By ZENCHIKU UJINOBU (1414-1499)
NOBUTOSHI (their father's murderer).
My name is Kojirō; I am the son of one Makino no Sayemon who lived in the land of Shimotsuke. You must know that my father had a quarrel with Nobutoshi, a man of Sagami, and was done to death by him. So this man was my father's murderer and I ought to kill him. But he has many bold fellows to stand by him, while I am all alone. So the days and months slip by with nothing done.
A brother indeed I have, but he left home when he was a child, made himself into a priest, and lives at the seminary near by.
I am much puzzled how to act. I think I will go across and speak to my brother of this matter. (He goes to the curtain at the end of the hashigakari.) May I come in?
(The curtain is raised and the BROTHER appears.)
Who is it?
It is I.
Come in, brother. What has brought you hither?
I will tell you. It is this matter of our father's murder that has brought me. I have been thinking that I ought to kill his enemy, and would have done so but he has many bold fellows to stand by him p. 166 and I am all alone. So the days and months slip by and nothing is done.
For pity's sake, decide with me what course we must pursue.
Brother, what you have said is true enough. But have you forgotten that I left my home when I was but a child and made myself a priest? Since that is so, I cannot help you.
So you are pleased to think; but men say he is a bad son who does not kill his father's foe.
Can you tell me of any that have ministered to piety by slaying a parent's foe?
Why, yes. It was in China, I think. There was one whose mother had been taken by a savage tiger. "I will take vengeance," he cried, and for a hundred days he lay ambushed in the fields waiting for the tiger to come. And once when he was walking on the hillside at dusk, he thought he saw his enemy, and having an arrow already on his bow-string, he shot with all his might. It was nothing but a great rock that he had seen, shaped like a tiger. But his arrow stuck so deep in the stone that blood gushed out from it. If then the strength of piety is such that it can drive an arrow deep into the heart of a stone, take thought, I beseech you, whether you will not resolve to come with me.
You have cited me a notable instance. I am persuaded to resolve with you how this thing may be effected.
Come now, by what strategy may we get access to our foe?
A plan has suddenly come into my head. You know that these hōka plays are become the fashion of the day. Why should not I dress up as a hōka and you as a hōka priest? They say that our man is a great lover of the Zen doctrine; so you may talk to him of Zen.
That is indeed a pretty notion; let me lose no time in effecting it.
I am resolved; in a pilgrim guise
I mask my limbs.
And I, glad-thoughted,
In a minstrel's garb go forth.
We steal from a home
"Where fain we would stay, but now
Long as life lasts,
Life fickle as the moon of dawn,
No refuge know we
But the haven of our intent.
(The BROTHERS leave the stage. Enter their enemy NOBUTOSHI, followed by his Servant.)
To the home of gods my footsteps turn
To the Sacred Fence that bars
No suppliant's desire.
I am called Tone no Nobutoshi. My home is in the land of Sagami. Because for much time past I have been troubled with evil dreams, I have resolved to visit the Three Isles of Seto.
(Re-enter the Brothers: MAKINO with bow and arrow in his hand and bamboo sprigs stuck in his belt behind; the BROTHER carrying a long staff to which a round fan is attached.)
A fine sight are we now!
From priest and laic way alike removed,
Scarce men in speech or form!
This antic garb shall hide us from the World
More safe than hermit cell;
All earthly thoughts shut out here might we bide
Cloistered in ease. Oh why,
Why back to the bitter World
Are we borne by our intent?
MAKINO and BROTHER.
The flower that has fallen dreams that Spring is done,
There are white clouds to cover
The green hillside . . .
To match the scarlet
Of the autumn leaves
Red sunlight glitters
On the flowing stream.
Wind at morning, rain at night;
To-day and to-morrow
Shall be part of long ago.
We who pass through a world
Changeful as the dews of evening,
Uncertain as the skies of Spring,
We that are as foam upon the stream,--
Can any be our foe?
SERVANT (seeing them and going towards the hashigakari).
You're a merry pair of guys! What may your names be?
Floating Cloud; Running Water.
And what is your friend's name?
Floating Cloud; Running Water.
Have you then but one name between you?
I am Floating Cloud and he is Running Water. And now, pray, tell us your master's name.
Why, he comes from the land of Sagami, and Nobutoshi . . . (here the SERVANT suddenly remembers that he is being indiscreet and stuffs his hand into his mouth) . . . is not his name.
That's no matter. Whoever he is, tell him that we are only two hōka come to speak with him.
I will tell him. Do you wait here.
(He goes over to NOBUTOSHI and whispers with him, then comes back to the BROTHERS.)
Come this way.
(NOBUTOSHI comes to meet them, covering his face with a fan.)
Listen, gentlemen, I desire an explanation from you.
What would you know?
It is this. They alone can be called priests round whose fingers is twisted the rosary of Tenfold Power, who are clad in cloak of Forbearance, round whose shoulders hangs the stole of Penitence. Such is everywhere the garb of Buddha's priests, I know no other habit. But you, I see, carry a round fan tied to your pillar-staff. By what verse do you justify the wearing of a fan?
"In motion, a wind;
In stillness, a bright moon."
And even as in this one substance p. 170
Both wind and moon inhere,
So Thought alone is Truth, and from the mind
Spring all component things.
Such is the sermon of the fan, as a sign we bear it
Of the heart's omnipotence. It is an emblem
Fools only would decry!
The fan indeed teaches an agreeable lesson; but one of you carries a bow and arrow at his side. Are these too reckoned fit gear for men of your profession?
The bow? Why, surely!
Are not its two horns fashioned
In likeness of the Hare and Crow,
Symbols of the Moon and Sun, of Night and Day?
