai Chang said, "He has no tools."

Pai Chang was always very insistent on working every day. When he was old he persisted in this, and the monks felt sorry for him so they hid his tools. He said, "I have no virtue. Why should others work for me?" And he refused to eat. He said, "A day of no work is a day of no eating." This saying became very famous in Zen circles, and to this day the Zen schools are noted for their practice of work.

Zen Teachings There was a Daoist priest who asked, ‘Are there dharmas in the world transcending the natural?' ‘There are,' replied Master Dazhu. ‘Which dharmas are transcendent?' asked the priest. ‘That which is able to know the transcendent,' replied the master. ‘Is not the original qi the Dao?' asked the priest. ‘Original qi is of original qi . Dao is of Dao,' said the master. ‘If that is so then there must be two,' replied the priest. ‘That which knows is not two people,' said the master. Again the priest asked, ‘What is wrong, what is right?' ‘The heart/mind chasing after things is wrong; things yielding to the heart/mind, is right.' said the master.