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book: record of linji

references smentioned in this book

The Record of Linji (臨濟錄; Japanese: Rinzai-goroku), also known as the Linji Yulu, is a collection of sermons, statements, and acts attributed to the Chinese Zen master Linji Yixuan (d. 866). It is one of the most important texts in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism, and it is also widely studied by practitioners of other Zen schools.

The Record of Linji is full of fundamental Buddhist references, but some of the most important include:

  • The Four Noble Truths: The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhist teaching. They teach that life is suffering, that the cause of suffering is attachment, that there is a way to end suffering, and that the way to end suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Noble Eightfold Path: The Noble Eightfold Path is the Buddhist path to enlightenment. It consists of eight factors: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
  • The Three Jewels: The Three Jewels are the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. They are the three objects of refuge for Buddhists.
  • The Three Pure Precepts: The Three Pure Precepts are refraining from harming others, refraining from taking what is not freely given, and refraining from sexual misconduct.
  • The Five Precepts: The Five Precepts are an extension of the Three Pure Precepts, and they include refraining from lying and refraining from using intoxicants.
  • Dependent Origination: Dependent Origination is the Buddhist teaching that all phenomena are interconnected and interdependent. Nothing exists in isolation, and everything is conditioned by everything else.
  • Emptiness: Emptiness is the Buddhist teaching that all phenomena are lacking in inherent existence. They are empty of self-nature and permanent identity.
  • The Buddha Mind: The Buddha Mind is the inherent potential for enlightenment that all beings possess. It is pure, perfect, and complete.

In addition to these specific references, the Record of Linji is also steeped in the general spirit and outlook of Buddhism. It emphasizes the importance of direct experience, the need to let go of attachments, and the possibility of enlightenment for all beings.

Here are a few specific examples of fundamental Buddhist references in the Record of Linji:

  • "If you meet a buddha, kill the buddha. If you meet your forefather, kill him. If you meet an arhat, kill him. If you meet a wise man, kill him. Kill all the things in the world that you have learned. Then there will be no more problems." (Case 48)
  • "The Buddhas of the ten directions have only one message: the true Mind of your own being." (Case 49)
  • "The true Dharma is without form. It is the very essence of reality. It is not something that can be named or described. It is simply what is." (Case 50)
  • "The Buddha-way is not something that you can achieve through effort. It is already present and perfect within you. All you need to do is let go of your attachments and see it for yourself." (Case 51)

The Record of Linji is a challenging text, but it is also a deeply rewarding one. It offers profound insights into the nature of reality and the path to enlightenment.

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on earth

LINJI was a Zen Buddhist monk who lived in China. He taught that people can suddenly become enlightened by seeing through their own delusions.

Linji taught a number of ways to help people see through their own delusions. He used riddles, meditation, and other methods to help people see beyond their own assumptions.

  • true: If you want to know the truth, don't talk about it
  • awareness expanded: The whole universe is your body
  • as it is / spontaneous "Don't be attached to anything, not even to enlightenment."
  • action: "If you want to know the truth, act like it."

The Record of Linji (Linji lu) is a collection of sayings and stories about the Chinese Zen master Linji Yixuan (J. Rinzai Gigen). It is one of the most important texts in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.

The Record of Linji was compiled by his disciples in the late Tang dynasty (618-907).


It is divided into two parts: the first part contains Linji's sayings


second part contains stories about his life and teaching.

The Record of Linji is known for its direct and forceful style. Linji often used unconventional methods to teach his students, such as shouting, hitting, and using koans (paradoxical riddles). He was also known for his emphasis on the importance of "sudden enlightenment," or the direct realization of the true nature of reality.

The Record of Linji has been translated into many languages and has been influential in the development of Zen Buddhism around the world. It is a classic text of Zen literature and a valuable resource for anyone interested in the study of Zen.

Here are some of the key teachings of the Record of Linji:

  • The importance of direct experience: Linji emphasized the importance of direct experience over intellectual understanding. He said, "If you want to know the truth, don't talk about it."
  • The importance of non-duality: Linji taught that there is no separation between the individual and the universe. He said, "The whole universe is your body."
  • The importance of spontaneity: Linji encouraged his students to be spontaneous and free from attachments. He said, "Don't be attached to anything, not even to enlightenment."
  • The importance of action: Linji believed that the best way to understand Zen is to put it into practice. He said, "If you want to know the truth, act like it."

The Record of Linji is a challenging but rewarding text. It can help us to see the world in a new way and to experience the truth of Zen for ourselves.


Linji Yixuan is known for his enigmatic and paradoxical teachings, which were often expressed in riddles or koans. Some of his most famous riddles include:

  • What is the sound of one hand clapping?
  • If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.
  • A dog has no Buddha-nature.

These riddles are designed to challenge the student's conceptual thinking and to help them to see beyond their own assumptions.

For example, the riddle "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" is asking the student to imagine something that is impossible. This is meant to help the student to see that their own thoughts and concepts are not reality.

The riddle "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him" is a warning to the student not to become attached to any one idea or teaching, even if it comes from the Buddha himself. This is because attachment can lead to suffering.

The riddle "A dog has no Buddha-nature" is meant to challenge the student's belief in the duality of existence. The student may believe that there is a difference between the Buddha and the dog, but Linji is teaching that all beings are fundamentally the same.

Linji's riddles are not meant to be answered literally. Instead, they are meant to be pondered and reflected upon until the student has a sudden breakthrough in understanding.