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    Nirvana: The Last Nightmare



    Nirvana: The Last Nightmare



    CHAPTER 1


    Mastered By Zen
    11 February 1976 am in Buddha Hall


    DATE-JITOKU, A FINE WAKA POET,
    WANTED TO MASTER ZEN.
    WITH THIS IN MIND
    HE MADE AN APPOINTMENT
    TO SEE EKKEI,
    ABBOT OF SHOKOKUJI IN KYOTO.
    JITOKU WENT TO THE MASTER FULL OF HOPES,
    BUT AS SOON AS HE ENTERED THE ROOM
    HE RECEIVED A WHACK.
    HE WAS ASTONISHED AND MORTIFIED:
    NO ONE HAD EVER DARED TO STRIKE HIM BEFORE,
    BUT AS IT IS A STRICT ZEN RULENEVER TO SAY OR DO ANYTHING
    UNLESS ASKED BY THE MASTER,
    HE WITHDREW SILENTLY.
    HE WENT AT ONCE TO KOKUON,
    WHO WAS TO SUCCEED EKKEI AS ABBOT
    AND TOLD HIM THAT HE PLANNED
    TO CHALLENGE EKKEI TO A DUEL.
    ’CAN’T YOU SEE
    THAT THE MASTER WAS BEING KIND TO YOU?’
    SAID DOKUON. ’EXERT YOURSELF IN ZAZEN
    AND YOU WILL SEE FOR YOURSELF
    WHAT HIS TREATMENT OF YOU MEANS.’
    FOR THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS
    JITOKU ENGAGED IN DESPERATE CONTEMPLATION,
    THEN, SUDDENLY, HE EXPERIENCED AN ECSTATIC AWAKENING.
    THIS SATORI WAS APPROVED BY EKKEI.
    JITOKU CALLED ON DOKUON
    AND THANKED HIM FOR HIS ADVICE, SAYING:
    ’IF IT HADN’T BEEN FOR YOUR WISDOM
    I WOULD NOT HAVE HAD SUCH A TRANSFIGURING EXPERIENCE.
    AND AS FOR THE MASTER,
    HIS BLOW WAS FAR FROM HARD ENOUGH.’

    THERE are a thousand and one poisons, but nothing like idealism – it is the most poisonous of
    all poisons. Of course, the most subtle: it kills you, but kills you in such a way that you never
    become aware of it. It kills you with a style. The ways of idealism are very cunning. Rarely aperson becomes aware that he has been committing suicide through it. Once you become aware,
    you become religious

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