Blue Cliff Record, Case 82: Ta Lung's Hard and Fast Body of Reality

A student asked Ta Lung, "The physical body perishes. What is the everlasting body?"
The teacher replied, "The mountain flowers bloom like brocade; the valley stream runs indigo."

Here are a couple other translations:

A monk asked Talung, "The physical body rots away. What is the hard and fast body of reality?"
Talung said, "The mountain flowers bloom like brocade. The valley streams are brimming blue as indigo."

A monk asked Dairyo, "The phenomenal body perishes. What is the Dharma-body which remains solid?" 

Dairyo said, "The autumn foliage of the mountains spreads like brocade; the water in the valley remains blue as indigo."

"The flowers abloom on the hill are like brocade; The brimming mountain lake is black as indigo."


The mountain brocade catches our attention easily. The flowering mountainsides are a wonder to behold.  I find the valley's indigo water to be most intriguing.  The roots of the mountainside flowers drink deeply the indigo waters of the valley. The indigo waters run up the mountainside

Everyone sees the brocade; no one sees the indigo.   Not seeing the brocade, we don't see the indigo.  Not seeing the indigo, we don't see the brocade. Yet, seeing the brocade, we see the indigo, and not seeing the brocade, we see the brocade.

We see the body of blood and pus that rots and perishes, and we don't see the Dharma body of reality.  We dream of an enduring and undying body and we don't see the Dharma body of reality.  Yet the perishing body of pus is the Dharma body of pus, and the enduring body of reality is the enduring body of pus. Seeing the body of pus as pus opens our eyes to the Dharma body's endurance.  It is only when the rotting pus actually gets in our eyes, that we can see the Dharma body. This pus-induced not seeing opens our eyes for us to see reality. 

When I sit and think that my legs are in "pain" then passion plays in and out and I want to find the bliss body that will remove that pain; and the more I search for the painless body the more I miss seeing the brocade of flowers and the indigo waters, and I miss the indigo mountainside and the brocade of valley waters as well.  Sitting meditation is the heart of pus and pain as well as the spirit of flowers.  Sitting is indigo pus; meditation is flowering endurance.

It is not that the body of pus causes the enduring body; the body of pus and the enduring body are together at the root and in their petals, flowering and flowing together on the mountainside as well as in the valley.  If we run from the body of pus, if we never really experience this actual rotting body of pus and guts, we will continue to merely dream of a body that is solid and eternal hoping for it to continue in a heavenly existence in another life.

The Dharma body causes the Dharma body. The Dharma body condenses like rain becoming the body of pus that becomes a solid body that perishes. Because it endures the Dharma body perishes; because it perishes the Dharma body endures.  The Dharma body runs in the indigo waters as well as it blooms in the flowering brocade.  We are not separate from the Dharma body, the mountainside flowers, nor the valley waters. This becoming doesn't become us; we are the thus that comes thusly.

Gregory Wonderwheel


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This page last edited September 17, 2005.