Here is the primal mystery displayed
Of fair and foul conjoined. 1
Bears not the God of Love, unsullied king,
A magical bow? Does he not stretch upon its string
Arrows of grace whereby
The armies of the Four Fiends 2 know no rest
And thus we two are armed,
For though the bow be not bent nor the arrow loosed,
Yet falls the prey unmasked.
(MAKINO draws his bow as though about to shoot; his BROTHER checks him with his staff.)
So says the song. Now speak no more
Of things you know not of.
Tell me, pray, from which patriarch do the hōka priests derive their doctrine? To what sect do you adhere?
We are of no sect; our doctrine stands apart. It cannot be spoken p. 171 nor expounded. To frame it in sentences is to degrade our faith; to set it down in writing is to be untrue to our Order; but by the bending of a leaf is the wind's journey known.
I thank you; your exposition delights me. Pray tell me now, what is the meaning of this word "Zen"?
Within, to sound to their depths the waters of Mystery;
Without, to wander at will through the portals of Concentration.
And of the doctrine that Buddha is in the bones of each one of us . . .?
He lurks unseen; like the golden dragon 1 when he leaps behind the clouds.
If we believe that life and death are real . . .
Then are we caught in the wheel of sorrow.
But if we deny them . . .
We are listed to a heresy. 2
And the straight path to knowledge . . .
MAKINO (rushing forward sword in hand).
"With the triple stroke is carved." 3
Hold! (turning to NOBUTOSHI who has recoiled and drawn his sword.)
"To carve a way to knowledge by the triple stroke" . . . .
These are Zen words; he was but quoting a text.
This perturbation does little honour to your wits.
Thus do men ever
Blurt out or blazen on the cheek
Red as rock-rose 1 the thing they would not speak.
Now by the Trinity, how foolish are men's hearts!
While my masters are fooling, I'll to my folly too.
(He slips out by the side door.)
BROTHER (embarking upon a religious discourse in order to allay NOBUTOSHI'S suspicions).
It matters not whether faith and words be great or small,
Whether the law be kept or broken.
Neither in the "Yea" nor "Nay" is the Truth found;
There is none but may be saved at last.
Not man alone; the woods and fields
Show happy striving.
The willow in his green, the peony
In crimson dressed.
(The BROTHER here begins his first dance; like that which follows, it is a "shimai," or dance without instrumental music.)
On mornings of green spring
When at the valley's shining gate
First melt the hawthorn-warbler's frozen tears,
Or when by singing foam
Of snow-fed waters echoes the discourse
Of neighbourly frogs;--then speaks p. 173
The voice of Buddha's heart.
Autumn, by eyes unseen,
Is heard in the wind's anger; the clamorous descent
And the clash of river-reeds,
Of wild-geese searching
The home-field's face,
Clouds shaped like leaves of rice,--all these
To watchful eyes foretell the evening storm.
He who has seen upon a mountain-side
Stock-still beneath the moon
The young deer stand in longing for his mate,
That man may read the writing, and forget
The finger on the page.
Even so the fisher's boats that ride
The harbour of the creek,
Bring back the fish, but leave the net behind.
These things you have heard and seen;
In the wind of the hill-top, in the valley's song,
In the film of night, in the mist of morning
Is it proclaimed that Thought alone
Was, is and Shall be.
Conceive this truth and wake!
As a cloud that hides the moon, so Matter veils
The face of Thought.
BROTHER (begins his second dance, while the CHORUS sings the ballad used by the "hōka" players).
Oh, a pleasant place is the City of Flowers;
No pen could write its wonders. 1 p. 174
In the east, Gion and the Temple of Clear Waters
Where torrents tumble with a noise of many wings;
In the storm-wind flutter, flutter
The blossoms of the Earth-lord's tree. 1
In the west, the Temple of the Wheel of Law,
The Shrine of Saga (Turn, if thou wilt,
Wheel of the Water Mill!),
Where river-waves dance on the weir
And river-willows by the waves are chafed;
Oxen of the City by the wheels are chafed;
And the tea-mortar by the pestle is chafed.
Why, and I'd forgot! In the hōka's hands
The kokiriko 2 is chafed.
Now long may our Lord rule
Age notched on age, like the notches
Of these gnarled sticks!
MAKINO and BROTHER.
Enough! Why longer hide our plot?
(They draw their swords and rush upon NOBUTOSHI, who places his hat upon the ground and slips out at the side-door. The hat henceforward symbolically represents NOBUTOSHI, an actual representation of slaughter being thus avoided.)
Then the brothers drew their swords and rushed upon him,
The foe of their desire.
(MAKINO gets behind the hat, to signify that NOBUTOSHI is surrounded.)
They have scaled the summit of their hate,
The rancour of many months and years.
The way is open to the bourne of their intent.
They have laid their enemy low.
So when the hour was come
Did these two brothers p. 175
By sudden resolution
Destroy their father's foe.
For valour and piety are their names remembered
Even in this aftertime.
170:1 The Sun is male, i.e. fair. The Moon female, i.e. foul.
170:2 The demons of Delusion, of the Senses, of the Air and of Death.
171:1 The Sun.
171:2 The heresy of Nihilism. To say that phenomena do not exist is as untrue as to say that they exist.
171:3 He quotes a Zen text.
172:1 Iwa, "rock," also means "not speak."
173:1 Some actors, says Owada, here write in the air with their fan; but such detailed miming is vulgar.
174:1 An allusion to the cherry-trees at the Kiyomizu-dera.
174:2 Bamboo-strips rubbed together to produce a squeaking sound.